The Palestinian Weaponization of Language

One of the frustrations of “peace processing,” as it has been practiced by various Israeli governments and American administrations, is that there are systematic ambiguities in the way important concepts are understood by the two sides. The Palestinian ideology, like the Marxism of their sometime advocates in the Soviet intelligence services, has a jargon in which words do not mean what they mean to someone outside of the circle. Naturally, this leads to difficulties in negotiation.

This is not a problem for the Israeli Right (where I place myself). We of the Right know that the dispute cannot be “solved” in a manner acceptable to both sides. We understand that the objectives of Zionism and Palestinianism contradict one another: Zionism insists upon a sovereign Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael, while Palestinianism demands that all of the land from the river to the sea be under Arab control. The Right realizes that there can be no common ground, and that the conflict will end only when one people disappears from the land, and the other is fully sovereign.

It is not a problem for most Palestinian Arabs, either. They too understand that there can be no possible accommodation with the Jews. They know what they mean by the terms in question; and if they can make progress toward their goal by allowing their counterparts to misunderstand them, they are not motivated to go out of their way to make themselves better understood.

This is not to say that they try very hard to hide their beliefs, their ideology, and their objective. From the maps that show only “Palestine” from the river to the sea, to the speeches of their leaders, the editorials in their newspapers, even the candid comments of Israeli and Palestinian Arabs, they cleave consistently to their historical narrative, their self-righteous victimhood, their blazing anger and shame, and their aspiration and expectation that some day they will rid the land of Jews.

The linguistic confusions that I refer to become important when “moderate” Israelis and their American patrons begin to try to square the ideological circle and try to negotiate with the Palestinians for an end to the conflict. Although I had hoped that this futile enterprise would not reoccur after the failures of the Obama Administration, it seems to be raising its head again in the age of Biden.

So here are some of the important words and phrases and their special Palestinian meanings.

Term

Usual Meaning

Palestinian Meaning

Occupation

Military control of territory of a belligerent country.

Any Jewish sovereignty between the river and the sea. “The Occupation” began in 1948.

Palestine (political entity)

The political entity that existed between 1920 and 1948 under British mandatory government.

An Arab country, coextensive with Israel, presently occupied by Jewish colonialists.

State of Israel

A country established in 1948 upon the termination of the British Mandate.

An illegitimate entity squatting on Palestinian land. Not a real country.

Settler

An Israeli citizen living in disputed areas.

Any Israeli Jew.

Resistance to occupation

Organized opposition to belligerent occupation.

Organized terrorism against Jews, mostly civilians.

Popular resistance

Ad hoc opposition to belligerent occupation.

Ad hoc terrorism against Jews.

Nonviolent popular resistance

Ad hoc opposition to belligerent occupation that does not include physical violence.

Ad hoc terrorism against Jews with weapons other than guns or explosives (rocks, knives, firebombs, automobiles, etc. are permitted).

Apartheid

A race-based system of separation and discrimination imposed by law that encompasses all political and social interactions between people, such as existed in South Africa before 1993.

Differences in rights enjoyed by Israeli citizens and non-citizen Arabs in the territories, including those under control of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas.

Genocide

Deliberately bringing about the physical destruction of a “national, ethnical [sic], racial or religious group” (1948 convention on genocide).

Israeli restrictions or actions by security forces in response to Palestinian terrorism.

Legitimate rights of the Palestinian people

Human and political rights in accordance with UN charter and applicable international treaties. In particular, there is no “right of return” in international law.

Sovereignty over all the land and ownership of all property therein. “Return” of approximately 5 million descendants of 1948 Arab refugees to the places from which their ancestors came, or compensation.

Two-state solution

Partition of the area administered by Israel between the Jordan and the Mediterranean and establishment of a peaceful Palestinian entity alongside Israel, according to principle of “two states for two peoples.” Both sides give up claims on the other’s territory. End of conflict.

Temporary expedient until “legitimate rights” can be obtained. Areas liberated by Israel in 1967 to be vacated by Jews; right of return or compensation for refugees to be recognized with timetable for implementation; Jerusalem to be divided; sovereign Palestinian state to be established with capital in Jerusalem. Formula of “two states for two peoples” not accepted: Palestinians do not give up their claims for full legitimate rights as defined above.

The ambiguities listed above, and others, make negotiations (or any discourse) with Palestinians or their supporters difficult or impossible. The replacement of substantive discourse by the repetition of ideological cant is deliberate, because the goal of the Palestinian movement is not accommodation or compromise, but the destruction of the Jewish state, the death or dispersion of its Jewish residents, and the establishment of an Arab state from the river to the sea.

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1 Response to The Palestinian Weaponization of Language

  1. jack6543 says:

    This wording is very important and should be publicized everywhere as most people do not recognize the different meanings and just assume that Arab meanings of English words are the same as Western meanings of English words.

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