US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt speaks at the 8th annual Jerusalem Post conference, New York.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The video footage of Jewish Israelis dancing with Palestinians at a wedding should be something to celebrate. It should be an expression of joy and joint faith in the future. Instead, it has brought danger and disgrace to Radi Nasser, the mayor of Deir Qaddis, a Palestinian town near Ramallah, who is the father of the groom.
As The Jerusalem Post’s Khaled Abu Toameh reported on Sunday, Fatah, the ruling Palestinian faction in the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, expelled the mayor from its ranks; formed a commission of inquiry to investigate Nasser; and said it will work to remove him from his job as mayor.
Fatah also called on the PA security forces to launch an investigation into the Palestinians who were seen celebrating with the Jewish-Israelis during the wedding in the video that went viral on social media.
The Fatah commission announced that it would deliver the names of Palestinians who attended the wedding to the Palestinian security forces which could proceed with legal measures against them. The four Jewish Israelis reportedly were brought to the wedding by Palestinian colleagues who work with them in a car repair garage.
Pictures from the wedding show the “settlers” being carried on the shoulders of some of the Palestinians, in a sort of dance that is familiar to both Jews and Arabs enjoying themselves at family celebrations.
But while most Israelis – and, indeed, some Palestinians – saw this as a innocent and encouraging sign, Palestinian social media users expressed shock over the presence of the Israelis at the wedding and accused the mayor and his son, the groom, of treason.
Fatah spokesman Osama Qawassmeh said that the participation of “terrorist settlers in Palestinian social events is a cowardly, condemnable, despicable and reprehensible act.” However this was neither “cowardly” nor “despicable.” On the contrary.
Under mounting pressure, instead of explaining how natural this should be, the mayor denied that he or his son had invited the “settlers” to the wedding and “kicked them out, together with the [Palestinian] men who were with them” as soon as he learned of their presence. He also maintains the he remains loyal to Fatah, the movement that is trying to kick him out of its ranks.
Nasser is guilty in Fatah eyes of a major sin: normalization.
That any sign of carrying out normal relations with Israelis is still considered taboo among the Palestinian Authority regime does not bode well for the upcoming Bahrain economic workshop.
On Sunday, Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s special envoy for international negotiations, told the Jerusalem Post
Annual Conference in New York, that the administration is focusing on the Bahrain workshop, which is scheduled to take place on June 25-26.
Interviewed on stage by The Jerusalem Post’s editor-in-chief Yaakov Katz, Greenblatt said Palestinian negotiator “Saeb Erekat and others are distorting our message. They’re saying essentially that the Bahrain conference is about buying the Palestinians off. Absolutely not true.”
Greenblatt explained the goal of the workshop: “The Bahrain summit is aimed to show what could happen to the Palestinian economy if there’s a peace agreement. We understand completely that there is no economic vision that’ll work without a peace agreement. But we also want to make the point that there will be no peace agreement that works without true economic vision. We’re trying to break the cycle of aid and dependency and create an economy. They work hand in hand.”
The economic workshop has had a hostile reception by the Palestinian Authority although some Palestinian businessmen have stated their intention to participate – people who can envision a better future for their own people and are brave enough to try to bring it about despite the antagonism of the Palestinian Authority.
On this the PA is on the same page as the terrorist organization, Hamas, that controls Gaza.
Terrorism and anti-normalization campaigns put an end to any hope of the Oslo Accords succeeding in the 1990s and doomed all subsequent peace talks. This is the true tragedy of the Palestinians. They are being betrayed by their own leaders.
The economic workshop in Bahrain should be seen as a positive move for the whole region, but as long as the PA top ranks are not willing to see Israelis dancing together with Palestinians at a wedding, it is hard to imagine the PA allowing its own people any joy in other fields.
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