In the last couple of weeks, we have been extra blessed with the faces of various PA officials appearing almost every day to comment, give interviews or talks, in which they declare, confirm and strongly stress that what is happening in Amman are not negotiations. No, these are not negotiations.
These are talks.
These are discussions.
These are exploratory meetings (whatever that might mean).
These are breakfasts in Amman.
These are negotiation-less nights in Amman.
These are “how to sell out your country in 20 years” upgrade courses.
But they are not negotiations.
And they should know better, right? In fact, the negotiations-till-death-do-us-part team stressed several times that there will be no return to negotiations until the Zionist entity agrees to stop its illegal settlement activities in the future PA “state”. What is happening in Amman are talks, not negotiations, talks to secure a settlement freeze before the talks on settlements and other stuff, aka the negotiations, resume. See? There is a big difference between talks and talks, and before you judge the PA, you should have read their negotiations handbook: “Birth is Negotiations, Death is Negotiations and all that is in between is Negotiations”, and you would have understood that what is happening in Amman are not negotiations. No, they are talks.
The audacity with which the PA continues to act as if these are not negotiations and continues to stress that negotiations won’t be resumed until Israel agrees to freeze its settlement activities, knows no limits. And despite all forms of protest against these useless negotiations, against the whole negotiations charade, not only do PA officials continue to negotiate, but they also claim that they are negotiating away our land and our rights in our very own name, claiming to be our representatives. And as if not enough, they appear on TV stations, give interviews, talk in local conferences and meetings and declare, in a very strict tone, that there will be no return to negotiations until Israel stops its illegal settlement activities. They swear never to return to negotiations, even if it means resigning, even if it means the collapse of the PA, and countless are the times when we heard the PA-head and the negotiations-head threatening with resignation. But still they continue to return to negotiations, under various names, and continue to threaten and swear never to return to negotiations, while there is not a glimmer of a sign of any resignation.
It is not the first time that PA officials have done this. Wasn’t it only recently that they, for the Xth time, swore never to return to negotiations unless Israel stops all its settlement activity? And when they, as usual, did return to the negotiations (for the sums they get for negotiating away our rights and our Palestine are more important than you, me, every single one of us, they are more important than Palestine itself), they stressed that it wasn’t a return to “direct” negotiations, but a return to “indirect” negotiations! As in: during “direct” negotiations, PA and Israeli officials meet, negotiate, aka Israelis dictate and PA officials nod and sign on napkins, attend a negotiations banquet together, and everyone gets a “direct-“negotiations-trip album as souvenir. During “indirect” negotiations, PA and Israeli officials meet, negotiate, aka Israelis dictate and PA officials nod and sign on napkins, attend a negotiations banquet together, and everyone gets an “indirect”-negotiations-trip album as souvenir. And today, PA officials again treat us, the Palestinian people, as if we were the little children who are easily fooled and tell us: “listen kids, we are not negotiating, we are talking! Wallahi, we swear not to go back to negotiations, so be quiet!”
And while PA officials “talk” in Amman, Palestinian politicians from various PLO factions return from the world beyond, bless us with their faces and voices after long silences and extended absence, and announce their denouncement of these talks, that they are not in the interest of the Palestinian people or the Palestinian cause, and then return back to their daily work of sitting in offices and claiming to represent people and parties and cashing salaries at the end of the month. God bless the PLO! They all claim to represent us, those who are members in the PLO, and those who aren’t or soon will be. And knowing that the majority of Palestinians is against these talks, discussions, negotiations, whatever they are called, they flip a coin and send someone to denounce the whole process, and that’s it: “We did what we do best: we condemned, we denounced”. Yes, all that matters these days is not Palestine, but the salary at the end of the month. God bless the PLO!
And since, according to the PA, talks are not negotiations, except when they are meant to mean so, I suggest preparing a dictionary of PA political terminology. It will help avoid misunderstandings and will help us, ordinary Palestinians, understand what PA negotiators are talking about since their language is beyond our comprehension and help us understand when talks are talks and when talks are not talks. A reference will be made to what every term actually means to the majority of the Palestinians. There are many such political terms out there that need clarifications, but I suggest starting with the following:
1. Describes, according to the PA, the Areas Abu Dees and Izariyyeh, and depending on whether Israeli will “give back” Beit Hanina and Shu’fat to the Palestinians, which is most probably not, Sawahreh might be added to the area designated as Al-Quds. 2. The name Al-Quds is used to disguise the fact that when the PA talks about Al-Quds, it is not talking about the eastern part of Jerusalem, and thus won’t cause the anger or the distress of the PA’s partners-in-peace by demanding the liberation of Al-Quds. 3. PA plans to liberate Al-Quds include 15+ years of useless negotiations on everything except the main issues, building a hanging bridge to Al-Aqsa mosque, giving up the Old city of Jerusalem and other areas in exchange for more control in areas B and C so the PA can continue to play king and kingdom. 4. To many Palestinians, Al-Quds remains one, with its eastern and western parts, the only and irreplaceable capital of Palestine.
1. Describes the area Israel allows the PA president and officials to move within, using Israeli permits to leave and enter, usually areas A and B of the West Bank with possible loss of these areas depending on the mood of the Israeli soldier at the checkpoint or the mood of the Israeli official issuing the permit. 2. Also used to describe Swiss cheese, Bantustans, Ghettos, a prison within a prison. 3. To PA officials, the PA Palestinian state is any piece of Palestine the Israelis have no use of. The Motto of this PA state is: Life is Negotiations. The flag of this state is: My political party is above all. The national Anthem is: Hader ya Sidi! (yes, sir!). 4. To many Palestinians, the only Palestinian state is one with all of Palestine from the River to the Sea.
1. Describes the Jericho Casino, the Rawabi elite “city”, the Muqata’a imperial palace, and the Wadi in-Nar death-trap aka road. 2. This is accompanied with the introduction of night-clubs and bars in Ramallah, the political and economic capital of the PA, as signs of the approaching independence, 5 star hotels and cafes for PA officials, new-age revolutionaries and foreign aid workers. 3. Further signs of state-building include the destruction of local economy, the alarmingly growing dependence on foreign donors who enslave us in return for salaries at the end of the month, the various industrial zones for the enslavement of Palestinian workers, the wide-spread corruption and the building of massive palaces on the hilltops of Ramallah and Nablus whose shadow cools the hot air over the nearby refugee camps. 4. To many Palestinians, the PA state-building is nothing but a form of consolidating and securing the Israeli occupation.
1. Describes “Life” from the view point of PA top-negotiators; every minute of a PA-official’s life is negotiations, it is to the PA as natural as breathing, as drinking, as eating. Without negotiations, the PA will die, will cease to exit since the only reason for its creation is to negotiate away Palestinian land and rights “in the name of Palestinians”. 2. Has other names such as talks, discussions, exploratory meetings and any other term PA negotiators might think of. 3. Also refers to the condition where the oppressor dictates the rights of the oppressed and how much “freedom” and “space” the oppressed is allowed to have and not have. 4. To many Palestinians, negotiations describe the process of selling out one’s homeland, village by village, town by town, house by house, field by field, tree by tree, water drop by water drop, in exchange for an imaginary kingdom, imaginary titles, imaginary ministries, villas in Ramallah and the south of France, various accounts in Swiss banks and Israeli VIP-permits.
1. Describes a never-ending process, where one party kills, steals and destroys the other party’s people and land. The word peace is deceptive since this particular peace process has nothing to do with peace. 2. To the PA, the term peace process means an industry, a big business and loads of money regardless of the suffering caused to the Palestinian people because of this process. 3. Also refer to a delusion, a mirage, a charade, a big fat lie. 4. To many Palestinians, the peace process is an instrument of the occupation to continue the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the theft of Palestinian land.
1. Describes a charade by PA officials. PA officials who resign or are made to resign over corruption cases, moral issues, etc., keep away from the spotlights, don’t give any interviews for a few weeks, or depending on the offence committed, for a few months, and then return to their posts, or other posts within the PA apparatus, and act as if nothing happened. 2. Another form of resignation is the recurring threats of the PA-head of resigning that are never actually implemented, e.g. threatening to resign if the Palestinian people tell him to do so (Note: they do this in every form possible, , not to mention that his “mandate” expired long ago), threatening to resign if negotiations prove futile (after 16 years still waiting for them to prove futile). 3. A term that is alien within the PA and PLO systems. 4. Also means: I am staying here till the last breath. 5. To many Palestinians, resignation is a card used by the PA to silence criticism and opposition.
Right of Return
1. Describes the Right of Return as redefined by the PA within the framework of the “peace process”:1. A return of some thousands or hundreds or whatever number of refugees Israel agrees to. 2. A return to Ramallah or Bethlehem or whatever part of the Bantustan aka the Palestinian state the Zionist entity agrees to. 2. To the PA, the Right of Return is negotiable, like all other Palestinian rights and its price depends on the highest bidder. 3. To many Palestinians, the Right of Return describes what is an inalienable and non-negotiable right for over 5 million Palestinian refugees who will never accept less than a full return to their original homes and villages.
1. Describes a process with international observers and all, after which, depending on the results, the choice of the voters will either be celebrated or ignored and boycotted. Following elections in the PA “liberated” areas, if the winners are opponents of the negotiations process, they get kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces and the losers, if they believe that “Negotiations are the Solution”, they get to build cabinets with the claim that it’s all for the interest of the people. 2. One example of elections under PA is Local Elections, which are postponed from one year to the next, and most probably will never take place because they know they won’t win. 3. To many Palestinians, elections are a theoretical right bestowed on the Palestinians of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, but practically denied all Palestinians in occupied Palestine and the Diaspora.
And yes, there is a special list of terminology for “activism for Palestine”, where Palestine, resistance, activism and other Palestinian constants are reshaped and redefined to fit what pleases and appeals to others. But that is another blog post.