A message to the Arab states who ally with Israel to erase the Palestinians – Haaretz

Posted By on April 7, 2022

The infamous "Negev Summit" was undoubtedly a success for ForeignMinister YairLapid and therest of theIsraeli government.His ministry'sprotocol department's impressive achievement,hosting four foreign ministers from Arab countries for dinner, included serenading them withJerusalem's famouska'ek(bagels) and lamb from the Golan Heights. Both occupied Arab territories,bothillegally annexed by Israel.

Finally, they got thefamily photothey wanted, and Lapid reaffirmed his role as the "pleasantface" of a government that cheered the approval of the racist law banning the reunification of Palestinian families only a few days ago.

Except for agreeing todo it allagain,sometime soon,this summit's greatest distinction was its lack of anysubstance.The only concrete message from it was for the Palestinian people.

For the Palestinians, membership of the Abraham Accords club means thatthose "brotherly" Arab statesare neither expectednor now evenrequested to lead their struggle towards national liberation.It's not news thatPalestine has been abandoned. After the meeting, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said that any Arab normalization meeting without an end to Israeli occupation is a gift to Israel. Certainly, it is.

Most Israelis, however,won'taccept the other side of the story. Only one of the four Arab countrieshosted so royallyis strategically vital to Israel, and that is Egypt, whoseforeign minister statedtheir ultimate goal remains a "Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem its capital."

The presence of Minister Sameh Shoukry was deeply disappointing to most Palestinians. However, I am sure thatbecause of his wordssome Israelis are also beginning to realize that the Palestinian cause cannot be buried, regardless ofthedisgusting propaganda made for normalization deals that include benefits for Israeli settlements and companies involved in the ongoing annexation of Palestine.

On the same day that the summit took place, Israel advanced the construction of four exclusivelyJewish towns inthe Negev. Perhaps the Arab foreign ministersdidn'tknow that near the venue of their conference there are almost 40 villages, home to half of theNegev'sBedouin Palestinians, which are still unrecognized by the state, meaning they don't even have access to electricity or water.One of them,Al-Araqib, has beendemolishedhundreds of times.

Thissignals thatIsrael'sethnic cleansing process extends not only tothe occupied Palestinian territory ofJerusalem, Hebron, and the Jordan Valley,but alsowithinIsrael itself: The same Negevthat an Arab foreign minister referred to as a "symbol of coexistence," Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch define as a symbol of apartheid.

In 1976,Land Day, which proteststhe normalized practice of expropriating land from Palestinian villages on both sides of the 1967 border to benefit construction for mainly IsraeliJews,took place in the Galilee because of such discriminatory laws. It isareality that the vast majority of the international community fails to recognize till this very day, regardless of the hundreds of Palestinian citizens of Israel killed or injured in protests like Land Day in 1976, October 2000, and May 2021.

Even though some Arab foreign ministers may choose to ignore this to the gratificationof most Israeli Jewsit can't erasethe realityof dispossessionfor most Palestinian citizens of Israel, let alone Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory.

This week,we commemoratedLand Day in a changingregionalcontext, but one nonethelessthat has failed to eliminate the existence of the Palestinian people from the river to the sea.

It is with grave concern, therefore, that we continue to observe the double standards applied byWestern countries to the situation in Ukraine compared to what is happening in the land of historic Palestine.The Russian occupation of part of Ukraine has been met with international sanctions while for several Western governments the Israeli occupation of all of Palestine has been met merely with references to shared "values."

Palestinians are determined to change the current state of affairs,defying the reality of colonial settlement occupation and apartheid.No matter how successful its protocol efforts may be,Israel's Foreign Ministrywill find these inconvenient factsmore and more challenging to conceal.

I was in Cairo last month, and I saw the reaction of the Egyptians when I told them I'm Palestinian. Every Egyptian official knows how committed their people are to the rights of the Palestinian people.This week, I spoke to many audiences in the U.S., including at Harvard Law School, and it was evident that the context can positively change.

I congratulate Lapid on a photo opportunity that did not changeonebit of what ought to matter most to Israel and the rest of the region:Ending systematic violations of international law and UN resolutions, and endingthe decades-long denial of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

Sami Abou Shahadeh is a Palestinian historian, leader of Balad/Tajamu party and member of the Knesset for the Joint List:. Twitter:@ShahadehAbou


A message to the Arab states who ally with Israel to erase the Palestinians - Haaretz

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