Lies, Dissembling and Deceit

After 71 years of “pining” for their “ancient and indigenous” “homeland”, but with no political progress of any kind visible, over seven decades one must question whether the PA under Mahmoud Abbas is at all interested in peace and/or a negotiated settlement.

The short answer must clearly be “No” and is part of a decades-long exercise in double speak that some influential countries take as true statement of intent. This article will explain why, for over 70 years, the Levantine Arabs (PLO, PFLP {and derivatives}, Fatah, the PA and Hamas) have never been interested in peace.

The Palestinian Authority Charter dissected

The PLO, founded in 1964, became recognized and declared itself to be the legitimate representative of the “Palestinian” people wherever they are and the only agency empowered to negotiate on their behalf.

In 1964 too, during Arafat’s reign of terror, the Palestine National Authority (PNA) Charter was created which was a mixture of fiction and proven double-speak. Like the demonstrable history of dealing with the former mandate’s Levantine Arabs, the Charter stated highly debatable theories and some downright incorrect ones.

For example, Article 1 of the PNA charter states that: “Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people…” This statement is a lie because it makes no mention of the legal homeland of the Jewish people who lived there for the previous 3,000 years.

Article 2 states: “Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate is an indivisible territorial unit….” Here we have some lexical sleights of hand . If Palestine “during the British mandate” was “indivisible”, then Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan have no right to exist. But Israel’s Arabs in Jordan and Lebanon have tried that already and got roundly smacked.

Article 3 continues: “The Palestinian Arab people possess the legal right to their homeland” Here is an example of verbal deceit. Arabs do indeed have a legal right to a homeland if they wish. However, the “Palestinian” Arabs in this particular scenario opted for war. Three times. And lost ever increasing amounts of territory which Israel has always maintained would be subject to a negotiated return in any final status settlement.

Article 5 “The Palestinians are …Arab nationals”. This is a confusing statement because if there is only an Arab Muslim ummah (nation) and no concept of state (See “indivisible territorial unit’ of Article 2), then the demand for a “Palestinian” “state” flies counter to the wishes of the ummah for an “indivisible” new and independent Arab entity called Palestine.

Peace Offers to end all Peace Offers

Anyhow, in 1993, it was the PLO which negotiated the Oslo Accords with Israel, which set into place, in 1994, the Palestinian Authority in certain specific regions of Gaza and Judea & Samaria.

Theoretically, the PA could speak only for those in those areas, under its authority. But over time, Israel began dealing only with the PA and not the PLO even though the offices of the PA were filled in the main by PLO people and where Arafat’s money-man and successor, Mahmoud Abbas, was head of both the PA and the PLO.

Thus it was that when Ehud Barak offered Arafat a state in 2000, he was speaking to him as head of the PA. In 2008, Abbas, as upholder of the PA Charter Article 22: “The People of Palestine believe in peaceful coexistence…” refused Olmert’s historic offer of peace AND a state, including forgoing sovereignty of Jerusalem because Abbas (mis)calculated on getting a better deal seeing that GW Bush was on the way out and that Olmert was finished politically. In 2009, Abbas was quite content to display the PA Charter’s Article 12 on Arab unity (“The Palestinian people believe in Arab unity….”) when the December 2008 Israeli operation against Hamas in Gaza (Cast Lead ) was initiated because it would politically and physically weaken his Arab “brothers”.

The flips and flops of the Arabs continue into 2019 when Abbas’ PA refuses to attend the latest peace initiative aimed at ending conflict. Dubbed the “Deal of the Century”, this stage-driven economic revival plan for Gaza and the “West Bank” as a precursor to a negotiated border settlement has also been vetoed by Abbas.  Given his refusal to two stunning previous Israeli offers which included more than 100% of the land he claims he wanted for a Palestinian state, it is no big surprise Abbas has announced that the PA has already rejected Trump’s peace proposal in his yet unpublicized “deal of the century”.

Orwell at the UNSC

Abbas’ fine words (and some downright porkies: We are the descendants of Canaanites that lived in the land of Palestine 5,000 years ago…) to the UN Security Council in February 2018 make the casual reader gasp as to the Orwellian nature of his address.

I do not here intend to counter these items of Abbas’ speech because to do so would give the man’s claims a veneer of legitimacy. The reader can make the judgement for her/himself.

For example, Abbas stated “We have been committed to fostering a culture of peace, rejection of violence, pursuit of sustainable development…agricultural farms and technological production, as opposed to establishing weapons factories…

As another example, in Feb 2018, Mahmoud Abbas said, “The Palestinian people…have made contributions to humanity and civilization witnessed by the world.

And, just to pick a third and final example of systemic dissembling by the PA/PLO, Mahmoud Abbas stated at that same meeting that he had been on “…a long journey and efforts to create a political path based on negotiations and leading to a comprehensive and just peace, as you are aware, we participated in the Madrid Conference in 1991 and signed the Oslo Accords in 1993…”

It thus becomes difficult to reconcile these fine words with Abbas’ adherence to the PA’s 1964 Charter where Article 9 states: “Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine.

Nor does Abbas apparently suffer any intellectual dissonance by supporting Article 10 of the Charter he espouses: “Commando action constitutes the nucleus of the Palestinian popular liberation war. This requires its escalation, comprehensiveness, and the mobilization of all the Palestinian popular and educational efforts and their organization and involvement in the armed Palestinian revolution.

And when we remember Abbas’ stirring words to the UNSC in 2018 about the value of history and the incontrovertibility of its facts, Abbas then supports Article 20 of his organisations Charter which states  “The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void. Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history.”

Demonstrably, the “Palestinian” leadership will say (and has said) anything you want to hear in order to achieve its goal.

Jerusalem: the Mecca we don’t know about

But in this 71 year old “quest” for “Palestine’s “ “indigenous Arabs to “regain” their homeland, with the ancient and holy Muslim city of Jerusalem as their capital, never once is Jerusalem mentioned as an issue in the Charter. Not heard of even, in 1948. Not in 1964. And not in 1968 (their revised Charter…). Only the refugees and right of return is mentioned.

As is well known, Jerusalem is not the place to which Muslims pray, this “sacred” Muslim city is not once mentioned by name in prayers, and it is connected to no mundane events in Muhammad’s life.

The city never ever served as capital of a sovereign Muslim state, and it never became a cultural or scholarly centre. Little of political import by Muslims was initiated there (Pipes, 2001).

In fact, it was only a long time AFTER the death of Mohammad that the Umayyads, a Muslim dynasty from Damascus, Syria, built a second mosque in Jerusalem, again on the Temple Mount, and called this one the Furthest Mosque (al-masjid al-aqsa, Al-Aqsa Mosque). It is only through this subterfuge that the Umayyads retroactively gave the city a role in Muhammad’s life….

Like everything else in the so-called “Palestinians” “struggle” for a “homeland”, Jerusalem, Israel’s capital was used only as a political pressure point to delegitimise Jewish legitimacy in the ancient city.

To illustrate this, Muslim scholars over the centuries had variously theorized about the prophet tying horse to the eastern or southern walls—but not one of them before the Muslim-Jewish clashes at the Western Wall in 1929 ever associated this incident with the western side. Once again, politics drove Muslim piousness regarding Jerusalem (Pipes, ibid).

In other words, its non-mention in the PA Charter notwithstanding, Jerusalem, for Muslim interests, served merely as a powerful vehicle for mobilizing Muslim opinion internationally. In this regard, post-1929 claims of newly-found passionate Muslim attachment to Jerusalem were only part of a public relations exercise to delegitimise Jewish history and indigeneity in the region.

This is echoed by June 6, 2019 article by Pinhas Inbari in his article in JCPA (vol 19; no. 8) where he says that the refugee issue (and not Jerusalem) is the “essence” of the PLO, and without the Palestinian refugee problem, the PLO would not exist.

Abbas’ PA and the Gazan dictatorship are given far too much credence as potential negotiating partners. They are not interested in peace with the Jews.

Of Might and Men

Published in English only in 1972, PFLP spokesman Ghassan Kanafani in his seminal pamphlet on the 1936 Arab revolt against the British nominates three main enemies of the Arabs. These enemies were: “the local reactionary leadership; the regimes in the Arab states surrounding Palestine; and the imperialist-Zionist enemy.”

In 2019 as in 1936, it has been made clear that the neighbouring Arab regimes have no sympathy for the “Palestinians” and the three most brutal examples of this deep dislike were the Jordanian massacre of “Palestinians” in 1970, the Chrisitan Arab Phalango massacre of same in Lebanon in 1982, and the recent 2015 massacre and wipe-out of “Palestinian” men, women and children in the Yarmouk camp in Damascus in 2015.

With regard to the massacre of the Syrian “Palestinians”, as the fate of the obliterated Palestinian Yarmouk camp became known, Abbas rejected a secret European initiative to transfer the refugees from the camp to the abandoned site of Aqbat Jaber in Palestinian-controlled Jericho, a fully PA administered area in what is popularly referred to as the “West Bank”.

Mahmoud Abbas rejected the initiative, on grounds that the right of return does not apply to territories in the Palestinian Authority but to Israel. In private conversations, however, senior Palestinian officials said that the Palestinian Authority did not want the refugees from Yarmouk within its boundaries because they supported Hamas.

Mahmoud Abbas will lie, dissemble and deceive regardless of the terrible cost in human lives and suffering of the people he says he fights for. How else can we reconcile his 2018 words to the UNSC (“Seventy years have passed since….6 million Palestine refugees continue to suffer from the cruelty of exile and loss of human security. “) with his documented refusal to save his own “people” from a known massacre in progress in Damascus?

For their part, the “local reactionary leadership” so bemoaned by Kanafani in 1936 continued its path of chaotic alliances and enmities. In 1969, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) split from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). And both the PFLP and the DFLP who’d had bitter experience of the Jordanian and Lebanese authorities, advocated overthrow of their Arab brothers in unity in alliance with local parties as well as later being violently opposed to Sadat’s Egypt.

As far as Kanafani’s “imperialist-Zionist enemy” is concerned, 71 years after the declaration of the State of Israel, unending conflict remains the strategy of the PA, Fatah and Hamas to attain the goal of dismantling the State of Israel.

In spite of this, Israel has for decades cultivated secret ties with the monarchical Arab dictatorships in the Gulf.   Saudi Arabia in particular has dropped any pretence or semblance of lip service to the Palestinian cause. The Sultan of Omar hosted Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the country. Qatar has direct channels of communication with Israel and Bahrein defended Australia’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of “Israel” – in a tweet in Arabic, no less.

Those Who Ignore the Lessons of History…

With Trump’s economic summit on the future of “Palestine” only days away, it should come as no surprise that Abbas and his advisers will revert to past behaviour to torpedo even these measures to bring an end to the conflict and to underline that nothing the United States can offer will be enough.

This is arguably because the Palestinian National Charter of 1964 (amended in 1968) has never been about peace in the Middle East. It has ONLY been about the removal of the Jewish state from the Middle East.

It is not unreasonable to suggest that the time for a negotiated peace is long past. It is now time for an imposed peace with an annexation of parts of Judea and Samaria in return for a guarantee for an autonomous Palestinian Arab entity where Israel has military control of the Jordan valley.

Seventy one years of Arab terror against Israel has shown the world where their hearts truly lie. And seventy one years has shown that if peace is not imposed, the Levantine Arabs will continue to lie, dissemble and deceive. Too many lives have been lost to allow this to continue.

 

 

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