Palestinian Affairs

Top Palestinian Negotiator’s Facebook Page Erases Israel

One of the two Palestinian negotiators sent to conduct exploratory peace talks in Washington has a less than peaceful social media presence, The Tower has learned.

Mohammad Shtayyeh is a low-profile but veteran Palestinian negotiator. The 53-year-old was born and raised in the West Bank city of Nablus. He earned a PhD in development studies at Britain’s Sussex University and became a professor, and later a dean, at Birzeit University.

The cover photo of Shtayyeh’s Facebook page shows a map that erases all of Israel and replaces it – according to the Arabic emblazoned on the picture – with “Filastin” (Palestine):

In addition to serving as housing minister and Birzeit dean, Shtayyeh’s CV lists other positions he has held over the years: governor of Palestine Islamic Bank and board member of the private Arab-American University in Jenin. It also lists his published works – including Scenarios on the Future of Jerusalem and Israel in the Region: Conflict, Hegemony, or Cooperation, and also surveys his long record of negotiations with Israel, stretching back the 1991 Madrid talks. It describes him as “a senior advisor to President Mahmoud Abbas on negotiations with Israel.”

Raheem Kassam, a London-based blogger who edits the website Trending Central, noticed this reporter’s tweet of Shtayyeh’s Facebook page, and subsequently observed:

Such backhanded tactics are well known within Palestinian circles, and the recognition of the State of Israel is a rarity in the region. It is also a well known tactic within anti-Israel pressure groups around the world including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign which operates in Britain. Its logo displays a ‘one-state solution’, leaving the region devoid of a Jewish State, instead replacing it with yet another Muslim-majority country: ‘Palestine’.

In his invitation,  Secretary of State John Kerry said, “Both leaders [Netanyahu and Abbas] have demonstrated a willingness to make difficult decisions that have been instrumental in getting to this point. We are grateful for their leadership.”

It seems for one of Abbas’s negotiators however, the recognition of the State of Israel is one step too far, and reveals how these peace talks are more than likely to be completely in vain.

Shtayyeh’s home institution of Birzeit, near Ramallah, is one of the West Bank’s most prestigious universities. It is also one of its most radical. Among its graduates are Marwan Barghouti, the imprisoned founder of Fatah’s terror wing Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Another alum was Yahya Ayyash – the Hamas bomb maker and one of the leaders of its terrorist Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades – who was assassinated by Israel in 1996. Last March it was the scene of violent anti-British protests that forced the visiting U.K. Ambassador to leave campus.

[Photo: Mohammad Shtayyeh / Facebook]