Topic:

Palestinian Affairs

The False “Nakba” Narrative

The term “Nakba,” originally coined to describe the magnitude of the self-inflicted Palestinian and Arab defeat in the 1948 war, has become in recent decades a synonym for Palestinian victimhood, with failed aggressors transformed into hapless victims and vice versa. Israel should do its utmost to uproot this false image by exposing its patently false historical basis.

The Failure of Palestinian Nationalism

| March 10, 2019

The Warsaw Conference demonstrated that the popularity of the Palestinian cause continues to decline, suggesting that Palestinian nationalism has failed. Historically, the positive elements of Palestinian nationalism have been offset by its negative features, including reliance on antisemitism and negation of the Other. Pressures from above, in the form of Arab and Islamic identities, and tribal and clan pressures from below have impeded the development of a stable national identity. At the same time, strong state security institutions protect elites while weak social welfare institutions create dependence, mostly on foreign aid. While continued development of the Palestinian economy is encouraging, the contradictions of Palestinian nationalism are not easily resolved.

Arab Religiosity and Support for the Palestinians

| March 1, 2019

There are more webpages in Arabic for the al-Aqsa mosque than webpages on Palestinian resistance. In English, there are triple the number of webpages on Palestinian resistance than on the al-Asa mosque, reflecting a more secular public than in the Arab world. To understand the Middle East, you have to think in Arabic and take religion much more seriously.

DEBATE: What Happened to Arab Support for the Palestinians?

| November 16, 2018

While the continuing influence of the Palestinians on the Arab world should not be underestimated, the current landscape in the Middle East is bringing new policy priorities to the fore. As Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, recently observed, “The Arab states are no longer dancing to the Palestinians’ tune.” BESA joins the debate by posing the question: What has happened to Arab support for the Palestinians?

Palestinians, You Don’t Have to Live Like Refugees

and | October 2, 2018

President Trump is right to defund UNRWA, whose anti-Israel propaganda undermines efforts to make peace.

Palestinian Sovereignty after Abbas

| July 13, 2018

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas’s recent illnesses have again raised the matter of his successor. This brewing issue highlights contradictory aspects of Palestinian political culture. The leaders create chaos and then blackmail Western powers in exchange for containment of the unrest. Their next step is to internationalize the conflict by demanding unconditional support. Both tactics create dependency and fundamentally undermine Palestinian sovereignty. Trusteeship schemes for the West Bank illustrate the pattern of dysfunction. Only a concept of Palestinian sovereignty free of blackmail and internationalization would allow for a successful state, but this is thwarted by the concept of Palestinian national honor, which demands a return to an imaginary status quo ante.

Kuwait: Serial Violator of Human Rights

| June 8, 2018

There is considerable hypocrisy in the fact that Kuwait, which in 1991 expelled approximately 400,000 Palestinians who worked and lived in its territory for decades (following the PLO’s enthusiastic support for the occupation of the emirate by Saddam Hussein), and even murdered thousands of others, is spearheading a diplomatic struggle in the Security Council that purports to protect Gazans following the violent riots along the border fence in the Gaza Strip.

The Danger to Jordan of a Palestinian State

| June 1, 2018

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan stands to lose more than any other party from the establishment of a State of Palestine. While the potential dangers and complications for Israel of such a state could be significant, Jordan would face threats to both its social stability and its foundational idea: that it governs the Arab population on both banks of its eponymous river. In addition to the substantial political and security difficulties such a state would create for Jordan, it could also jeopardize its continued viability by shifting the locus of political leadership for a majority of Jordanians away from Amman and towards Ramallah. 

Most Iranians Couldn’t Care Less About the Palestinians or Israel

| May 2, 2018

Diplomats who served in Tehran frequently claim that Israel and the Palestinians are marginal to Iranian concerns. They are correct about the Iranian public and wrong about the leadership. Maybe this and other formidable gaps between the Iranian public and the leadership could provide the fuel to ignite the opposition to remove them from power.

Transfer UNRWA’s Responsibilities to Whom?

| April 20, 2018

International political changes and genuine refugee crises have prompted a renewed examination of UNRWA, the internationally funded mechanism for the Palestinians. The problem of transferring UNRWA’s health, welfare, and education responsibilities to other organizations is not easily resolved. Despite obvious problems (primarily the inevitable corruption), absorbing UNRWA into the PA is the least bad alternative, as it offers a path for both capacity-building and real oversight.