Palestine does not have to be a lost cause

The most sickening (I mean truly vomit inducing) thing about the Al Jazeera revelations, the so-called Palestine Papers, is not what they confirm about the quisling status of the impotent and corrupt Palestine Authority. Nor is it what they confirm about the Israeli leadership’s complete lack of interest in peace on terms other than those which require the Palestinians to surrender – to abandon their struggle for even an acceptable minimum amount of justice. What then is the most sickening thing?

By offering or at least indicating that it was prepared to offer such huge concessions, the PA leadership encouraged Israel’s political and military leaders in their belief that if only they are intransigent, repressive and brutal enough for long enough, they can break the will of the Palestinians to continue their struggle and force them to accept a handful of crumbs from Zionism’s table.

That’s the really bad news. The good news is that if the Palestinians – the occupied and oppressed and those in the diaspora – can now put their act together, they could create a new situation to their advantage.

For the past two years I have been defining in articles and speeches what I think putting their act together means, or should mean.

For example, in a post on 15 September last year with the headline Does the Palestinian diaspora care enough to become engaged? I asked this question.What can the Palestinians do to help themselves? My answer (first put forward more than two years ago) was the following.

They should wind-up (close down) the discredited PA and put policy making and implementation back into the hands of the Palestine National Council (PNC), which is supposed to be (it once was) the highest and most supreme Palestinian decision-making body. To become relevant again it would have to be reconstructed and re-invigorated by elections to it in every place where there are Palestinians – the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem, the Gaza concentration camp and the diaspora.

The fact that the PA is impotent, corrupt and discredited was reason enough, I went on to say, for it to be put out of its misery, but there was more to it.

In their claim for justice, I wrote, the Palestinians have 100% of right, legal and moral, on their side (whereas the Israelis have 99% of the might, conventional and nuclear, on their side). If this claim was properly presented and pressed by a credible Palestinian leadership, by definition a democratically elected leadership duly authorized to represent the views of all Palestinians, it would be more difficult for the governments of the major powers, the one in Washington DC especially, to go on refusing to use the leverage they have to end Israel’s occupation of Arab land grabbed in the Zionist state’s 1967 war of aggression. (Not self defense as Zionism asserted and succeeded in getting most people in the Western world to believe).

In that context and the light of Al Jazeera’s revelations, the first main message of a reconstructed and re-invigorated PNC, addressed to the Israelis but also for the attention of the governments of the world, would be something like this.

You have demonstrated that you can make puppets of some of our leaders you decided not to assassinate, but you will never break the will of the Palestinian people. In the name of this people we tell you now that we will never accept anything less than a complete end to Israel’s 1967 occupation, as required by UN Security Council resolutions and international law.”

To demonstrate that it was prepared to play its part in addressing and hopefully removing one of the main fears Israel’s leaders have installed in the minds of the Jewish citizens of the Zionist state, (the fear being that the Palestinian right of return means the destruction by demographic and therefore peaceful means of a Jewish majority Israel), a restructured and re-invigorated PNC could also say that in the event of an end to Israeli occupation and the creation of a Palestinian state, an authentic Palestinian leadership would reluctantly accept (as Arafat and his senior leadership colleagues did behind closed doors) that the right of return would have to be limited to the territory of the Palestinian state, with compensation for those who wished to return and for whom there was no space.

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