“Palestinian government” dies, an oxymoron is born

Isn’t there a contradiction between having your own government, and “struggling to survive” under foreign “occupation”? Of course there is. The contradiction is as plain as day. It’s just that nobody ever talks about it.

Att'y Stephen M. Flatow, | updated: 06:55

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S. Flatow
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“Palestinian Government Resigns,” a New York Times headline announced this week. It must have been quite a surprise to Times readers to learn that there was such a thing as a Palestinian government, since until now, all they have heard —in the Times and other major news media— is that Israel “occupies” the Palestinian Arabs.

Just last week, in fact, the Times featured an essay by pundit Michelle Alexander about what she called “the Palestinian people struggling to survive under Israeli occupation.” It was 2,200 words long—that is, three times the size of an average op-ed. Space is at a premium in the world’s most influential newspaper, but I guess when the editors at the Times feel a subject is really important, they can find the space they need.

So ask yourself: Isn’t there a contradiction between having your own government, and “struggling to survive” under foreign “occupation”? Of course there is. The contradiction is as plain as day. It’s just that nobody ever talks about it.

J Street, the Washington Post, and congress members like Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez never speak about the fact that the Palestinian Arabs already have a government—because that would conflict with their narrative about the “Israeli occupation.” And they need to promote the “occupation” lie in order to keep up the pressure on Israel to make more and more concessions. That’s how the game works.

And yet there you have it, the “Palestinian Government Resigns” headline staring us all in the face at our breakfast tables.

As one reads further into the Times’s account of the government resigning, the mysteries only increase. It turns out that the government resigned following “widespread street demonstrations” by Palestinian Arabs. Who knew? Not readers of the Times or other major U.S. newspapers. Palestinian demonstrations are newsworthy only if they’re anti-Israel. These demonstrations were against the Government-Whose-Existence-Must-Not-Be-Mentioned, over “a contentious social security law.”

A contentious social security law? How do Palestinian Arabs have the power to pass their own laws if they are “struggling to survive under occupation”? How can they have their own social security system? Oh, the contradictions!

Not only that, the Times belatedly informs its readers, but among the Palestinian Arabs there is “growing public resentment” over the fact that “there are no Palestinian elections on the horizon—the last national ballot took place over a decade go.”

If Israel was preventing Palestinian elections, it would be front page news. Day after day after day. But it’s the Palestinian Authority’s own chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, who is the denier of democracy. And news about Palestinian fascism is not fit to print.

The term “Palestinian Government” is really an oxymoron. No matter how much self-rule they enjoy, no matter how much foreign they receive, no matter how much free advice they get from their friends in the State Department they’re simply incapable of governing themselves.

Forced to report on the resignation of the Palestinian government, the Times was also forced to explain some of the background of the conflicts between Abbas and Hamas, which in turn forced the Times to grudgingly concede—in the 13th paragraph!—that Abbas has “authority [in] parts of the Israeli occupied-West Bank.”


Admitting that the Palestinian Authority already rules 98% of the Palestinian Arabs severely undercuts the demands for a Palestinian state. It’s the ultimate “inconvenient truth.” So they suppress it.
Wait—if Israel “occupies” it, how does Abbas have “authority” in it? Oxymoron alert! Notice, by the way, that the Times does not explain which “parts” Abbas rules. That’s because it doesn’t want readers to know that Abbas rules the parts where 98% of the Palestinian Arabs reside.

That 98% figure is the most dangerous fact of all. It’s the fact that is simply never mentioned—not by the major media, not by J Street or Americans for Peace Now, not by pro-Palestinian members of Congress or United Nations committees or the State Department crowd. Because admitting that the Palestinian Authority already rules 98% of the Palestinian Arabs severely undercuts the demands for a Palestinian state. It’s the ultimate “inconvenient truth.” So they suppress it.

I’m not saying it’s a conspiracy. I don’t believe that Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street huddles with the editors of the New York Times or aides to the UN Secretary General to plot out strategy. It’s just that they all agree an independent Palestinian Arab state has to be established as quickly as possible, with borders that would leave Israel nine miles wide. So they push the narrative that best suits their goal.

Unfortunately for them, the news sometimes gets in the way of their narrative. This week’s news that the Palestinian government has resigned really gets in the way. Because if after 25 years of almost complete self-rule, the Palestinians still cannot maintain a stable government, cannot manage to hold elections, cannot carry out any of the most basic functions of self-governance—well then, how in the world can they be trusted with a fully sovereign state?

Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. His book, “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror,” has just been published.




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