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Home > English > Website archives > Rainbow of Crisis > The Case against Normalization


The Case against Normalization

Tuesday 4 September 2007, by Nassar Ibrahim and Michael Warschawski

Last week at the United Nations sponsored NGO Network for a Palestinian-Israeli Peace, the key word was definitely “unity.” That call for unity is coming from the very core of Palestinian society and its national institutions, as an answer to the US-Israeli attempts to provoke splits and divisions. Keeping unity is not only a demand to be addressed to the national leadership and the various political parties, but also a call to preserve the political platform around which a broad Palestinian consensus has been defined throughout the years.

It is precisely when the national movement is in crisis and the pressures on its unity are growing, that the need to almost fanatically keep the political borders fixed by that national movement is most urgent. Individual initiatives challenging the national consensus are playing right into the hands of the US-Israeli offensive; sometimes they are even directed by them.

One of the red lines established by the Palestinian national movement, and fully endorsed by all the Palestinian movements, parties and NGOs, was the unambiguous rejection of normalization with Israeli institutions, businesses and organizations. Normalization—Tatbiyeh, in Arabic—means collaboration with Israeli institutions aimed at creating the impression of normality, while the context remains one of Israeli military occupation and the depriving of fundamental rights for the Palestinian people. During the Oslo process, and even more so after its failure, tens of millions of dollars and euros were invested by the international community in order to create this false impression of normality, while occupation and its crimes continued and the colonization of the occupied Palestinian territories was growing like mushrooms after a rain. This orchestrated mystification plan was strongly rejected by the entire Palestinian society and its national bodies, and the few Palestinian individuals who dared to cross the line of normalization, were immediately called to order.

Of course, rejection of normalization did not mean the stopping of cooperation with Israeli organizations and movements that were involved in the struggle against occupation and colonization. In that struggle, Palestinians and Israeli anti-occupation forces have been united and will continue to be united.

The present weakness of the Palestinian movement and its internal division gives opportunities for US/European sponsored attempts to try today what failed 10 years ago, using huge sums of money to seduce Palestinian organizations to break the rules, and increase Palestinian disunity. This is how an organization like Panorama is ready to openly cooperate with an Israeli organization that, to say the least, in not at the forefront of the struggle for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. The Peres Center for Peace is, as its name indicates, connected to Shimon Peres, who has been—until being elected President of the State of Israel—a central actor in the Israeli government. Throughout the past decades, Peres has been either Prime Minister or a cabinet minister in various occupation-governments. More recently, he was Deputy Prime Minister in the government that initiated and led the last aggression against Lebanon. You cannot be for peace and participate in a war/occupation government; or, more precisely, WE should unmask such hypocrisy and definitely not collaborate with it. It is politically unacceptable, and morally disgusting.

Shimon Peres is definitely an enemy of the Palestinian people, of human rights and of peace, and any kind of collaboration by a Palestinian organization with the Peres Center is scandalous. In order to break the boycott, organizations like the Peres Center are offering to Palestinian organizations large amounts of money, which, in the difficult days we are in, could tempt a few of them. The Palestinian civil society can be proud that the great majority of its organization cannot be bribed or corrupted!

The collaboration of Panorama with the Peres Center has been strongly and publicly denounced by PNGO, which represent the great majority of Palestinian civil society organizations. Though it is true that Panorama is a quite irrelevant NGO inside the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel—very few, in fact, have even heard about it, and it has been totally external to any mobilization or substantial political action—the fact that it is opening a breach in the national consensus within Palestinian civil society must be unequivocally denounced.