News from the Arab Press

Priti Patel’s and Israel’s Strategy Against The Palestinians

By Asaf Zilberfarb | The Media Line

November 14, 2017

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Al-Masry al-Youm, Egypt, November 9

Last week, Britain’s International Aid Minister Priti Patel stepped down after admitting that she had secretly met with Israeli officials during a private holiday abroad. Patel kept her meetings off the books, conveying information about them to neither her own colleagues nor to the British Foreign Office. But what is more interesting about her resignation is what it reveals about the Israeli government’s strategy; first, to demonize the Palestinians and second to mask its actions by pursuing “grassroots” peace initiatives. A core focus of Patel’s was to fight alleged incitement in Palestinian textbooks. Under her leadership, the British Ministry of International Development threatened to withhold funding earmarked for Palestinian institutions unless the Palestinian Authority ceased its payments to prisoners in Israeli jails. It also demanded a review of Palestinian school curricula being funded with British money. In doing so, Patel drew a moral equivalence between Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestinian lands and the content of Palestinian books—as if the two were equal. Israel’s refusal to allow the formation of an independent Palestinian state in any form has been trivialized by placing blame on Palestinian incitement. Additionally, in order to silence European critics who are concerned by the status quo, Israel has relied on offices like the one run by Patel to fund local peace programs between Jews and Arabs, which looks great on paper (and in photos) but does nothing to end the occupation. Instead, they divert attention away from the racist policies of the Israeli government. Patel was a big supporter of such programs and, coupled with pressure from the Israel lobby, she helped mask Israel’s brutal oppression of the Palestinians. Her departure is a true triumph for the Palestinians and all those who promote human rights. – Muhammad al-Ramihi

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