Unity or Annihilation – The Real Choice For The Palestinians (Again)

This article was written and first posted more than a year ago, before Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip (an act of state terrorism by another name). With Fatah about to meet and the discredited PNA still in being, this article is, I suggest, worth a second reading (or a first for new visitors to this site). In my view, the fact that President Obama has become positively engaged does not change the essence of the analysis below.

With Israel seriously considering how best to destroy Hamas (and Hizbollah and possibly Iran) and bolster the stooge leadership of Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian friends have been asking me what I think the Palestinians could and should now do to improve their prospects for obtaining an acceptable amount of justice.

I thought my answer would not go down well with some of them but, in fact, it went down very well with all of them (including, for example, Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal, the former Bishop of Jerusalem).

My view is that the Palestinians would be well advised to wind-up(close down) the discredited Palestine National Authority (PNA), and put policy making and implementation into the hands of a reconstructed Palestine National Council(PNC). The latter, which used to be called the “Palestinian parliament in exile”,. would be re-constructed, refreshed and re-invigorated, by elections in every place where there are Palestinians– the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem, the Gazaconcentration camp and the diaspora. This, it seems to me, would provide the Palestinians with what they most desperately need now – UNITY.

When it came into being in May 1964, the PNC (as I explained in my book Arafat, Terrorist or Peacemaker?) was intended to be nothing more than a puppet of the frontline Arab states, with Eygpt’s President Nasser the puppet master.

The documented truth about Nasser and Israel – one of many truths denied by supporters of Israel right or wrong – can be simply stated. From the moment he came to power in a bloodless coup in 1951, Nasser wanted, and in secret seriously explored the prospects for, an accomodation with Israel. On the matter of how to deal with the Zionist state, he was, in fact, a pragmatist. Despite stupid Arab rhetoric to the contrary, rhetoric which enabled Zionist and imperial Western spin doctors to paint him as the “Hitler of the Nile”, Nasser had no intention, ever, of fighting Israel to liberate Palestine.And the major Western powers knew that. (So why did he take arms from the Soviet Union? He wanted Eygpt to be strong enough to prevent Israel imposing its will on him by brute force, and the Americans refused to supply him. When, after much hesitation and still with great reluctance, Nasser turned to the Soviet Union for arms, his message to Israel was, in effect, “I want you to know that attacking Eygpt and other Arab states will not be a cost free option.”)

The documented truth about the stance of the rest of the Arab regimes prior to the creation of the PNC in 1964 can also be simply stated. None of them had any intention of fighting Israel to liberate Palestine. The Palestinefile had been closed, mainly by Zionist terrorism and ethnic cleansing, in 1948/49 and, in their minds if not their hearts, they shared Zionism’s hope that it would remain closed. Put another way, the Arab regimes, more by default than design, were requiring the Palestinians to accept their lot as the sacrificial lamb on the altar of political expediency. If the Palestinefile was ever re-opened – if there was a regeneration of Palestinian nationalism – a confrontation with the Zionist state and its Western backers would one day be inevitable. And that was to be avoided at any and all costs.

So the PNC was brought into being not so much as it actually happened to prevent a regeneration of Palestinian nationalism – that process was already underway, but to prevent it resorting to armed struggle which would give Israel, in the name of fighting “terrorism”, the pretext it wanted to strike at the frontline Arab states and take more Arab land. (Arab leaders didn’t have to be mind readers. Zionism’s ambition, the creation of a Jewish state from the Litani River in Southern Lebanon to the Jordan River, was a matter of record).

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