Netanyahu is not a Netanyahu
Palestine wants recognition from the UN
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Yesterday – September 23, 2011 – an historic event took place at the 66th meeting of the UN General Assembly. Mahmoud Abbas - speaking for the Palestinian people - asked from the UN member states to accept Palestine as an equal member of this exclusive club. Minutes later, Benjamin Netanyahu answered on behalf of the State of Israel, the UN-member oppressing the aspirant state. The speeches can be downloaded from this website (Abbas, Netanyahu); citations from these files would be used in this article.
The differences between the two events were dramatic. Abbas was welcomed with a standing ovation of an almost full room, a rare event at the General Assembly. In sharp contrast, when Netanyahu spoke, the UN television cameras were careful to show only narrow angles of the assembly. Not even once the full room could be appreciated; apparently that was the result of many members leaving in protest during Netanyahu’s speech, the UN television was careful not to spoil Israel’s image. It is also important to remark that many states have already recognized Palestine and have declared that openly during their head of state speeches at the current assembly.
Mahmoud Abbas gave an expected discourse, which lasted roughly 45 minutes, three times more than the allotted to regular heads of state. He gave a careful review of historic events and then asked to be recognized as an independent state. His most emblematic words were: “I come before you today from the Holy Land, the land of Palestine, the land of divine messages, ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the birthplace of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people in the homeland and in the Diaspora, to say, after 63 years of suffering of the ongoing Nakba: Enough. Enough. Enough. It is time for the Palestinian people to gain their freedom and independence.”
Following Abbas speech, the UN Security Council must vote on the proposal. If approved, it would go back to the General Assembly; if approved also there – and there are around 140 countries that assure an overwhelming approval – Palestine would gain independence. Yet, the first step is not assured to succeed; until now the support of only seven out of the nine needed votes (the council has 15 members) have been assured, and the US is threatening to impose its immoral veto on the issue.
Then, Netanyahu treated us with a wonderfully weird speech. I must admit I had no intention of listening to him; yet, after a few of his odd metaphors I couldn’t stop. It was a masterpiece of propaganda including at least one major error in one of his citations. Yet, I do not want to center the article on a tiny error that could be a result of the man’s ignorance. I’ll let him enjoy the doubt on this and look at the other points he made.
He repeatedly offered negotiations before Palestinian independence is declared. In one occasion he said: “… my door has always been open to you. If you wish, I’ll come to Ramallah. Actually, I have a better suggestion. We’ve both just flown thousands of miles to New York. Now we’re in the same city. We’re in the same building. So let’s meet here today in the United Nations. Who’s there to stop us? What is there to stop us? If we genuinely want peace, what is there to stop us from meeting today and beginning peace negotiations?”
He was so enthusiastic that he began negotiating with himself, making offers – and apparently answering for the Palestinians at the same time. Netanyahu forgot that there is no major mistake during a negotiation than negotiating with yourself. He cited the existence of abroad military bases for several countries (like the US and France) as an excuse for keeping the IDF bases and settlements in the West Bank even after Palestinian independence. He also claimed the settlements cannot be an obstacle to peace since the conflict with the Palestinians existed before the settlements in the West Bank. Considering his listeners fools, he didn’t even acknowledge the possibility of the settlements adding another problem to the original one. Oh, Great Netanyahu, please forgive me for noticing that.
He kept on and on along this line, while treating us with strange illustrations. “I often hear them accuse Israel of Judaizing Jerusalem. That’s like accusing America of Americanizing Washington…,” he said. Washington wasn’t Americanized. Its land was stolen from Native Americans by British illegitimate colonizers. Mr. Netanyahu, are you sure you want to keep exploring the issue along these lines? If so, you’ll get burned. But Netanyahu was on fire and nobody could stop his infernal rhetoric. One of his claims would have made Goebbels proud. Since I don’t want to take it out of context, I’ll bring the entire paragraph here:
”In my office in Jerusalem, there’s an ancient seal. It’s a signet ring of a Jewish official from the time of the Bible. The seal was found right next to the Western Wall, and it dates back 2,700 years, to the time of King Hezekiah. Now, there’s a name of the Jewish official inscribed on the ring in Hebrew. His name was Netanyahu. That’s my last name. My first name, Benjamin, dates back a thousand years earlier to Benjamin — Binyamin — the son of Jacob, who was also known as Israel. Jacob and his 12 sons roamed these same hills of Judea and Sumeria 4,000 years ago, and there’s been a continuous Jewish presence in the land ever since.”
The closeness of certain arguments made in this paragraphs can be confusing for the casual listener. “His name was Netanyahu. That’s my last name.” Yet, this doesn’t mean the two men are related in any way. (By the way, “Netanyahu” means “God Gave” in Hebrew; the pun in the article’s title was definitely intended.) Modern Western surnames practices are not biblical in their origin. In biblical time the practice was to call a person as per his father’s name. For example, “Yitzhak ben Avraham” is “Isaac son of Abraham.” Netanyahu slyly insinuated on a non-existent relation. From his grave, Goebbels applauded.
Just before he showed mercy on us, Netanyahu said in his last paragraph: “We are both the sons of Abraham. My people call him Avraham. Your people call him Ibrahim.” Dear Mr. Netanyahu, despite your eloquence and wonderful English baritone, you are not Abraham. Yet, please let me remind you some words of God to him: Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee (Genesis 12:1). The first words of God (just “Leh Leha” in Hebrew; untranslatable into English, think of a very powerful: “I order you to go, to go willingly”) are a powerful order in Hebrew and among the best known citations from the Old Testament. Let me humbly remind you these words and tell you: “leh leha.” Please leave us alone. Leh Leha to the land of your Communist forefathers in Birobidzhan, the Russian Federation’s Jewish Autonomous Oblast and leave us alone. As Mahmoud Abbas succinctly said yesterday: Enough, Enough, Enough!
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