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Middle East Issues





CAMERA Rebuts Palestinian 'Minister of Disinformation'


(The CAMERA Op-Ed below was posted on The Hill newspaper's Congress Blog on Aug. 20, 2015. The Hill serves members of Congress, staff, policy analysts, lobbyists and others.)
 
Mustafa Barghouti's "Obama can still do something for peace in the Middle East," August 17)  (Aug. 17, 2015) misleads through omissions, misrepresentations, and falsehoods.
 
The author—who has previously falsely claimed that Jesus, a Jew from Judea, was a Palestinian Arab—argues that the “Palestinian plight” is one of “dispossession followed by occupation.” He fails to mention that Arabs became refugees not because of the creation of the state of Israel, but due to Arab rejection of the United Nation's 1947 Palestine partition plan and then their violation of U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181, which called for Arab and Jewish states, by attacking Israel. In that Arab war of aggression, Jordanian troops conquered eastern Jerusalem, destroyed synagogues and murdered or expelled Jewish residents.

Israel reunited the city (whose Arab population has since grown faster than its Jewish population) after successful defense from another Arab-initiated war or aggression in 1967. But Jordanian forces had seized what was then known as Judea and Samaria in Israel's 1948 War of Independence, in 1950 renaming it the West Bank, during an illegal occupation only recognized by Great Britain and Pakistan. Israel seized that land during the Arab-initiated '67 war and remains the obligatory military occupational authority prior to a settlement negotiated according to U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 (1967), 338 (1973), the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian agreement, and related pacts.

As for the settlement's legality, the League of Nations Palestine Mandate Article 6, called for “close Jewish settlement on the land” west of the Jordan River. The U.N. Charter, Chapter 12, Article 80, upholds the Mandate's provisions. But Barghouti harps on the themes of Israel's “occupation” and “illegal settlements.”

Barghouti, who also fails to mention Egypt's illegal occupation of the Gaza Strip from 1948 to 1967, omits the plight of the more than 800,000 Jewish refugees who were forced to flee Arab countries in 1948 and after, nearly 600,000 of whom immigrated to Israel. Obsessing over the 420,000 to 650,000 Palestinian Arabs (the lower figure uses an estimate by a U.N. official on the scene, the other the difference in Arab populations between the last British and first Israeli census) who fled a war the Arab side chose,

Barghouti goes silent over Palestinian rejections of Israeli and U.S. offers of a two-state solution in 2000, 2001 and 2008, and Secretary of State John Kerry's attempt to restart talks in 2014. Apparently “occupation” and “illegal settlements” don't bother Barghouti's side enough for it to accept a deal or make a counter-offer.

Barghouti calls Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an “expansionist, opponent of the two-state solution.” Yet, he fails to mention the Wye River Accords from 1996-1999, where in his first term the prime minister worked for a two-state solution and began withdrawing Israeli forces from the West Bank where they were stationed to prevent Palestinian terrorist attacks. In his June 2009 Bar-Ilan University speech, Netanyahu called for a two-state solution, but noted that such an achievement required a reliable and willing Palestinian peace partner.

Barghouti's rusted boilerplate

Which Palestinian Arabs would be such a partner? The Gaza Strip is ruled by democratically elected Hamas, designated by the United States as well as Israel as a terrorist organization and which calls for the destruction of Israel in its charter. The West Bank is administered by the Palestinian Authority, under the domination of the Fatah movement. The PA has violated its Oslo peace process commitment by seeking to delegitimize Israel, including at the International Criminal Court, while running children's television programs depicting Jews as monsters and calling for their destruction.
 
Although claiming he advocates “non-violence,” Barghouti is well acquainted with what the PA chooses to broadcast—as the minister of information during 2007 he originally denied the existence of children's shows calling for a genocide of Israel's Jews, only to later lie and say that the programs were taken off the air. They continue to air to this day.
 
Similarly, his actual goal of delegitimizing and destroying the Jewish state extends to his support for the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS seeks to ghettoize economically Israel before politically and physically destroying it—despite a recent Palestinian Center for Public Opinion poll showing a majority of Palestinians want “increased economic cooperation” with Israel.

Still dealing propaganda boilerplate, Barghouti says BDS works for “Palestinian freedom and equality.” But the movement's “civil society” founders include Hamas and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades of Fatah, another U.S.-designated terrorist group, as well as Syrian extremist organizations.

Barghouti is described as a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and human rights activist. This self-portrait omits that the Palestinian Legislature has scarcely met since its last elections in January 2006. Subsequent elections have been postponed indefinitely. The council's creation was the result of the Oslo Accords that Barghouti and PA President Mahmoud Abbas—now in his tenth-year of a four-year term—call for violating.

Barghouti also tries to smear Israel, where Arabs and Jews have equal rights as “apartheid” and “oppressive.” If he wants to work for human rights in the Middle East, he might start with the Gaza Strip, where Palestinian Arabs are oppressed by Hamas' Islamic theocracy, and the West Bank, where Fatah jails critics.

Instead of obscuring and misrepresenting Israeli efforts at peace and Palestinian intransigence, Barghouti might better serve the Palestinian people by working to secure them equal rights in Lebanon, or basic protection in Syria, for example. He doesn't because he's obsessed with destroying Israel.

Durns is media assistant in the Washington, D.C. office of CAMERA—Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

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