Diana Buttu (accidentally) gets one thing right about US peace plan

A Feb 2nd Guardian op-ed on the new US peace proposal by Diana Buttu, former legal advisor for the PA negotiating team, was predictably loaded with anti-Israel vitriol, smears, half-truths and outright lies about Israel and the history of the peace process.

However, she did, quite inadvertently, get one thing right in the headline:

Whilst this headline is inspired by a passage in the op-ed arguing that, for Donald Trump, what Palestinians think doesn’t matter, these words can be taken another way – one that Buttu clearly didn’t intend, but which accurately reflects the truth, at least insofar as media coverage is concerned.  What we’re referring to is a dynamic eloquently expressed by former AP Jerusalem correspondent Matti Friedman in his essay at Tablet (“An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth”, Aug. 26, 2014).

A reporter working in the international press corps here understands quickly that what is important in the Israel-Palestinian story is Israel. If you follow mainstream coverage, you will find nearly no real analysis of Palestinian society or ideologies, profiles of armed Palestinian groups, or investigation of Palestinian government. Palestinians are not taken seriously as agents of their own fate. The West has decided that Palestinians should want a state alongside Israel, so that opinion is attributed to them as fact, though anyone who has spent time with actual Palestinians understands that things are (understandably, in my opinion) more complicated. Who they are and what they want is not important: The story mandates that they exist as passive victims of the party that matters.

Freidman’s point resonates in the context of British media coverage of the US proposal, and, of course, Buttu’s op-ed in particular.  The question we posed in a previous post, ‘what can Palestinian leaders do now to advance peace, regardless of their disagreement with the Trump plan?’, has not really been asked by media outlets we’ve monitored since the Jan. 28th announcement in Washington.  Indeed, we have consistently argued that perhaps the most egregious pattern of media bias demonstrated by journalists covering the region involves their failure to impute agency to Palestinians, framing them as merely victims.

Buttu’s Guardian column continues in this pattern. In a more than 1000 word piece, she fails to devote even a sentence to addressing the question of what Palestinian leaders can or should do now to advance peace, or what kind of counter-proposal they should make to advance talks.  Her entire op-ed is a diatribe condemning the Trump proposal, and US, and Israeli actions in general.  Further, Butto doesn’t provide a glimpse into her own views on how to advance peace.

Of course, Buttu, and the Palestinian leadership, likely don’t want you know what they think, as it completely contradicts the desired narrative.

If journalists were to take Palestinian views and decisions seriously, their readers would see that Palestinians and their leaders are far more ‘right-wing’ and anti-peace than Israelis and their leaders on matters ranging from racism to support for violence.

  • 40% of Palestinians think suicide bombing is sometimes justified, based on polling from Pew Global (The highest total of any other state/territory in the world).
  • 93% of Palestinians hold antisemitic views, based on polling commissioned by ADL. (The highest percentage of any other state/territory in the world.)

Further, a plurality of Palestinians, in a Pew study in 2016, chose “armed resistance” when asked how they should achieve statehood.

This doesn’t mean that peace isn’t possible, nor that, over time, such regressive views couldn’t change.  But, it does clearly indicate – at least to those who genuinely care about “what Palestinians think” – that Palestinian attitudes, as they are today, represent a serious obstacle to a peaceful solution to the conflict.

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7 replies »

  1. Buttu has a problem because the Jews refuse to agree to have their throats cut.
    That lady is a piece of work.
    Total fruitcake.
    🇮🇱 🤡 🇮🇱 🤡 🇮🇱

  2. Another more realistic article than that of Frau Buttu. from the BESA Center

    “EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The Trump “Deal of the Century” has elicited responses ranging from enthusiastic support to bitter rejection. Among those rejecting the plan are US Democratic candidates for president. Their instant and total rejection reflects an instinctive antipathy toward Trump but also an addiction to expert-driven processes that have failed for decades. The blanket rejection reflects non-zero sum conceptions in which there can be no winners or losers in the conflict, and reveals an instrumental view of Palestinians as stalking horses for other causes. But reality is creeping in and starting to change attitudes.”

  3. 🇮🇱 BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,432, January 31, 2020 🇮🇱

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The problem with the “two-state solution”—the creation of a sovereign independent Palestinian state west of the Jordan River—is that a Palestinian state already exists east of the Jordan River. It’s called Jordan. Its population is predominantly Palestinian, and it is located in the eastern part of what was once called Palestine. Demographically and geographically, Jordan is a Palestinian state. 🇮🇱

  4. From Hurry Up Harry:
    Historian Benny Morris Attacks Palestinian Intransigence
    “The first intifada was violent but not lethal. It was a popular revolt. People threw stones and a few people were killed. But all told, about 1,000 Palestinians were killed and Jews were not killed, because the Palestinians barely used firearms. They said they didn’t want to live under a military government and Israeli oppression. I refused to take part in that oppression when my battalion was posted to the casbah in Nablus. I was jailed for a few weeks. That’s a light punishment. In other armies refusing an order can land you in prison for years.”

    “In the second intifada I was against refusing an order, because it wasn’t just a rebellion against the Israeli occupation but also an attempt to bring Israel to a state of collapse. Many of the terrorist attacks took place on our side of the border and included mass killings. There was terrorist warfare against Israel. To refuse to serve in that situation is not right. At the same time, I am one of those who don’t want to man checkpoints or burst into homes in the middle of the night and turn the closets inside out in a search for weapons. That is very unpleasant work and morally problematic. But the Arab desire to destroy Israel is also morally problematic.”

    “The change I underwent is related to one issue: the Palestinians’ readiness to accept the two-state solution and forgo part of the Land of Israel.”

    “Anyone who says that Barak and Bill Clinton made the Palestinians an offer they could not agree to is lying. Dennis Ross, the principal negotiator, has already shown in his book that that claim is bullshit. The lack of territorial continuity would only have been between Gaza and the West Bank. They were offered a contiguous territorial bloc of 95 percent of the West Bank, and they rejected it. But the story here is not one plan or another, but the fact that they want 100 percent of the territory of Mandatory Palestine. They were merely playing a game when they said they were ready for a compromise.

    “The Zionist national movement did agree to a compromise – in 1937, in 1947, in 1978, in 2000 and in 2008 – on the basis of two states for two peoples. It’s true that at the moment there is a government in Israel that is not ready for a compromise. Some say that if Rabin had lived we would have already reached an agreement with the Palestinians. That’s nonsense. Rabin, too, would not have been capable of bringing about a change in the basic ethos of the Palestinian national movement: that the whole of Palestine is theirs and that the refugees must return to their homes and their land. And if that happens, it will only be on the basis of Israel’s destruction.”

    “I expect that Trump’s downfall and removal, this year or in 2020, will necessarily lead to the weakening, if not the undermining of the United States’ special relationship with Israel, because of Bibi’s total identification with that fool and scoundrel. There’s no need to say that many Jews in America point to a similarity between Trump and Bibi in terms of their attitude toward the law and the gatekeepers. Unintentionally, Netanyahu is working at several levels to bring about the collapse of the ties between Israel and American Jewry and to subvert U.S.-Israeli relations.”