of Israeli settlements and products grown or produced there is a principled and
justified stance led by the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement that
aims at forcing Israel to stop exploiting properties taken from non-Jews in the
occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967 and has, ever since, been
stealing land from Palestinians, evicting the owners and then building racist,
Jewish-only settlements. That many people in the West do not understand this
simple fact is the result of Israel’s pernicious propaganda, funded by hundreds
of millions of dollars freed up because America gives Israel’s government more
than $3 billion every year from the pockets of US taxpayers.
are other boycotts that are just naive. The most self-destructive for the
Palestinians is the political boycott, in which they refuse to engage with the
very people who have the power to control Palestinian lives and support
Israel’s ongoing brutal military campaign. Two years ago, for example, newly
elected American Vice President Mike Pence visited Israel and Palestine, but
the Palestinians, angry with President Donald Trump’s announcement that he
would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, boycotted Pence’s visit. And,
last year, Palestinians refused to attend the “Peace to Prosperity” workshop
organized by Trump’s special Middle East adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner,
leaving the conference of 200-plus corporate and business investors to hear
only one side of the story.
Pence, along with other leaders of the US Congress from both sides of the
aisle, will visit Israel to participate in a Holocaust remembrance ceremony.
However, they won’t be meeting with Palestine’s subjugated government or
besieged President Mahmoud Abbas. Ironically, many Palestinians are calling
that a “snub” by Pence and the visiting House members, including Speaker Nancy
Pelosi, while not acknowledging that, when Pence arrived in Israel in January
2018, they refused to meet with him.
practice of blanket rejectionism is self-destructive, as it empowers Israel to
advance its goal of removing non-Jews from many areas of Palestine.
Rejectionism is not a strategy — it is a symptom of division. The Palestinians
are extremely divided. Activists who embrace the total boycott of Israel and
oppose “normalization” are extremists, and they spend too much time and energy
attacking the moderate Palestinians who urge compromise and support dialogue
with Israeli moderates.
tragedy is that the extremists’ actions are self-fulfilling. By boycotting
everything, they strengthen the anti-Palestinian movement in Israel and in the
West, which, for example, falsely calls the BDS movement “anti-Semitic” and
provides fuel to efforts to impose restrictions on pro-Palestinian voices, such
as the anti-BDS laws that have been approved in more than half of America’s 50
boycotts allow pro-Israel extremists to dominate the international dialogue
where it counts the most: In the West and especially in countries like the US,
which played a more than significant role in helping to create Israel in 1948.
that the extremists’ efforts to silence the moderates divide Palestinian voices,
activism and resources, weakening the effort to confront Israel’s propaganda
lies. The rejectionists — who often embrace violence, as Hamas did in launching
a wave of suicide bombings against Israeli civilians following the signing of
the Oslo Accords at the White House in 1993 — have also inadvertently redefined
the Palestinian cause in many circles from being one of championing human
rights and justice to being perceived and described as an anti-Semitic campaign
of hate. That is not the real face of the overwhelming majority of Palestinians
who languish under Israeli oppression, whether as Israeli citizens or as
occupied victims of Israel’s annexationism.
this campaign of rejectionism continues, the more it undermines Palestinian
self-confidence in terms of achieving statehood through political compromise
and the more it empowers the extremists. Since the late 1980s, when Hamas was
founded, the militant Islamic movement has grown in strength and popularity,
taking over the Gaza Strip — as was sought by the Israelis — and countering the
efforts of Palestine’s legitimate government to engage in the peace process.
The moderate leadership has been relegated to the sidelines, marginalized not
only by Israel’s extremist policies but by the weakness of a Palestinian voice
that is divided, disorganized and effectively dysfunctional.
leadership seemingly comes to an end, brought on as much by Palestinian
rejectionism and violence as it was undermined by Israel’s extremist right-wing
governments and racist apartheid policies, the Palestinians face a dismal
future in which moderate secular voices are replaced by extremist and narrowly
focused religious activism from groups like Hamas.
really cared about Israel, as he claims, he would recognize that the collapse
of Palestinian moderation is just as destructive to the future of Israel as it
is to the national aspirations of the Palestinian people. The truth is that,
without two states, Israel will almost certainly one day be destroyed, not by
moderates who embrace compromise based on the two-state solution, but by
violent extremists on both sides, who will turn Israel and the Occupied
Territories into battlefields.
will suffer because rejectionism and political bias against the rule of law and
Palestinian human rights will only serve to empower the fanatics. Pence should
show courage and extend a hand to the Palestinians, even if he believes the
Palestinians will, through the expansion of their suffering and hopelessness,
reject that hand.
apartheid and oppression should not be condemned because they suffer from an
absence of hope, which Pence and others have failed to provide.
Hanania is an award-winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and
Headline; Palestinians face bleak future as moderates sidelined
Source: The Arab News