Thursday, July 15, 2004
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UN official speaks truth -- Palestinians outraged
Two days ago, United Nations Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larsen briefed the UN Security Council on the Middle East Peace Process -- i.e., Israel and Palestine. Roed-Larsen placed blame on both the Israelis and the Palestinians for the lack of progress. Here's one relevant section from the press release:
Roed-Larsen then went on to blast the Israelis for "lack of compliance on the sensitive issue of settlements." Again, go check out the press release for more on this. What interests me is the Palestinian reaction to Roed-Larsen's honest assessment of the Palestinian Authority. Steve Weizman provides the Associated Press report:
Eerily enough, the BBC reports that "The militant group, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades also said Mr Roed-Larsen was 'banned' from Palestinian territory." The Palestinian Prime Minister's reaction in a press conference echoed this rhetoric:
To Kofi Annan's credit, he issued a statement through his spokesman backing Roed-Larsen to the hilt.
The grand irony in all of this, as Agence-France Press observes, is that "Roed-Larsen has previously been something of a bete noire for the Israelis over his outspoken criticism of the occupation of the territories."
It's not like the U.N. has been unfriendly to the Palestinian cause. So what does it say that the political entity Israel is ostensibly supposed to negotiate with responds like that to an honest appraisal of their situation by an impartial outsider?
[Standard caveat when posting about the Middle East: This is not to exonerate the Israelis for their behavior on settlements.]posted by Dan on 07.15.04 at 12:20 PM
Reality injected into a situation that has for decades been ruled by everything but?
I blame Bush foreign policy for this change, myself.
Gosh, Dan, what do you think it says?
That the Palestinians are broadly divided into determined groups whose life's work is to destroy Israel and people who know that if they oppose this work they will be killed for it? That Palestinian leaders are devoted to the fruits of corruption and will never willingly give them up? That expecting Arabs to be able to sustain a democracy is foolish?
Henry Kissinger once told an audience about an Israeli foreign minister who defined objectivity as 100% agreement with the Israeli position. "I thought he was joking," Kissinger said, "and realized only later that he was really threatening me." Compared to trying to work with the Palestinians, working with the Israelis is easy; they only occasionally expect people to put up with the indefensible, and hardly ever demand that everyone be silent about it. Palestinians embrace the indefensible as a way of life, and feel compelled to make a show of violent resentment of even the mildest criticism lest they be labeled "collaborators" and become potential targets.posted by: Zathras on 07.15.04 at 12:20 PM [permalink]
Sure, the Palestinians suck balls, but didn't the Israelis make a concerted effort to destroy the PA not too long ago? Seems like Odd Bull or whatever his name is could have mentioned that.
And Zathras, I believe you're talking about Abba Ebban.posted by: praktike on 07.15.04 at 12:20 PM [permalink]
And the EU gave Arafat a similar talking-to a couple of weeks ago. But what is this *really* about? It's not as if Arafat is any more of destructive tyrant running the PA solely for his own power and wealth than he was a year ago. What prompted this sudden concern?
I'm thinking it has something to do with the Gaza pullout and the prospect of Israel, Egypt and the Gaza Fatah leaders (and maybe Hamas and PIJ) creating their own power structure. Perhaps the EU and UN are concerned about getting stuck with a bunch of has-beens in Ramalleh and are trying to get Arafat back in the game?
Furious Palestinian officials said Wednesday that they banned the UN Mideast envoy from the West Bank and Gaza Strip after he lashed out at Yasser Arafat, but the Palestinian observer to the UN later said Terje Roed-Larsen was not barred from visiting.
Arafat's top adviser, Nabil Abu Rdeneh, described the UN envoy as "useless" and said he was no longer welcome in the Palestinian areas.
Nasser al-Kidwa, the Palestinian UN observer, echoed that anger at Roed-Larsen but said the UN envoy's legal status has not been decided and would be discussed with Secretary General Kofi Annan when he returns to New York next week....
Al-Kidwa called the briefing unacceptable, saying it "reflects basically an amalgamation of Israeli and American positions."
Obviously unfortunate, standard caevats, etc., but I laughed when I read this. It easily could have come from any number of domestic supporters of the Bush administration, changing Israeli/American for French/random terrorist state.posted by: Dave Meyer on 07.15.04 at 12:20 PM [permalink]
What it demonstrates is that Yasser Arafat and Fatah are not capable of making the transition from struggle movement to legitimate governance, as has been obvious since he first strutted into the UN with a gun at his hip.posted by: Dave F on 07.15.04 at 12:20 PM [permalink]
Some of us must stop this nonsense of grossly exaggerating the importance of the settlements. Do the Palestinians think that the Jews have bad breath or cooties? Their objections to the settlements seem to be primarily motivated by racism. Plenty of Arabs live among the Jews. Why should the Jews be excluded from the Palestinian territories?
When will the utopian liberals wake up to reality? There is no possibility of peace until the hard core Palestinian militants are either killed or jailed. These scum bags intimidate the moderates who prefer to live in peace with their Jewish neighbors. The latter remain quiet so as not to be accused of “collaborating” with the Jews. A Yasser Arafat should not be at the bargaining table---but on a slab in the morgue.
The Palestinians are like most Arabs: self pitying and inclined toward scapegoating others for the disastrous choices of their ancestors. We must encourage them to grow up and stop acting like immature children. President Bush clearly understands that the Arabs have to be encouraged to become citizens of the 21st Century. John Kerry is surrounded by multiculturalists who think it is disgusting to “impose” supposedly white man values on brown skinned people.posted by: David Thomson on 07.15.04 at 12:20 PM [permalink]
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