This is a guest post by The Zionist
The further back you go when looking at Palestinian advocacy the clearer it becomes that they’ve never really known what they were doing or why they were doing it. (When I say “they”, I mean the Palestinian leadership of the day). The present decision to boycott the arrival of Mike Pence to the region reminds us of the decision the Arab higher Committee made to boycott UNSCOP (United Nations Special Committee on Palestine) who traveled around the British mandate area in 1947 attempting to come up with a solution to the tensions boiling up there. The Zionists didn’t boycott it and history tells the tale.
Boycotting Pence might look like a bold gesture but it has doomed the PA to be mere spectators to events happening concerning themselves. There may have been an opportunity for them to gain concessions from the USA in the wake of Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. They’ll never know whether that was the case though.
Furthermore this idea of resistance over independence, belligerence over diplomacy can be seen in every aspect of the so-called Pro Palestinian media. Take for example the release of the so called Palestine Papers. This was a scoop by al Jazeera in 2011 that saw thousands of secret documents pertaining to negotiations with Israel leaked. The great thing about this in 2011 was that it showed not only that negotiations were happening but also that the two sides were pretty close to reaching an agreement. While Zionists were buoyed by the knowledge that something was happening pro Palestinian websites were outraged. See the articles Electronic Intifada published in the wake of the leaks here, the outraged headlines include “Palestinian Authority foils new Gaza war crimes probe” and “sex, blackmail and theft: leaks detail Israeli spy operations“. The outrage spilled into the Guardian where the Israeli member of Knesset Haneen Zoabi wrote that “Palestinian negotiators must not take key decisions on our behalf”, attacked the resolution of the right of return of Palestinian refugees (that had been negotiated apparently successfully) and claimed that “the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state – which was also apparently accepted by the negotiator Saeb Erekat – would delegitimise the citizenship of Palestinians in Israel.”
This was mind boggling. Here we stood on the cusp of the resolution of everything they detested; checkpoints, continued settlement, IDF patrols and incursions into Palestinian towns. Here we were moving towards a living, breathing state of Palestine and the pro-Palestinian world was outraged that it was happening.
This is why when you look at the debate around Palestine you see a Jewish argument rather than a Palestinian one. On the one hand you see +972, Breaking the Silence, Haaretz’s Gideon Levy, Amira Haas and others talking about occupation and the moral ills of it affecting Israeli society and on the other you have basically everyone else in Israel asking what are we supposed to do about it? But the Palestinian voice is absent from this argument. The reason being that the Palestinian voice as presented by Electronic Intifada and Zoabi is the voice of the affluent Palestinian living outside of occupation forcing other Palestinians to continue living within it.
They don’t lie, their stories regarding the occupation of the West Bank my be heavily spun but there is enough foundation of truth to get away with it. The issue is that the perspective that they come from, that of genuine concern for the plight of the Palestinian people should come with the tagline; “as long as the Palestinians are still being occupied by Israel”.
Looking to the future the Palestinians have failed in their much vaunted Hamas PA unity bid, failed to present a vision of the future they wish to see for themselves, failed to galvanize Palestinians to work towards constructing that reality and failed to decide for themselves how to control their future.
Israel lives and thrives while Palestine whimpers and dies and the Palestinian leadership has no one to blame but itself.