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Palestinian film festival seeks to challenge Israel's cultural erasure

For the third straight year, local Palestinian as well as Arab filmmakers from across the world will be able to showcase their work in the Haifa Independent Film Festival. 

The Palestinian film 'Wajib' opens up the third annual Haifa International Film Festival, March 22, 2018. (Mariam Farah)

The Palestinian film ‘Wajib’ opens up the third annual Haifa International Film Festival, March 22, 2018. (Mariam Farah)

For the next six days, film lovers will flock to the north for the third annual Haifa Independent Film Festival, which will include both Palestinian films, as well as movies from across the Arab world. 

Lina Mansour, one of the festival’s organizers, said Thursday night during a press conference in Haifa’s Khashba Theater that the goal of the festival, like in previous years, is “to develop the Palestinian film scene, and to open doors to the Arab world. This year the festival has grown and become well known — directors from the Arab world have asked us to screen their films, instead of waiting for us to ask them.”

“We are facing a colonial occupation regime that tries to strip us of our culture,” adds organizer Rana Asli. “It is important that we have the choice of what culture we consume. And it is even more important that it comes from us — the people whose culture is being erased — with no governmental, political, or party-based constraints.”

And yet, this year’s festival was not without controversy. The organizers decided not to include a film by Jerusalem Director Muayad Alayan, The Reports on Sarah and Saleem, after the BDS movement decided it had violated one of its principles when he cast two Israeli actors, Ishai Golan and Sivane Kretchner, in the movie. The film’s creators say that Golan and Kretchner have spoken out against the occupation and in support of Palestinian rights, and thus the film should not be subject to boycott.

Haifa International Film Festival organizers speak during a press conference at the festival launch event at Khashba Theater, Haifa, March 22, 2018. (Hamody Gannam)

Haifa International Film Festival organizers speak during a press conference at the festival launch event at Khashba Theater, Haifa, March 22, 2018. (Hamody Gannam)

“After a vote, we decided not to screen the film,” says Ayed Fadel, one of the organizers, in response to a number of questions by journalists on the matter. “It does not mean we automatically support the boycott movement on this issue. We respect both sides, and Muayad Alayan screened a film of his at the first festival.”

“The festival has a clear Palestinian identity, which tries to follow the principles of the boycott,” Fadel added. “We have partners in Ramallah as well as Palestinian foundations that give us their support. When it comes to maintaining the festival, while continuing to build trust with the Arab world, these are the most important principles guiding us.”

For actor Ramzi Maqdassi, who appears in Raed Andoni’s Ghost Hunting, which will be screened this coming week, “the occupation has kept our culture on pause for 70 years. We are slowly freeing ourselves.”

And what about Israelis who want to come to the festival? The organizers say that although it is a Palestinian festival, anyone who wants to come, enjoy, and support the local Palestinian film scene, is welcome.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Bruce Gould

      @Ido Geller: As soon as the European Jews got off the boat in the late 19th and early 20th centuries many of them were talking about getting rid of the “Arabs” so all the land could be theirs – right from the start they were plotting to create a ‘Jewish State’, meaning a state with no one else around.

      Enough of the historical crap. I don’t see what history has to do with the home demolitions, the administrative detentions, the land and water theft amply documented by Israeli human rights groups and Israeli historians.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        You are exactly right, Bruce. Precisely.
        Geller is going to tell you that the home demolitions, the administrative detentions, the land and water theft are all necessary to defend Israel against some existential threat. That’s crap too. Or he is going to profess how much he hates the occupation but, sigh, it is necessary to keep poor little Israel from being destroyed. More crap. And very hackneyed crap. He gives away his real agenda, buried under the crap, with this: “Jews have every right to their ancestral homeland….” He is I. G. Halevy in drag. He is I. G. Halevy in “Oh I wish I could be liberal if only the Palestinians would let me” drag.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ido

          Ben, why are you lying about me ? just like you lied about me in the other article as I showed there in the Facebook comments section in detail. Why haven’t you replied to the questions I asked or refuted the facts I presented over and over again ?

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            You didn’t answer Bruce. Answer Bruce, not me. You’re using me as a distraction. Forget about me. Just answer Bruce. Go for it, tiger.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            Ben, pointing how you are lying about me, in a state of denial about the Palestinians, clueless about the history of Israel, refuse repeatedly to address the points I’m making backed up by cited proof, refuse to answer the question I asked again here (is the evidence I provided of the Palestinian leaders themselves, saying exactly what I pointed out, are a fake ? they are actors pretending to be them ?) is “using you as a distraction”, never mind that I did answer him. So you’re using his post as a distraction not to answer me again.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            You really should stop with this kind of hysterical statement. No one is “lying about me.” It doesn’t become you. No one is lying about you. Grow up.

            Reply to Comment
      • Ido

        So that’s why they bought and legally own land they settled on and agreed to accept the Partition Plan ? which included the creation of a second Palestinian Arab country next to Jordan ? reality contradicts what you say.
        I am against the Israeli settlements, they should be dismantled in accordance with actual peace negotiations. I’ve been to East Jerusalem, it’s a de-facto Arab city and should be an Arab city. Every fact I stated is the truth and you can easily verify it yourself.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Ben

      @Betz Uber:
      “Wu Cheng” is an obvious troll. Most likely “Lewis from Afula” under an alias, but who cares. A troll.
      “Ido Geller” is a variant within the same taxonomy. A hackneyed cliché and distortion specialist who engages in endless “everybody knows” disinformation and assorted nonsense, usually in the category of fake “existential threat,” and with whom discussion about this is fruitless. For example, “The current Palestinian leadership, both factions, refuse to accept this condition” is blithely announced as if “everyone knows” and as if this kind of statement were not simply ridiculous to anyone who was not born yesterday and actually reads intelligent newspapers with integrity not propaganda sheets. Don’t bother taking issue with this person, however. It just invites dumping of propaganda sheet “links” absurdly cited as “proof.”
      Geller, don’t bother.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ido

        Ben, you are yet to refute a single fact I presented, backed up by cited sources, including the Palestinians themselves. And you keep lying about me.
        I provided actual evidence to everything I said, backed by proof you could easily check yourself, like for examples the quotes and speeches of the leaders of both Palestinian factions. You simply ignored it. Why is that ? were they actors pretending to be the leaders of PLO and Hamas ? I asked this multiple times and you kept ignoring this question.

        Reply to Comment
        • Bruce Gould

          @Ido: The problem with “facts” is understanding their significance. Are the settlements a minor behavioral flaw of the Israelis, or do they kill any possibility of a two-state solution? I argue the latter.

          There are roughly 13 million people in Greater Israelistine, and they are almost equally divided between Jews and Palestinians. One state, two states or some kind of apartheid arrangement?

          Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            @Bruce, since the Palestinians consider all of Israel as “settlement” as they say so openly, it’s actually the official symbol of the PLO showing all of Israel from the sea to the river as “Palestine”, I’m assuming you mean the West Bank.
            Israel has offered a withdrawal from the West Bank as part of an ongoing peace negotiations several time. I believe last time it was 95% of the West Bank and the rest in land swaps. It was rejected by the Palestinians. The last offer was in 2014 if you don’t include the one in 2016 from Biden which offered East Jerusalem as the capital of a future (second) Arab Palestinian state.
            One state is out of the question. If I wanted to live in an Arab state I would move to such paradises on earth as Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan or Egypt.
            The only option I see is a two state solution or some kind of agreement with Jordan and Egypt regarding the West Bank and Gaza.
            The existence of the Israeli settlements in their current state are detrimental to any kind of future peace agreement and that’s why I support the dismantling of West Bank settlements. The refusal of the Palestinian leadership, both factions, to accept the legitimate existence of Israel is also not helping.

            Reply to Comment
          • john

            quit blaming the people who have no power to evacuate the settlements and start pressuring the regime that built those houses. as i recall, gazans didn’t agree to withdrawal of the settlements but israel demolished them anyhow – so palestinian acquiescence is not needed for the two-state-solution, as israel is perfectly capable of making that fact on the ground if it chooses.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            Absolutely wrong. If Gaza proved anything is that the Palestinians will move their missile launchers closer to the border for better aim at Israeli civilians once the Israelis move out.
            I have no idea what you mean about Gaza, Israel did a one-sided withdrawal, exactly what you suggest, Israel didn’t destroy any houses in the process, the Palestinians did, destroying plantations and burned down synagogues. This is all very well documented.
            Palestinians don’t “have the power” ? you mean to accept the legitimate existence of Israel, go for actual peace negotiations in good faith ? and to stop killing Jews ?

            Of course Palestinian acceptance in required for the West Bank. You think Israel is willing to accept the West Bank turning into another Gaza ? but this time with a direct aim at Israel’s strategic and economic heart.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ​@John:

            Exactly right. Israel feigns helplessness when it knows that it could relatively easily build a strong Palestinian partner in a Palestinian State living side by side in peace. It has done much harder things. It knows this.

            All the protestations that the continued occupation and “managing” the conflict is a “security” issue or an “existential” issue is bunk. It is feigned helplessness. A ruse. If Israel devoted one hundredth of the massive effort it puts into suppressing an entire people in the service of its real mission–a relentless land grab–into building an economically and politically strong partner and neighbor, it could solve this “existential” problem quickly. It knows this. Of this I am convinced. The cynicism is mind-boggling.

            So all this breathless Gellerian blather about “don’t you know that the Palestinians consider all of Palestine theirs and they want to destroy us??!!” is repetitive nonsense. It’s like a 50,000 pound gorilla pretending to be the damsel in distress against the little Palestinian wolf who wants to tie her to the railroad tracks. No one buys it. Save it for the aging AIPAC aunts and uncles in Philadelphia or the born again fundamentalists in Nebraska who haven’t a clue.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            @Ben, as usual you completely ignore the Palestinian side, their openly stated goals, their actual actions. It’s not like they are hiding it.
            The Palestinians see all of Israel, from the Sea to the River as theirs. This is a fact. The Palestinians don’t see Israel as a legitimate country/nation, this is a fact.
            The Palestinian leadership calls for the elimination of Israel and the murder of Jews, they refuse to accept the legitimate existence of Israel, they actually have this in writing in both factions declaration of goals. Saying that “Israel feigns helplessness when it knows that it could relatively easily build a strong Palestinian partner” is so detached from reality that it boggles the mind.
            Saying the security issue is bunk shows that you have no idea what you’re talking about. 25,000 missiles and rockets fired on your house will change your mind pretty fast, not to mention the regular attempts to murder Jews which Israel stops almost on a daily basis.
            You probably don’t remember the early 2000’s when we had a terrorist attack on a weekly basis. There were more than a hundred suicide bombings alone around 2000-2003. If Israel didn’t build the West Bank wall it would still be the case today.

            Saying that the fact that the Palestinians consider all of Israel as theirs and their open goal of Israel’s elimination and the murder of Jews is “repetitive nonsense” shows how deeply you are detached from reality. As if this has no actual real life consequences. This level of denial is impressive. It should be studied.

            Maybe an Iranian missile fired on your house 4 times a day, what happened to the people of Sderot, will wake you up. Running to the bomb shelters in 15 seconds 4 times a day is great fun.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “Israel didn’t destroy any houses in the process” = more simple-minded pablum.

            And, essentially, disinformation. The kind of propaganda Ido Geller is wedded to for his world view.

            I’ll quote two respected, non-Israeli, non-Palestinian, mainstream sources, the Washington Post and the Christian Science Monitor:

            Israel Agrees To Demolish Its Settlers’ Gaza Homes
            http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/19/AR2005061900696.html

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            @Ben, and you of course neglect to mention that those houses were demolished on specific request of the Palestinians themselves, and of course you neglect to address the farm-houses and synagogues the Palestinians burned down.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ‘”It is not possible to continue holding 3-1/2 million people under occupation,” [Ariel Sharon] told Likud members in May 2003. “You may not like the word, but what’s happening is occupation. This is a terrible thing for Israel, for the Palestinians, and for the Israeli economy.” …

            What will happen to the existing houses and infrastructure?

            Israel has decided to destroy houses, schools, and synagogues in Gaza, but leave behind major infrastructure such as electricity, pipes, and roads.

            Israel’s decision to demolish the homes was mainly made for two reasons: Israel didn’t want to leave behind homes that Palestinians could overrun, loot, or rush to fly the flag of Hamas in a sign of triumphalism.

            Also, Israeli officials charged that the relatively large, single-family homes would not go to ordinary Palestinians, but to elite and senior members of the Palestinian security forces. Palestinian officials have agreed that the Israeli homes are not suited for the needs of Palestinians. Instead, Palestinians plan to build high-density apartment buildings in their place.”‘

            https://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0815/p10s01-wome.html

            Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            Ben, the answer is simple.
            Expel the Jordanians home.
            Their relatives in Amman are waiting for them.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            @Geller: What you said was “Israel didn’t destroy any houses in the process.” That was false.

            And tell me, did you expect the Palestinians to lovingly preserve their brutal occupier’s buildings as a shrine to the glory of Greater Israel and their fond memories of how Israel treated them? Out of what ferocious narcissism did you derive that expectation? And tell me, did you not know of the fact that 70 years ago the Israelis destroyed thousands of Palestinian houses and villages and quickly planted fast growing pine forests to cover these deeds? Where is your fierce remembering of the mosques and houses destroyed and your fierce denunciation of these deeds? Out of what ferocious narcissism derives this selective forgetting and remembering?

            The rest of your statements are the by now well known mix of distortions and “everybody knows” items of crafted disinformation not worth my time to wade into to tediously correct.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            @Ben, and again you don’t admit that it was the Palestinians themselves who asked the Israelis to destroy the property.
            Of course you neglect to address why Gaza was mentioned in the first place, about Israel’s withdrawal and the relevant facts which refuted John’s claims.
            I didn’t expect the Palestinians to preserve the synagogues, I expected them to burn them to the ground and dance around the flames and that’s exactly what they did. I didn’t expect them to destroy the farms and greenhouses, that’s idiotic. They did because Jews, apparently.

            Of course you neglect to mention a certain genocidal war where the Arabs tried to destroy Israel and murder all the Jews regarding the depopulated Arab villages. Minor detail, I know.
            The property of the 850,000 Jews who escaped from the surrounding Arab countries was also stolen/destroyed and their houses taken. But unlike them, the Arabs who today call themselves Palestinians are kept as perpetual refugees for political and strategic reasons by their own Arab brethren.

            Again with your ““everybody knows” nonsense and not refuting a single fact which I backed up with hard evidence of the Palestinians themselves. As usual you completely ignore the Palestinian side, their openly stated goals, their actual actions.
            The Palestinians see all of Israel, from the Sea to the River as theirs. This is a fact. The Palestinians don’t see Israel as a legitimate country/nation, this is a fact.
            The Palestinian leadership calls for the elimination of Israel and the murder of Jews, they refuse to accept the legitimate existence of Israel.
            You saying “the security issue is bunk” is so detached from reality that it amazes me, just like saying that the fact that the Palestinians consider all of Israel as theirs and their open goal of Israel’s elimination and the murder of Jews is “repetitive nonsense”.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            What I routinely neglect to mention is regurgitated “every right wing guy in the Israeli street knows” disinformation, distortions and outright fabrications. Part of the history of the Gaza Strip is that the Israelis pretended to stop occupying Gaza but, indirectly–because Israel never does anything honestly and above board when it comes to occupation and dispossession–continue to this day to occupy it by closing its boarders and starving the population, including calculated minimum per capita calorie counts needed to keep the population at a barely surviving level. And shooting defenseless fishermen in cold blood with Navy patrol boats. Swell, gallant sailormen that they are. Our “heroes.” And when Palestinians tried to make greenhouses work they were denied an external market by Israel, which then turned around and mocked them for not turning Gaza into a roaring success. And that was after the Israelis staged a Latin American style military coup to overturn a democratic election. While touting what democracy lovers they the Israelis are and how they pine for democracy.
            Now let me imitate you: “Oh Ido Geller, why oh why do you neglect to mention my facts, I guess you forgot, waaaaaahhh! Why oh why do you lie about me?! Waaaaaah!”

            Ido Geller’s narrative decoded:

            “Oh I’d just love to end the occupation if only those Palestinians would let me! I guess we’ll just have to let those settlers keep breaking 64-year-old farmers’ jaws* because we are so helpless to stop it. Sigh. Whatever can we do? We are so helpless!”
            * https://972mag.com/settlers-break-64-year-old-palestinian-farmers-jaw/134064/

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            @Ben, again you call what I post “disinformation, distortions and outright fabrications” and yet fail, again and again, to refute or even address the facts I present. Over and over again. You think I don’t notice ?
            Now you ignore the fact that Israel withdrew from Gaza, there is not a single Israeli there, and the fact that the blockade on Gaza is the reaction to the Palestinians in Gaza attacking Israel and declaring war on Israel. Why do you treat the Palestinians like children with no responsibilty for their own actions ?

            Even Hamas admits there is no occupation in Gaza. Yes there is a blockade but for a very specific reason. Gaza declared war on Israel and attacked it repeatedly, the theocracy ruling Gaza openly state that their goal is the elimination of Israel and the murder of Jews. Let me guess, this is irrelevant, right ? if you think so than you lost touch with reality.

            The Palestinians in Gaza themselves admit that the latest crisis in Gaza is the result of the inner PLO’s conflict with Hamas, their refusal to deliver funds for electricity and salaries.
            Not to mention the fact that the Palestinian leadership routinly steals funds and resources poured into Gaza/West Bank meant to rebuild houses and improve the economy and life of Palestinians, but instead it improves the lives of the corrupt Palestinian leadership in both factions.
            Again you completely ignore the goals and actions of the Palestinians themselves as if Israel acts in a vacuum without reasons. Yes Israel stops suspected Palestinian ships out of the designated fishing zone in Gaza, because the Palestinians use them for arms smuggling to terrorist groups and sometimes shoot at them when they refuse to stop, you of course confuse Israel with Egypt who shoots them in cold blood.
            Gaza had the chance to show the world how well the Palestinians behave and govern themselves following Israel’s complete withdrawal. There was no blockade, there were no restrictions. What did the Palestinians do ? they elected an Islamic Jihadist terrorist organization with “death to Israel” as a running platform, moved their rocket launchers closer to the border of Israel for better aim at Israeli civilians. In the real world actions like these have consequences.

            “Israelis staged a Latin American style military coup to overturn a democratic election” – if you’re going to make some more stuff up at least try to be more creative and not go with the too crazy lies. if you call Hamas’ rule (or the PLO for that matter) a democracy you are more detached from reality than I thought.
            a fundamentalist Islamic Theocracy and a Kleptocracy, both canceled the elections as soon as they could to preserve their rule, are the furthest things from democracy you can find.

            And of course you ignore the facts I posted for the 34th time: the Palestinians see all of Israel, from the Sea to the River as theirs. This is a fact. The Palestinians don’t see Israel as a legitimate country/nation, this is a fact.
            The Palestinian leadership calls for the elimination of Israel and the murder of Jews, they refuse to accept the legitimate existence of Israel. Why do you ignore the Palestinians’ own stated goals and actions ?
            And you didn’t address the rest of my post like your “security issue is bunk” nonsense. and you bring a non sequitur about a Palestinian with a broken jaw as if it has something to do with the facts I just mentioned.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            We make up no crazy lies, Ido Geller. You contentedly wallow in ignorance. We’ve heard it all before.

            THE GAZA BOMBSHELL
            After failing to anticipate Hamas’s victory over Fatah in the 2006 Palestinian election, the White House cooked up yet another scandalously covert and self-defeating Middle East debacle: part Iran-contra, part Bay of Pigs. With confidential documents, corroborated by outraged former and current U.S. officials, the author reveals how President Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and Deputy National-Security Adviser Elliott Abrams backed an armed force under Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza and leaving Hamas stronger than ever.
            https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2008/04/gaza200804

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            @Ben, you literally prove yourself that you lied again, blamed something Fatah, in their inner-Palestinian struggle with Hamas, did backed by the Bush administration, who as usual had no idea what they were doing, on Israel. Your own words.
            You didn’t even touch, as usual, the facts I stated about Hamas and the PLO, their goals and actions. What they are and what they do, the cause of the current Gaza crisis in my post, etc.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            We’ve heard it all before. You would try to turn this into a pseudo-controversy and a morality tale and a false balancing act about whether Hamas is right or Israel is right and I argue neither. You want to use Hamas as an arch-villain to distract from the real issues. (I don’t actually credit you with doing this wittingly. I think you just drink koolaid and have no idea what you are talking about.) This has always been Israel’s preferred strategy. Hamas is not Israel’s arch-villain it is Israel’s manipulated foil. A foil Israel cynically created. A foil Israel let get away from it, but a foil still used to distract from the real game. (Used to distract you too, and those like you, Ido Geller. A shell game.)

            Because It has been the Palestinian’ bitter experience over many decades that neither violence nor negotiations gain them anything. When Palestinians are shooting, Israel refuses to negotiate, but when they put down their guns, which the Palestinian Authority has done under Mahmoud Abbas–Israel’s ever faithful but never thanked security contractor–it’s made very clear to them by Israel that there’s never going to be much to negotiate about. The settlers and their allies don’t want to give up an inch of the West Bank.

            This gets us back to the truth, articulated by Noam Sheizaf, which you, Ido Geller, are miles away from beginning to comprehend:

            Why do we only listen to violence?
            https://972mag.com/why-do-we-only-listen-to-violence/117773/

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            @Ben, this is very, very simple: Hamas are a Fundamentalist Islamic Jihadist terrorist organization who openly and very clearly state that their goal, backed by religious context, is the elimination of Israel and the murder of jews.
            These are facts. You can ignore them, it won’t make them go away. It’s not controversy or morality tale, these are the hard facts which you seem to be in a state of denial about.
            Saying that “you want to use Hamas as an arch-villain to distract from the real issues” is so blatantly detached from reality that it is amazing. Hamas, and the PLO’s, refusal to accept Israel as a legitimate nation/country and their goal of Israel’s elimination is precisely the issue.
            You can’t make any kind of peace agreement with Hamas or Fatah who see Israel’s elimination and the murder of jews as their primary goal and reason for existing.
            You say that I don’t know what I’m talking about but are yet to refute a single fact I stated, I repeat:
            the Palestinians see all of Israel, from the Sea to the River as theirs. This is a fact. The Palestinians don’t see Israel as a legitimate country/nation, this is a fact.
            The Palestinian leadership calls for the elimination of Israel and the murder of Jews, they refuse to accept the legitimate existence of Israel.

            How can you say that “negotiations gain them anything” ? the first actual Palestinian sovereignty in history was the result of the Oslo Accords. This actually falls within Arafat’s Phased Plan, I suggest you read about it.
            You again refuse to admit the fact that the Palestinians are pawns, used for politial and strategic fodder by the Arab/Islamic world against Israel.
            “When Palestinians are shooting, Israel refuses to negotiate” – really ? what a strange concept. When they tried to murder israelis because that’s their stated goal, Israel should what exactly ? give them what they want ? turning Israel into another failed arab state ?
            “but when they put down their guns, which the Palestinian Authority has done under Mahmoud Abbas” – that’s an absurd lie. Not to mention how Abbas literally pay Palestinian terrorists based on how much Jew blood they spill, read about his Pay for Slay program.
            Israel was willing to dismantle settlements in the West Bank, see the several peace offers handed to the Palestinians. The Palestinians rejected all of them. Any Palestinian leader who would sign on that, ensuring Israel’s continual existence, will be signing his own death warrant, cutesy of the Arab/Islamic nations who control the Palestinians.

            I like you you back up your nonsense with an opinion piece by a biased pro-Palestinian site who reads like fantasy fiction. Like you the author completely ignored the actual goals and actions of the Palestinians. The Palestinians, with their current leadership, refuse to accept the legitimate existence of Israel, refuse to live side by side, how hard is it to grasp this fact ?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            @Ben, just heard at this very moment the Hamas top leader in Gaza yelling “we will not give up a single inch of Palestine!”. What do you think he means ? is he joking ? be honest with yourself.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            @Ido, just heard, over and over, Ayalet Shaked and Naftali Bennett, top leaders, yelling “we will not give up a single inch of Palestine!”. What do you think s/he means ? is s/he joking ? be honest with yourself.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            @Ben, really ? when did they said they are going to somehow take over Gaza, Jenin, Ramallah and the rest of the Palestinian Authority controlled areas ? be specific. Post where and when they said that. It’s also hard not to notice how you didn’t respond to my question, why is that ? I ask again: the Hamas top leader in Gaza was yelling “we will not give up a single inch of Palestine!”. What do you think he means ? is he joking ? be honest with yourself.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            @ Ido Geller: In fact, the Israelis, with their current leadership, refuse to accept the legitimate existence of Palestine, refuse to live side by side, how hard is it to grasp this fact ?

            How thoroughly cult-like is the average Netanyahu man.

            Here is the abbreviated version of Ido Geller’s incantation, stripped clean:

            “Hamas, hamas hamas. Hamas = PA. PA = Arafat. Arafat = Abbas. Abbas pays to slay. Jew blood. Israel was willing. Peace settlements.”

            All that’s missing is the classic “Hamas = ISIS! Hamas = ISIS!….”

            Now, I fully expected Ido would fall back on the idea that Israel actually “offered” the Palestinians something in “negotiations” that they should have accepted. And he did not disappoint. And that is a whole other layer of deceit. We shan’t let this pass.

            Apologist for the occupation never tire of repeating these “we gave them everything and they were so ungrateful” falsehoods. About what Israel “offered.” They get refuted time and again but back out they come. And they resurface again and again because this propaganda so effectively created an enduring fictional narrative, a myth, about “we gave them everything”–propaganda that the Israeli masses have imbibed, are saturated with, and think “everybody knows.” As Mark Twain said, It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.

            More to follow.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Let’s start with Ehud Barak’s offer in 2000, which was never minimally acceptable and Barak knew it. Barak’s true goal at the time was posturing to the right wing to win an election, one he lost anyway to Sharon.

            Read Gershon Baskin on this:

            ‘”Israel has offered the Palestinians everything but they have turned down every offer and walked away.” Those making this statement go on to say that at Camp David prime minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat the whole shop, but Arafat was not interested in making peace. Arafat refused to give up the right of return and was not interested in a Palestinian state. The truth is that at Camp David Barak offered Arafat 89 percent of the West Bank with full Israeli control of Palestine’s external borders – the Palestinians called it a sovereign cage. Barak’s proposal included two east-west corridors under full Israeli control, cutting the West Bank into three cantons. Barak did not offer the Palestinians a capital in east Jerusalem, but in Abu Dis, which is outside of Jerusalem, and perhaps some control of the outlying Palestinian neighborhoods. Israel would continue to control all of the main Palestinian neighborhoods in east Jerusalem and the Old City. Barak demanded a place for Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, which is what led directly to the failure of Camp David. On the issue of refugees, a total of six hours of talks took place in two weeks, during which time Arafat said that there had to be a solution for the refugees and that he could not give up the right of return on behalf of the refugees. This was the essence of Barak’s “take it or leave it proposal.” There isn’t a Palestinian alive who could accept it.’
            http://m.jpost.com/Opinion/Encountering-Peace-Debunking-myths-428662#article=6017N0MyRjhGNzJBQzhDRDlGODRGNDZCMDE1OEVBQzY2RTQ=

            More to follow.  

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          • Ben

            ‘Years later Barak’s top advisors would come to lament the role they played in creating that spin. As Peter Beinart notes in his book, The Crisis of Zionism, Barak aide Tal Ziberstein admitted that the “no-partner” campaign was one of the things he regretted most. Eldad Yaniv, Barak’s former campaign adviser and well known politico who has worked closely with politicians of all stripes added: “Ten years later, there are still people who say, ‘We gave them everything at Camp David and got nothing.’ That is a flagrant lie… I was one of the people behind this false and miserable spin.”‘
            http://972mag.com/the-life-and-death-of-the-israeli-peace-camp/116979

            More to follow.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Seth Ackerman explains further the process of disinformation and myth creating you are participating in, Ido Geller, and he debunks that. The occupation has always depended upon mountains of disinformation:

            The Myth of the Generous Offer
            Distorting the Camp David negotiations
            By Seth Ackerman
            http://fair.org/extra/the-myth-of-the-generous-offer/

            More to follow.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Ido Geller: “The last offer was in 2014….”

            Nothing better illustrates the pseudo-“facts” (as in “you have yet to refute my facts”) of which Geller is so fond.  

            Note the blithe “we offered, they refused” insinuations. (But also put in the usual condescending way: “Peace offers” are something something Israelis “give” Palestinians or better yet, are “handed to” the Palestinians. Those lucky servants.)

            As if Bogie Ya’alon and those to the right of him (with Ya’alon posturing as some kind of non-rightist that he never was for one day) were not busy telling Kerry and Biden that they were “messianic.” Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon publicly dressed down United States Secretary of State John Kerry, calling him “obsessive and messianic,” and added with a pronounced sneer that he hoped Kerry “gets a Nobel Prize and leaves us alone.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “One state is out of the question. If I wanted to live in an Arab state I would….”

            No one asked Ido Geller if he wanted to live in an “Arab state.” No one asked Palestinians if they wanted to live in a “Jewish state” either. Why would Arabs want to live in a “Jewish state” or Jews live in an “Arab state”?  The whole point of a viable one state solution is that that one state would be neither. Geller can’t quite wrap his mind around this. He can’t even conceive of not being in a comfortable state of overlordism. 

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          • Ben

            Finally, to blithely call Noam Sheizaf and +972 Magazine “pro-Palestinian” and sneer that they are “fantasy fiction” makes you, Ido Geller, not a serious person, not a serious interlocutor.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            @Ben, you have got to be kidding. This site is the most pro-Palestinian news site since Ha’aretz. I would say more than Ha’aretz since all of the articles seem to be coming from the exact same side of the political spectrum. Nothing wrong with that and the articles are quite good but this is a fact.
            Read the criticism about this site, made by Ha’aretz no less, on Wikipedia for more information.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            @Ben, you didn’t understand. The Right of Return will make Israel a de-facto Arab state. What kind of state that would be do you think ? a modern democracy championing human rights and freedoms like say Sweden or like any other shining examples of democracies and human rights like Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, well like any other Arab state.
            Thank you but I’ll pass. I never said the Palestinians should live in “a Jewish state”, that’s you lying again. I’m in favor of a second Arab Palestinian state as I explained several times.
            You don’t seem to be able to wrap your mind around the fact that the Palestinians see Israel’s elimination as a stated goal and turning it into a de-facto Arab state accomplishes this quite nicely.

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          • Ido

            @Ben, “The occupation has always depended upon mountains of disinformation” – that’s hilarious coming from someone who refuses to even touch the basic fact that the Palestinians see all of Israel as ‘the occupation’, from the River to the Sea.
            Your article lies right from the start about the “PLO has officially called for a two-state solution”, when the PLO’s official charter, and the PLO leaders openly calling for the elimination of Israel and how they see all of Israel, from the iver to the Sea, as theirs.
            How odd that an opinion piece from a leftist news blog would do that.

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          • Ido

            @Ben, No mention of the Palestinian never intending to accept any kind of peace offer that doesn’t spell out the end of Israel ? how they rejected the offer on basis of Israel refusing to commit national suicide and accept the Right of Return ?
            Barak was correct, Israel had no partner for peace because said partner’s idea of peace also includes the end of Israel.
            Arafat never intended to sign anything, he refused to give up the Right of Return that would effectively end Israel, he refused any kind of compromise or made any counter-proposals.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            @Ben, “Let’s start with Ehud Barak’s offer in 2000, which was never minimally acceptable and Barak knew it” – Sure, let’s. Camp David in 2000 was for the first time in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the American president put on the table a proposal, based on UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, very close to the Palestinian demands, and Arafat refused even to accept it as a basis for negotiations, walked out of the room, and deliberately turned to terrorism.
            Arafat never intended to accept any kind of peace plan, as it was discovered later he already prepared what will be known as the ‘Al-Aqsa Intifada’.
            This was the offer: the establishment of a demilitarised Palestinian state on 92% of the West Bank and 100% of the Gaza Strip, with some territorial compensation for the Palestinians from pre-1967 Israeli territory, the dismantling of most of the settlements and the concentration of the bulk of the settlers inside the 8% of the West Bank to be annexed by Israel, the establishment of the Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem, in which some Arab neighborhoods would become sovereign Palestinian territory and others would enjoy “functional autonomy”, Palestinian sovereignty over half the Old City of Jerusalem (the Muslim and Christian quarters) and “custodianship,” though not sovereignty, over the Temple Mount and a return of refugees to the prospective Palestinian state though with no “right of return” to Israel.
            Arafat said no.
            Clinton was mad and said to Arafat, and I quote: “You are leading your people and the region to a catastrophe”, which is exactly what Arafat did.

            Today Barak portrays Arafat’s behaviour at Camp David as a “performance” geared to exacting from the Israelis as many concessions as possible without ever seriously intending to reach a peace settlement or sign an “end to the conflict” which is perfectly aligned with Arafat’s Phased Plan.
            Barak said, and I quote: “He (Arafat) did not negotiate in good faith; indeed, he did not negotiate at all. He just kept saying no to every offer, never making any counterproposals of his own”.
            “What they [Arafat and his colleagues] want is a Palestinian state in all of Palestine, What we see as self-evident, [the need for] two states for two peoples, they reject”.

            You’re right about your article from Gershon Baskin, There isn’t a Palestinian leader alive apparantly that will accept the peace offer that will ensure Israel’s continual existence. Arafat sure didn’t and never intended to.
            So according to your article, the Palestinians demanded throughout the negotiations a return to the 1967 borders in Jerusalem. Never mind that they never negotiated in good faith to begin with. So they refused any kind of compromise or made any kind of counterproposal because Arafat was not interested in the peace deal as it left Israel a viable state. Arafat never intended to relinqiush the Right of Return that would spell the de-facto end of Israel. No matter how many concessions Israel will offer, they will never accept the deal.
            The article is also wrong about the offered capital, it was going to be a city (Al-Quds) made out of a merge of certain outer Arab villages and small cities like Abu Dis, al-Eizariya, ‘Anata, A-Ram, and eastern Sawahre, not making Abu-dis the capital itself.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            @Ben, your quote “In fact, the Israelis, with their current leadership, refuse to accept the legitimate existence of Palestine” – factually incorrect. Netanyahu openly discuss the two states solution, listen to his Bar Ilan speech. He made several offers via the American negotiations team regarding a starting point to a second Arab Palestinian (after Jordan) state.
            Israel accepts the existence of “Hamastan” in Gaza, a Palestinian sovereignty, but reacts accordingly since it’s a terrorist state which declared war on Israel. Hamastan, of course, does not recognize the legitimate existence of Israel as I’m sure you are aware. Israel recognizes the sovereignty of the Palestinian Authority based on the Oslo Accords, Fatah see all of Israel as “Palestine” and calls for the elimination of Israel.
            You either lied again or you had no idea.

            “How thoroughly cult-like is the average Netanyahu man” – As I said 4 times now, I consider Netanyahu to be the worst Prime Minister in Israel’s history. But keep saying that if it makes you feel better, never mind that it is factually incorrect.

            What haven’t you answered my questions about Hamas and Fatah for the 9th time ? why is it so hard for you ? why haven’t you answered all the points I proved you were wrong or lied about ?
            I repeat: The Palestinians see all of Israel, from the Sea to the River as theirs. This is a fact. The Palestinians don’t see Israel as a legitimate country/nation, this is a fact.
            The Palestinian leadership calls for the elimination of Israel and the murder of Jews, they refuse to accept the legitimate existence of Israel.

            “we gave them everything–propaganda” – So Israel didn’t withdraw from Gaza and made several peace offers, handing out almost all the West Bank as part of an ongoing peace negotiations offers ? if you’re going to lie, at least try to put some efforts into it, this is embarrassing.

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