FEAR AND THE PALESTINE PAPERS 28Jan11 January 28, 2011

Ignoring the hype about the Palestine papers is hard.  I spent a lot of time
reading through page after page of the documents showing minutes of meetings
and other exchanges regarding the Palestinian-Israeli “negotiations” (the
quotes are warranted).  The Guardian newspaper summed up the back and forth
arguments about these papers as follows:

” PA and PLO leaders such as Saeb Erekat can be expected to point out that
one of the core principles of the negotiations is that ‘nothing is agreed
until everything is agreed’. As such they are not necessarily committed to
provisional positions that in the event failed to secure a settlement -
though Erekat made clear to US officials in January 2010 that the same
offers remained on the table. Critics are likely to argue that concessions -
such as accepting the annexation of Israeli settlements in occupied East
Jerusalem – are simply pocketed by the Israeli side, and risk being treated
as a starting point in any future talks.”

See HERE

For me two things come out clearly from these painful documents (some of
them have parallel data in the US embassy cables on Wikileaks).  First it is
not that the Palestinian officials are traitors but merely (and this is bad
enough) mistakenly and passionately going through motions hoping against all
odds that by talking and compromising more they could achieve a tiny
fraction of what we are entitled to. The second observation is that Israel
will not sign a peace deal regardless of how low and ridiculous the
concessions on the Palestinian side: hunt down resisters (abandoning the
internationally recognized rights of resistance to occupation even unarmed
one), give up on most settlements built illegally on Palestinian lands,
allow Israel sovereignty over nearly 1/3rd of the occupied old city of
Jerusalem, give up on the refugee rights, allow Israel to keep looting
natural resources in the West Bank, give Israel the right to control our
airspace, and even assure a statelet devoid of sovereignty. Not even tourism
income would be allowed in this emasculated state.  Some critics asked:  if,
as the documents show, the Palestinian negotiators were willing to accept
all of this then WHY did Israeli politicians hold out?

The answer is obvious to anyone who ever faced Zionism. They believe
(rightly or wrongly) they can get 100% so why should they settle for 91% or
even 99% especially when the ceiling of the Palestinian requests kept
dropping in the past 22 years (since they accepted in 1988 to let Israel
keep most of the looted parts of Palestine 1948).  Today, Israel’s three
main sources of income are dependent on a continued conflict and occupation:
the 6.5 billion military and security exports, the 6 billion US and other
western direct aid, and 3 billion from the captive markets in the West Bank
and Gaza. All three would be threatened with end of conflict even if Israel
gets to keep most of its stolen loot.   Israeli officials are keen to keep
negotiations going to avoid an anti-Apartheid scenario and for PR and
normalization to keep pumping more money and more settlers into the
remaining small shriveling Palestine because it is economically profitable.

The recorded meetings show no real interest or even emotion or any sense of
urgency on the part of the Israelis or their American benefactors.  Saeb
Erekat comes out basically pleading and begging sometimes and other times
using the presence of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran to try and convince these
officials.  Jim Jones, David, Hale, and (Israeli lobbyist Dennis Ross),
Tzipi Livni, Mofaz etc. all just repeat utter few selective words and simply
drag their feet to keep the “process going”.  What would be the nature of
the conversations if there was no Hamas to wave as the boogeyman to US
officials and claim success in containing Hamas and other “extremist
movements” (In Egypt Hosni Mubarak uses the same notion of containing
Islamic Jihad but for the sinister goal of justifying his dictatorship)?  US
officials are very confident of their strength and the Israeli strengths and
the fact that they only need the Palestinians to prevent any attempts at
international isolation of Israel.  This they get just by innuendo or hints
of threats on the Palestinians authority.  They studied the situation
carefully and think that Abbas and company have no other options but to
simply keep negotiating and compromising even if it takes another 20 years.
In some very rare instances the negotiators seem to connect with their
humanity and actually feel sorry for the fate of these Palestinian
negotiators.  But then you could sense how they curb their own feelings (as
irrelevant) and go back to the scripted positions of their governments which
are simply antagonistic to anything that is not 100% in support of Zionism.
Erekat’s occasional threats of a one state seem vacuous and not serious.  My
book on Sharing the Land of Canaan showed with lots of data that “two state
for two people” approach can never lead to genuine peace (if apartheid was
the problem in South Africa, why is it considered a solution here?).

I have a suggestion for the Palestinian authority: try to deal with the
issues and do release your own documents instead of trying to shoot the
messenger.  Take lemons to make lemonade.  Help introduce an even stronger
resolution at the UN security council (e.g. in support of the Goldstone
report or to recognize a Palestinian state along the borders of 1967) or a
resolution at the UN General Assembly that calls for expelling Israel from
the UN since it has never honored its commitments when it was admitted in
1949.  Maybe announce publicly that the Oslo Process was a mistake or at
least is now dead (now every idiot knows it was and most of those who are
getting salaries from the authority know in their hearts that it was
contrary to basic human rights and to basic international law). This
suggestion essentially is to show courage and backbone.  It could also mean
the difference: making mistakes is human, continuing the path as in the past
only validates those who accuse the authority figures of treason.  Abbas
says he will surprise us in September but I believe he and those around him
do not have that kind of time.
I, like Edward Said and millions of Palestinians, disagreed strongly with
the choices made by this Oslo group to built the Palestinian autonomous
administration (of the Palestinian people warehouses or concentration camps)
that relieved Israel from the burdens of managing us and from International
isolation based on not even promises of freedom or return of rights.  But I
also can’t help but feel sorry for those who took that path. It must be very
painful for a human being to go down a tunnel where there is no possibility
of a light at the end and during this trip into the depths of darkness feel
the leaches crawling up his back sucking his blood and voices from behind
calling him back (some of them his political enemies, others ex-comrades in
Fatah). Palestinian negotiators are fearful of going back because they think
it might give political opponents a PR tool. They are just fearful of losing
face; I am always grateful to a wise advisor who 30 years ago convinced me
to drop this fear of admitting mistakes (a fear common especially among
men). They may also be fearful of losing a job. The Palestinian people are
very angry though many feel afraid to speak out for fear to lose their
sources of income, fear that the alternative to Fatah maybe just as bad,
fear of Israel, fear of the US or just simply fear of their own power.  But
ultimately fear is a lack of self-confidence to take another course. And
their fear should be balanced by the fact that people are literally dying
for justice and wanting leaders to care about them and not about themselves.
[Here we must remember the thousands of martyrs who gave their lives and
hundreds of thousands who were injured or lost homes and livelihood and
still yearn for freedom].

The status quo is to many humans a comfort in the known/predictable.  Taking
another path is feared because humans fear the unknown.  I believe that fear
is the most destructive and paralyzing human emotion.  Common people around
the world are just beginning to break the barrier of fear and speak up more
for themselves. From Tunisia to Egypt to Lebanon, the walls of fear are
cracking.  We common people and even some leaders must  realize that many of
these walls are far weaker than we may think.  I can actually hear them
cracking.

The Arab world is in revolt.  The fire is spreading.  Responsible people
need to step forward with courage and conviction.  There could be surprises
along those lines even from Central Committee members of Fatah.  Already
Nabil Shaath took a position different than Mahmoud Abbas.  This is just the
beginning.  Palestine will survive.  The Palestinian people are not sheep.
They are mature enough to take the truth and to rebuild our national
liberation movement.  History marches on and I am 100% sure that Zionism
will fail and Palestine will be free.

——————–
Palestinian Students take over Palestine London offices demanding
representation of all Palestinians.  I think their call for representation
based on the Prisoner’s documents and the Cairo Declaration) should be
taken-up by all Palestinians of conscience. See HERE

A Call to the People and Governments of the Free World from the Egyptian
National Coalition: We call upon all of you to support the Egyptian people’s
demands for a good life, liberty and an end of despotism. We call upon you
to urge this dictatorial regime to stop its bloodshed of the Egyptian
people, exercised throughout Egyptian cities.. We believe that the material
and moral support offered to the Egyptian regime, by the American government
and European governments, has helped to suppress the Egyptian people.  We
hereby call upon the people of the free world to support the Egyptian
people’s non-violent revolution against corruption and tyranny. We also call
upon civil society organizations in America, Europe and the whole world to
express their solidarity with Egypt, through holding public demonstrations,
particularly on People’s Anger Day (28/01/2011), and by denouncing the use
of violence against the people. We hope that you will all support our
demands for freedom, justice and peaceful change.

The Guardian Newspaper: Palestinian distrust of Iran revealed in leaked
papers. Mahmoud Abbas asked businessman to donate $50m to Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad’s opponents, according to the documents.

See HERE

Media Matters M.J. Rosenberg stated about the Papers: “The bottom line is
that, despite the assurances the Palestinian Authority gave to the
Palestinian people that it was driving a hard bargain with the Israelis, the
Palestinian Authority accepted Israel’s position on every key point:
borders, Jerusalem, settlements, refugees.  On no major issue did the PA
hold the line. None. The Palestinians offered Israel everything Israel wants
and Israel still said “no” with the backing of the United States.”

See HERE

It is interesting to see such analysis as from former top CIA official
Robert Grenier.

But even though career diplomats are voicing interesting opinions and
diversions from official policy, the Obama administration still shows the
notion of just drawing on AIPAC associated fossilized brains. (see
Why Obama’s “new thinking” initiative on Middle East peace is doomed to fail
by Lawrence Davidson )

Palestinian intellectuals and activists articulated why this is the end of
the charade of the peace process industry Karma Nabulsi gives a pointed
analysis.

Prof. Saree Makdisi shows more emotion as he writes “The Palestinian people
betrayed”

Yet another BDS victory: John Lewis stops stocking Ahava products in Britain

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
Email


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