The Cause for Palestine represents one of the last struggles emanating from the Colonial Age. Having entered the neo-colonial era after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, we find ourselves witnessing a “New World Order” (in George Bush Senior lingo) taking shape; an attempt by the elite of the corporate & political establishments – which are one in the same – to get us to accept the concept of Palestinian statehood to eventually drive home the norms of consumerism and politically detached societal servitude, the repercussions of which are potentially catastrophic not just for the region’s people, but for the entire world population.
Now I’m not referring to a doomsday scenario, nor am I advocating a Marxist revolution – for in theory the latter’s utopic nature would eventually lead us to the same dead end. What I’m specifically tackling is a North-South duality that is slowly penetrating the Palestinian mindset; elitists who have the authority and therefore literally can play with the lives of millions in a manner not so different to a board game of Risk.
As we speak, Apartheid reigns in the West Bank, Gaza is an open air Guantanamo, and in Israel, Palestinians live as third or even fourth class citizens consistently harassed by authorities that do not want them there in the first place. By today’s standards, what we therefore have is an inexplicable reality where one people quite literally dominates another because of a single reason: their ethnic and religious affiliations. That is the reality on the ground. As unsustainable as this may seem, it’s been going on for over 60 years. However the truth is that this reality is slowly morphing itself into a potentially uglier, more hopeless status-quo. Allow me to explain…
We live in a world where an African American now heads the US Presidency. The “international community”, so to speak, has adopted thousands of declarations and signed countless charters that essentially push for all sorts of positive changes in human beings’ lives; for example: the ban of slavery, the respect of human rights, women’s suffrage, minimum wage laws, the independence of nations, tackling global warming, and so on. The list of measures taken to make the world a better place is expansive.
By that definition, Israel can only be considered a pariah state. The Gaza Massacre almost one-year ago was a huge public relations disaster for the Zionist entity. Its Apartheid nature, stifling blockade, continuous occupation, and innate racist nature have been further exposed for the world to see. An article even appeared in The Nation on October 14th 2009 entitled “American Jews Rethink Israel”. Its author Adam Horowitz discusses the formation of J-Street; a young, modern and “progressive” Jewish Lobby in Washington DC aiming to “rock the status quo” (code for AIPAC, the notorious American Israel Public Affairs Committee that has been lobbying Congress since the 1950s). In these times of Hope and Change, we may believe, even be motivated by, the sudden calls for settlement freeze, Palestinian statehood, and the overall impression that Israel is finally cast as the “bad guy” whilst the Palestinians are the “victims”.
Interestingly, and perhaps in tandem, we now have the emergence of a “proper” Palestinian lobby group called The American Task Force For Palestine (ATFP), an avid spokesperson for whom is Husain Ibish, author of the book “What’s Wrong with the One-State Agenda”. Here’s a description of the book on AFTP’s very own website:
“In this new book, Dr. Ibish examines the arguments generally put forward by Palestinian and other Arab American proponents of abandoning the goal of ending the occupation and establishing a Palestinian state and instead seeking to promote a single, democratic state in all of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. The book also looks at differences between the deployment of the one-state idea by some Palestinian figures in the occupied territories as a diplomatic "threat" intended to spur greater Israeli seriousness about a negotiated agreement and the diasporic discourse that drives most one-state rhetoric. Finally, Dr. Ibish explains in some detail why ending the occupation and peace with Israel, while difficult to achieve and thus far elusive, are the only plausible and practicable Palestinian national strategy.”
Now is it just me, or does this sound like the epitomy of capitulation. Ibish and his boss at the ATFP, Ziad Asali, having propounded the two-state agenda, can only be classifed in the same infamous file as Mahmood Abbas and Co: Palestinian Zionists that advocate a Bantustan-type state that furthers the liquidation of all legitimate Palestinian rights. A classic case of shutting up the people with supposed “liberties and independence” for the sake of total economic and political control. And as Van Goethe once said: “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free”.
We have come to recognize Zionism as a destructive, ill-intentioned, manipulative movement. In “American Jews Rethink Israel”, Ali Abunimah, founder of the Electronic Intifada, rightly points out that “a kinder, gentler AIPAC does not represent serious change. J Street is supposed to represent a tectonic shift, but it operates within the peace process paradigm and doesn’t challenge it at all”.
To remind everyone of what this peace process paradigm really is: since the Oslo Accords in 1993 Israel has failed to end its occupation and, according Israeli Human Rights group Peace Now, continues to build and expand its illegal colonies by doubling the number of Israeli settlers and increasing the number of illegal housing units in the Occupied Territories by 62% (that excludes East-Jerusalem). It also confiscated more than 60,000 acres of Palestinian land for colony construction and related Jews-only by-pass roads. It uprooted 220,000 trees and demolished 690 homes in the West Bank alone. Israel also removed from all official government maps the Green Line separating it from the Occupied Palestinian Territories, therefore refusing to recognize the military nature of its existence in the West Bank and Gaza. Since 1993, Israel fails to release pro-Palestinian political prisoners, fails to open the northern safe passage route between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and still uses lethal force against unarmed and defenseless civilians. Since 1993, Israel denies Palestinians freedom of movement and fails to prosecute psychotic right-wing settlers for crimes committed against them. So in the end, is this the failure state Ibish and his sell-out friends at the ATFP want to achieve “peace” with? Sure it is, for they represent the same North found in the United States, Europe, and the rest of the world over. Miccheleti anyone?
The alternative is a solution proposed by Dr. Mustafa Barghouti*, head of the Palestinian National Initiative, in his brilliant piece entitled “What We Palestinians Need” published in the LA Times on May 18th 2009. In it, he outlines a detailed four-prong strategy that (1) encompasses the need to strengthen peaceful resistance similar to the one used by South Africans during Apartheid; (2) support national steadfastness by amplifying “the demographic power of the Palestinian people so as to transform their millions into an effective grassroots force”; (3) adopt national unity by “relinquishing the mentality and practice of vying for power over an illusory governing authority that is still under the thumb of the occupation”; and (4) enhancing pro-Palestinian solidarity through an intensive Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction program against Israel. The fourth element is crucial for it requires “carefully organized and detailed planning, a high degree of discipline and tight coordination; rational and civilized rhetoric that refuses to play into Israel's tactics of provocation; [and the recruitment of] progressive movements and peoples in societies abroad, including anti-Zionist Jews and Jews opposed to Israeli policies”. It is instrumental, in fact high-time, that One state - from the river to the sea with equal civil rights of citizenship to all bar none including refugees, where only the Palestinians achieve their inalienable, intact and irrevocable right to self-determination on all the land of Palestine - is propounded as the only viable and just solution.
From the Israeli side, a refreshing outlook appeared in The Financial Times on December 8th 2009. In his article entitled “Israel must rethink it’s ethnic myth”, Tony Judt utilizes Israeli Historian Shlomo Sand’s recent book “The Invention of the Jewish People” as a benchmark for change, explaining that the old adage of Zionism, which claims that Jews the world over are direct descendants of an expelled population 2 millenia ago and due to continuous suffering in Europe needed their own Jewish State to dwell in, is no longer sustainable: “Israel’s survival does not rest on the credibility of the story it tells about its ethnic origins. If we accept this, we can begin to understand that the country’s insistence upon its exclusive claim upon Jewish identity is an significant handicap”. Judt later on admits that he’d prefer the outcome of a one-state solution, as the two-state alternative would “leave Israel intact in its [own] ethno-delusions”. Judt, a Professor at New York University, concludes: “The civil war in Ireland came to an end partly because an American President instructed the Irish-emigrant community in the US to stop sending arms and cash to the Provisional IRA. If American Jews stopped associating their fate with Israel and used their charitable cheques for better purposes, something similar might happen in the Middle East”. The relentless “Land for Peace” symphony is a merry-go-round implicitly depicting Arabs as the aggressors and Israel a defensive state. We should adopt the One-state solution for in the end Israelis will never be truly free until the Palestinian people are free as well.
If not, whatever deformed “state of Palestine” we end up having will mean an unconditional normalization with an Apartheid regime in order to protect and consolidate the Zionist dream and help the US Empire achieve all its regional hegemonic and geo-political goals. That is: further the Elitist agenda that has raped most of the developing world’s natural resources, exploited its labor force through sweat-shops, and robbed the masses from their rights, wealth, dignity, and security. To bring this in full circle, the real struggle for a free Palestine is diametrically opposed to the Elitist version of an “independent” Palestine.
The emanating threats to real Palestinian freedom come from outside just as much as they are from within. Like all forms of authority in the world today, what Elitism does in the end is kill the need for equality. Palestinian elitism, whether in the West Bank, Jordan, the Gulf, or the United States, is harmful to its own kind. As it aims to preserve the rich and maintain social control, it is as detrimental as the Occupation itself, for it detaches one’s mind to truly feel with the rest of the people. The Zionist movement is well aware of this, and it is doing a damn good job at capitalizing with the emergence of self-fulfilling entities such as the ATFP and J-Street, both which share the same objectives and vision of a 2-state solution, both of which identify with a “taba’a” or upper layer of individuals, both of which attempt to manipulatively hype up their respective masses with the help of corrupt media, government, and financial institutions.
So…what does this all mean.
It is no longer the case of Muslim vs. Jew or Arab vs. Israeli. It is much larger than that. Dr. Barghouti recently summarized it eloquently on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show: “The Palestinian issue is not an Arab or Muslim issue. It is a human issue”.
Representing the need for real independence, real liberties, and real peaceful co-existence and integration. Realities that are free from elitists controlling the daily lives of the masses. A truly free South, wherever it may be, that lives in peace and dignity. It may as well be our last hope to re-think how we as human beings choose to live with each other.
That is what the Palestinian Cause is truly about.
*Dr. Mustafa Barghouti is not to be confused with Palestinian political figure Marwan Barghouti, currently held in an Israeli jail and in some circles referred to as "Palestine's Mandela". He is one of the more probable names on the list of political prisoners to be freed in the negotiations for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who in turn was captured by Hamas.
One can almost see it happening from now: A perfectly choreographed release of a famous detainee groomed by Israel and, with the help of the media, causing mass hysteria and “legitimacy” amongst the people, paving the way for the declaration of an "independent" yet completely subdued Palestinian state.