By: Prof. Dr. Mohsen Mohammad Saleh.
Revolutions, by their nature, are departures from the pattern, revolt against reality and challenge to impose “official” structures. Originally, the Palestinian revolution has revolted against the occupation, challenged Israel and the international powers that fosters it, and revolted against the Arab impotence, corruption and political tyranny. For the establishment of Israel itself was not built on truth, justice and equality, rather on injustice, arrogance and oppression…, and those who sponsored and protected it, or those who recognized it and normalized relations with it, and even persecuted the resistance forces, know these facts more than anyone else. As a result, the revolution sought to impose a new reality, by using the language of power that everyone understands and respects, because it recognizes that values alone (despite their significance) have no place in such environments and systems; and that it is necessary to combine the use of force and the values argument.
The Difficult Equation
All revolutions, especially when they reach an advanced stage, need a solid and efficient political leadership that turns sacrifices into political achievements and leads the nation, so as to complete the liberation process, confront the opportunists and prevent the corrupt regimes and foreign forces from depriving the revolutions the fruits of their work. However, it is a “difficult equation” to combine effective revolutionary dynamism and “official” positioning, with its bureaucratic tools and political calculations. It is difficult especially if the positioning was premature, restricts the resistance and weakens its performance, and if the opponents’ cards and game keys and terms are more and stronger than those of the resistance… In this case, the “official” positioning would weaken and impair the resistance rather than add to its strength. It is a difficult equation to revolt against the rejected, failed and helpless environment and grab its revolutionary representation, while “officially” coexisting with it. If the revolution tasted the power of ruling too early, used only its political tools, and put its resistance tools “on the shelf” under the pretext of waiting for “favorable conditions”; then it has dug its own grave and has turned into a political party. In this case, the resistance operations, the Intifadah and revolutionary activities, killing enemy soldiers and destroying their facilities would become a “burden” that it cannot bear. Consequently, “favorable conditions” would become a dream deferred that cannot become a reality.
This “difficult equation” cannot be managed except if the resistance has enough power cards to impose its vision on the “official” environment it enters; otherwise, it risks entrusting itself to its opponents and enemies. These cards must be based on an objective analytical study, and not on “wishful thinking” that gasps for tactical gains, while paying strategic prices.
The Positioning of Fatah in the PLO
The Fatah movement revolted against the Arab reality (which reflected miserable weakness and fragmentation) and rejected the state of impotence of the Arab Higher Committee, which represented the Palestinians in the Arab League until 1963. Fatah refused to join the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) when it was established in 1964, considering it a product of the ineffective “Arab officialdom,” and a tool for assimilating Palestinian forces and controlling their actions. However, when Fatah entered the PLO in 1968, it had enough power cards; so it “restructured” the organization, formed a new National Council according to its terms, changed the PLO charter and took over its leadership, bearing in mind that at that time, the PLO was completely consistent with the ideology of liberating Palestine from the river to the sea and ending the Zionist project.
However, the “official” burdens of leading the people, representing them, and continuing the revolution, have brought Fatah and the resistance forces into paths most of which seemed “compulsory.” This has happened after the revolution was struck at home, and besieged, isolated, or liquidated abroad, especially in the countries surrounding Palestine. Consequently, Fatah (the backbone of the revolution) was forced to rely more on political tools that brought us to the Oslo Accords and the dire situation we are living in; in spite of tens of thousands of martyrs, and many years of sacrifices, suffering and pain offered by the Palestinian factions and people.
The Resistance Objectives
These days, the resistance forces enter the Palestinian elections while focusing on achieving the following goals:
1. The resistance line takes the majority of seats, and would enjoy popular constitutional legitimacy that enables it to fortify itself, on the Palestinian, Arab and international fronts.
2. The resistance benefits from the legitimacy it has achieved, and would put the Palestinian political house in order, end the Oslo phase and its requirements and rearrange the official institutions to become in line with the resistance.
3. Breaking the siege imposed on the resistance forces and engage in effective public communication, by using the tools and frameworks provided by the official Palestinian institutions.
4. Providing the legal cover for the resistance line and its leadership in Gaza Strip.
5. Providing cover for the resistance action and the Intifadah in all its forms, especially in the West Bank and the Palestinian 1948 territories.
6. Managing political relations with the Arab countries and the international landscape to serve the resistance project.
7. Ending the monopoly of a certain Palestinian faction “Fatah” over the leadership of the Palestinian people, building national partnerships and establishing a Palestinian institutional “democracy” that accommodates the Palestinian people and their potentials.
Two Fundamental Questions
Nevertheless, two fundamental questions arise:
First: Do the resistance forces possess the power cards to impose their vision on the Palestinian “official” institution?! And in case the resistance forces win the elections, will they achieve the reasonable minimum of their goals? Or will they be “impotent” due to not having enough power cards? Consequently, will they resort to the “victimhood” discourse… while the disruption, corruption and misery of the Palestinian “official” institutions continue?!! As a result, adding to the accumulated frustration of the Palestinian people.
Second: What if the resistance forces lose in the “electoral game,” will they submit to the majority, who will continue with the peace process?!
Previously, we have written about this issue, but, in general, we say that the resistance faces much more difficult and worse environments than those that were encountered by Fatah, when it became the PLO leader. Here, the available opportunities are much more difficult than those before. However, we can only respect the decisions of the resistance leaderships, wishing them to come out of this experience with the best results and the least losses.
Managing the Official Positioning
We are not here to repeat what we had mentioned in a previous article about the necessity of guarantees and basic arrangements; However, we draw attention here to what is only related to “official” positioning, in seven points:
– The entry or integration into the official establishment is not to be based on any concessions on the part of the resistance, its program and paths.
– Entering the official establishment is not to be used by the pro-peace process movement to renew its “legitimacy,” breathe life into its feeble body, and continue on its disastrous paths.
– That the resistance must continue to accumulate its qualitative capabilities, especially the military ones.
– That the resistance must remain close to the masses, their concerns, and causes.
– The resistance must play an effective role in putting the Palestinian political house in order, at home and abroad, and restoring vitality to its departments, institutions, unions, syndicates and embassies.
– The resistance must strengthen its internal home, fortify its internal structure and cohesion and maintain the sacrifice spirit and the Islamic and national mobilization. It must not fall into the pitfalls of bureaucracy, and get the cadres consumed or make them rely on their positions or gains in the systems of the “deceptive structures,” the structures of the “pre-state state.” Their participation must be to activate the official structure’s role, and not a reason for its flabbiness.
– The common ground with the peace process path or the “Oslo Group” must be of a temporary nature, until they are dragged towards the resistance path, and not the other way around.
A number of writers and thinkers have warned that the upcoming elections will be a recipe for reproducing the crisis and schism, and perhaps to a greater degree. Indeed, strategy specialist Prof. Dr. Walid ‘Abdel Hay, one of the most prominent futures studies experts in the Arab world, has warned of a “Palestinian civil war,” if things go as the opponents of the resistance want. Therefore, entering this “mined zone” requires much foresight, caution and firmness, and dealing with necessities must be as much as needed, whereas the supreme goal must remain “the liberation of Palestine.”