Saturday, August 11, 2007
Palestine is Being Sold for a Loaf of Bread
And Few Palestinians Seem to Care.
By Tony Sayegh
Never in the long history of the Palestinian struggle has been so much at stake for the Palestinians and yet so little in the way of a response.
Reviewing the Palestinian history of resistance, all the way back to the Balfour declaration in 1917, reveals this to be the case. At the time the Palestinians were in an uproar for the mere promise by the British to establish a Jewish “homeland” in Palestine. In spite of living under the British occupation, with oppressive laws enacted to repress Palestinian demands for independence and the British military force to impose such repression, the Palestinians acted collectively to press their demands. They protested and agitated against the massive waves of Jewish settlers which the colonial British government forced on the Palestinians. In 1936 a massive general strike throughout the country was declared; it lasted for six months and was finally broken by the force of the British military.
Huge opposition to the partition of the country in 1947 had the support of the vast majority of the Palestinian people who rightly saw in that decision the beginning of the end of their dreams for independence and sovereignty.
Even after the Nakba of 1948, the Palestinians spoke with one voice and kept hope alive for the right to return to their homes from which they were expelled. Equally important, it was unthinkable to have a Palestinian leader, speaking on behalf of the Palestinians, negotiating away their rights. Various Arab regimes participated in the sellout of the Palestinians and their rights, but not a Palestinian leader. Until Mahmoud Abbas became “president.”
Make no mistake about it, what Abbas is “negotiating” secretly with the Israelis is the final liquidation of Palestinian rights. Even though most Palestinian refugees never elected Abbas, he is agreeing to the Israeli demand that the “refugee problem” be permanently excluded from any “negotiations.” The first item Abbas has agreed to is that the Palestinian right of return (UN Resolution 194) is dead. This agreement with Olmert is a precondition to establishing the outline of an “agreement.” Another Israeli demand of the Arab regimes is to settle the Palestinian refugees in the various Arab countries, using primarily Saudi money.
These central issues will be agreed to by Abbas and the puppet Arab regimes even before the conference in New York this fall, chaired by Condoleezza Rice and attended by Israel and representatives of various Arab regimes, including Saudi Arabia, to “discuss” the Saudi “peace” plan. In reality the sellout by Abbas and the rest of the Arab puppets will be complete before the conference. The conference will be to formalize the normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab world, taking advantage of the charade that “the Palestinian problem has been solved.”
The outline of what Abbas, acting as a dictator representing all Palestinians -- even those who remained in what became Israel and are called Israeli Arabs -- is prepared to accept is nothing short of the end of Palestine. Sure, there will be a lot of fanfare and fancy sounding declarations about a “Palestinian state” and the “best chance for peace in generations.” They will probably even fly the Palestinian flag over the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
However, what Abbas has already agreed to in principle is far from an independent and sovereign “Palestinian state.” Abbas is accepting that Israel will keep control of all the major Jewish colonies in the West Bank. He is accepting that vast regions of the West Bank (as much as 40% of the area), including the Jordan Valley, will remain under Israeli control. He is accepting that Israel will remain in control of all water resources, all borders and airspace. What Abbas is accepting is that the Palestinians will be confined, for the time being, in a few Bantustans, surrounded by walls, “security fences,” Jews-only roads and major new Jewish colonies. These Bantustans will remain until the Palestinians are squeezed out gradually by a variety of pressures, including land confiscation, limited water, economic impoverishment and total dependence on the Israeli economy.
In the meantime the starvation of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza proceeds with the vigorous backing of the “Palestinian president” for their daring to insist on Palestinian rights. The message of Abbas and his USraeli backers is simple: insist on Palestinian rights and starve or give up those rights and get a loaf of bread.
While these unprecedented and momentous developments are rapidly proceeding, the reaction of most Palestinians is as if all these events do not concern them. It is mind boggling. During the heydays of the PLO, regional and global meetings and conferences used to be held to discuss and vote on major issues affecting the Palestinians; no more. Elections were held to elect representatives of Palestinians throughout the world to the Palestine National Council, which had the ultimate authority on all major issues; no more. There used to be a great ferment of ideas, books, seminars, etc; no more. Rallies and protests used to erupt in refugee camps, in major Palestinian cities, even in cities in the West; no more. It appears that not just the Intifada is dead, but something bigger is dying inside the Palestinians and I am afraid that it is the death of hope.
The Oslo gang, when they embarked on their treacherous journey in 1993, knew that this would be the ultimate destination. The Palestinian public, due to both gullibility and desperation, acted as an enabler to this gang and now it has to deal with the bitter fruit.
When will the Palestinians rise up? Do I hear someone say Third Intifada?