By: Prof. Dr. Mohsen Mohammad Saleh.
In the previous two articles, we have talked about five illusions in Palestinian politics. Today, we will talk about three others.
The sixth illusion is the Liberation of Palestine without armed resistance
Perhaps we wouldn’t have discussed this saying were it not for the adoption of the Palestinian leadership and the Arab and Muslim countries of the peace process, and the entry of the Oslo Accords into force in late 1993.
Part of the illusion is due to the fact that Palestine itself has been redefined by the Palestine Leadership and the “international community.” It became confined to the West Bank (WB) and Gaza Strip (GS), or the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967; i.e., 23% of historic Palestine. The “liberation” issue has become confined to it, while most of the land of Palestine or the 1948 occupied Palestinian territories, on which Israel was established, were ignored. Consequently, the exit of the Israeli occupation from WB and GS has become linked to the peace process and not to the armed struggle. There are also those who are betting on popular peaceful resistance, diplomatic action, international pressure, mobilization and raising awareness.
In general, the anti-colonial liberation projects have been mainly associated with armed resistance, or by turning the colonizer’s survival into a state of continuous loss and depletion, especially its security, economy. Hence, costs become greater than potential gains, which is not usually done without armed resistance.
If we put the liberation of Palestine from the Zionist occupation and dismantling its project in its proper framework, i.e., its complete liberation from the river to the sea, then the liberation of the land will include also the 1948 occupied Palestinian territories.
The past thirty years have proven that “peaceful struggle” has not made Israel withdraw from the 1967 occupied Palestine; rather it has made it just reposition itself. It has withdrawn from GS, keeping it under siege, and retained its dominance over WB, as a disputed territory. Furthermore, Israel has retained the full and direct management of about 61% of WB, doubled its settlement and Judaization presence, and allowed the presence of a functional Palestinian Authority (PA) that relieves it from managing the population and chasing the resistance. Therefore, this bitter experience has proven that forcing Israel to withdraw from WB and lift the GS siege requires armed resistance and a comprehensive Intifadah, so how about liberating all of Palestine?!
Secondly, the Zionist project is not just traditional colonialism, but rather an aggressive expansionist settler colonialism, based on religious and historical arguments, and supported by major powers with strategic interests in the region. These powers do realize the extent of the injustice and suffering this project causes to the Palestinian people. Therefore, dealing with such an occupation cannot be only by having objective discussions and using persuasive methods, rather these rights must be forcibly regained, mainly by jihad and armed resistance. As for the political and diplomatic activities, as well as the publicity and mobilization campaigns, they are important activities that support the core of the work (i.e., armed resistance) but do not replace it. If the core is gone, the activities lose their usefulness.
Therefore, throughout its history, the liberation project has been associated with armed resistance, which has been the basis of the Palestinian revolution. The National Charter of the Palestine Liberation organization (PLO) has stipulated that armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine, and even when the charter was amended in the Ten Point Program of 1974, it has kept the part stating that armed struggle is a major way to liberate Palestine.
The seventh illusion is letting the national project be led by a leadership that is conceding the homeland!!
This is one of the wonders of Palestinian history and the Palestinian experience.
This leadership that has “officially” relinquished more than three-quarters of Palestine in the Oslo Accords, and “legitimized” the move in “fabricated” meetings of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) in 1996 and 1998; has miserably managed the “battle” of establishing the Palestinian state over what was left of Palestine. It has agreed on being demilitarized, without an army, and by exchanging lands. Many of its leaders also talk, in their private meetings, about eventually giving up the right of return of the Palestinian refugees, since it is a basic Israeli requirement for the establishment of the state.
This leadership adhered neither to the Ten Point Program that allows it to establish the “combating” PA over any liberated part of Palestine; nor to the “interim program” or its requirements. It has proved that it can be pressured, and Israel has used the peace process as a cover to Judaize what remained of Palestine. This leadership did not consult the Palestinian people about its concessions, and has ignored the right of the Arab and Muslim nation—as well as the right of future generations—to the holy and blessed land of Palestine.
This leadership has failed to maintain the most prominent fundamentals of the Palestine issue, and (on top of that) has failed in the “interim program,” in addition, it has failed to manage the “negotiations” over what remains of Palestine and agreed to be a “service entity” that serves Israel. Therefore, it is not qualified to lead a national project aimed to liberate Palestine.
The eighth illusion is the “manifestations” of the state before the success of the revolution
Perhaps we can talk about the benefits of declaring the independence of Palestine or the establishment of the Palestine state, which can be used to prove the rights, fill the potential void, and achieve official Arab and international recognition. This is what the Palestinian leadership did in 1948 when it established the All-Palestine Government and declared independence, and was done also by the Palestinian leadership in 1988. However, such moves remain a support to the facts that must be established on the ground, otherwise, they will be lost, as happened in the 1948 and 1988 declarations.
As for the illusion that we warn against here is in the fact that the political leadership is haunted by the desire to achieve and convince the masses of its good performance. Therefore, it may resort to a combination of misleading measures and “self-deception,” by expanding the formalities associated with the presidency, government, ministries, embassies and foreign delegations. It may also drain the “revolution” funds, capabilities, energies and time on “bureaucratic” forms that will produce a class of beneficiaries, and give way to the corruption of militants, while it diverts from its “revolutionary” content.
The core of the project and the largest share of its expenses must be spent on the armed resistance, the Intifadah and on supporting the steadfastness of the Palestinian people on their land. The commitment to resistance and the readiness to sacrifice oneself and money, should be a prerequisite and an indispensable requirement for the leaders of the liberation project and everyone engaging in related political, tactical and media work… etc. This is what all the revolutionary forces that are serious about liberation projects have done and are doing. As for the current “manifestations,” including the embassies of the State of Palestine and the PLO, the PA and its institutions and the “welfare” projects under occupation… They are illusions that distract the national track from the core of the liberation project, drain the project’s resources, and even make it lose a lot of credibility and the respect of countries and peoples.
Until we meet again with other illusions!!