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Sham Palestinian peace plan is business as usual

  • 04 February 2020


Growing up in the northern city of Lebanon’s Tripoli, the sight of Palestinian camps was part of the landscape. Just over the hill in the village of Jabel Mohsen, these camps (we called them mukhayems) were sprawled against the backdrop of a local mosque, green fields and unpaved roads. 

But the camps weren’t tents — the Palestinians had been in Lebanon too long for that — they were makeshift posts with eateries, coffee shops and retail. My father would even take me and my brothers to the mukhayem for ice cream sometimes.

One of the first Palestinians I remember meeting in Lebanon was called Saeed, a jack of all trades working for an uncle in construction, delivery and maintenance. He used to play cards with my dad and uncles. Saeed was tall, mild mannered and seemed to hardly ever smile.

In retrospect there was something about his demeanour that was fatalistic, perhaps even defeatist. Gauging Palestinians’ statelessness and how they have generally fared in the Israel debate, his demeanour isn’t unjustified. Like many Palestinians abroad, Saeed has likely given up on seeing justice served in his homeland.

American administration after administration have failed to bring any meaningful change to Palestinians both in Palestine and beyond. Trump’s latest ‘deal of the century’ is just the newest iteration of that continued charade American presidents like to play in the Middle East. The Palestinians, and Arabs more generally, have gotten used to this sham of semantics and pretences of peace, watching on as America continues to fund and support Israel’s occupation of Palestine and its projection of military power in the region with impunity.

The media is partly to blame. Their employment of language gymnastics often downplays Israel’s occupation. Robert Fisk, a long-time Middle East correspondent with the UK’s Independent, has lamented this ‘flabby’ and ‘mealy mouthed’ journalism where a de facto siege is called a ‘closure’, assassinations are called ‘targeted killings’ or occupied land is ‘disputed’.

In his essay, ‘Politics and the English language’, George Orwell drew a link between decadent civilisation and the collapse or conscious obscuration of meaning in language. It is this (ab)use of language that commends Israel for being a ‘democracy’ and its leaders as men of ‘peace’.


'It’s difficult to imagine a peace plan when one side of the conflict is not even at the media briefing. As Trump talked of ‘peace transcending politics’ during a news conference with Israel’s prime