While since the beginning of the 21st century, world public opinion shifted fundamentally in Palestine’s favour, this transition was not reflected in policies from above. Human rights organizations were willing to frame Israel as an Apartheid State and the UN discussed occupation as annexation. Governments continued with economic, diplomatic and military support for the state of Israel. The most blatant movement in politics from above in this respect was the normalisation between Israel and several Arab states, and substantiated rumors of further normalisation with Muslim countries. The gap between the global civil society and public opinion on the one hand, and the policies of governments and rulers, on the other, means that the Zionist narrative, the criminal actions on the ground and the future policies of oppression are not going to be challenged by most of the governments in the world. As a result, the Palestinian perspective and narrative are suppressed from above, although they are adopted and defended by societies themselves. In this webinar we describe this gap and its implications on the situation in Palestine, explain why it still persists and seek advice from experts and activists of possible ways forward in narrowing this gap in the geo-political world that unfolded in this century.
THIS IS A TRANSCRIPTION OF THE WEBINAR:
Hassanal: I just wanted to say one small thing that we want to thank everyone for joining us today. So today’s topic for the webinar is hosted by the Movement for Liberation from Nakba (MLN). It is on the topic of Normalizing Israel: Whose Agenda? A very important topic to discuss, especially when geopolitical tensions are rising in regards to the concept of Israel’s place in the larger geopolitical game that’s being played right now, especially to do with Palestine the Middle East and the world over. So I would like to thank everyone for joining us today, on this special webinar that we’re hosting and I’m not going to speak much, because I would like to pass the floor now to our capable moderator John Minto. John, I’ll let you introduce yourself and our speakers as well, floor is yours.
John Minto: thank you Hassanal, thank you very much, those are a few words of welcome to everybody in the language of the indigenous people of this country, Maori People. Those words say a welcome to all the speakers, welcome to our distinguished guests and welcome to everybody from around the world, who’s joined us for this really important webinar this evening. I’ve got a few, sort of introductory remarks and then we’ll pass over to our two speakers, whom we are really privileged and really delighted to have on our webinar today. So the topic is about Normalizing with Israel. I mean, Whose Agenda is being followed here? It is important. What I want to do here, is to put that into the context of what’s happened over the last 20 years, because over the last 20 years or so, there’s been a growing gap between the views of the people of the world and the views of their governments with regard to the Middle East. The people of the world have been moving inexorably towards support for the Palestinian struggle. But the governments of the world remain very stubbornly supportive of Israel, while mouthing platitudes about supporting a mythical two-state solution and all that goes with that. So also on display recently has been the hypocrisy of Western governments, who have rightly and roundly condemned Russia for its Invasion and occupation of Ukraine, but have looked the other way again and again, when Israel’s occupation Army and illegal settlers work hand in hand to ravage Palestinian communities, on a daily basis. These same governments shut themselves horse over Russia, but then issue calls for calm and restraint, when Israel’s unbridled violence provokes Palestinian retaliation and the Palestinian resistance. So those are two, I think really important observations that we should we should keep in mind, as we go through the seminar.
The last few years have featured moves by the U.S and Israel to normalize relations with Arab states through the so-called Abraham Accords. This is a strategy which could only be described as tacky and cynical. So what do I mean by that? Let’s look at three of them. So for example the UAE has agreed to normalize relations with Israel in return for the U.S providing the UAE with F-35 fighter jets.