In a shocking statement, Maen Areikat, the “ambassador” of the unelected, unrepresentative Palestinian Authority/PLO leadership, has reportedly espoused Israel’s brutal vision of apartheid and racial segregation.
Even worse, his comments provide support for Israeli leaders who advocate expulsion of Palestinian citizens of Israel.
WASHINGTON – The Palestine Liberation Organization’s ambassador to the United States said Tuesday that any future Palestinian state it seeks with help from the United Nations and the United States should be free of Jews.
“After the experience of the last 44 years of military occupation and all the conflict and friction, I think it would be in the best interest of the two people to be separated,” Maen Areikat, the PLO ambassador, said during a meeting with reporters sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor. He was responding to a question about the rights of minorities in a Palestine of the future.
Anti-Palestinian propagandists are trying to spin this comment as being anti-Jewish, as the newspaper reports:
Such a state would be the first to officially prohibit Jews or any other faith since Nazi Germany, which sought a country that was judenrein, or cleansed of Jews, said Elliott Abrams, a former U.S. National Security Council official.
However, the real victims of the PA/PLO’s espousal of apartheid will not be Jews – whom the PA already conceded would remain in settlements to be annexed to Israel – but Palestinian citizens of Israel.
For years, Israeli leaders including foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman and Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni have openly espoused the “transfer” of the 1.4 million Palestinian citizens of Israel to a putative Palestinian “state.” Israel now demands that Palestinians specifically recognize it as a “Jewish state” – granting special and better rights to Jews at the expense of non-Jewish native people.
The Palestine Papers released by Al Jazeera early this year showed that Israeli officials constantly pushed for “land swaps” in negotiations with the PA which would have forced Palestinian citizens of Israel into a Palestinian mini-state.
Unless Areikat, who has no legitimate mandate to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people, repudiates these comments, expect to see Israeli officials quoting them in support of their plans to expel the Palestinians from Haifa, Jaffa, Acre and the Galilee in pursuit of their racist vision of an ethnically pure “Jewish state.”
Update: Areikat backs away from remarks
In a follow up interview with The Huffington Post, Areikat has attempted to clarify and back away from his remarks. The Huffington Post also states:
A tape recording of Areikat’s remarks from the on-the-record breakfast Wednesday morning, sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, shows that his words were more nuanced than first reported: He described the terms as his “personal” view, and specified that this situation would apply “at first,” not in perpetuity.
According to the tape recording, Areikat had said:
Well, you know, I think - I still believe, I personally still believe that as a first step we need to be totally separated, and we can contemplate these issues in the future. But after the experience of the last 44 years of military occupation and all the conflict and friction I think it would be in the best interests of the two peoples to be separated at first.
Despite these clarifications, Areikat’s emphasis on people being “totally separated” plays into the hands of racist Israeli politicians who insist that hafrada – the Hebrew term for “separation” which can of course be translated as “apartheid” – is the only way to “peace.”