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December 31, 2013 3

International New York Times Op-Ed Blames Israel and International Community for “Coming Intifada”

On Decem­ber 25, 2013, the Inter­na­tional New York Times ran an op-ed by Ali Jar­bawi, a for­mer Pales­tin­ian Author­ity gov­ern­ment min­is­ter and cur­rent con­tribut­ing opin­ion writer for the Times, titled “The Com­ing Intifada.” As evi­denced by its title, the premise of Mr. Jarbawi’s piece is that a vio­lent Pales­tin­ian intifada (Ara­bic for “upris­ing”) is loom­ing beneath the sur­face and could explode some­time in the near future. Most telling in Mr. Jarbawi’s piece is the absence of any sup­port or even men­tion of mov­ing for­ward with negotiations.

Sbarro Jerusalem Bombing

Mr. Jar­bawi writes that despite the appear­ance of nor­mal­ity for West Bank and Gaza Pales­tini­ans, “no one should be sur­prised if a new intifada erupts in the next few months.” He claims there are four fac­tors con­tribut­ing to this: an unful­filled hope for a Pales­tin­ian state, Israeli “vio­la­tions” against Pales­tini­ans (of which he includes the scur­rilous charge of “Judaiz­ing Jerusalem”), finan­cial chal­lenges fac­ing the Pales­tin­ian Author­ity, and the events of the Arab Spring.

While Mr. Jar­bawi goes to great lengths to blame many non-Palestinians – with a heavy focus being Israel — for what he warns is the com­ing intifada, he assigns no respon­si­bil­ity for the chal­lenges fac­ing Pales­tini­ans to the Pales­tini­ans them­selves. Attack­ing Israel for the fail­ures of the 20-plus years of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, he makes no men­tion of the numer­ous Israeli offers – includ­ing from Ehud Barak at Camp David in 2000 and from Ehud Olmert to Mah­moud Abbas in 2008 – rejected by the Pales­tini­ans. He also over­looks the repeated state­ments by Israeli lead­ers call­ing on their Pales­tin­ian coun­ter­parts to return to the nego­ti­at­ing table, which went unheeded until Sec­re­tary Kerry’s ini­tia­tives this past summer.

He fur­ther absolves the Pales­tini­ans of any respon­si­bil­ity for their finan­cial predica­ment by fail­ing to men­tion reports of ram­pant cor­rup­tion within the Pales­tin­ian Author­ity, and instead attacks Arab, Euro­pean and other inter­na­tional donors for not offer­ing suf­fi­cient aid.

Per­haps most dis­turbingly, how­ever, is Mr. Jarbawi’s claim that Israel is “Judaiz­ing Jerusalem.” The term “Judai­sa­tion” is fre­quently used by those who dis­miss the 4,000 year-old Jew­ish con­nec­tion to the land of Israel, and implies that Jews have no his­tor­i­cal right to a pres­ence in modern-day Israel. Stat­ing, as Mr. Jar­bawi does, that Israel is attempt­ing to “impose its pres­ence in the Al Aqsa mosque” fur­ther ignores the millennia-old reli­gious con­nec­tion to Judaism’s holi­est site, which shares this tiny piece of real estate, the Tem­ple Mount.

All this speaks to an ele­ment of self-deception on the part of the Pales­tini­ans at best, and, at worst, lays a foun­da­tion to jus­tify Pales­tin­ian vio­lence. By refus­ing to acknowl­edge com­plic­ity in the polit­i­cal and finan­cial predica­ment they find them­selves in, Mr. Jar­bawi and his Pales­tin­ian col­leagues delude them­selves into believ­ing that vio­lence is a jus­ti­fi­able reac­tion to their cur­rent sit­u­a­tion. They seek to con­vince oth­ers that their cur­rent approach towards Israel, includ­ing threats of vio­lence, are accept­able, and it is incum­bent entirely upon Israel and the inter­na­tional com­mu­nity to change their posi­tions towards the Pales­tini­ans in order to resolve the conflict.

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