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Palestina: Et folk sviktet av sine ledere

Al-Jazeera just announced the release of 1600 internal and classified
documents that reveal devastating information on the nature and scale of
concessions offered by Palestinian negotiators.  The Guardian reported that
" The overwhelming impression that emerges from the confidential records of
a decade of Middle East peace talks is of the weakness and desperation of
Palestinian leaders, the unyielding correctness of Israeli negotiators and
the often contemptuous attitude towards the Palestinian side shown by US
politicians and officials. " I think that it spells the end of the peace
process industry an 18 year sham that facilitated colonization and enriched
a few individuals while destroying our lives.

Prime Minister Salam Fayyad maybe the guy salvaged from the process as he
can claim only overseeing the institutions to serve the Palestinian
population in the ghettos and concentration camps in the rest of the West
Bank.  The gates to areas like what remains of Bethlehem district (13%) are
for now open (yes there are literal gates).  The message sent over the past
few years is that life is bad for those who resist, easier for quiet
Palestinians, and very good for collaborating Palestinians.  There are
thousands of "general managers" and other office holders in the Palestinian
authority.  There are tens of thousands of uneducated individuals (selected
for being uneducated and for passing security clearance by Israeli and
American officials) who serve in the many security divisions of the
Palestinian Authority. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer here but
this still meant that on average the GDP is higher in the Palustans today
than 8 years ago (though per capita not higher than 1999).  In Gaza the
situation is worse economically as the whole pie is smaller (mostly
humanitarian aid and tunnel trade) and thus while the rich there are still
rich and the poor poor, their poor are far poorer than our poor.

I as a Palestinian and millions of other fellow Palestinians are denied the
right to enter Jerusalem whose character is being transformed as the talk
about more talks goes on!  I managed to enter Jerusalem many times like
thousands of Palestinians do without seeking permission from the occupying
army.  Years ago, I taught high school in Jerusalem and I know the city very
well.  This youtube from a recent visit gives you a glimpse
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RbhpyDGIac  I was both saddened and yet
strangely energized by the visit.  The relentless effort to transform the
city to make it "Jewish" (whatever that means) involved relentless efforts
at ethnic cleansing.  Just in the past two years, over 10,000 Palestinians
from East Jerusalem had their residency rights revoked.  This is done under
101 pretexts ranging from marrying someone from outside the city to getting
a job in another city or renting or buying a peace of real estate outside
the city.  The latest bizarre situation is ruling that four elected members
of the Palestinian Legislative Council must renounce their election or face
deportation.    One was already deported (for not showing allegiance to the
Jewish state that illegally occupied annexed, and colonized his city).
Three others have spent 205 days now in a tent in the yard of the Red Cross
Building in Silwan. Yes, as I saw the amazing popular resistance carried out
by all natives of Jerusalem against the colonial occupiers, I was uplifted
in my spirits.  It is just sad that many world governments continue to be
silent on this.

There is a clear diplomatic impasse here which will get exacerbated now that
the papers on the negotiations have been revealed.  Everyone had a "plan"
before and the question is will these plans change:

1) The Zionist leaders have a plan to recognize Palestine as a state in
so-called "provisional borders" which will become permanent borders but
without recognizing any of the basic Palestinian rights (right to return,
self determination, freedom etc).  The discussion between extremists like
Lieberman and more moderates like Kadima is what are the dimensions of the
Palestinian population warehouses (as a friend calls them).  This is
intended to solve the demographic problem for the state of Israel and get
the pressure off for Israel to take care of millions of unwanted non-Jews in
the Jewish state. The size of these warehouses range from Lieberman's 42% of
the West Bank (itself with Gaza are 22% of historic Palestine) to 60%
(Netanyahu's maximum) to 92% (some Labor and Kadima ideas).  In other words
will the Bantustans end-up occupying 9% or 18% (at best) of historic
Palestine? It will of course have no control over its borders or its air
space or its natural resources or its tourism industry. But the right-wing
racist government in Israel is ultimately self-destructive.  The world is
wising up.

2) Mr. Mahmoud Abbas plans to continue down the line of working with Western
governments and Western-backed Arab leaders to maybe have them apply just a
little bit of pressure on Israel to end its settlement activity.  After
dropping the ball on the International court of Justice ruling on the wall
and dropping the ball on the Goldstone report, the leadership introduced via
to the UN Security Council and the US may or may not veto it.  Abbas says
publicly that there may be more "initiatives" coming but ultimately he is
tied by Oslo agreements and the maximum he could ask for is 1967 borders
with some 3-5% territorial swap (which happen to be the best areas of the
West Bank) and certainly he is not going to be allowed to demand the
internationally recognized rights of refugees to return to their homes and
lands.  The leaked documents at best weaken that branch of Fatah led by
Abbas that compromised basic Palestinian rights.  They could even lead to
the demise of this authority whose terms had expired anyway. Of course there
is a remote possibility that Abbas will manage to avoid both assassination
and irrelevancy by coming clean with his people and offering a new real
innovative approach (like dissolve the PA and call for an anti-Apartheid
struggle led by new leaders).

3) Hamas has a plan to essentially hold on to Gaza and hope the now clear
failure of the "peace process" gives them more popular support among
Palestinians. By controlling the launch of home-made projectiles from Gaza,
they could hold on for years waiting for change in powers.  Iran and
Hezbollah are also hoping the continued disregard for international law by
the world powers validates the strategy of relying on military strength and
"resisting" to get rights.  Their arguments in the absence of meaningful
enforcement of international law vis a vis Israel is difficult for others to
refute. But many moderate and secular people here wonder what kind of a
future will unfold under regimes that do not separate state power from
religious authority. And even in Gaza, people would not vote for a party
that will offer only vague notions about "Islam is the solution" without a
clear strategy or vision for the future.

4) Left Parties have partial and unformulated plans.  Many still cling to
old rhetoric and old divisions and are not able to think innovatively to
design a strategy to recapture their popular support that declined in the
past few decades let alone articulate a clear unified vision for goals and
ways to get to these goals.

5) The US (and by extension subservient EU) have a plan to support the
compromising section of the Palestinian authority but only to the extent
that the strong AIPAC (Israel lobby) approve of.  The leaked documents show
that the ceiling for the PA demands must always be continuously lowered to
accommodate Israeli society's increasingly fascist government demands.
Recognizing Israel is not enough anymore, the PA must also recognize the
racist NATURE of Israel (as a JEWISH ZIONIST state) and renounce
internationally recognized rights like the right of refugees to return.  If
they do that, will they be then required to recognize that God is indeed a
tribal God with his chosen people and that the Goyim are sub-human and not
deserving of even the Bantustans that they are allowed now to live on?

6) The Civil Society around the world which supports human rights has a plan
of Popular Resistance, Media work, boycotts, divestments, and sanctions to
arrive at justice and ending apartheid.  As the pressure builds to isolate
the apartheid (aka Hafrada in Hebrew) regime, these activists believe more
Israelis and others around the world will come around to see that giving
back what was stolen is the only real road to peace (at least partial
restorative justice). It is an uphill battle because of all the brainwashing
that goes on by subservient media and essentially a populace around the
world that is largely apathetic.  But the vocal minority that always changes
things is getting more vocal.

As I say in my lectures: collectively all humanity has a choice and it is
not between one-state or two-states, colonialism or an Fundamentalist state
structure (whether Islamic Jewish, or Christian).  The choice is between
having a set of International laws and human rights that apply to everyone
(beginning with the 7 million Palestinian refugees and displaced people) OR
a law of the jungle where "might makes right."  The latter choice is a
lose-lose scenario since we are in an era where biological, nuclear and
chemical weapons are easy to come by and can destroy civilization.  The
former choice requires we begin by educating our selves on our own civil
society power.  Simon Bolivar, the visionary revolutionary who pushed for
independence and unity of countries in South America once said: "They have
succeeded in dominating us more through ignorance, than through force".
Indeed. La Luta Continua.


Mazin Qumsiyeh

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