|Institut für Palästinakunde|
- IPK -
In seiner aktuellen Email befasst sich der palästinensische Bürgerrechtler
Mazin Qumsiyeh, Professor an der Bethlehem und der Bir Zeit Universität,
der auch Referent bei der Stuttgarter
Palästinakonferenz war, mit den Palestine Papers.
Die Motive der PA auf der einen und der Israelis
auf der anderen Seite betreffend, stellt Qumsiyeh fest, dass Abbas -
als Repräsentant der machtlosen PA - nur die Option hat immer weiter zu
verhandeln und Kompromisse zu machen, ganz egal wie lange die
Die Israelis auf der anderen Seite brauchen die Palästinenser als Verhandlungspartner ganz allein um zu verhindern, dass sie wegen mangelnder Verhandlungsbereitschaft international isoliert werden.
Infolge dieser Konstellation sitzt die PA in einer für das palästinensische
Volk tödlichen Zwickmühle. Eine Zwickmühle die garantiert, dass
die Verhandlungen niemals zu einem Ergebnis gelangen werden - und dass
Israel sich dabei Stück für Stück des Territoriums und der anderen Ressourcen
der Palästinenser einverleiben kann.
Dies ist allerdings nicht als Unterstützung für die Zweistaatenlösung zu werten, zu der Qumsiyeh anmerkt: "Wenn Apartheid das Problem in Südafrika war, warum wird es hier dann als Lösung betrachtet?"
Diese Zwickmühle, so Qumsiyeh, müssen die Palästinenser aufbrechen. Die palästinensische Führung müsse sich dazu von der Angst vor dem Eingeständnis des eigenen Versagens befreien. Sie müsse eingestehen, dass sie Fehler gemacht habe. Nur dann könne sie den Kurs ändern und zurück zu einem Weg finden, der den Palästinensern die Freiheit bringt.
Fear and The Palestine Papers
Ignoring the hype about the Palestine papers is hard. I spent a lot of time
reading through page after page of the documents showing minutes of meetings
and other exchanges regarding the Palestinian-Israeli "negotiations" (the
quotes are warranted). The Guardian newspaper summed up the back and forth
arguments about these papers as follows:
"PA and PLO leaders such as Saeb Erekat can be expected to point out that one of the core principles of the negotiations is that 'nothing is agreed until everything is agreed'. As such they are not necessarily committed to provisional positions that in the event failed to secure a settlement - though Erekat made clear to US officials in January 2010 that the same offers remained on the table. Critics are likely to argue that concessions - such as accepting the annexation of Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem - are simply pocketed by the Israeli side, and risk being treated as a starting point in any future talks."
For me two things come out clearly from these painful documents (some of
them have parallel data in the US embassy cables on Wikileaks).
First it is not that the Palestinian officials are traitors but merely (and this is bad enough) mistakenly and passionately going through motions hoping against all odds that by talking and compromising more they could achieve a tiny fraction of what we are entitled to.
The second observation is that Israel will not sign a peace deal regardless of how low and ridiculous the concessions on the Palestinian side: hunt down resisters (abandoning the internationally recognized rights of resistance to occupation even unarmed one), give up on most settlements built illegally on Palestinian lands, allow Israel sovereignty over nearly 1/3rd of the occupied old city of Jerusalem, give up on the refugee rights, allow Israel to keep looting natural resources in the West Bank, give Israel the right to control our airspace, and even assure a statelet devoid of sovereignty. Not even tourism income would be allowed in this emasculated state.
Some critics asked: if, as the documents show, the Palestinian negotiators were willing to accept all of this then WHY did Israeli politicians hold out?
The answer is obvious to anyone who ever faced Zionism. They believe
(rightly or wrongly) they can get 100% so why should they settle for 91% or
even 99% especially when the ceiling of the Palestinian requests kept
dropping in the past 22 years (since they accepted in 1988 to let Israel
keep most of the looted parts of Palestine 1948).
Today, Israel's three main sources of income are dependent on a continued conflict and occupation: the 6.5 billion military and security exports, the 6 billion US and other western direct aid, and 3 billion from the captive markets in the West Bank and Gaza. All three would be threatened with end of conflict even if Israel gets to keep most of its stolen loot. Israeli officials are keen to keep negotiations going to avoid an anti-Apartheid scenario and for PR and normalization to keep pumping more money and more settlers into the remaining small shriveling Palestine because it is economically profitable.
The recorded meetings show no real interest or even emotion or any sense of
urgency on the part of the Israelis or their American benefactors. Saeb
Erekat comes out basically pleading and begging sometimes and other times
using the presence of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran to try and convince these
Jim Jones, David, Hale, and (Israeli lobbyist Dennis Ross), Tzipi Livni, Mofaz etc. all just repeat utter few selective words and simply drag their feet to keep the "process going". What would be the nature of the conversations if there was no Hamas to wave as the boogeyman to US officials and claim success in containing Hamas and other "extremist movements" (In Egypt Hosni Mubarak uses the same notion of containing Islamic Jihad but for the sinister goal of justifying his dictatorship)?
US officials are very confident of their strength and the Israeli strengths and the fact that they only need the Palestinians to prevent any attempts at international isolation of Israel. This they get just by innuendo or hints of threats on the Palestinians authority. They studied the situation carefully and think that Abbas and company have no other options but to simply keep negotiating and compromising even if it takes another 20 years. In some very rare instances the negotiators seem to connect with their humanity and actually feel sorry for the fate of these Palestinian negotiators. But then you could sense how they curb their own feelings (as irrelevant) and go back to the scripted positions of their governments which are simply antagonistic to anything that is not 100% in support of Zionism.
Erekat's occasional threats of a one state seem vacuous and not serious. My book on Sharing the Land of Canaan showed with lots of data that "two state for two people" approach can never lead to genuine peace (if apartheid was the problem in South Africa, why is it considered a solution here?).
I have a suggestion for the Palestinian authority: try to deal with the issues and do release your own documents instead of trying to shoot the messenger. Take lemons to make lemonade. Help introduce an even stronger resolution at the UN security council (e.g. in support of the Goldstone report or to recognize a Palestinian state along the borders of 1967) or a resolution at the UN General Assembly that calls for expelling Israel from the UN since it has never honored its commitments when it was admitted in 1949. Maybe announce publicly that the Oslo Process was a mistake or at least is now dead (now every idiot knows it was and most of those who are getting salaries from the authority know in their hearts that it was contrary to basic human rights and to basic international law). This suggestion essentially is to show courage and backbone. It could also mean the difference: making mistakes is human, continuing the path as in the past only validates those who accuse the authority figures of treason. Abbas says he will surprise us in September but I believe he and those around him do not have that kind of time.
I, like Edward Said and millions of Palestinians, disagreed strongly with
the choices made by this Oslo group to built the Palestinian autonomous
administration (of the Palestinian people warehouses or concentration camps)
that relieved Israel from the burdens of managing us and from International
isolation based on not even promises of freedom or return of rights.
But I also can't help but feel sorry for those who took that path. It must be very painful for a human being to go down a tunnel where there is no possibility of a light at the end and during this trip into the depths of darkness feel the leaches crawling up his back sucking his blood and voices from behind calling him back (some of them his political enemies, others ex-comrades in Fatah).
Palestinian negotiators are fearful of going back because they think
it might give political opponents a PR tool. They are just fearful of losing
face; I am always grateful to a wise advisor who 30 years ago convinced me
to drop this fear of admitting mistakes (a fear common especially among
men). They may also be fearful of losing a job. The Palestinian people are
very angry though many feel afraid to speak out for fear to lose their
sources of income, fear that the alternative to Fatah maybe just as bad,
fear of Israel, fear of the US or just simply fear of their own power. But
ultimately fear is a lack of self-confidence to take another course. And
their fear should be balanced by the fact that people are literally dying
for justice and wanting leaders to care about them and not about themselves.
[Here we must remember the thousands of martyrs who gave their lives and hundreds of thousands who were injured or lost homes and livelihood and still yearn for freedom].
The status quo is to many humans a comfort in the known/predictable. Taking another path is feared because humans fear the unknown. I believe that fear is the most destructive and paralyzing human emotion. Common people around the world are just beginning to break the barrier of fear and speak up more for themselves. From Tunisia to Egypt to Lebanon, the walls of fear are cracking. We common people and even some leaders must realize that many of these walls are far weaker than we may think. I can actually hear them cracking.
The Arab world is in revolt. The fire is spreading. Responsible people need to step forward with courage and conviction. There could be surprises along those lines even from Central Committee members of Fatah. Already Nabil Shaath took a position different than Mahmoud Abbas. This is just the beginning. Palestine will survive. The Palestinian people are not sheep. They are mature enough to take the truth and to rebuild our national liberation movement. History marches on and I am 100% sure that Zionism will fail and Palestine will be free.
Palestinian Students take over Palestine London offices demanding representation of all Palestinians. I think their call for representation based on the Prisoner's documents and the Cairo Declaration) should be taken-up by all Palestinians of conscience.
A Call to the People and Governments of the Free World from the Egyptian
We call upon all of you to support the Egyptian people's demands for a good life, liberty and an end of despotism. We call upon you to urge this dictatorial regime to stop its bloodshed of the Egyptian people, exercised throughout Egyptian cities.. We believe that the material and moral support offered to the Egyptian regime, by the American government and European governments, has helped to suppress the Egyptian people. We hereby call upon the people of the free world to support the Egyptian people's non-violent revolution against corruption and tyranny. We also call upon civil society organizations in America, Europe and the whole world to express their solidarity with Egypt, through holding public demonstrations, particularly on People's Anger Day (28/01/2011), and by denouncing the use of violence against the people. We hope that you will all support our demands for freedom, justice and peaceful change.
The Guardian Newspaper: Palestinian distrust of Iran revealed in leaked papers. Mahmoud Abbas asked businessman to donate $50m to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's opponents, according to the documents
Media Matters M.J. Rosenberg stated about
"The bottom line is that, despite the assurances the Palestinian Authority gave to the Palestinian people that it was driving a hard bargain with the Israelis, the Palestinian Authority accepted Israel's position on every key point: borders, Jerusalem, settlements, refugees. On no major issue did the PA hold the line. None. The Palestinians offered Israel everything Israel wants and Israel still said "no" with the backing of the United States."
It is interesting to see such analysis as from former top CIA official Robert Grenier.
But even though career diplomats are voicing interesting opinions and
diversions from official policy, the Obama administration still shows the
notion of just drawing on AIPAC associated fossilized brains.
See why Obama's "new thinking" initiative on Middle East peace is doomed to fail By Lawrence Davidson.
Palestinian intellectuals and activists articulated why this is the end of the charade of the peace process industry Karma Nabulsi gives a pointed analysis.
Prof. Saree Makdisi shows more emotion as he writes The Palestinian people betrayed
Yet another BDS victory: John Lewis stops stocking Ahava products in Britain
Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home
Professor, Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities
Chairman of the Board, Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People,