Palestinians reject “normalization” with Israel:
Palestinian artists warned
they would be “expelled” from union
if they participated in Israeli cultural festival in Jerusalem
- “The union rejects the participation of any Palestinian artist in the rally, and it will expel any artist who is proven to have participated in any ceremony or festival whose goal is to create normalization with the occupation”
Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
In accordance with the Palestinian Authority’s policy of rejecting any joint event or peace building activity with Israel - referred to as “normalization” - the General Union of Palestinian Expressionist Artists demanded that Palestinian artists not participate in the Mekudeshet Festival in Jerusalem last month.
Before the festival, the union of Palestinian artists announced that it would “expel” any Palestinian artist who participated in the festival:
“The General Union of Palestinian Expressionist Artists has demanded that all artists not participate in the festival as it is a normalization festival that serves the Israeli agendas.
Secretary of the Artists' Union Musa Al-Hafez said to [the independent Palestinian news agency] Wattan that ‘The union rejects the participation of any Palestinian artist in the rally, and it will expel any artist who is proven to have participated in any ceremony or festival whose goal is to create normalization with the occupation.'”
[Wattan, independent Palestinian news agency, Sept. 7, 2017]
Palestinian Media Watch has previously documented similar examples of the PA’s rejection of joint events between Palestinians and Israelis. After the Gaza War in 2014, Palestinian boys met with Israeli boys to play football. This bridge building activity was described by PA sports official Jibril Rajoub as “a crime against humanity”:
Jibril Rajoub, then Deputy Secretary of Fatah's Central Committee and Head of the Palestinian Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs:
"Any activity of normalization in sports with the Zionist enemy is a crime against humanity."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 8, 2014]
When a Sudanese minister recently spoke in favor of “normalization with Israel,” his statements led to “Palestinian anger” and “condemnation”:
Headline: “Palestinian anger over the statements of the Sudanese minister of ‘normalization’”
“The Palestinian factions condemned the harmful statements of Sudanese Minister of Investment Mubarak Al-Mahdi against the Palestinian people today, Thursday [Aug. 24, 2017].
Al-Mahdi supported establishing ties between his country and Israel, and normalizing the bilateral ties between them, during an interview with a Sudanese satellite [TV] station. He explained that he does not see any obstacle to having normalization with Israel, and claimed that ‘The Palestinians have sold their lands and scorn the Sudanese in the Gulf states.’
He also claimed that ‘The Palestinian cause has held the Arab world back greatly,’ and that ‘Some of the Arab regimes have used it as an excuse and trafficked in it.’”
[Wattan, independent Palestinian news agency, Aug. 24, 2017]
In an interview with Sudania 24 TV on Aug. 20, 2017, Sudanese Minister of Investment Mubarak Al-Mahdi said: “There is no problem normalizing relations with Israel; the Palestinians normalized relations with Israel, even Hamas is talking to Israel. The Palestinians receive tax money from Israel and electricity from Israel. The Palestinians sit with Israel and talk to Israel. They have disputes but they sit with them.” He also stated that: “The Arab countries trafficked in the Palestinian issue for domestic purposes. The Palestinian issue has held back the Arab world and Arab regimes are taking advantage of it to oppress their own peoples in the name of the struggle for Palestine.” [Haaretz, Aug. 22, 2017]
Read more examples of the PA and Fatah's rejection of "normalization with the enemy" in PMW’s archives.
The following is a longer excerpt of the article about the Palestinian Artist Union’s boycott of the Israeli festival:
Headline: "Palestinian calls to boycott the Mekudeshet normalization festival in Jerusalem"
"While preparations are being made for the opening of the Mekudeshet [Art] Festival in occupied Jerusalem this evening, Thursday [Sept. 7, 2017], the voices demanding to boycott the festival because it is considered normalization are growing stronger.
The [Palestinian] Artists' Union: Whoever is proven to have participated will be expelled
The General Union of Palestinian Expressionist Artists has demanded that all artists not participate in the festival as it is a normalization festival that serves the Israeli agendas.
Secretary of the Artists' Union Musa Al-Hafez said to [the independent Palestinian news agency] Wattan that ‘The union rejects the participation of any Palestinian artist in the rally, and it will expel any artist who is proven to have participated in any ceremony or festival whose goal is to create normalization with the occupation.'
He noted that the union grants membership to Palestinians within the Green Line (i.e., Palestinian term for Israel; the Green Line is the ceasefire line between Israel and the neighboring Arab countries, 1949-1967), but it will need to distance any artist that participates in the festival's events.
The Season of Culture is not registered with the [PA] Ministry of Culture
Wattan was notified by the [PA] Ministry of Culture that the Season of Culture institution, which is organizing the festival (an institution formed for the sole purpose of producing the Mekudeshet Festival -Ed.) and whose headquarters are in Jerusalem, is not listed with the Palestinian Ministry of Culture.
The ministry announced that they were not notified about the rally at all and learned about it from the media outlets, and it rejects the existence of any event whose purpose is to create normalization with the Israeli occupation.
Boycott the Jerusalem Festival!
Surfers on social media launched the hashtag #Boycott_the_Mekudeshet_Festival and demanded that the Palestinian and international artists and bands that are participating immediately revoke their decision [to do so].
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott [of Israel] PACBI called on singers to cancel their participation in the cultural evening that will be held as part of the festival in occupied Jerusalem.
The campaign called in its notice to 'all of the following Palestinian bands and singers: Kamel Suleiman, Muhammad Al-Mughrabi, Muhammad Hindi, Salameh Barham, Firas Salameh, and Raed Bassam Jabid to cancel their participation in the [cultural] evening that will be held on Thursday with the participation of Israelis and Palestinians under the name All Of Us as part of the Israeli Mekudeshet Festival that will be held in the neighborhoods of occupied Jerusalem.'
The BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] movement described this participation as 'a new attempt to use Palestinian artists as fig leaves in order to beautify the occupation’s image before the world and to cover its crimes against our people everywhere, and in occupied Jerusalem in particular.’"
[Wattan, independent Palestinian news agency, Sept. 7, 2017]
Green Line - 1949-1967 ceasefire line between Israel and the neighboring Arab countries (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria) following Israel's War of Independence (1948-1949). Land within the Green Line is all part of the State of Israel since 1949. Land outside the Green Line includes East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights.