Until the denial of Palestinian rights ends, ‘political violence’ will continue — Munayyer explains on CNN

US Politics
on 33 Comments

On CNN yesterday, anchor Carol Costello interviewed Yousef Munayyer of the US Campaign Against the Occupation about “lone wolf attacks” on Israelis by Palestinians. You will see that the lead-in to her interview emphasized Israeli casualties, again and again. Munayyer began by correcting that imbalance, before explaining the causes of the violence in a way that Americans should understand it.

“It would be like reducing the conversation around race riots in the United States simply to condemnations on attacks on store owners without talking about the systematic racism that exists that underlies all of this, causing this kind of political violence.”

It is rare for Palestinians to get this type of exposure in mainstream media; and Munayyer typically handled the questions with restraint and pith. Some excerpts:

COSTELLO: Why is this happening now?

MUNNAYER: Well, you know, in your introduction to this you mentioned that seven Israelis have been killed since October 1st. I think it is also important to note that in the same period of time, 30 Palestinians have been killed, around 17 of them in the course of demonstrating against Israeli occupation. Some 1,300 and more have been injured by Israeli fire and 600 have been arrested.

These heavy-handed tactics Israel is using in response unfortunately only reinforces the very reasons that Palestinian discontent exists. And that’s the inequality and violence, really systematic violence of the Israeli occupation which has persisted now in the occupied territories for nearly half a century.

And the reason this has escalated most recently is because of Israeli policies in the epicenter of this issue. And that is in Jerusalem, particularly around the holy sites, as there are continued call for an increased Jewish presence, Jewish religious presence literally in the spot where the Noble sanctuary is. And a series —

COSTELLO: But still, Yousef — still, Yousef, I mean, is there any excuse for stabbings of random people, unarmed people simply walking down the street?

MUNNAYER: No, of course not. But if we reduced the conversation to that, it would be like reducing the conversation around race riots in the United States simply to condemnations on attacks on store owners without talking about the systematic racism that exists that underlies all of this, causing this kind of political violence.

So, I think we understand that here in the United States that there are more to these issues just in these random acts of violence. We have to look at what’s happening underneath, the system of inequality, the system of oppression.

COSTELLO: Let me ask you this question, because these attacks appear to have a no political agenda, supposedly they are being organized on social media. Doesn’t that also point to the idea that people in the Palestinian territories are not — are not satisfied with their own government, as in the Palestinian Authority? Because what’s it done for them lately.

MUNNAYER: Of course, Palestinians are not satisfied with their own government. And unfortunately a lot of that has to do with the fact that the government, the Palestinian Authority has staked its reputation on negotiations with Israel that have only resulted not in the promised independence and sovereignty of a Palestinian state but the deepening of occupation and expansion of settlements.

So, at a time when the Israelis really need the Palestinian Authority to have some sort of legitimacy with the Palestinian people, they found out that their very own policies have undercut that legitimacy. And the young people in the streets who are frustrated by Israeli occupation and don’t see any end to it are not going to be listening to leaders which have been rendered ineffective.

COSTELLO: Is that why Mahmoud Abbas didn’t come out and condemn the violence? Because he isn’t doing that. The Israelis accuse him of ratcheting up things.

MUNAYYER: Of course the Israelis are going to do accuse him of that, because it is very difficult for them to accept any responsibility for the situation.

COSTELLO: But he didn’t condemn the violence, he didn’t condemn the violence.

MUNAYYER: Look, if you are a Palestinian leader who is seeing all of the violence against your own people and you come out and you condemn violence against Israelis when there is no Israeli condemnation of the systematic violence that is inherent in occupation, you are only further de-legitimatizing yourself.

So, this is a two-way street here. The reality is that the situation on the ground is devastating for Palestinians and has been that way for decades. And to expect the Palestinian leader who’s been completely undercut by Israelis and by Washington in fact because of the failure of these negotiations is really probably not the smartest way to approach things.

COSTELLO: Well, my last question and it is a scary proposition. Could the dissatisfaction out there among Palestinian youth with their own government, could it force the collapse of the Palestinian Authority?

MUNAYYER: I think things have been headed in that direction for some time. You have to remember that the very reason for being for the Palestinian Authority was to transition the occupied Palestinian territories into an independent sovereign Palestinian state. But as we’ve had 20 years now or more of negotiations towards that end and nothing but a deepening of the occupation and expansion of settlements and no progress towards that state, the very reason for being for a Palestinian authority is being undercut.

Palestinians see a Palestinian Authority as being essentially a subcontractor for the Israeli occupation. That’s not the way to run a legitimate government that is going to transition to a state.

So, the bigger picture here is that until there is Palestinian independence, until there is an end to the denial of Palestinian rights, you are going to see an escalation of violence, sometimes escalated periods, sometimes less escalated periods.

But if there is a system of violence called occupation, these kinds of periods of Palestinian violence are also going to exist.

COSTELLO: Yousef Munayyer, thanks for your insight.

A friend pointed out yesterday that Israeli apologists are never questioned as sharply as Munayyer. That is surely the case; but hat’s off to Costello and CNN for having Munayyer on. The more media that give a platform to this type of understanding, the better off we will all be.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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33 Responses

  1. Boomer
    October 16, 2015, 12:16 pm

    Great. Munayyer was eloquent and restrained. It is too rare for MSM in the U.S. to allow such a perspective voice. As you conclude:

    “A friend pointed out yesterday that Israeli apologists are never questioned as sharply as Munayyer. That is surely the case; but hat’s off to Costello and CNN for having Munayyer on. The more media that give a platform to this type of understanding, the better off we will all be.”

  2. Ossinev
    October 16, 2015, 12:49 pm

    MUNAYYER: Of course the Israelis are going to do accuse him of that, because it is very difficult for them to accept any responsibility for the situation.
    Not only that but the latest cartoon diagram purporting to illustrate “how to stab a Jew” to young impressionable Palestinian teenagers and displayed for all the world to see at the UN by doombrain Danon proves conclusively that the Palestinans are 100% responsible for the current violence and unrest including the violence, sorry I mean the wholly justifiable acts of self defence, by the IDF,Israeli police,Israeli settlers,tourists from Brooklyn as well as any and all violence committed at any time anywhere and for whatever reason throughout Eretz Israel for the past 67 years.The Israelis have of course zero responsibility for this and it is gross and blatant anti semitism to suggest this given the Holocaust etc.
    Being a new kid on the UN block he probably panicked at the thought of having to explain away Israeli incremental genocide ,phoned Nitay and was told “FFS do a drawing,a cartoon,anything which you can lift up,point at and then blame the Iranians – sorry I mean the Palestinians”

    • bryan
      October 17, 2015, 7:07 am

      If the drawing held up by Danon is genuine then it demonstrates that the PA is inciting violence for its own ends: if it is not genuine then it demonstrates that Israel is exploiting violence and using incitement for its own ends. I wonder why the PA chose to use English to caption the drawing. English is the first language of the UN and the international media, but not the best means to communicate with a Palestinian audience.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 17, 2015, 3:57 pm

        I wonder why the PA chose to use English to caption the drawing.

        don’t you mean ‘I wonder why the PA would choose to use English to caption the drawing’? the way you framed that sentence implies this is a palestinian generated graphic. i find that truly absurd. what’s next? claiming netanyau’s UN bomb cartoon was drawn by iranians?

      • bryan
        October 19, 2015, 3:49 pm

        Sorry – irony is just a dialect of the English language, but it is not always understood across the Atlantic!

  3. Kathleen
    October 16, 2015, 1:53 pm

    Indeed…”Hat’s off” to Costello and CNN. Finally helping people to understand the grass roots issues…continued illegal and brutal occupation.

  4. Rafi
    October 16, 2015, 2:00 pm

    The pa wasn’t meant as a transition to a state, check the oslo accords, the paris one. While the pa was suppose to be a transition to a final status arrangement after five years, it was set up to last on and on, and it did.

    About the motivation of the stabbers, things they don’t shout during the attack: palestine, rights, secular democracy, ror, freedom, equality.
    What they do shout: god is great.

    There is a system of violence called the occupation, it must end. It won’t end the violence overall, eppes.

    • diasp0ra
      October 16, 2015, 5:17 pm

      @Rafi

      “About the motivation of the stabbers, things they don’t shout during the attack: palestine, rights, secular democracy, ror, freedom, equality.
      What they do shout: god is great.”

      What exactly are you trying to imply here, that they are religiously motivated? Is that seriously your analysis?

    • zaid
      October 16, 2015, 5:18 pm

      Actually they all spoke about the occupation/Alaqsa in their Facebook pages, and most of them weren’t religious.

      So , Sorry you have problem with facts.

    • Kris
      October 16, 2015, 5:40 pm

      Muslims say “Allahu akbar!” or “God is great!” in both religious and non-religious contexts.

      Although newspapers often translate the phrase as “God is great,” the proper translation is actually “God is greater.” The phrase implies that no matter what you’re doing, you should always remember that God is still greater. Muslims use the phrase “God is great”—substituting kabir (great) for akbar (greater)—in different situations. You might say it to console someone, for example, with the idea that God is great in his mercy or benevolence.

      Militants on suicide missions often say “Allahu akbar” because they believe they are committing a righteous act and because it’s good form to die with praise for Allah on your lips.

      In some cases, a religious phrase uttered at a time of grave danger gets misinterpreted. In 1997, an Indonesian pilot shouted “Allahu akbar!” moments before his plane crashed, killing all 234 people on board. Some people thought he’d downed the plane on purpose; in fact, the accident was the result of bad instructions from the air traffic controller. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2006/09/god_is_still_great.html

    • zaid
      October 16, 2015, 5:48 pm

      You said”

      “The pa wasn’t meant as a transition to a state, check the oslo accords, the paris one. While the pa was suppose to be a transition to a final status arrangement after five years, it was set up to last on and on, and it did.”

      I checked and found that you know nothing , do some fact check.

      “the aim of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations within the current Middle East peace process is, among other things, to establish a Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority, the elected Council (the “Council”), for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, for a transitional period not exceeding five years, leading to a permanent settlement based on Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.”

      Aticle 1 /osslo accord

      Yo said:

      “About the motivation of the stabbers, things they don’t shout during the attack: palestine, rights, secular democracy, ror, freedom, equality.
      What they do shout: god is great.”

      Wrong again,the stabbers talked about their motives and expressed it , and it contradict what you wrote.

      Muhannad Halabi (first stabber) said :

      “According to the law, you have the full right to defend yourself against he who points a weapon at your face. Resistance lies within the boundaries of the law.”

      He then proceeded to liken “Palestine” to a young orphan girl whose brothers had forsaken her to “an evil man with no children, who does not know how to treat children.” In Halabi’s parable, the evil man, symbolizing Israel, was unable to rape Palestine, but nevertheless “starved her, denied her rights, imprisoned her and burned her.”

      “How long will this humiliation and shame last?”

      http://www.timesofisrael.com/the-third-intifada-is-here-jerusalem-terrorist-wrote-day-before-attack/

      http://mondoweiss.net/2015/10/launched-palestinian-jerusalem

      you said:

      “There is a system of violence called the occupation, it must end. It won’t end the violence overall, eppes.”

      Wrong again and again , The calm borders of Jordan and Egypt proves you wrong, not to mention the first intifada (No Hamas then).

      You are wrong in every thong you write, next time do some fact check before you write nonsense here.

    • Annie Robbins
      October 16, 2015, 6:03 pm

      i’ll tell you what “violence” won’t end “overall” rafi, the zionist violence required to conquer palestine. the dehumanization of palestinians is nothing more than a hasbrats (that would be you) propagandized plea to justify the ongoing genocidal israeli violence that serves that colonization. it’s a constant incitement after incitement and constant hunt for more victims of zionist slaughter as happened prior to this latest outburst all covered up with lame ass excuses like ‘that 19 yr old university student had a knife, really she did! (see, it’s in the photo shot 30 minutes after her death and israel didn’t plan it really!) and several big strong heavily armed soldiers just had to execute her because they could and do with impunity’. ring a bell? and youth after youth gets slaughtered as israel allows the continued police escort of fanatical settlers all over the grounds of the nobel sanctuary accompanied by explosions and gunfire and then when palestinians snap, which any humans would living under these oppressive conditions for decades, you point your pathetic finger and say ‘look what they shout’ you see, they are not like us!

      gag me with a spoon you bigoted imbecile!

    • Marnie
      October 17, 2015, 1:02 am

      God is great – obviously. So maybe you’d prefer – die you bastard – sonofabitch – your mother is a whore, etc.? What a completely useless, petty, if not zio-BS, remark.

      Could you conceive of the possibility “Allahu Ahkbar” as the speaker’s desire his/her last words and testimony in this life (believing that he/she will be killed by zionist entity) to be holy instead of profane?

  5. pabelmont
    October 16, 2015, 4:57 pm

    Maybe I missed it, but my own sense is that the recent Palestinian violence — while based long-run on the extreme violence of the occupation and especially on the suppression of the dignity of expressing outrage at it and opposition to it — was nevertheless triggered by the pogrom-like violence of settlers which was on a very vicious upswing recently, and as to which Israel has done nothing except promote it by promoting the illegal presence of the settlers.

  6. Kay24
    October 16, 2015, 5:42 pm

    It seems the occupiers are against international presence on Temple Mount. You’ve got to wonder why they would object to a neutral entity watching over the situation. I guess they have plenty they don’t want exposed to the world.

    “Israel Says It Objects to Any International Presence on Temple Mount
    Palestinian UN ambassador calls on Security Council to adopt resolution protecting Palestinians in Jerusalem, similar to resolution adopted after 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in Hebron.
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.680801

    • Kris
      October 16, 2015, 6:03 pm

      Thanks for the link, Kay24. The Haaretz article is full of unintentional humor as Israeli spokespeople perform their amazing verbal contortions. Well worth reading. Here is a link to the cached article: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.680801

      Google takes snapshots of everything on the internet. So if an article is behind a paywall, as are many of Haaretz’s articles, first go to to the article on Haaretz’s website, where you will be able to read only a paragraph or two. Copy the URL at the top of that page.

      Then go to http://cachedview.com/ , paste the URL into the box, and then press “return.” You will then be able to read the article in its entirety.

      • Kay24
        October 16, 2015, 6:17 pm

        Thanks for that info Kris. That will be helpful to someone not very savvy about such things. :))

      • elephantine
        October 16, 2015, 6:26 pm

        That’s great. Thanks for the link!!

      • Mooser
        October 16, 2015, 6:45 pm

        ” helpful to someone not very savvy about such things. :))”

        I know a not-very-savvy person who made sure to bookmark the “Cached view” site. Thanks.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 16, 2015, 7:05 pm

        i cached it too! there are lots of articles i can’t read in wsj and financial times etc.

      • Kris
        October 16, 2015, 7:47 pm

        Annie, there is a tip in this article on how to see wsj articles: http://loneplacebo.com/quick-tip-how-to-read-articles-on-the-wall-street-journal-without-subscribing/ :

        “When you copy the URL from WSJ’s articles, they look something like this: ((Except that I added quotation marks, otherwise they turn into links.))

        “http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203893404577099293401936570.html?mod=WSJ_hp_MIDDLETopStories”

        The snippet following the “html” and starting from the question mark needs to be stripped out before you submit your query to Google. Thus, the search should look like this instead:

        cache: “http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203893404577099293401936570.html””

      • Kay24
        October 18, 2015, 4:09 pm

        Kris I finally had time to try out cached view, and it worked. Wonderful!

        Thanks again for the tip. :))

      • Mooser
        October 18, 2015, 4:37 pm

        Yes, thanks, Kris.
        Am I correct in thinking it might take a bit of time before an article is trawled and ends up in the cache? I don’t think articles behind paywalls and stuff end up there immediately.

      • Kris
        October 18, 2015, 5:20 pm

        Kay24, You are very welcome!

      • Kris
        October 19, 2015, 8:02 pm

        @Mooser: “Am I correct in thinking it might take a bit of time before an article is trawled and ends up in the cache? I don’t think articles behind paywalls and stuff end up there immediately.”

        Yes, I think you’re right.

  7. Ossinev
    October 16, 2015, 6:04 pm

    Following on from a previous post on Mondoweiss lamenting the ongoing Pro-Israeli bias in the right wing newspapers here and specifically the Times I am pleased to eat humble pie and give credit where credit is due. Featured in todays Times in the readers comments and yes in the eye catching top left hand spot on the page is the following:
    Headlined “Violence in Israel” the letter reads:
    Sir.The signatories of the letter”Israel under siege”(Oct 14) are correct to lament the escalating violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian terriritories which is a tragedy for both Palestinians and Israelis.however it is myopic not to mention the almost 50 year long occupation of Palestine by Israel,its relentless expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank and the iniquity of the Israeli army providing security for illegal settlers but not the Palestinians. There is also no evidence to support the claim that the Palestinian Authority is inciting the violence – indeed quite the opposite. Sadly as the Palestinian statesman Hanan Ashrawi stated more than ten years ago the Palestinians are the only people on earth asked to guarantee the security of their occupier. Until the Palestinians are freed from the injustice and degradation of occupation with a viable and truly sovereign state that guarantees the human rights of its population this conflict will continue.
    Signed: Baroness Morris of Bolton,Lord Cope of Berkely,Lord Lamont of Lerwick,Sir Nicholas Soames MP,Sir Alan Duncan MP.

    All incidentally are Conservative Party politicians.

    I hope that this balanced reporting of views continues to be the norm here in the UK in relation to the Israel/Palestine conflict and can only hope that it will become the norm in America with the growing voices and power of the knowlegeable and conscionable younger generation there including the younger generation of American Jews.

    • Mooser
      October 16, 2015, 6:36 pm

      A great comment, Ossinev! I’m glad we are hearing from you.

  8. Boris
    October 16, 2015, 8:56 pm

    “… 30 Palestinians have been killed, around 17 of them in the course of demonstrating…”

    I don’t think that “demonstrations” involve throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. These were more like riots and assaults.

    Obviously, CNN is not a match for this liar. If they had called Munayyer on this lie from the get-go, that would have been a totally different interview.

  9. RoHa
    October 17, 2015, 1:19 am

    “A friend pointed out yesterday that Israeli apologists are never questioned as sharply as Munayyer. -”

    It’s a good thing he was questioned so sharply. It gave him an opportunity to drive his points home in more detail.

  10. just
    October 17, 2015, 7:56 am

    And the Palestinians of Palestine get another stab in the back from the US of A:

    “Obama backs Israel as 5 more Palestinians are killed

    Warning: This article contains graphic images of violence.

    Five more Palestinians were killed Friday as Israel’s crackdown against anti-occupation protests continued.

    Israeli forces shot dead three Palestinians at protests in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, while one Palestinian was summarily executed after he attacked an Israeli soldier with a knife.

    Shawiq Jabr Obeid, 37, who was critically injured by Israeli fire in Gaza last week, succumbed to his wounds.

    The latest deaths came as US President Barack Obama offered unqualified support for Israel’s “right to maintain basic law and order and protect its citizens from knife attacks and violence on the streets.”

    Obama’s comments at a press conference Friday appear to walk back the timid criticisms offered by the State Department earlier this week over Israel’s use of “excessive force” against Palestinians.

    Israel has arrested hundreds of Palestinians and occupied East Jerusalem remains on lockdown.

    Thirty-seven Palestinians have been killed since 1 October, and hundreds more have been seriously injured by Israeli forces firing live ammunition at demonstrators.

    Seven Israelis have died in recent attacks.

    Israel’s apparent policy of extrajudicial executions of Palestinians allegedly involved in knife attacks continues to receive criticism from international human rights organizations. …”

    much more @ https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/charlotte-silver/obama-backs-israel-5-more-palestinians-are-killed

  11. TerryHeaton
    October 17, 2015, 8:51 am

    The phrase “organized via social media” troubles me deeply. The modernist hegemony of top-down control demands organization. It’s unthinkable that people could simply take up arms themselves absent organization, so the CNN anchor MUST pose the issue in order to introduce Abbas and the PA. The Network, however, is the tool of the postmodernist. We can talk with each other now without the need of command and control, and this is precisely what’s happening in the region today and why it’s something truly “new under the sun.” So while social media is playing a major role, it’s not under anyone’s lever-pulling, but rather the mechanism by which a dissatisfied mass can spread the truth of what’s happening from place-to-place.

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