In a meeting with journalists this week, former Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon adopted a candidly hypocritical attitude with regard to the various forms of colonial violence inflicted upon the Palestinian people. The “irrelevance” of Palestine in the international arena as well as the inflicted Palestinian dependency upon Israel in several social sectors were articulated in a particularly repugnant fashion.
Speaking about regional turmoil, Ya’alon opined that Israel finds itself “in the same boat as the other [sic] Sunni Arabs. We share common interests because we share common enemies.” As a result of this fomented violence in the region, Ya’alon claimed, “The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is irrelevant for a while.” The statement was then amalgamated to complaints about the Palestinian education system teaching students about Israeli colonisation, another reason, according to Ya’alon, why “no final settlement in the near future” is envisaged. In his warped worldview, education about colonisation is wrong, not the colonisation itself.
Undoubtedly, Ya’alon’s words would have resonated perfectly with the international community which, through the decades, has relied upon identification with Israel and acted as an incompetent mediator for Palestine. It also reflects Israel’s dispensable attitude towards the international community with regard to Palestine. While accusing international institutions of alleged bias in favour of Palestinians, it also employs identical rhetoric which places both on a par with regard to oppression of the colonised population.
The “irrelevance” of Palestine, however, was simply an opportunity to pontificate about the dependency system exacerbated by the Palestinian Authority. “Can they survive without our economy?” asked Ya’alon while referring to statistics regarding the number of Palestinians working in Israel and in the settlements. The complete absence of any context once again defines Ya’alon’s statement. It is possible that there would be further dire consequences if such opportunistic use of employment as a tool of the occupation is dropped by Israel. Yet, there is no consideration that there was a thriving economy in Palestine prior to colonial conquest; it was the world’s top citrus exporter in the 1930s. What Israel has allowed begrudgingly cannot be considered as benevolence, it is merely a system in which Palestinians are further stripped of their rights by limiting autonomy within the entire land.
Conversely, such statements as Ya’alon’s also demonstrate how much Israel depends on the false narratives that its propagandists weave. Although it might be argued that due to colonial influence in the international community, such dependency is of trivial importance, the conscious efforts at highlighting Israeli supremacy in contrast to Palestinian dependency — exacerbated by the PA — helps to avoid any possible in-depth scrutiny.
Indeed, the PA’s role in supporting Israel is highlighted in Ya’alon’s concluding remarks, wherein he emphasised the fact that Mahmoud Abbas’s survival is dependent entirely upon Israel Defence Forces operations in the occupied West Bank. Recent events have portrayed the extent of such dependency, particularly in relation to the detention, torture and murder of Palestinian civilians. It is safe to say that not even the “increased autonomy for the PA in the West Bank” is entirely accurate, for this is dependent upon subjugation to Israel, which corrupts the definition of autonomy completely. In this context, unravelled at the end of the speech, it is important to note that there is no irrelevance with regard to Palestine, but rather the collaborative efforts of different entities seeking to impose what they think is “irrelevance” upon Palestinians.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.