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Israeli president's comments priorities the fragmentation of Palestinian identity

March 8, 2014 at 1:34 pm

In a recent interview with Arab news website Panet, Israeli President Shimon Peres indulged in a discussion about alleged cooperation, while using language which intensified the consistent fragmentation of Palestinian identity, manipulated Palestinian resistance and sought to portray the benefits of negotiating over an elusive peace with PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

The interview was reported in YNet News; it does not embark upon the usual rhetoric. Rather, it seeks to impart the misrepresentation of Palestinians and Gaza before mellowing its discourse into an agreeable depiction of Abbas that coincides with the mainstream media image.

“If Gaza ceases fire,” declared Peres, “there will be no need for a blockade. A closure is not meant to cause trouble for the citizens of Gaza. Why does Gaza need to invest millions of dollars in missiles?”

Gaza remains a misrepresented entity in most narratives pertaining to Palestine. Discussed constantly thanks to their marginalisation due to the blockade, Palestinians in Gaza are divested of national identity to promote a sole identity as “Gazans” within the besieged territory. The population, catapulted to prominence as a result of the atrocities perpetrated by Israel, have now been subjected to patronising statements which seek to enforce the illegality of restrictions on their freedom as a purported precaution to safeguard the settler-colonial state.

Contrary to what Peres claims, the blockade is meant to cause hardship for Palestinians; it is collective punishment in the form of refined violence which can be naturalised in Israeli and mainstream discourse. The Palestinians in Gaza are expected to acquiesce to the demand to relinquish their right to resist the occupation of their land. The statement implies that theirs is self-inflicted suffering which reflects negatively upon Hamas and its commitment to resistance.

Within a discussion of “terrorism”, Peres also alludes to “an interest that Gaza becomes open and progressive”. The implication of progress is something applied to the West Bank, allowing Israel to promote compliance and the ceding of rights as beneficial, despite the discontent unravelling among Palestinians at the compromised official representation of their cause and the continuation of discourse ridiculing Palestinian history, memory and struggle. The embodiment of resistance in Gaza is described as an impediment to “progress”, rather than a formidable opposition which continues to oppose the farcical negotiations and the almost inevitable loss of the whole of historic Palestine.

The interview also enabled Peres to shift the discourse of confrontation into fabricated cooperation, depicting the importance of Abbas to Israel; he is described as “a real partner” with whom peace can be negotiated. The revealing statement should indicate the settler-colonial state’s penchant for usurpation and the notion that peace should precede legitimate resistance for the reclamation of rights.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Peres expressed surprise at the notion that anyone could be opposed to peace. When peace is distorted into a vague affirmation of oblivion, it is imperative that resistance counters the narrative and retains its priorities which are also enshrined within international law. Palestinian history has proven that any insinuation regarding peace emanating from Israel and its imperialist allies should be resisted from within the collective narrative that refuses the clamour for absolute subjugation.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.