Palestinian people power – could it be a game-changer?

Because Israel’s leaders prefer land to peace and there’s nothing any American president can do about that so long as the Zionist lobby and its stooges in Congress call the shots on U.S. policy for Israel/Palestine, it’s obvious that the Palestinians have nothing to gain, only more to lose, from politics and diplomacy. So what, really, can they do themselves to press their claim for an acceptable minimum amount of justice? (By definition an acceptable minimum amount of justice requires a complete end to Israel’s 1967 occupation with provision for Jerusalem to be an open, undivided city and the capital of two states).

Way back in the early 1980′s, Major General (then retired) Shlomo Gazit, the best and the brightest of Israel’s former Directors of Military Intelligence, said the following to me in a private conversation. “If we (Israel’s Jews) had been the Palestinians, we’d have had our mini state long ago.” He meant that they would have played the terror card. Simply stated (he knew he didn’t have to spell it out to me), they would bombed Israeli government offices and commercial centres and properties of all kinds and blasted transport and other communication facilities to cause maximum disruption and destruction.

And they would have done so knowing that their terrorism, provided it was ruthless enough and sustained, would be effective, would eventually cause many Israeli Jews to say to their government, “We’ve had enough, do a deal with the Palestinians.” (They would also have had the evidence of their own experience to go on. In 1947/48, mainly by terrorism, they drove out first the occupying British and then about 800,000 Arabs).

Though all governments deny it, a truth is that terrorism does work provided it is ruthless enough and sustained. And there’s no mystery about why. In many countries, especially those in which citizens are free to express their thoughts and feelings (the so-called democracies), there are limits to the amount terror-created disruption and mayhem the soft underbelly of public opinion will tolerate. All politicians know this.

There’s a case for saying that the Palestinians might have had some real bargaining power if they had played the terror card effectively at an early point in Israel’s occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip (as the Zionists would have done if they had been the Palestinians). Arguably a good time to have played it would have been after the UN Security Council caved in to Zionist-driven American pressure and came up with a resolution, 242, which effectively put Zionism in the diplomatic driving seat. It did so by refusing to condemn Israel as the aggressor, by not demanding its immediate withdrawal from occupied Arab territories and by allowing it to attach conditions to its withdrawal. As I have explained in previous articles and my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, the Security Council should have put Israel on notice that it would be subjected to sanctions and diplomatic isolation if it settled occupied territory.

Today, and even if they wanted it, the Palestinians do not have a terror option. And again there’s no mystery about why. In addition to the blockade of the Gaza Strip and checkpoints which are in place partly to humiliate the Palestinians who must pass or seek to pass through them, Israel’s state-of-the-art surveillance makes it almost impossible for Palestinians on the occupied West Bank and in the Gaza Strip open prison to have conversations which are not electronically bugged or listened to by one means or another. Palestinian organizations and groups are also riddled with informers, mostly Palestinian men who become Israeli intelligence assets in order to protect their women. The proposition often put to those who become informers is that if they don’t do what Israel wants, their mothers/wives/sisters will be rapped.

Simply stated there is not an environment in which the occupied and oppressed Palestinians could organize and execute a sustained terror campaign.

So if the Palestinians have nothing to gain from politics and diplomacy and don’t have a terror option, what can they do?

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