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The concept of ‘irrelevance’ in Moshe Ya’alon’s rhetoric

JERICHO, WEST BANK - NOVEMBER 17: Israeli security forces intervene Palestinian protesters with real and plastic bullets and tear gas during a demonstration at the symbolic region named 'Yasser Arafat Village' in Al-Agvar region of Jericho, West Bank on November 17, 2016. ( Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency )

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.

Press members gather in front of parliament building to show solidarity with their colleagues who were exposed to Palestinian security forces' violence during the protests held against Palestinian court's trial on Basil al Arac, who was killed during Israeli soldiers' raid at his home in Ramallah, and his five friends, in Gaza City, Gaza on March 13, 2017. ( Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency )

GAZA CITY, GAZA – MARCH 13: Palestinian tradesmen and merchants chant slogans and hold placards during a demonstration demanding the urgent payment of the promised compensation for the workplaces, which were damaged in the attacks carried out by Israel in 2014, in front of the United Nations (UN) office in Gaza City, Gaza on March 13, 2017. ( Ali Jadallah – Anadolu Agency )

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.

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