The jolly choir is shrieking again: Mahmoud Abbas. You have to see the responses to his speech to understand the extent to which Israel is speaking with one horrifically uniform voice, the extent to which there is no more left and right, no real argument and no ideological pluralism – only a blind, deafening nationalistic snarl.
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From Nadav Eyal ("a wacky, despicable speech") to Ben Dror Yemini ("delusional ideology"), they all competed for who will attack Abbas more. Nobody faced up to what he said. After all, he swore at Donald Trump, the champion of refined rhetoric, "may your house be demolished," and the Israelis with their sensitive ears were oh so appalled. And he said colonialism, and the self-victimizing Israelis yelled: "anti-Semitism." Nobody said what was incorrect in his speech and what was anti-Semitic about it. Except perhaps for "the Dutch fleet that brought Jews here," Abbas spoke the truth. It's hard to swallow. Israel chose to shriek. It always does when it has no answers.
Abbas said the Oslo agreement was over. Indeed, what is left of it, some 20 years after the final-status agreement was due to be signed? Israel did everything it could to sabotage it. Every soldier who invades A territories every night and every prisoner left in prison from before the Oslo agreement is a violation of it.
The current government and its supporters objected to Oslo, so now they're offended when Abbas says it's over? Abbas told the truth.
"We will no longer accept American sponsorship," Abbas said. Does he have any choice? What is he supposed to do, bow his head to resounding slaps? Kneel before a president who ignores the occupation?
Wasn't he telling the truth when he protested against Trump's deranged argument that the Palestinians foiled the negotiations? A super power that punishes the occupied instead of the occupier – that's an inexplicable matter. Instead of stopping to finance and arm the occupier, the United States is stopping the funds to the rescue organization assisting the occupied party's refugees. It's insane. Abbas responded with restraint. American ambassadors Nikki Haley and David Friedman are indeed friends of the occupier and enemies of international law; how can those two oddballs be described in any other way?
But the main shock happened when Abbas touched the rawest Israeli nerves and classified Zionism as part of the colonial project. What is incorrect here? When a sinking colonial power promises a country it isn't ruling yet to a nation whose absolute majority doesn't live in it, while ignoring the nation that does – what is it if not colonialism? When more than half the country is promised to less than a tenth of its residents, what is it if not a terrible injustice?
It's hard to hear, but its' the truth. The Balfour Declaration cannot be read differently. And what is more proper than to ask the British to apologize for it and now stand beside the Palestinians after all the years of being evicted and dispossessed, beginning with Balfour and continuing to this day?
Establishing Israel served the imperialist West. Abbas is right. Israel is seen as the last Western outpost against the Arab savages, as South Africa's apartheid regime was seen by the same West as the last outpost against the communists and the blacks.
Then came the Holocaust and Israel became a rightful, just refuge, but this too was at the Palestinians' expense. The world should have compensated them by liberating them from the 1967 occupation and given them equal rights or a state. That's what Abbas was talking about.
Abbas is far from being the perfect statesman. He's not a democrat. He's unpopular, perhaps corrupt, certainly pathetic in his insistence on the dead two-state solution. But he's the most peace-seeking, non-violent Palestinian statesman imaginable. This is why he is so dangerous to Israel. This is why Benjamin Netanyahu celebrated his speech, echoed by the national choir. Israel wants everyone to be Yahya Sinwar. It would make the occupation even more convenient.