'When the President of Israel and the Jewish son-in-law of the President of the United States make surprisingly thoughtless statements about Palestine, they show us just how deliberately ignorant of history they are — and how uncaring they are for Palestinian suffering at a deeply subconscious level.
Hatim Kanaaneh, Palestinian doctor and author of A Doctor in Galilee: The Life and Struggle of a Palestinian in Israel and a collection of short stories entitled Chief Complaint, doesn’t know what to make of Reuven Rivlin’s slip of the tongue in addressing his guest Mohammad Kiwan, the chairman of the Council of Muslim Leaders in Israel, at an iftar (breaking the fast) meal the Israeli president hosted at his home in celebration of Ramadan. Rivlin says to the Palestinian (with a straight face, apparently), “Your Home Is My Home.”
Kanaaneh imagines Sheikh Kiwan responding: “Had you left it standing in Damoun (Kiwan’s village), you would be welcome to enter it.” Kanaanah goes on to “try to exonerate [Rivlin] of any conscious malicious intent.”
I wish I could do the same for Jared Kushner’s calculated, ignorant and orientalist comment in an interview about the deal to liquidate Palestinian claim to their homeland:
“Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner said in an interview that the Palestinians aren’t yet able to govern themselves and declined to promise them an independent state in the White House’s long-awaited Mideast peace plan.”
Malicious intent is all over that statement. He goes on to add condescendingly,
“The hope is that they over time will become capable of governing.”
When Kushner says Palestinians are not ready “to govern themselves”, he is really calling upon their hasbara carefully-manufactured image as terrorists. Given Palestinian history of denial and desperation, they are not to be trusted, he is saying. They have yet to accept “civilized” behavior — i.e., mask their rage and pain — and reject “uncivilized behavior.”
Kushner’s statements are so outrageous, I hardly know where to begin to address them. Let me start almost exactly a hundred years ago when the Turks lost Palestine in 1918 and their rule was replaced by a “British Mandate”, an agreement between the Allied Powers in 1923, which also incorporated the ambiguous terms of the Balfour Declaration of 1917. Ever since then, Palestinian Arabs understood that the phrase “Jewish national home” with its religious connotations in the Declaration was merely a euphemism for a Jewish settler-colonial state and that ‘article 2’ of the Mandate, with its reference to “self-governing institutions”, was a fraud.'
Read more: Washington’s “Malicious Intent”: Trump and Son-in-Law Kushner’s “Deliberate” Ignorance of Palestinian History