December 13, 2018

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Palestinians upset: UAE textbook says their capital is Ramallah

This photo, apparently from a UAE textbook, has been going around social media:

Hezbollah mouthpiece Al Manar angrily writes:

It seems that the United Arab Emirates has gone farther than Saudi Arabia in normalization with the Zionist entity, and even in adopting the occupation regime’s rhetoric.

Weeks after US President Donald Trump recognized Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the Zionist entity’s capital, and as Riyadh has been emerging as the spearhead of normalization moves, activists on social media shared a photo showing that Abu Dhabi recognizes Ramallah as the ‘capital of Palestine’.

The photo, shared by Lebanese journalist Ali Mourad, shows a paper- reportedly a part of an Emirati book- that identifies the capitals and currencies of Arab countries. According to the photo, the capital of Palestine is ‘Ramallah’, while the currency there is the ‘Jordanian Dinar’.

“UAE teaches school children that Palestine’s capital is Ramallah! (A country) which falsifies its own history and geography in order to create glory and culture for itself, won’t slacken to falsify other countries’ history and geography in a bid to please Zionists,” Mourad, who is specialized with Gulf affairs tweeted on Saturday.

Al-Manar contacted Mourad, who confirmed that the photo is taken of a part of an Emirati book, clarifying that he obtained the image from “a Palestinian who lives in UAE.”

Meanwhile, the Lebanese researcher noted that the photo was also shared on social media by several Palestinian activists.

Taking a look on some Palestinian accounts on social media, especially on Facebook, it was clear that the same photo was shared by several Palestinians who were warning, in their posts, against dangers of such move on the Palestinian cause.

This last sentence is something that most journalists and pundits don’t get, and it is terrifically important to understand.

The truth isn’t important to people who were raised in an honor/shame culture. Only appearances are.

Whether or not Ramallah is the capital of the PA in reality (you know, where the seat of government is) is not at all relevant to the discussion. The only relevant factor is what people say out loud, because saying the truth out loud can hurt the cause – and cause a serious backlash.

Westerners, and this includes Israelis, care about the truth, so they will look at all sides of an issue. Palestinians and other Arabs will only say out loud what they are allowed to say out loud to avoid being shamed.

Which is why you don’t see too many Arabs violating the unspoken rules of what one is allowed to say or not allowed to say.

This schoolbook is meaningless, but Arabs, highly attuned to symbolism, see in it a harbinger of the world turning against them on Jerusalem. They must hit back fast and hard to ensure that no one else violates the unwritten rules of what is allowed to be said out loud.

Western journalists are usually too lazy to dig beneath the surface in interviews with Arabs and Palestinians, unlike how they treat fellow Westerners. They accept whatever is said at face value. And that is a big reason why the Palestinian narrative has so often won over the truth that even Palestinians know themselves.

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