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Arab journalists in Israel

Jul 23,2019 - Last updated at Jul 23,2019

In an unprecedented move, six journalists from various Arab countries will flock to Israel for several meetings with top Israeli officials. According to a statement from the Israeli foreign ministry, the delegation will visit the Israeli Holocaust Museum (Yad Vashem), the Knesset and other holy sites. Interestingly, the foreign ministry statement says, the goal of the visit is to "expose the journalists, some of whom come from countries that Israel has no relations with, to Israeli positions on political and geographical issues, and give them a direct view of Israeli society in all its forms."

I think that those journalists have already received consent from their own governments. The question in this case is whether these countries decided to put the cart before the horse. The visit reveals that these countries are not at loggerheads with Israel as these countries have been saying for decades. It is not as if Israel does not understand that. On the contrary, Israeli leaders understand very well that their unwillingness to help resolve the conflict with the Palestinians goes without any price tag. Needless to say, Israeli leaders believe that their country is being rewarded. It is no secret that some Arab countries seek an alliance with Israel to stand up to Iran and its influence in the region.

I do not know what these reporters are going to write when they get back to their countries. But the fact remains that Israel occupies Palestinian land and without an Israeli withdrawal peace will not see the light. Israel needs to understand that no amount of journalists can change the public opinion in the Arab world about the absolute right of the Palestinians to self-determination. Suffice it here to pay attention to the Algerian fans who chanted for Palestine even when they were celebrating their football team’s victory in the African tournament.

Perhaps the journalists will write about Yad Vashem and Jews’ persecution in Europe.  Of course, “anti-Semitism” was a dominant phenomenon in Europe. But, this does not justify Israeli occupation to the Palestinian land. In this case, Palestinians are fighting tooth and nail to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination. Interestingly, Israelis — who want the world to acknowledge their sufferings in Europe — are the impediment. In brief, no number of journalists or normalisation will ever change the historical facts. Besides, those journalists will gain nothing but the stigma of normalisation.

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