Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Do the Palestininas want Peace?

Ray Hanania is a Palestinian columnist and author. has completed his latest trip to visit Palestinians. He reports that he has begun to understand that an obstacle exists which many Palestinians are afraid to acknowledge.

He goes on to report “Maybe because I was raised in America, or because I am a realist, I see this obstacle clearly: Palestinians are too focused on the past. Progress is impossible because Palestinians have chained themselves to what they call "normalization" - in reality a commitment against genuine normalization.

"Normalization" is the act of refusing to accept reality. Palestinian activists use "normalization" to keep Palestinians in line like sheep. Extremists pull the strings of suffering and frustration, throwing down the "normalization" card whenever a Palestinian tries to break free of mental bondage and address the reality of the Israeli occupation.

By working with Israelis, Palestinians argue, they might somehow undermine their rights or the struggle against the occupation. Maybe Palestinians haven't looked around, but they are dealing with Israelis in every circumstance, location and on every level humanly possible.”

For sure Israelis and Palestinians are working together in many ways and in many fields but one is not allowed to publicize these events. The consequences of actually publicizing such cooperation can be dangerous for the participants. Let’s take the example of the organization One Voice.

One Voice tried to organize a dual event in Tel Aviv and Ramallah that allow Palestinians and Israelis to work together for peace. Music. Speeches. And genuine normalization. Of course, the extremists spoke out against One Voice, and so did PA President Mahmoud Abbas. He reportedly spread the word that he did not support One Voice, and the plans for the music festivals were cancelled.

Hanania goes on to report “As most know, Abbas's son Tariq is the head of a Palestinian marketing firm called Sky. Tariq Abbas recently declared in a news interview that he didn't believe it was possible to work with Israelis in the current situation. But what really shocks me is that Abbas's son is involved in professional marketing. Why?

As a journalist and former executive for an American PR and marketing firm, I recognize that the Palestinians have no formal PR or marketing strategy whatsoever. The dismal nature of this Palestinian failing in the communications arena is apparent throughout.

During my latest trip through Palestine I worked closely with many Palestinian journalists, trying to help them find ways to navigate through this real tragedy of Palestinian immobilization.
All said they wanted to attend a journalism conference in which editors and reporters of several prominent Israeli newspapers were also scheduled to speak. But they said they were pressured to stay away. "Normalization," they said, means Palestinians are not yet ready to deal with Israelis as regular people. Only as enemies.

To my Palestinian compatriots I say: Why not just be honest and tell the truth. You don't want peace. You want revenge”.

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