Peace talks useless: Palestine leaders

2013-06-12 10:01

Bethlehem - Leaders of a growing Palestinian movement to boycott Israel oppose any peace talks, even if they include a long-demanded freeze of Jewish settlements on Palestinian land.

"We have no faith... in the so-called negotiations," said Omar Barghouti, head of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which lobbies worldwide for the economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel.

Speaking to AFP on the sidelines of the fourth annual BDS conference at Bethlehem University at the weekend, Barghouti said the talks were "absolutely useless, just another smokescreen to allow Israel to continue its colonisation - its building of settlements."

The Palestinians have demanded not only a freeze on settlement building but also a return to lines that existed before Israel seized the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza in the 1967 Six Day War.

But Barghouti said that, even if these key demands were met, negotiations would still be unacceptable.

The only way to ensure the Palestinians secured all their rights is through the non-violent "resistance" of a full boycott of Israel.

‘Facade of normalcy’

Barghouti said that for there to be peace, the Israelis must guarantee the right of return for Palestinian refugees everywhere and equal rights for Arab Israelis, as well as a complete end to the occupation of Palestinian territories.

At the conference, local BDS leaders called in impassioned speeches on the Palestinian leadership not to "play the role of mediator between us and Israel," demanding instead that they focus their energies on sanctioning the Jewish state.

The movement says it is inspired by the non-violent South African civil rights movement and deplores what it calls Israel's own "apartheid" against Palestinians.

One of its more celebrated backers is South African anti-apartheid icon Desmond Tutu, who addressed delegates by video conference.

"This is a universe where right will ultimately prevail, and you are on the side of right," he said, to thunderous applause.

Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters also sent a message, urging fellow musicians to refuse to perform in Israel as part of the cultural boycott.

Israel, "uses performances by foreign artists to create a facade of normalcy and acceptability," he told them in a pre-recorded message.

Boycott ‘successes’

Waters also praised a recent decision by renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking to pull out of a Jerusalem conference to be hosted next week by Israeli President Shimon Peres as part of the academic boycott - a move listed by BDS as one of its notable achievements of the year.

Other "successes" include Adidas dropping its sponsorship of the Jerusalem marathon in March after pressure from the movement, and the UN publishing reports calling for sanctions against Israeli settlements.

The group's influence is definitely being felt.

Stevie Wonder pulled out of an Israeli army fundraiser in November after pressure from Tutu and Waters, and fellow US singer Lenny Kravitz cancelled a Tel Aviv concert due to take place in October after being petitioned by activists.

But a recent campaign to boycott a Formula 1 peace road show with the participation of the Scuderia Ferrari and Marussia F1 teams and several internationally acclaimed motorcyclists, has fallen flat, with the event set to take place in Jerusalem on Thursday.

In a separate but related development, the European Union has also called for clear and unambiguous labelling of products being exported from Jewish settlements in the West Bank, reiterating that settlement building is illegal under international law.

‘Worst system of apartheid’

But the move, which was to have been approved by EU foreign ministers in May, has been delayed until the end of this month, reportedly at the request of Washington in a move denounced by Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti as "disappointing".

"This hesitation on the part of the EU is disappointing. The quicker they move the better it will be," he told AFP.

"The US is pressuring the wrong side," he continued.

"They should have pressured Israel. As long as the US is afraid of pressuring Israel, nothing will move."

Nevertheless, Barghouti was confident the boycott movement was picking up pace and that its influence was increasing.

"As one speaker said today, this movement started as a drop, and it became a small stream... It's now becoming a huge river and eventually it will be a flood," he said.

"The biggest challenge now is to explain to the Palestinian people what [the boycott] means and how they themselves can become effective in boycotting Israeli products.

"The only alternative is violence, because we are now subjected to the worst system of apartheid," he added.

  • Tiaan Liebenberg - 2013-06-12 10:09

    Same old rhetoric. Why still call it apartheid if apartheid is such a terrible phrase? Why not 'separateness' - oh yes, it does not provoke so much emotion. Propaganda will get you everything - especially neo-nazi propaganda

      Mandingo Queen - 2013-06-12 11:33

      Why not extend this logic to "rape", "genocide", etc, they're after all terrible phrases?

      Mandingo Queen - 2013-06-13 06:58

      "oh yes, it does not provoke so much emotion."

      Larry - 2013-06-13 08:05

      There is no apartheid in Israel.

  • Jon Jones - 2013-06-12 10:18

    You really have to ask yourself. Do the 'Palestinians' really want peace and a home ?. Or is it really all about the 'waqf' and raising the black banner over 'Al-Quds' ?.

      Kallie Marie - 2013-06-12 10:34

      They really just want there land back that was taken by force

      Mandingo Queen - 2013-06-12 10:34

      Israel has never been for peace and will never be, they only use rhetoric under the guise of which they can continue to persecute Palestinians and steal their land. After all peace and borders are contradictory to their aims of expansion and establishing Eretz Israel.

  • Tiaan Liebenberg - 2013-06-12 10:20

    Violence, always violence. Guess it has to 'separateness' because they act the same way as a certain majority group down south in africa

      Tiaan Liebenberg - 2013-06-12 10:42

      @mango - never ever has land just been given to someone. Wars were fought (and still are) for land (countries were established that way!)

      Tiaan Liebenberg - 2013-06-12 10:46

      'palestine' had their chance in all their wars - they lost badly. It is time for them to return to their countries, oh yes, syria and jordan don't want them

      Mandingo Queen - 2013-06-12 10:52

      Sorry, Israel missed the colonialism boat by about a hundred years. The colonisation of others' land is not lawful now. One of the joys of arguing with imperialists (full-blown or crypto-) is the ease with which they can be got to say morally monstrous things!

  • Jerzy Bondov - 2013-06-12 10:21

    Way to go Adidas, Lenny, Stevie Wonder and Hawking and ,most of all Tutu. We salute you for siding with the oppressed.

      Boaz Yarmarkov - 2013-06-12 12:55

      Lol So oppressed they are, that they refuse peace. Paliwood

  • Mandingo Queen - 2013-06-12 10:21

    I have great hopes that the BDS movement will be instrumental in bringing the world to its senses regarding the injustices perpetrated by Israel.

      Larry - 2013-06-13 08:08

      You cannot bring a good country down.

  • Jon Jones - 2013-06-12 10:27

    Just had a good giggle. True to form like all of these sorts of hypocrites googling this character Barghouti turns up the fact that he did his masters degree in ...........Tel Aviv !!!! . You just could not make this up

  • Kallie Marie - 2013-06-12 10:31

    Why is there Jewish settlements in Palestinian land ? Look at the size of Israel , to the guys here talking about stealing land ... this is stealing land with the help of America

      James Vandermerwe - 2013-06-12 11:22

      Rather read up on all these issues, than looking at a map and forming an opinion! if it was only so simple.

      Mandingo Queen - 2013-06-12 11:37

      The problem Israel' supporters have is that they must somehow convince themselves that theft is a virtue and not a vice, or that no theft has occurred. Until they manage that Israel will be as easy to demonise as would any thief. There you go, I've just done it and without even trying!

      Larry - 2013-06-13 08:11

      Nothing has been stolen. There was no sovereign entity on this land to begin with. When Jordan annexed the West Bank illegally, Israel re-took it legally as a result of war against Isreal perpetrated by Jordan.

  • AllcoveredinNinjas - 2013-06-12 10:46

    These people have no interest in peace , no interest in the welfare of Palestinians , no interest in territory and borders , no interest in dialog and engagement , no interest in self determination and certainly no interest in peace talks . Their only interest is in the destruction of the Jewish state and the eradication of the Jewish people from the region . Nazi progeny in a culture of unchallenged fanatical hate . " What can men do against such reckless hate?"

      Mandingo Queen - 2013-06-12 10:57

      I think Israelis have earned Palestinian hatred fairly and squarely over the years! Do you think that if Mongolians had abused the Palestinians for nearly three generations that they would instead chant death to the Mongolians!

      Warren - 2013-06-12 11:18

      I agree that neither party seems interested in peace. If there was less bigotry from both sides whether this ends in a two state or one state solution would be immaterial. Would Israel oppress a peaceful Palestine that she controlled? Would Palestine continue to attack Israel if she felt hard done by in the two state deal, or would they be willing to accept that peace has some sacrifices?

      Jimmy Don - 2013-06-12 11:29

      @ Ninja, I concur , peace is not part of their agenda , even when Yasser Arrafat was offered 90% of their "so called land" back during the camp David accords it was rejected out of hand. The Palestinians can only blame themselves for any of the hardships they suffer and this is mainly due to their reckless leadership and extreme hatred for the legitimate state of Israel.

      AllcoveredinNinjas - 2013-06-12 11:45

      Yip three transnational existential wars launched against Israel is endearing , then launching campaigns of terror against its civilian's. Openly calling for its destruction and the eradication of the Jews as principle policy, the decades long threat of violent efforts to your right to exist and continued attack by voting blocks at trans-national hate forums guised as international conferences. Perpetual hate propaganda but any attempt to distance yourself from this is a assault on their human rights , rights which never were ,aren't and never will be reciprocated .

      Mandingo Queen - 2013-06-12 12:04

      Jimmy, the "Palestinian Papers" are proof for all the apologists like you who fill their mouths time and again screaming that Arabs (meaning the Palestinians) don't want peace. The papers show the extent of Israel's greed, arrogance and intransigence. But they also confirm that, no matter what the Palestinians offered, no matter how many of Israel's (and the US's) pre-conditions they met, Israel's answer is still the same(NO). So it's always funny to hear the same old hasbara apologists repeat "they have no partner", and parrot about "missing opportunities". It is clear that Israel has never been interested in creating a sovereign state for the Palestinians. All they want is to keep the status quo, deflect international criticism by pretending to negotiate, and go on with their land grab until they settle the whole West Bank with Jewish settlers (Palestinians conveniently confined in reservations/Bantustans, out of sight and tightly controlled). Some bedtime reading for you Jimmy, hopefully you don't resort to a trick honed by infants the world over, preferring to stick your fingers in your ears!

      Jimmy Don - 2013-06-12 16:34

      Dear Mandingo for someone with such a fine command of the English language and I must add, good grammar skills, you sure a have a poor grasp of international matters & affairs add to that history in general..

      Mandingo Queen - 2013-06-12 16:45

      That is a meaningless non sequitar. If you want to be taken seriously I suggest you don't accuse others of "having a poor grasp of international matters" while not offering up your own. Knock us out, lay out your uber complex counter argument.

      Themba Mazibuko - 2013-06-13 07:12

      Mandingo - when you refer to “Arabs” do you mean muslims as more then60% of the Israeli population is Arab ?

      Larry - 2013-06-13 08:13

      Good point Themba. Actually, 60% of the Jewish population is Arab Jew and 20% is Muslim Arab Israeli citizens, making 80% Arab population of Israel.

      Mandingo Queen - 2013-06-13 08:53

      An Arab is someone who speaks Arabic. I have no idea what is the relevance of this question. Go and learn what a straw man is!

      Larry - 2013-06-13 11:04

      Arab Muslim Israeli citizens speak Hebrew. This does not make them any less an Arab. Those that have emmigrated to London, Germany and France speak their host country language, and still they are Arabs. Arab Jews spoke Arabian in their mean host countries before they were banished.

  • Neil Gordon - 2013-06-12 10:57

    Is Lenny Kravitz also boycotting the 10 other European countries who's concerts he had to cancel on the same tour?

  • Tim Upham - 2013-06-13 01:54

    If peace talks are useless, then what are the alternatives? More intifadas? In the last intifadas, the death rate was 6 Palestinians to every 1 Israeli. No nation ever got its independence through rebellion. The Easter Rebellion was crushed in 1916, and Ireland did not negotiate its independence until 1921. The 9 year war for independence in Algeria accomplished nothing, and independence was finally negotiated in 1962. It almost French war hero Charles de Gaulle assassinated. There are no other alternatives to negotiation, rebellion will just lead to death and suffering.

      Larry - 2013-06-13 08:15

      On Israel's terms only. Even my five year old knows that 'you get what you get' and only if you behave yourself.

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