Bethlehem 7 July 2012 – Following UNESCO’s decision to recognize the Church of the Nativity as a world heritage site in "Palestine," the Palestinians celebrated the event with the greatest false pomp and hyperbole.
PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said the inclusion is “the most remarkable event on the path of Palestinian state-building since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority.”
Speaking from the podium in front of Manger Square in Bethlehem, Fayyad said that UNESCO’s decision is important as it evidences an international acknowledgment of Palestinian sovereignty over their land in the pre-1967 lines.
“It’s a recognition of our people, who deserve and are able to protect this humane heritage that Bethlehem and its jewel, the Nativity Church, represent,” he added.
Fayyad called on the UN’s institutions to protect the Palestinian people, land, holy places and human heritage from the Israeli “occupation” and “terror” of the Jewish State's settlers.
“Here we are from the heart of Bethlehem where we overlook the Aksa mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of our future state,” he said.
The extreme falsehood and hypocrisy of Fayyad’s statements only underline the degree to which the entire Palestine outlook on peace with Israel is false, theatrical and characterized by virtual reality – not reality as it is generally defined and understood by humanity at large.
Virtual reality as commonly defined and understood is essentially a phenomenon related to computer games, with numerous bells and whistles and sophisticated visual effects that attempt to give an effective illusion of reality. The expression "virtual reality" has another definition however that emanates from the period before computers proliferated in the world.
The term "virtual reality" can be traced back to the French playwright, poet, actor, and director Antonin Artaud. In his seminal book "The Theatre and Its Double" (1938), Artaud described theatre as "la réalite virtuelle," a virtual reality in which, in Erik Davis's words, "characters, objects, and images take on the phantasmagoric force of alchemy's visionary internal dramas." Artaud claimed that the "perpetual allusion to the materials and the principle of the theater found in almost all alchemical books should be understood as the expression of an identity [...] existing between the world in which the characters, images, and in a general way all that constitutes the virtual reality of the theater develops, and the purely fictitious and illusory world in which the symbols of alchemy are evolved."
Theater and the magical universe of alchemy – the key elements in Artaud’s definition of virtual reality -- have also become the key elements in the Palestinian side’s approach to negotiations with Israel, and also in general their relationship with the whole world. These relationships have boiled down essentially to a series of theatrical or magical tricks that have no basis in reality and cannot achieve anything for the Palestinians. But they do these things anyway out of a strong desire to stab Israel in the back.
The most recent Palestinian trick, and betrayal, was their successful bid to have Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity recognized by UNESCO as located in Palestine.
In terms of reality as people everywhere understand it, UNESCO’s identifying the Nativity Church as a heritage site located in Palestine is completely meaningless. It was also meaningless when UNESCO voted to include Palestine as a full member state in the organization. The Palestinian Authority’s feverish exertions in the UN to obtain member status there are also meaningless. Through doing these things the Palestinians are not dealing with reality as people everywhere understand it – but a malicious virtual reality whose meaningless elements are aimed to ambush Israel diplomatically. Claiming that the Christian faith’s holy shrine in Bethlehem is located in Palestine is no different than claiming it is located in Los Angeles. Both claims are false, of course. But there is a burning desire in the Palestinian community and the Palestinian leadership to take any measures virtually imaginable to harm Israel diplomatically. But these tactics also are meaningless because essentially they just roll off Israel’s back and achieve absolutely nothing for the Palestinians.
Prior to UNESCO’s recognizing the existence of the Nativity Church in Palestine, UNESCO also took the outrageous and groundless step to recognize Palestine as a full member state in the organization.
The step cost UNESCO one-quarter of its yearly budget — the 22 percent contributed by the United States (about $70 million) plus another 3 percent contributed by Israel. Victoria Nuland, a State Department spokeswoman, said that American contributions to UNESCO, including $60 million scheduled immediately, would not be paid.
It goes without saying Palestine is not a state. It only exists as a state in the collective Palestinian consciousness. Maneuvering to obtain recognition in UNESCO is a virtual, theatrical, and alchemical step that has no basis in reality and no influence in the real world. It achieves absolutely nothing for the Palestinians. But on account of their burning desire to abuse and malign Israel diplomatically they doggedly pursue these virtual theatrical and alchemical maneuvers come what may.
The maneuver (failed) that the Palestinians have been pursuing for the longest time is their effort to achieve statehood status in the UN. Their diplomatic campaign worldwide began in 2009, at which time Palestinian representatives heavily lobbied the world’s governments to support their bid for UN statehood status. However the process is not so simple. The UN Security Council has to vote approval for membership status and the US has advised it opposes the Palestinian move. So there is no hope that the Palestinians will achieve statehood status in the UN. It seems they sometimes toss up the possibility of circumventing the UNSC and taking their appeal directly to the General Assembly. But if they do this it will have no effective standing precisely because the UNSC has to approve the move and the UNSC is not a viable option. The only state the Palestinians will achieve in the UN is a state of mind. Plus the unfortunate pleasure the Palestinians derive from causing Israel diplomatic damage. They surely know their UN maneuvers will yield no positive results. But they pursue them anyway precisely because they need to cause Israel harm. No matter what.
Last but not least, the most theatrical and alchemical step the Palestinians have taken toward their virtual statehood aims relates to a special chair that was constructed about a year ago and was supposed to represent Palestine in the UN and in a special round the world journey.
Thirty-five Palestinian artists from the West Bank created the chair in support of the Palestinian state recognition bid at the UN, and they sent it to different countries around the world in support of the move.
The chair was also made in 48 hours, to represent the "Nakba" or catastrophe of 1948 when thousands of Palestinian were forced or left their homes in what is now Israel.
It traveled to Qatar and Lebanon, who were soon-to-be presidents of the General Assembly and Security Council, respectively.
Following that trip, the chair made its way to Russia, France, and the United Kingdom, all permanent members of the Security Council.
After a stint in Spain and Brazil, the olive-wood chair ended its theatrical alchemical journey at the United Nations in New York.
Is the Palestine Talisman Chair a symbol of something or a farce, the effort of a people who aspires to obtain something but refuses to behave in rational acceptable ways to achieve it? This is not a rhetorical question. The Palestinians’ behavior for the past three years has slammed the door on bilateral negotiations with Israel precisely because they believe their bread is buttered unilaterally in the UN. Unfortunately, UN and UNESCO officials and other world leaders do nothing to roundly condemn the false and useless Palestinian maneuvers in the UN. The Palestinians have been given a clear playing field on the international arena, and continue to entertain the fantasy that these maneuvers will achieve something for them. But they won’t, and the only thing they repeatedly achieve is planting a diplomatic knife squarely in Israel’s back. On that basis there will be no peace and no settlement on any plane. In order for negotiations to succeed both sides need to have a measure of good will, and the Palestinian side has none.
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