The Final Betrayal of the Palestinians?

Why does Israel still find it impossible to understand that the Palestinians will not give up their struggle for freedom and independence? That was the question posed in an analysis by Abu Manneh, Znet 2 January 2009. In my analysis it’s because Israel’s present leaders in government do understand that the Palestinians are not going to abandon their struggle for some justice that they – defense minister Barak and foreign minister Livni principally – decided on “total war” with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. (Labour leader Barak and Kadima leader Livni were also playing politics. By demonstrating that they were prepared to be as ruthless as Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu, they were hoping to prevent him winning February’s election and becoming prime minister. And no doubt President-elect Obama shared their hope on that account).

The real problem today is what it’s always been – the refusal of the Palestinians to let their cause be a sacrificial lamb on the altar of political expediency. After Israel’s first fait accompliin 1948/9, which saw 700,000 Palestinians dispossessed of their land, their homes and their rights, there was not supposed to have been a regeneration of Palestinian nationalism. Zionism didn’t want it to happen. The major Western powers didn’t want it to happen. And the Arab regimes didn’t want it to happen. Yasser Arafat’s real crime was making it happen.

The mainstream Western media, like President Bush, prefers to peddle Zionism’s propaganda lies about who bears the responsibility for ending the cease-fire in Gaza, but the truth is readily available for all of wish to know it. (Two of Israel’s newspapers – Ha’aretzand Yediot Ahronot- are probably the best prime sources). From June 2008 until 4 November, Hamas maintained the cease-fire. On that day it fired some rockets into Israel but? They were a responseto a cease-fire-breaking ground incursion by Israeli special forces and an air strike which killed at least six Palestinians. The name of the Israeli game thereafter was to provoke Hamas into firing more rockets to give Israel the pretext for total war on the basis of target information gathered over five months.

In my analysis there’s no mystery about Israel’s real purpose. It is to put Hamas out of political as well as military business in order to improve the prospects for bullying and bribing Palestinian President Abbas and his Fatah-dominated, quisling National Authority into accepting crumbs from Zionism’s table- the crumbs being an Israeli withdrawal from parts of the West Bank to provide the Palestinians with two or three Bantustans which they could call a state if they wished.

Would President Abbas actually be prepared to settle for very much less than a complete Israeli withdrawal from all of the West Bank including Arab East Jerusalem? The answer ought to be “No” because to do so would be to betray his own people and their 60 years of struggle for an acceptable minimum of justice. But what if he came under pressure from President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, and their message to him was something like: “You’ve got to be pragmatic. This is the best deal you Palestinians are ever likely to get.” Obama and Clinton wouldn’t need to add “because we’re not going to press the Israelis to do what they don’t want to do.”

But that’s not the only pressure that could be brought to bear on Abbas and his National Authority (the PCA or “Palestinian Collaborationist Authority” in the words of Joseph Massad).

In one of my last private conversations with Yasser Arafat, he told me about his “real nightmare”. It was that Israel would give back the Golan Heights for a separatepeace with Syria.

Why was a separateIsrael-Syria peace the stuff of Arafat’s nightmare?

It would leave the Palestinian claim for an acceptable minimum of justice unaddressed; and with Eygpt and Jordan already at peace with Israel, it was what most probably would happen then that terrified Arafat. If Syria got what it wanted for a separate peace, Arafat said, it most likely would join forces with Jordan and Eygpt and do America’s bidding by insisting that the Palestinians accept whatever Israel was prepared to offer them; and if the Palestinians still refused to settle for crumbs from Zionism’s table, the intelligence and other security services of the three frontline Arab states would collaborate with Israel’s agencies to make further Palestinian resistance impossible.

That, said Arafat, would amount to “the final Arab regime betrayal of our cause.”

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