Tuesday, May 21, 2019

  • Tuesday, May 21, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon

Recently, the US announced that the first part of the "Deal of the Century" - an economic plan to help Palestinians - would be unveiled in an economic conference in Bahrain next month.

Not surprisingly, the Palestinian Arab leaders are rejecting even attending the event:

The PA Social Development Minister, Ahmed Majdalani, also a member of the PLO’s executive committee, said: “There will be no Palestinian participation in the Manama workshop. Any Palestinian who would take part would be nothing but a collaborator for the Americans and Israel.”

PA prime minister Mohammed Shtayeh said, “The cabinet wasn’t consulted about the reported workshop, neither over the content, nor the outcome nor timing. Any solution to the conflict in Palestine must be political … and based on ending the occupation.”

Palestinian businessman Bashar Masri also said he is rejecting the invitation: “I will not participate in this conference. We reaffirm that we won’t deal with any event that is not within Palestinian national consensus. We Palestinians are able to advance our economy away from foreign interventions.”

Saeb Erekat said, “attempts at promoting an economic normalisation of the Israeli occupation will be rejected.”

Interestingly, no one is saying that an economic plan to help the Palestinians has any strings attached. No one is saying that they must accept Israel's existence or "occupation" or give up the "right of return" or on their claims to Jerusalem as a condition to accept what is presumably a multi-billion dollar plan to help all Palestinian Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank.

In real terms, there is no downside to attending the conference or in accepting what would presumably be billions of dollars from their fellow Arabs.While the details have not been released, it can be presumed that some of the funds will be earmarked for things like a water desalination plant in Gaza and improvements in the Gaza power plant - things that would not only directly improve lives but that would also provide jobs and capital for other projects.

The only concessions in this scenario are from Israel, which would have to loosen its restrictions on some dual-use items being brought into Gaza in order to realize these sorts of benefits.

We have a strange situation where Israel wants to help improve the lives of Palestinians more than Palestinian leaders want to.

As with literally every Middle East peace initiative, the main hurdle is the Arab honor/shame culture. In January 1952, an article in a periodical called New Outlook quoted an Arab refugee whose words sound a lot like that Palestinian leaders are sounding like today:

You also learn in the Middle East the force of another truth, which is that we can’t buy friends merely with our dollars. An Arabfarmer at the refugee camp of Aquabet Jabar, near Jerico, reminded me of this truth. A calm, dignified man in his early 40s, he had lived in the camp for nearly four years, having fled there with his family from an ancestral farmstead near Jaffa during the Arab-Jewish war.
“You Americans may offer me money,” he said without rancor, “but I will not accept it. You may build me a skyscraper but I will not live in it. You may offer to train me for another occupation but I will not learn it. I want only justice—the right to return to the dunams where I and my father and his father have tilled the soil.”

There is a fundamental difference between 1952 and today, though. In 1952 there was still the possibility of Israel allowing a significant percentage of Arabs to return to their former homes as part of peace negotiations. Also, Israel's very existence was shaky and Arabs could home it would implode economically or through another war (the same article describes the economic problems in Israel in detail.)

Today, Israel's existence is not in jeopardy. "Return" is not a remote possibility. It is no longer a point of honor to insist on an impossible "justice" at the expense of the lives of millions of Arabs of Palestinian origin.

What we are seeing today is not the honor/shame mentality but the abuse of the honor/shame dynamic by the Palestinian leaders, as quoted above.

The farmer of 1952 would not have said those same words had he known that by 2019 his grandchildren would still be insisting on "returning" to his father's farm near Jaffa. It is not honorable to damn your family to eternal suffering and statelessness for generations in the vain hope to achieve the impossible. Honor would demand that you do the best with what you can, where you are, and build your life rather than insist on a solution that literally can never happen.

Palestinians don't refuse help from UNRWA or from Qatar or from the EU. Their pride does not extend to refusing charity that prolongs their suffering - it only stops them from accepting money that could end it. Because their leaders do not want to help their own people, but to use them a pawns to demonize Israel, just as Arab leaders have done for decades.

This is changing in the Arab world. Rich Gulf states that had previously sent lots of money to Palestinian leaders are now willing to end the temporary solutions and fund something permanent - something that would accept Israel as a fact in the region. Palestinian leaders are not willing to accept Israel in that way, even today.

Those leaders, who have failed their people so much, are weaponizing the honor/shame culture in order to keep their people in misery in the vain hopes that one day the pressure will destroy Israel.

This is the fundamental fact that Gulf Arab leaders have grasped, and this is what needs to be understood among Palestinians themselves. It is not honorable to damn one's descendants to more suffering - it is shameful. The positions and actions of Arafat and Abbas have not safeguarded Palestinian honor, rather it has shamed them for sacrificing the well being of their own people.

Palestinian leaders have co opted the language of honor in vain attempts to destroy Israel. It is way past time that they are shamed for their immoral actions that even their fellow Arabs recognize have only hurt the people they pretend to lead.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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