Several top Fatah members have appeared in a set of videos, designed to promote themselves as partners for peace, to a sceptical Israeli public.
The videos, made by the Geneva Initiative, an NGO promoting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, features the Chief Palestinian Negotiator, Saeb Erekat, the Secretary General of the PLO Executive Committee, Yasser Abed Rabbo, member of the Fatah Central Committee, Jibril Rajoub, Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riad Maliki, and a former member of the Palestinian negotiating team, Sufyan Abu Zaidah.
The Palestinian officials, some speaking in Hebrew, and some in English, seek to project to the Israeli public their commitment to a lasting peace with Israel, and the two-state solution.
With soothing music being played in the background, Erekat states that the aim is “saving the lives of Israelis and Palestinians,” whilst Maliki wishes to “end the suffering, on both sides.”
The officials reflect on the problems that have occurred in the past, and the missed opportunities, with Maliki talking about how the two sides should “think about the future, not the past.”
Gadi Baltiansky, the Israeli Director General of the Geneva Initiative, said that the initiative showed that there is a partner, a point stressed in each video, with the officials ending with the line “I am your partner … are you mine?”
The reaction from the Israeli public is, as of yet, unknown. Jibril Rajoub spent 17 years in Israeli prisons, and is still mistrusted, described in the Israeli newspaper, Yediot Ahranot, as having a “problematic past,” and an “aggressive tone.”
The reaction from the Palestinian public will, most likely, be a lot clearer. The line from Erekat, “I know we have disappointed you,” has been seized upon by opponents as evidence of the Fatah regimes supposed subservience to the Israelis. The apparent grovelling will not go down well amongst the Arab street.
On his blog, Lebanese-American professor, As’ad Abu Khalil, describes the videos as “pathetic,” an opinion which may be shared by many across Palestine, and the wider Middle East region.
The reader is reminded that this all comes in the week of the resumption of direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials, the first since December 2008. It also comes as four Israeli settlers were killed in attacks by Hamas’ armed wing in the West Bank, and the deaths of Palestinians in attacks by the Israeli air force on the Gaza Strip.
To view the videos, follow the link here.
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