The Necessity of Facing the Truth about Palestine and Israel.
Christof Lehmann – Regardless which language or culture one studies one will always find a proverb similar to “and the truth shall set you free”. Comparing todays state of affairs in Palestine with the proverb can lead one to deducting that the People of Palestine, the Palestinian cause, and the worldwide discourse about Palestine and Israel is suffering from an acute lack of truth. This deduction is correct. Without wanting to go into all too many details this article will focus on a few issues where I feel that this need for truth is most acute, hoping that it will inspire both Palestinians and those who are making claims to support the Palestinian struggle for liberation and justice, to use due diligence at confirming the truthfulness of my statements themselves, and most importantly, that they begin acting upon them.
The Oslo Accords, Paris Protocols and the Two State Solution.
The greatest disaster that has befallen the People of Palestine since 1948, 1967 and 1973 is the signing of the Oslo Accords and the Paris Protocols. Both have questionable validity in international law because they were not signed by co-equals. The second reason for their invalidity is the fact that they admittedly have not been signed in good faith by Israel.
In an interview the former P.M. of Israel Shimon Perez admitted openly that Israel´s negotiation strategy until Israel has achieved its goal of establishing a greater Israel is as follows. Enter an agreement. Give as little as possible and ask for the impossible. Take more because the Palestinians did not live up to the impossible. Blame the Palestinians for lack of good will. Enter a new agreement. Give as little as possible and ask for the impossible again until we have it all.
These, admittedly freely quoted words of Shimon Perez reflect the real politic of the Palestine – Israel conflict, of decades of negotiations which have led to nothing but more massacres and misery. The real politics are decades of more land grabs, more settlements, more settlers only roads, more stolen water rights, more settlers only trains through Palestinian land, more villages surrounded by the apartheid wall, more school children brutalized, more jailed Palestinian adults and children, more marriages forbidden because the loved ones come from different parts of Palestine, more demolished homes, more control over every aspect of Palestinians lives from the cradle to the early grave, from the bathroom to the bedroom, a grid of brutal and suffocating control.
Before the ink on the Oslo Accords was dry, I issued the following warning which I have since repeated countless times. ” The Oslo Accords are an entrapment. They are a golden cage and a betrayal on the Palestinian people, especially those who had to flee their homes in 1948 and their families. They are granting high profile members of the PLO, and in particular one faction, Fateh, the privilege to decorate themselves with presidential and ministerial titles and offices in the administration of the Palestinian, self-administrated genocide on their own people under the dictate of Israel“.
History has, as much as I would have liked that I had been mistaken, confirmed that my assessment of the Oslo Accords was correct.
The recognition of the 1967 borders and the betrayal on those who were displaced in 1948 was catastrophic enough already to call it for what it was – treason. The only mitigating factor that makes this treason somewhat understandable, if not forgivable is that the Oslo Accords were not signed by co-equals and that they were signed by a PLO that represented a nation under occupation. For me as a German, the comparison with Versailles comes to mind.
Even if one would want to accept the Oslo Accords and a Palestine within the 1967 borders it has become practically impossible to adhere to them. Israel has to such a degree metastasized into the 1967 territories that a disengagement would be impossible. It is not my opinion but the result of both Palestinian and Israeli studies. Knowing that the disengagement and the two state solution has become impossible while continuing negotiating about it is not only nonsensical, it is borderline treasonous.
Along with the so-called Arab Spring and the war on Syria came new wind in the sail of “Greater Israel”. Palestine is today facing the prospect of the establishment of a Hamas – Muslim Brotherhood led State in Gaza and the permanent occupation of the greatest parts of the West Bank and of East Jerusalem. In other words, Palestine is today facing the end to realistic aspirations for a liberated Palestine. The saddening fact is that the Palestinian Authority has become Palestine´s and the Palestinian people’s second most dangerous enemy. The prevalence of betrayal for maintaining a grasp on political power is stunning.
Too many Judas Kisses.
The infighting among Palestinian factions is a known and well documented phenomena. To a certain degree it can be understood as a normal artifact of political parties ideological differences, differences with regard to real politics and political competition. Even the fact that the factions are prone to making use of violence for settling political disputes is, as tragic as it is understandable and predictable.
Sociological and psychological conflict studies show that especially children and youth are prone to internalizing a protracted conflict with an external enemy. The result is that children and youth begin to understand violence as an acceptable model for solving disputes and problems. This tendency can be observed in child-parents conflicts, violence among peers and conflicts in school. Later in life the trend continues in the form of domestic violence, spousal abuse, inter-communal violence and politically motivated violence. It is an all-pervasive problem and unless it is systematically addressed it is bound to have the very tragic consequences which we can observe in Palestinian politics.
While inter-communal violence is as tragic as it is understandable, it is an entirely different ball game to right out betray ones compatriots from other factions and render them to the enemy. One such example is that of the arrest and imprisonment of the Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, PFLP, Ahmad Sa ´adat.
Sa´adat was arrested by the Palestinian Authorities security forces on request of Israel. Sa´adat, a member of the PLO Executive Committee had to flee and hide in order not to be arrested by the Palestinian Authority for terrorism charges related to the assassination of Israels Tourism Minister. An agreement was brokered between former PLO Secretary General and President Jassir Arafat and Ahmed Sa´adat to arrange a covert meeting in a hotel to discuss how to respond to Israel´s arrest warrant.
During the meeting the liaison of the Palestinian Authority suddenly received a phone call from Arafat and stated that he had to cut the meeting short and leave. Sa´adat was subsequently arrested by security forces of the Palestinian Authority. The betrayal, however, does not stop there. Even though an agreement had been reached that Ahmed Sa´adat would be incarcerated in a Palestinian prison, he was incarcerated in a Palestinian prison with US-American and British Prison Guards. How a Palestinian Authority that claims to struggle for Palestinian sovereignty can render a member of the PLO Executive Committee to US-American prison guards – on Palestinian territory – while wanting to sell itself as credible representative of the Palestinian struggle for liberation is, at least for me a mystery.
As if that was not treasonous enough Ahmed Sa´adat was later transferred to an Israeli prison and kept isolated for years. Sa´adat, the Secretary General of the PFLP and member of the Executive Committee of the PLO, arrested and rendered to total isolation and indefinite imprisonment in Israel by the Palestinian Authority. Ahmad Sa´adat is still incarcerated in Israel Ramon Prison.
Another example for this infighting is the conflict between Fateh and Hamas. It is today widely known that Hamas was heavily supported by Israel to create a competition to Fateh and to the progressive factions. However, Hamas has a legitimate role due to the fact that it has been elected in open and reasonably fair elections. That is, if one can call elections fair after the Fateh led Palestinian Authority has rendered leading members of other factions to Israel for imprisonment.
How wonderful for Israel that Fateh and Hamas have aggravated the internal conflict to such a degree that it has facilitated a development toward the establishment of a separate Palestinian State in Gaza. Both Fateh and Hamas are playing straight into the hands of Israel. To make matters worse,- Hamas has since 2008 realigned itself with Qatar and abandoned its alliance with Syria, effectively weakening the regional resistance against Israel, as I have described and detailed in previous articles. Fateh, Abbas and the Palestinian Authority remain silent as if the war on Syria did not exist. It is understandable that one is reluctant to bite the hand that feeds one, but when one knows that there is a knife in the other hand ?
Time for Palestinians and International Solidarity to Wake Up.
It is time for both Palestinians and those who claim to advocate Palestinian´s rights to wake up to real politics. The Oslo Accords are as dead as the children who are being murdered in Gaza today. Recognizing that the Oslo Accords are dead and in fact never have been alive, there is no basis for maintaining a Palestinian Authority that administrates the genocide on behalf of Israel.
As a minimum basis for salvaging the Palestinian vessel, and Palestine is in my opinion in the water up to its nose already, I would suggest the following.
- An immediate declaration from the Executive Committee of the PLO that the Oslo Accords are nul and void and abandoned.
- An immediate acceptance of all Palestinian factions including rejectionist factions like As Saika and the PFLP-GC into the PLO and these factions re-association with the PLO. The division between rejectionist and two state factions has become obsolete.
- An immediate process that leads to an abandonment of the Palestinian Authority, the establishment of a PLO based governmental structure and nationwide elections for a new Palestinian national government and regional governments with participation of all factions under a national unity coalition.
- A return to a militarily credible struggle for the liberation of Palestine under a unified PLO command as it is legitimate under international law.
- Demands for the immediate release of all illegally held Palestinian prisoners in Israel and a national and international struggle for their release.
- An unequivocal solidarity of the PLO with the government de jure of the Syrian Arab Republic, the people of Syria, and especially the Syrian people in the occupied Syrian Golan.
- An unequivocal alignment of the PLO with the resistance in Lebanon.
- Internationalization of the struggle for liberation and solidarity with other anti-imperialist and liberation movements worldwide.
- Demands for a one state solution including the right of all refugees and refugee families to full repatriation and compensation. Demands and struggle for the establishment of a secular state for Palestinians, Muslims, Jews, Christians and any other ethnicity or religion, with Jerusalem as its capital.
The truth as I see it is that unless the Palestinian factions and the people of Palestine reach a consensus about these and related issues, the Zionist ambition of establishing a greater Israel will be fulfilled sooner as anyone dares to dread. The truth and acting on it will set you free.
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