James Zogby: Palestinians are ‘being asked to hold the scalpel’ for their own amputation

James Zogby on UN Forum, June 4, 2020. (photo: Screenshot / Mondweiss)
With no accountability, there is no punishment for Israeli actions; accountability is key and requires that there will be a price to pay.

By Jonathan Ofir | Mondoweiss | June 9, 2020

‘What’s infuriating, is that Palestinians are being chided for not participating in this process, which is akin to a patient who is being forced to undergo, against his will, an amputation, being asked to hold the scalpel while the doctor begins to cut.’
—James Zogby, founder and President of the Arab American Institute

Last Thursday the UN held a video forum on “The Question of Palestine: Threats of Annexation and the Prospects for Peace”, hosted by the UN Palestinian Rights Committee. There were three panelists: Hanan Ashrawi, Member of the PLO Executive Committee and former member of the Palestinian team in the Middle East Peace Process; Yossi Beilin, former Israeli Cabinet Minister and participant in the 1993 Oslo Accord negotiations; and James Zogby, founder and President of the Arab American Institute.

While Ashrawi outlined the injustices against Palestinians, Beilin suggested that Palestinians accept the Trump plan, if only to stall the coming annexation. Zogby, who spoke last, put an “exclamation mark” under Ashrawi’s astute comments, yet had “questions” for Beilin’s pitch. Those questions were more rhetorical and indirect. Zogby’s 10-minute presentation was astounding, crystal clear, cutting through orthodox nonsense and accentuating the colonialist paradigm that all this falls under.

Zogby said:

“None of us should be surprised that we are where we are today. This has been brewing for… 50 years or more… in many ways it’s been brewing for a hundred years. What’s taking place with the Trump plan is no different than what happened at San Remo 100 years ago – when Europe arrogated to itself the decision to ignore the needs, the rights, the aspirations of the indigenous people of the Arab world, and to carve that region up to serve their own interests. President Trump is doing the same – ignoring the fact that there are real people on the ground in Palestine, whose rights and aspirations are being ignored. And [US] Ambassador [to Israel, David] Friedman is sitting down with an Israeli team to draw up a map, to decide ‘I’ll take this part, you take this part’. What’s infuriating, is that Palestinians are being chided for not participating in this process, which is akin to a patient who is being forced to undergo, against his will, an amputation, being asked to hold the scalpel while the doctor begins to cut.”

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