Another Guardian ‘don’t mention the war’ moment

We were informed by Julian Borger writing on Comment is Free on March 7th that the British government has chosen to upgrade the status of the Palestinian representatives in London to that of a diplomatic mission.

William Hague said that Britain had upgraded the status of Palestinian diplomats in the UK, in a largely symbolic move aimed at encouraging progress in peace talks with Israel.”

“British officials said the only real change in the work of Palestinian diplomats will be that they will be given parking spaces by Westminster council, and find it easier to get British visas for their staff.”

So much for the famed Israeli intelligence then: how come we didn’t know until now that the real reason the Palestinians could not come to the negotiating table was because they were too busy looking for a vacant parking meter in Westminster and filling in all those UK immigration forms in quadruplicate?

“This really reflects our acknowledgement of Palestinian progress in achieving administrative goals in building institutions and in progress made in fulfilling the road map,” a British official said.”

Errm… sorry to be a pain and all that, Mr. British official,  but exactly which clauses of the Road Map have the Palestinians made progress in fulfilling?

Clause one of the Road Map reads as follows:

“At the outset of Phase I:

  • Palestinian leadership issues unequivocal statement reiterating Israel’s right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere. All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel.
  • Israeli leadership issues unequivocal statement affirming its commitment to the two-state vision of an independent, viable, sovereign Palestinian state living in peace and security alongside Israel, as expressed by President Bush, and calling for an immediate end to violence against Palestinians everywhere. All official Israeli institutions end incitement against Palestinians.”

(my emphasis)

Not only have the Palestinians repeatedly refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, not only have they released Hamas terrorists responsible for the murders of Israeli citizens without bothering to put them on trial, not only is there the not so small matter of thousands of rockets and mortars still being fired at Israeli civilians, but their official institutions continue to spew daily incitement against Israel.

In fact at the very moment that Mahmoud Abbas was enjoying British hospitality in London, a youth centre back home near Ramallah announced that it will be running a football tournament named after a suicide bomber. Of course the likelihood of William Hague bringing that subject up over the hors d’oeuvres is about as great as the possibility that the Guardian might see fit to mention such a move on its pages, let alone criticize it.

Once again British soft bigotry reigns supreme. After all, neither the Foreign Office nor the Guardian would look kindly upon the naming of a sports tournament after Mohammed Sidique Khan by a Dewsbury youth centre, so why do they consider such a move acceptable – and indeed unremarkable – in Palestinian Authority controlled areas? And why do they continue to lie, both to themselves and the British public, about ‘progress made in fulfilling the Road Map’?

As for those lauded achievements in ‘ building institutions’, well obviously they do not include freedom of the press or trade unions within the Palestinian Authority, or even such basic things as putting an end to torture, equal rights for women and minorities, holding elections on time or balancing the budget.

It gets worse, however. Not content with distorting the truth by omission, the Guardian’s Diplomatic Editor goes on to faithfully repeat the party line: it’s all about the settlements, innit?

“The “road map”, promoted by the Quartet of the US, the UN, the EU and Russia, is intended as a framework for achieving a settlement, but it has long been stalled over the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.”

In fact, as the ‘Palestine papers’ – recently leaked by the Guardian itself in collaboration with Al Jazeera – show, Palestinian negotiators were able to talk with their Israeli counterparts as recently as late 2008 without the issue of construction in Judea & Samaria preventing them from doing so. Only when a rookie US President brought up the subject did the PA suddenly get struck conveniently dumb and that silence was not cured by a ten month building freeze.

How exactly the British government or any other members of the Quartet (along with the bien pensants at the Guardian) think that any sort of peace agreement is reachable whilst terrorists are still being glorified by Palestinian society in general and with the encouragement of EU and US funded PA institutions is beyond all logic. Until the Quartet decides to take up the challenge of facing up to PA incitement and glorification of terror – and seeing as it holds the purse strings, that should not be too difficult a task – no significant progress can be made in implementing the Road Map or any other agreement.

But for now, all the players of influence choose to circle around the issue of PA incitement and pretend it doesn’t exist. Instead they hand out rewards such as this diplomatic upgrade, accompanied by the usual platitudes, whilst demanding nothing in return from the Palestinian side.

Basil Fawlty would doubtless be proud.

15 replies »

  1. Or to sum up a long article in one sentence – nothing the Palestinians do will ever satisfy us, so we never have to reciprocate in any way, and of course everybody else is stupid.

  2. ” a youth centre back home near Ramallah announced that it will be running a football tournament named after a suicide bomber.”

    I agree with you 100% on this one, but don’t you think that Ben-Yosef St. in Tel-Aviv should be renamed ?

  3. ‘Not only have the Palestinians repeatedly refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state’

    Let’s just make stuff up shall we? Nowhere in the ‘Road Map’ does it mention anything about a Jewish State. In fact the road map does not mention religion except when referring to Jerusalem.

  4. Moistly are you so lacking in nous that you cannot read between the lines or are you being deliberately disingenous? My guess is the latter. Whether or not “Jewish state” is mentioned, what would a smart person (ie not a willful ignoramus like you) deduce from, for example, Arabs on the West Bank not being allowed to sell land to Jews on pain of death, or those in Gaza not able even to talk aloud about peace with the Jewish state?

    Oh yes, and have another read through of the Hamas Charter, if you don’t know it by heart already.


  5. @Snigger, what a load of bollocks.

    It is clear that whatever the Palestinians offer it will never be enough for the Israeli’s (see Palestine Papers). The new ‘Jewish State’ term is just the latest in a long line of rejectionist demands. Surely someone could have thought of it at the time of the road map?

  6. Mostly harmless:

    Go read UN resolution 181 of Nov 29, 1947 :

    “Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem, set forth in Part III of this Plan, shall come into existence in Palestine two months after the evacuation of the armed forces of the mandatory Power ”


  7. Moistly, can you give links here to speeches made by Palestinian leaders which recognise Israel’s right to exist within secure borders, as opposed to the “itbakh al Yahud” -type sentiments, or “from the Jordan to the sea Palestine will be free”? Thought not.

    Israel, on the other hand, relinquished to Egypt the land she had conquered in return for peace. She also, in my view very misguidedly, assumed that Fatah/Hamas would reciprocate when she withdrew from Gaza. Instead they started shelling southern Israel because they wanted open enough borders to be able to slaughter Jews at will.

    You, moistly, at the one talking bollocks, aren’t you?

  8. Mostly Clueless – the Road Map specifically relates to Israel’s right to exist in peace and security and the need for the Palestinians to accept that.

    As long as there are those agitating for the (unrealistic) Palestinian ‘right of return’, there can neither be peace nor security. As long as there are those such as Hamas who at best see a peace agreement as an interim step towards eliminating Israel completely, there can be no peace and no security.

    We all know that the reason Abbas will not acknowledge the existence of Israel as a Jewish state is because that would mean an acceptance of the fact that there is not going to be a ‘return’ of Palestinians and that, for him, would be political suicide, even though he obviously realises himself that it is a totally unrealistic scenario.

    The Road Map was composed in 2003. Back then the ‘return’ of Palestinians was something promoted only by fringe elements. In the meantime, the extremists have taken over the narrative and in doing so have merely delayed any possible peace agreement.

    The Road Map promotes two states for two nations – one Jewish, one Palestinian. Until the Palestinians accept that scenario as the end game, there will be no peace.

  9. Israelinurse, I’m at a bit of a loss, can you show me where it mentions a Jewish state in the road map?

    BTW, personally I don’t have a problem with Israel calling itself a Jewish state, it’s just that the road map doesn’t mention it.

  10. You prove again that you are not disingenuous (which takes a modicum of intelligence) but cognitively stuck.

    You are trying to argue that Palestinians don’t have to recognise Israel’s Jewishness and that it is a Jewish state.

    You ARE an idiot, aren’t you?

  11. Snigger,

    Whenever the anti-Zionists realize they can’t maintain their positions from a moral point of view, they retreat to technicalities. It’s one of their long-standing tactics.

  12. mostly harmless,

    The way you replied reveals you didn’t understand my argument at all.

    It’s a technicality to discuss what the road map does or does not mention; it’s a diversion from the real issue that the Arabs have failed to agree to this most basic of propositions, that Israel be recognized as the Jewish State. All the road maps in the world are pointless in view of this elementary omission.