Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

In accordance with the Palestinian Authority’s policy of rejecting any joint event or peace building activity with Israel – referred to as “normalization” – the General Union of Palestinian Expressionist Artists demanded that Palestinian Authority artists not participate in the Mekudeshet Festival in Jerusalem last month.

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Before the festival, the union announced that it would “expel” any Palestinian Authority artist who participated in the festival:

“The General Union of Palestinian Expressionist Artists has demanded that all artists not participate in the festival as it is a normalization festival that serves the Israeli agendas. Secretary of the Artists’ Union Musa Al-Hafez said to [the independent Palestinian Authority news agency] Wattan that ‘The union rejects the participation of any Palestinian artist in the rally, and it will expel any artist who is proven to have participated in any ceremony or festival whose goal is to create normalization with the occupation.'” [Wattan, independent Palestinian Authority news agency, Sept. 7, 2017]

Palestinian Media Watch has previously documented similar examples of the PA’s rejection of joint events between Palestinian Authority citizens and Israelis. After the Gaza War in 2014, PA boys met with Israeli boys to play football. This bridge-building activity was described by PA sports official Jibril Rajoub as “a crime against humanity”:

Jibril Rajoub, then-Deputy Secretary of Fatah’s Central Committee and Head of the Palestinian Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs, said: “Any activity of normalization in sports with the Zionist enemy is a crime against humanity.” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 8, 2014]

When a Sudanese minister recently spoke in favor of “normalization with Israel,” his statements led to “Palestinian anger” and “condemnation.”

Headline: “Palestinian anger over the statements of the Sudanese minister of ‘normalization'”
“The Palestinian factions condemned the harmful statements of Sudanese Minister of Investment Mubarak Al-Mahdi against the Palestinian people today, Thursday [Aug. 24, 2017]. Al-Mahdi supported establishing ties between his country and Israel, and normalizing the bilateral ties between them, during an interview with a Sudanese satellite [TV] station. He explained that he does not see any obstacle to having normalization with Israel, and claimed that ‘The Palestinians have sold their lands and scorn the Sudanese in the Gulf states.’ He also claimed that ‘The Palestinian cause has held the Arab world back greatly,’ and that ‘Some of the Arab regimes have used it as an excuse and trafficked in it.'”
[Wattan, independent Palestinian Authority news agency, Aug. 24, 2017]

In an interview with Sudania 24 TV on Aug. 20, 2017, Sudanese Minister of Investment Mubarak Al-Mahdi said: “There is no problem normalizing relations with Israel; the Palestinians normalized relations with Israel, even Hamas is talking to Israel. The Palestinians receive tax money from Israel and electricity from Israel. The Palestinians sit with Israel and talk to Israel. They have disputes but they sit with them.” He also stated that: “The Arab countries trafficked in the Palestinian issue for domestic purposes. The Palestinian issue has held back the Arab world and Arab regimes are taking advantage of it to oppress their own peoples in the name of the struggle for Palestine.” [Haaretz, Aug. 22, 2017]

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