Illusions in the Palestinian Politics (Political Analysis)

There are widespread literatures and concepts in the Palestinian political, media, scientific and cultural realms that promote visions and perceptions whose implementation seems to be an illusion that has no experimental or systematic scientific reading bases.

In this article, only three illusions will be presented to the honorable reader.

The first illusion is the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank (WB) and Gaza Strip (GS)

It is the illusion on the basis of which the Oslo Accords were signed and the Palestinian Authority (PA) was established. It is the slogan adopted by the Arab regimes over the past forty years, particularly since the initiative of the then Crown Prince Fahd ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz of Saudi Arabia 1982; that became the norm in international positions (the two-state solution). This illusion was built on the wrong premise that if the Palestinians recognized Israel and its “right” to exist on 77% of the historic land of Palestine, it will withdraw from the land occupied in 1967 (WB and GS), and allow the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, including East Jerusalem.

The fact is the peace process was designed and agreed upon in Oslo, without an Israeli firm commitment to the right of the Palestinian people to establish this independent state, without a clear deadline for the withdrawal from WB and GS, and without the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. It was agreed on without an Israeli recognition of the right of return of Palestinian refugees, or an Israeli commitment to withdraw from East Jerusalem, not even a commitment to stop settlement building and the Judaization programs in the territories occupied in 1967.

Actually, over the past 27 years, Israel has managed the peace process and used it as a cover for further Judaization and settlement expansion, especially in Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank. It has made the PA a functional entity that serves its purposes and suppresses resistance forces, and has used the peace process to legitimize itself on the Arab, Islamic and international levels and to implement it normalization plans in the region, so that it would be able to close the Palestinian dossier according to its standards and requirements.

The mentality that runs Israel according to the Zionist ideology still does not believe in an independent Palestinian state, west of the Jordan River. The discourse of most Israeli parties do not go beyond the idea of establishing a demilitarized Palestinian entity under Israeli hegemony, where it would manage the people, while the Israelis live in a “clean colonialism” that dominates the land, what is above it and what is below it, and its entrances and exits.

This Zionist vision will not be changed by the wishful thinking of Palestinian, Arab, Islamic or international “good behavior,” rather, (as historic experience has shown) by armed resistance that would make Israel lose its pillars of security, economy and stability and force it to withdraw under the clatter of arms.

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The second illusion is combining the PA, with its current structure, and the armed resistance under occupation

Israel will not allow the establishment of a Palestinian authority that espouses armed resistance or provides it with a cover, even if this resistance expresses the will of the Palestinian people and wins a landslide victory in legislative and presidential elections.

The Israeli aggressive occupation is fighting you over the land and its identity, the people and their identity. It has a systematic and gradual strategic program for controlling and changing. It is neither a charity, nor “a democracy that respects human rights,” especially when it comes to the land of Palestine and the Palestinian people. The Israeli occupation has adapted the functional structure of the PA to serve these goals. It certainly won’t let you mobilize, take advantage of institutional and material capabilities and adopt resistance action to get rid of it.

Therefore, when Hamas won the 2006 elections and formed its government, Israel launched military campaigns, carried out assassinations, and committed the massacre of the Shati’ Refugee Camp, either to subjugate it or force it to respond militarily. Hamas responded in June 2006 militarily with Operation Dissipating Illusion (dubbed by Israel Operation Summer Rains), proving that it won’t join the peace process. In return, Israel launched massive military and arrest campaigns that paralyzed Hamas’s government in WB as well as the Palestine Legislative Council (PLC). After what was experienced in the past 16 years, there is no prospect for a government that embraces armed resistance to lead the government in WB. As for why Hamas has succeeded in GS, it is due to the complete Israeli withdrawal from the Strip, besieging it only from the outside, with the resistance forces developing their capabilities to defend the Strip against Israeli aggression.

There is still one issue that can be discussed, the possibility of redefining and adapting the PA and its institutional structures in WB, in line with an environment of a people facing an occupation.

These structures must be formed in a way that would solidify the Palestinian steadfastness under occupation, get rid of Israeli economic, political, social, educational and cultural hegemony/ dominance, and eliminate security cooperation and coordination. The contact with Israel must only be linked to necessities and the demands of living requirements. At this point, this authority would focus on serving the Palestinian people, while being “officially” neutral to the resistance, in case it can’t adopt it or provide it with a cover. Meanwhile, the Palestinians would turn any potential loss of any of their institutions into more costs and burdens on Israel. In the sense that institutional work under occupation is a kind of struggle (Educational, economic, cultural, health…), where any loss should quicken the pace of the struggle and reveal the ugly face of occupation.

A for Hamas and the resistance forces, if they want to enter the legislative elections as a compulsory crossing towards Palestinian legitimacy (Although this idea is excluded now, and it is closer to a hypothetical case, especially after ‘Abbas had disrupted the elections), they clearly cannot bet on a government run by the resistance and at the same time designed to serve the occupation. Therefore, redefining the authority and adapting it nationally is also a mandatory path. However, such a change for the Israelis would make the authority lose the justification for its existence, hence will use all possible tools to subdue it. That is, if we assume, for the sake of argument, that the resistance will control the authority directly in WB, or via those who represent their platform, it will necessarily turn it into a state of conflict with the occupation and its allies who control the land, the infrastructure, the Authority’s financial resources, the exports and the imports, the movement of individuals, transportation, and the institutions. Thus, either the authority adapts to the resistance program, or the resistance adapts (albeit to one degree or another) to the demands of the occupation; or the authority or a number of its institutions would collapse or get disrupted.

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The third illusion is having an independent decision-making under the occupation

Perhaps the mere idea of discussing this notion was unlikely before the Oslo Accords, and the thought of convening a Palestinian National Council (PNC) or a Palestinian Central Council (PCC) or the meeting of the Executive Committee under occupation was more like a stupid and rude joke. Throughout the 1967–1993 period, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) did not only hold its PNC meetings abroad, rather, it would exclude the Palestinians inside (WB, GS and the 1948 territories) from the quorum. In the late 1970s, the PLO included about one hundred members from inside Palestine in the PNC membership. They were increased later to 180, and their names remained undisclosed fearing for their safety, and they were not counted in the quorum so that the occupation would not prevent a number of its members from attending and disrupt the PNC work.

The Fatah movement has always boasted and emphasized the independence of Palestinian decision-making; however, political practice after the Oslo Accords has disrupted the PLO and its institutions. When the PLO leadership (Fatah leadership) wanted to hold meetings of the representative institutions of the PLO, it held them under the occupation. Consequently, the occupation has become the one who gives permission (albeit implicitly) to hold the meetings of the PNC, PCC or the Executive Committee… Whenever it wants, it can thwart and disrupt these meetings, arrest and deport whomever it wants from the members, or prevent their entry or exit. Moreover, the Palestinians abroad were seriously marginalized (They are more than half of the Palestinian people). In addition, and in the absence of the Palestinian resistance factions, specifically Hamas and Islamic Jihad, whose one of their reasons was holding the meetings under occupation, it was not possible to carry out real institutional reform in the PLO.

The Palestinian decision will be free and independent, only if the occupation has no effect on its inputs and outputs, and its meetings and the member participation. Therefore, meetings related to decision-making must be held outside the occupied territories, otherwise it is kind of quibbling and self-deception; or a surrender to the will of the occupation.
Until we meet againde with other “illusions”!!

The fourth illusion is the reform of the Palestinian political house without a transitional leadership

Experience has shown, over at least the past sixteen years, that the current leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) is neither serious about reforming the Palestinian political house, nor about holding elections on transparent democratic bases for the legislative and executive institutions. As long as reform does not guarantee the continuation of its control and domination of the PLO and the PA, it will take place, and in case it offers reform, it would merely be a decorative and formal procedure, empty of content and a waste of time.

When this leadership disrupted the Palestinian elections on 29/4/2021, it fired the “bullet of mercy” at itself, confirmed the suspicions that had already existed about it, and was consistent with its history and mentality, which is prone to domination and tyranny. Consequently, the current leadership can no longer be entrusted with any serious reform or development process for the Palestinian political house. It has lost what was left of the trust of people and credibility. However, it is still insisting on representing the “old” Oslo Accords camp and its network of interests, corruption and failure, and failing over and over again.

It has become clear that no reform could be done by or under the supervision of the symbols and leaders who are fighting it and have valid interest in thwarting it. It has also become clear that since these figures represent a certain faction (Fatah), their moves are contingent upon its continued control and domination of Palestinian official institutions; and not necessarily related to the higher interests of the Palestinian people.

Therefore, if we want to talk about real Palestinian reform, peaceful transfer of power, objective conditions for rebuilding the PLO and developing its institutions and including all Palestinian forces, factions and competencies; it is necessary to have a transitional leadership to manage them. This leadership may be the temporary leadership framework, may be expanded to include real emerging forces and may have a small executive leadership emerging from it… What is important is that this leadership must enjoy the trust, credibility and seriousness to complete this process.

Even if this proposal is a practical solution for the current PLO and PA leadership and a dignified way out, the author of these lines doubts that it would respond to it. Nevertheless, it will respond, if subjective and objective circumstances impose such change, such as the resignation or death of Abu Mazen and the disintegration of his leadership system, or if its Arab and international legitimacy declines or ends due to emerging political conditions and new facts imposed on the ground.

The fifth illusion is the term (Tarafay al-Inqisam) “both sides of the divide”

It is a misleading term that has spread since 2007, when the Hamas-led government took control of Gaza Strip (GS), and the Fatah-led “Emergency” government took control of the PA territories in the West Bank (WB). This term is usually used by those who try to present themselves as being objective and at the same distance from both sides, where they hold the two parties almost equal responsibility for the division. Therefore, the context in which it is used is misleading and subjective.

At first, a real division seems to have occurred, where geographically Hamas has controlled GS and Fatah has controlled WB, while institutionally, Hamas is supported by the Palestine Legislative Council (PLC) and the right of its majority to form a government, hold it accountable and grant it the vote of confidence or withholding it. As for Fatah, it relies on the presidency institution and on its ability to “legitimize” its measures through its domination of the PLO.

What deludes and misleads in this term is that it apparently means that the division is confined to the WB and GS, whereas the two parties actually do not share responsibility in the general Palestinian environment, nor in the Palestinian “official” institution. For the Fatah leadership, which is also the PA leadership, totally controls the PLO and its official legislative and executive institutions, and almost completely monopolizes embassies, Palestinian representation, decision-making and enforcement of policies and procedures. As for Hamas, its share is practically “zero” in the PLO, and it is not responsible for disrupting any decisions or actions in the organization. The PLO weakness, the collapse of its institutions, the deterioration of its performance, the prevention of its reform and change and the prohibition of partnership in it, are the sole responsibility of none else than the ‘Abbas–led Fatah.

The Fatah movement basically dominates and controls the Palestinian “legitimacy,” whether in the PLO or PA.

Consequently, the disruption or enforcement of any legislative or executive reform is primarily decided by the Fatah leadership and not the others. Hence, neither Hamas nor the opposition forces can be held responsible for it.

As the recent experience of reforming the Palestinian political house has proved, Hamas has made all the concessions that Fatah demanded, despite the fact the some of them are intrinsic and fundamental, such as the synchronization clause in the 2011 Reconciliation Agreement or keeping silent about the PLC dissolution…. Furthermore, when elections were to be held, the ‘Abbas Fatah leadership was the one who disrupted it, bringing everyone back to the “schism” realm, continuing its PA monopoly and evading the Palestinian people’s vote. Therefore, revealing to everyone that there are those who are primarily responsible for the schism.

In short, it is unfair to use the term “both sides of the divide,” for these sides are “not alike”:

• While the first side bases its legitimacy on artificial Arab and international crutches, the other side relies (and is willing to rely) on the will of the Palestinian people.

• While the first side has ceded most of Palestine, is subject to the will of the occupation, leads a functional entity serving the occupation, pursues resistance fighters and suppresses freedoms, the other side has adhered to the whole of Palestine, fights the occupation and expresses the dignity of the Palestinian people and the Arab and Muslim nation.

• While the first side closes the doors of constitutional institutions and hide their keys, the other side is deprived of its fair chance and natural rights.

• While the first side has based its strategy on an expired illusionary failed peace process, the other side bases its strategy on the natural right of the Palestinian people to their entire land, on the National Charter of the PLO.

• While the first side has been—for more than thirty years—constitutionally, politically and morally, fundamentally responsible for the setbacks and disasters that befell the Palestinian work, the other side continues to be patient with the suppression of Abbas’s authority, while paying a hefty price for resisting the occupation and facing the enemy.

In other words, we are not just witnessing “two wrong sides,” who need to set aside their personal interests, rather, they are sides with two different visions, approaches, courses of action and priorities. They differ in the mentality in which things are managed and in the way they rely on legitimacy. Therefore, using the term “both sides of the divide” the way it is used by some sides is misleading and not scientifically and objectively accurate.

Ending schism is not only dependent on entering into one house, rather, it is in the manner of managing this house, according to a system that is respected by all (A system that expresses the higher interests of the Palestinian people, their aspirations and the aspirations of their nation)… Otherwise, “divorce” will be a quick and inevitable ending.

The sixth illusion is the Liberation of Palestine without armed resistance

Perhaps we wouldn’t have discussed this saying were it not for the adoption of the Palestinian leadership and the Arab and Muslim countries of the peace process, and the entry of the Oslo Accords into force in late 1993.

Part of the illusion is due to the fact that Palestine itself has been redefined by the Palestine Leadership and the “international community.” It became confined to the West Bank (WB) and Gaza Strip (GS), or the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967; i.e., 23% of historic Palestine. The “liberation” issue has become confined to it, while most of the land of Palestine or the 1948 occupied Palestinian territories, on which Israel was established, were ignored. Consequently, the exit of the Israeli occupation from WB and GS has become linked to the peace process and not to the armed struggle. There are also those who are betting on popular peaceful resistance, diplomatic action, international pressure, mobilization and raising awareness.

In general, the anti-colonial liberation projects have been mainly associated with armed resistance, or by turning the colonizer’s survival into a state of continuous loss and depletion, especially its security, economy. Hence, costs become greater than potential gains, which is not usually done without armed resistance.

If we put the liberation of Palestine from the Zionist occupation and dismantling its project in its proper framework, i.e., its complete liberation from the river to the sea, then the liberation of the land will include also the 1948 occupied Palestinian territories.

The past thirty years have proven that “peaceful struggle” has not made Israel withdraw from the 1967 occupied Palestine; rather it has made it just reposition itself. It has withdrawn from GS, keeping it under siege, and retained its dominance over WB, as a disputed territory. Furthermore, Israel has retained the full and direct management of about 61% of WB, doubled its settlement and Judaization presence, and allowed the presence of a functional Palestinian Authority (PA) that relieves it from managing the population and chasing the resistance. Therefore, this bitter experience has proven that forcing Israel to withdraw from WB and lift the GS siege requires armed resistance and a comprehensive Intifadah, so how about liberating all of Palestine?!

Secondly, the Zionist project is not just traditional colonialism, but rather an aggressive expansionist settler colonialism, based on religious and historical arguments, and supported by major powers with strategic interests in the region. These powers do realize the extent of the injustice and suffering this project causes to the Palestinian people. Therefore, dealing with such an occupation cannot be only by having objective discussions and using persuasive methods, rather these rights must be forcibly regained, mainly by jihad and armed resistance. As for the political and diplomatic activities, as well as the publicity and mobilization campaigns, they are important activities that support the core of the work (i.e., armed resistance) but do not replace it. If the core is gone, the activities lose their usefulness.

Therefore, throughout its history, the liberation project has been associated with armed resistance, which has been the basis of the Palestinian revolution. The National Charter of the Palestine Liberation organization (PLO) has stipulated that armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine, and even when the charter was amended in the Ten Point Program of 1974, it has kept the part stating that armed struggle is a major way to liberate Palestine.

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The seventh illusion is letting the national project be led by a leadership that is conceding the homeland!!

This is one of the wonders of Palestinian history and the Palestinian experience.

This leadership that has “officially” relinquished more than three-quarters of Palestine in the Oslo Accords, and “legitimized” the move in “fabricated” meetings of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) in 1996 and 1998; has miserably managed the “battle” of establishing the Palestinian state over what was left of Palestine. It has agreed on being demilitarized, without an army, and by exchanging lands. Many of its leaders also talk, in their private meetings, about eventually giving up the right of return of the Palestinian refugees, since it is a basic Israeli requirement for the establishment of the state.

This leadership adhered neither to the Ten Point Program that allows it to establish the “combating” PA over any liberated part of Palestine; nor to the “interim program” or its requirements. It has proved that it can be pressured, and Israel has used the peace process as a cover to Judaize what remained of Palestine. This leadership did not consult the Palestinian people about its concessions, and has ignored the right of the Arab and Muslim nation—as well as the right of future generations—to the holy and blessed land of Palestine.

This leadership has failed to maintain the most prominent fundamentals of the Palestine issue, and (on top of that) has failed in the “interim program,” in addition, it has failed to manage the “negotiations” over what remains of Palestine and agreed to be a “service entity” that serves Israel. Therefore, it is not qualified to lead a national project aimed to liberate Palestine.

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The eighth illusion is the “manifestations” of the state before the success of the revolution

Perhaps we can talk about the benefits of declaring the independence of Palestine or the establishment of the Palestine state, which can be used to prove the rights, fill the potential void, and achieve official Arab and international recognition. This is what the Palestinian leadership did in 1948 when it established the All-Palestine Government and declared independence, and was done also by the Palestinian leadership in 1988. However, such moves remain a support to the facts that must be established on the ground, otherwise, they will be lost, as happened in the 1948 and 1988 declarations.

As for the illusion that we warn against here is in the fact that the political leadership is haunted by the desire to achieve and convince the masses of its good performance. Therefore, it may resort to a combination of misleading measures and “self-deception,” by expanding the formalities associated with the presidency, government, ministries, embassies and foreign delegations. It may also drain the “revolution” funds, capabilities, energies and time on “bureaucratic” forms that will produce a class of beneficiaries, and give way to the corruption of militants, while it diverts from its “revolutionary” content.

The core of the project and the largest share of its expenses must be spent on the armed resistance, the Intifadah and on supporting the steadfastness of the Palestinian people on their land. The commitment to resistance and the readiness to sacrifice oneself and money, should be a prerequisite and an indispensable requirement for the leaders of the liberation project and everyone engaging in related political, tactical and media work… etc. This is what all the revolutionary forces that are serious about liberation projects have done and are doing. As for the current “manifestations,” including the embassies of the State of Palestine and the PLO, the PA and its institutions and the “welfare” projects under occupation… They are illusions that distract the national track from the core of the liberation project, drain the project’s resources, and even make it lose a lot of credibility and the respect of countries and peoples.

Eleventh Illusion: The International Legitimacy:

The international legitimacy, in general, is often useful, yet what is meant here is that it cannot be relied upon to wrest Palestinian rights from Israel, and compel it to withdraw from occupied Palestine.

This is an illusion upon which the advocates of a peaceful settlement with Israel rely. They consider it as the most appropriate way to coerce the Israelis to withdraw from the 1967 occupied Palestine (West Bank (WB) and Gaza Strip (GS)), and to establish an independent Palestinian state there. The leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) (Fatah leadership) even made the recognition of this “legitimacy” a condition for Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the resistance forces to join the PLO, and recently made it a condition for the resumption of Palestinian reconciliation. It is as if this “legitimacy” and its decisions represent a magical solution to the crisis of the Palestinian national project when, in fact, chasing its mirage is one of the causes of the crisis of this project.

“International legitimacy” is the set of principles and laws that govern and direct international relations, especially through the United Nations (UN) and its bodies, or through international norms, treaties and agreements.

The essence of this illusion and its danger lie in the fact that when it comes to Palestine and, after more than seventy years of experience, “international legitimacy” does not have the ability, the will, or even the real desire to enforce its decisions and have Israel commit to them, especially when these decisions do not comply with the Zionist project or serve its orientation. Therefore, the continuation of betting on it is considered an illusion, a form of self-deception, and a deception of the Palestinian masses and all those concerned with the Palestine issue.

The current “international legitimacy” is a continuation of the system created after World War II (1939–1945) by the victorious countries seeking to legitimize the results of the war and the ensuing landscape. Thus, it showed the connection between “power” and “legitimacy,” and the quest of the powerful to have legal and moral bases. It is when the doctrine of “might is right” prevails!

This is clear when international resolutions cannot be enforced unless there is a decision by the UN Security Council (UNSC), specifically under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The UNSC itself is subject (from 1945 until now) to the veto of its five permanent members (US, Russia, Britain, France and China), and no decision can be issued should one of them opposes it. Knowing the extent of the strategic relationship between the Western great powers and the Zionist project, and the strength of the Jewish-Zionist-Israeli lobby there, makes us realize the extent of the illusion we pin our hope on.

History has shown that this “legitimacy” was in the interest of the major powers, and that it has failed to achieve the minimum level of justice, and realize the rights of those whose interests are in conflict with the interests of any of these countries, especially when it comes to the Arab and Muslim world, particularly Palestine. This applies to the issue of Kashmir, the Muslims of Burma (Myanmar), the Muslims of China (specifically the Uyghurs), the Muslims of the Caucasus (Chechnya…), Bosnia, the US occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, the selective sanctions on Libya, Sudan and Iran. It also applies to the approach of these major powers to the “Arab Spring” countries, when they covered up the suppression of peoples or stayed silent on regional and international interventions that supported dictatorships or choices contrary to the will of peoples.

History has shown that the US has blocked most (if not all) UNSC resolutions critical of Israel or demanding it to take measures for the benefit of the Palestinian people. It vetoed 44 UNSC resolutions regarding Palestine and other Israeli aggressions, out of total 82 resolutions it vetoed throughout the history of the UN, where the rest were related to other countries and issues. In addition, the UN General Assembly issued about 550 resolutions in favor of Palestine, none whatsoever was implemented, including the resolution on the right of return of Palestinian refugees to the occupied territories, from which they were expelled in 1948, and which has been reaffirmed about 120 times in various forms over a period of more than seventy years.

Indeed, it is very surprising, and a major sin in national action, that an influential Palestinian party dominating the Palestinian “official” situation, requires the resistance factions to abide by the so-called “international legitimacy” as a prelude to reconciliation or to putting the Palestinian political house in order. By this, it would contribute to the attempts of subduing the Palestinian will, while dragging the resistance factions into the “quagmire” it has embroiled itself and its people, in addition it would be continuing to sell illusions to Palestinians.

However, the above should not indicate that international action is not required; rather, work in the international environment and in the UN bodies and platforms is a duty and an obligation. Moreover, continuing to communicate with international systems and the peoples of the world, and advocating the Palestine issue worldwide, are necessities in political action that would besiege the Zionist project and prevent its support. Nevertheless, this remains a catalyst to the broader liberation project and a contributor to the accumulation of achievements. It is of limited impact (in comparison to the resistance) that cannot be considered a basis for changing balances of power or restoring rights.

The Twelfth Illusion: The One State

The illusion that we are talking about here is related to the so-called dismantling of the Zionist apartheid regime by way of political struggle. We are not talking here about the liberation of Palestine and the imposition of the will of the Palestinian people on their land, by having an independent state, or by being united with the Arab Muslim nation, for this is not an illusion, it is rather a right that will be taken back, in the short or the long term.

Talking about the “one state” option as an illusion in Palestinian politics, may be disturbing to many Palestinians, because it is being marketed as the best option after the fall of the “two-state solution” option, which we are also convinced that it has fallen, and we discussed it in a previous article as an another illusion. Many Palestinians of the 1948 occupied territories may consider the “one state” option an acceptable one, while facing an Israeli racist state, and it is also acceptable to the international landscape, since it is close to the notion of dismantling an “apartheid” regime, similar to what has happened in South Africa, and since it is considered the last racist entity in the international landscape.

Such a call has a historical basis, for throughout the British occupation period, 1918–1948, the Palestinian struggle had focused on the idea of a single state, and in 1968, the Fatah movement brought up the idea again, when it called for a single democratic secular state in which Muslims, Christians and Jews are equal; and it was supported by other Palestinian factions.

The advocates of a “one state” differ on its definition, some of them define it as a bi-national state, in which Arabs and Jews agree to share power, without one party dominating the other; whereas most of them define it as a secular democratic state, treating every citizen as equal before the law, regardless of their religious or ethnic background.

Some advocates of the two-state solution (as did a number of leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA)) have threatened to adopt the one-state solution, may be to put pressure on Israel and push it to pursue seriously the two-state solution.

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To argue that during the British occupation (before 1948), there were calls for a one-state solution, it is methodologically and objectively misplaced. For the Palestinian people were still in their land and not displaced yet. And according to the United Nations regulations and after the end of the British Mandate, they had the right to exercise the right to self-determination. At that time, they still owned more than 94% of the land, and constituted more than 68% of the population. Whereas, now that Israel is established on about 77% of Palestinian land; after expelling and displacing about 83% (more than 800 thousand) of the Palestinians there, the Palestinian national project has turned into a liberation project. It is not a project of just having equal rights with the occupying colonialists, who have usurped the land and displaced its original inhabitants.

Second, arguing that the failure of the two-state solution is an excuse to adopt the one-state solution, after the Israelis completed the occupation of Palestine, does not actually highlight the attractiveness or practicality of the idea, rather, it shows the extent of arrogance, audacity, and how far the Israelis may go in imposing their concepts, which prevented reaching any of the “compromises.” The Palestinians and Arabs did not resort to the two-state solution until they exhausted all the means of a one-state solution, and were certain of the absolute Israeli rejection of it. For the one-state solution simply means ending and dismantling the Zionist project, and Israel’s approval means putting a “mercy bullet” into its head. If the two-state solution is acceptable in varying degrees to significant Israeli-Zionist segments; the one-state solution finds no room or serious consideration in any of the Israeli-Zionist circles. Therefore, if we assume, for the sake of argument, that the two-state solution is “possible,” the two-state solution to the Israeli settler community is “impossible”; and when the two-state solution is impossible, the one-state solution becomes even more impossible. Perhaps when the Israelis find themselves, under the pressure of the resistance action, forced to resort to difficult choices, they will prefer hundred times the two-state solution to the one-state solution. This way, their Zionist project would be preserved, they would keep control of most of the land and of the Jewish identity of their state, and they will maintain their international recognition. In general, if the supposed Israeli-Jewish partner is absent in the “one-state” solution, it would turn into an illusion, a mirage and wishful thinking.

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Third, as for the talk about dismantling the relationship between the Jews and Zionism in Israel, it might seem logical at first, however, the experience of those who spread this idea for the past hundred years, especially the leftist movements, has proven its failure… Rather, evidence has showed increasing religious, national and racist extremism among Israelis, especially in the past twenty years.

Experience has shown that this kind of disengagement does not materialize unless there are resistance operations and effective uprisings that make Israel lose two pillars of its occupation (the security and the economy), plunge it into a crisis of searching for alternatives and turn its survival into an unbearable costly process and burden. Now that Israel thrives in the midst of a weak, disintegrated, backward, and normalized Arab-Islamic environment, and the Israelis live with an annual income equal to that of Europeans… All attempts at persuasion and all the poems of satire, love and hope cannot affect Israel a bit.

Fourth, the enticement of the “one-state” solution to the international community, similar to what had happened in South Africa, doesn’t seem to be sufficient. The major Western powers that have been supporting and sponsoring Israel, consider it a front line in the midst of the Arab and Muslim world, which implements their strategic objectives of controlling the region, keeping it weak, backwards and fragmented, and making it a market for their products. Therefore, over the past decades and throughout the different US administrations and presidents, the US has always considered Israel the cornerstone of its Middle East policy. These powers realize that the “Jewish-Zionist” nature of Israel is a prerequisite for its survival, and they don’t consider it a racist regime, given the religious and cultural backgrounds of many decision makers, especially those with Protestant background. If these forces adopt the two-state solution, then their transition to adopt the one-state solution becomes more difficult, unless Israel becomes a heavy burden to them and its harm becomes greater than its benefits, and this is mainly related to the revival of the region, recovery of its points of strength and the escalation of resistance action in Palestine.

Futhermore, the two-state solution is still accepted by most countries, where 137 of them officially recognize the State of Palestine; in addition to many other countries that adopt this solution, but are waiting for the success of the peace process. If this is the case for the two-state solution that failed and was bypassed by Israel, which acts as a “state above the law” and does not care for international pressure, then what about the “one-state” solution, which will require a different kind of journey? Palestinians may find themselves “after a long journey” that they have been running after a mirage.

In any case, we have previously warned against falling into the illusion of “international legitimacy,” which cannot be counted on to regain the rights and liberate the land, especially in the Palestinian case.

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Fifth, the advocates of one-state solution do not answer questions about the identity of the land and the people in Palestine after the establishment of this state. Will it return to its Arab Muslim character? Do all Jewish settlers, who came just because of their religion (as Jews), over more than a hundred years, from all parts of the world, have the right to retain the right to “Palestinian” citizenship?! Are those who came by force of arms, under the cover of occupation and against the will of the Palestinian people and the Arab and Muslim Ummah (Muslim nation), entitled to take that citizenship? On what bases do the advocates of one state agree on giving this right to the occupying setlers?!

Some may argue that when a single state is formed and the Zionist project fails, many Israelis would want to return to their original countries, therefore, they would “tactically” agree to the idea of a single state… However, it is a sort of political “naivety,” if one would think that the Israelis are not fully aware of these consequences.

Sixth, the call for one state may reflect negatively on the resistance action against Israel, turning the conflict into a legal, political and rights battle, while avoiding the resistance action, its costs and prices. Whereas evidence on the grounds has shown that all forms of resistance, especially armed ones, are the one qualified for dismantling the relationship between the Jews and Zionism in Israel.

Seventh, the call for a one state solution may provide an unintended “legitimization” of the occupation of the West Bank, which will be included in the one-state project. This “legitimization” would be also the result of the “realistic” dealing with the Israeli occupation. In the meantime, Israel continues its systematic and organized Judaization of the land and the people, leaving those advocates to waste their time and efforts, as their comrades—the two-state advocates—did in the past fifty years.

Eighth, and finally, some call for a single state so that the Israelis would not claim that the advocates of the liberation project want to “throw the Jews into the sea”; which is definitely a false claim. In short, the liberation project is a civilized, humane and revival project, whose advocates are concerned with the return of rights to the lands’ owners, the return of Palestine to its people, and achieving justice for every human being, regardless of his/ her religion, sect, nationality and race. However, they are not obliged to offer free promises and concessions in advance to those who destroyed Palestine, displaced its people, and plundered its wealth. Furthermore, they should not put themselves under the pressure of searching for solutions to the Zionist project and the consequences of its occupation, for which only Israel should bear such responsibility.

It is important to note here that the Zionists themselves do not justify to the world how they actually threw the Palestinian people during the 1948 war into the sea and scattered them all over the globe; and how they have committed crimes over the past seventy years, without having any conscience? Rather they have the impudence and audacity to refuse the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their land, even though the whole world stands with them in this right. If they respect the minimum standards of humanity, then they should stop raising the “scarecrow” of the future, and find a solution to some of what they have already committed against the people of Palestine, and accept the natural and self-evident right of return of Palestinian refugees.

***

The idea of one-state solution will remain tempting and logical for many; however, in the methodological and objective context, it remains a mere hypothesis, and a propaganda and marketing that cannot be built on; unless what is meant by the one-state solution is the liberation of Palestine, and the establishment of one state, according to the will of the Palestinian people and the Arab and Muslim Ummah.

Therefore, sooner or later, the Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims and all the free people across the globe will return to the cornerstone of the liberation project; the resistance.

The Thirteenth Illusion: The Islamists’ delay in participating in the armed resistance:

Some accuse the Islamic movement of being absent for decades from armed Palestinian resistance, and that it came late after the launching of Hamas movement in 1987 and after the national and leftist forces had carried the burden for decades.

These people confuse and separate between the Islamic movement, the Muslim Brothers (MB) movement and Hamas. The former’s armed resistance is the oldest and most deeply rooted in modern and contemporary Palestinian history. Hamas did not arise out of thin air; the MB armed resistance—from which Hamas arose and to which it belongs—dates back to at least the 1948 war, which makes it the oldest resistance organization in Palestine, even if it was interrupted for periods of time, as was the case with other movements.

The first Palestinian armed resistance movement with an Islamic character dates back to the beginning of 1919, at the start of the British occupation of Palestine. There were two secret societies, the first was al-Kaff al-Aswad (The Black Palm), which was established in January 1919 and changed its name to al-Fida’iyyah in May 1919. It had branches in Jaffa, Jerusalem, Gaza, Nablus, Tulkarm, Ramleh and Hebron and continued until 1923. Its leader was Haj Amin al-Hussaini, who studied at the School of al-Da‘wah wa al-Irshad, run by the scholar Muhammad Rashid Rida. Al-Hussaini then became the mufti of Jerusalem in 1921, the Chairman of the Supreme Muslim Council in 1922, the covert director and sponsor of the uprisings, and the field leader of the revolution in 1936. The second secret society was al-Ikha’ wa al-‘Afaf, which was led particularly by the scholars of Jerusalem and was headed by Sheikh Sa‘id al-Khatib. Among its leaders were Sheikh Muhammad Yusuf al-‘Alami, Sheikh Hasan Abu al-Sa‘ud and others.

There was also a pioneering Islamic movement organization, al-Jihadiyyah movement, which was established by Sheikh Izz al-Din al-Qassam in 1925. Although it began armed resistance during al-Buraq revolution in 1929, al-Jihadiyyah’s official launching was in November 1935, after having recruited and secretly trained about a thousand members and supporters. It was the movement that started the Palestinian Revolt on 15/4/1936, when its leader Sheikh Farhan al-Sa‘di—who succeeded Sheikh al-Qassam after that latter was martyred—carried out a military operation. Then, on 26/9/1937, it reignited the Revolt, when one of its members assassinated the British District Commissioner for the Galilee Lewis Andrews. During the second phase of the great Palestinian Revolt, al-Qassam group led the areas of northern and central Palestine.

Al-Jihad al-Muqaddas organization which led the resistance efforts in Jerusalem and Hebron, was headed by ‘Abdul Qadir al-Hussaini and was sponsored by Haj Amin. In it, nationalism was in harmony with the Islamic trend, thus reflecting the open moderate Islamic spirit of the resisting Palestinian national movement. Christian resistance fighters participated in it, and ‘Abdul Qadir al-Hussaini and his companions heroically fought during the Palestinian Revolution and in the 1948 war.

As for the MB movement, which established its Palestinian organization in the 1940s, it actively participated in the 1948 war. When the war ended, the MB did not lay down their arms, rather they reorganized themselves in a secret military organization in Gaza Strip (GS), particularly in the 1952–1954 period, under the auspices of the Egyptian MB movement and under the leadership and supervision of Kamel al-Sharif (We have previously published a study on this action). Therefore, the MB movement is considered one of the first to launch resistance military action after the 1948 war, along with some resistance groups that were sponsored by Mufti Haj Amin.

It was clear that the Fatah movement emerged from the Palestinian MB movement environment, particularly its military organization. In its early years, the membership and recruitment of Fatah focused on the members of the MB movement, but its approach was patriotic, especially after the ‘Abdul Nasser regime clashed with the MB movement and chased its members, for it wanted to continue resistance, away from hostility toward Islamists. Perhaps the readers have heard of the MB background of Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad), ‘Abdul Fattah Hammud, Salah Khalaf (Abu Iyyad), Yusuf ‘Umairah, Kamal ‘Adwan, Mu‘ath ‘Abed, Hamad al-‘Aydi, Hani al-Hasan, Salim al-Za‘nun, Riyad al-Za‘nun, Muhammad Yusuf al-Najjar, Rafiq al-Natsheh, Sa‘id al-Muzayyan … and many others.

The fierce pursuit of the MB movement, and the rise of leftist and nationalist movements, weakened the ability of the MB and other Islamic movements to organize resistance action. This situation has made the movement enter a latency and self-preservation phase, between mid-1950s and late 1960s. However, the MB movement returned to participate actively in the resistance action through the Shuyukh camps 1968–1970, in coordination with Fatah.

It seems that the Palestinian Islamic movement wanted to establish a strong organization and gain a deep-rooted popularity so that it can withstand and continue when engaging in military resistance action. The movement preferred to wait for a period of time, during which it was active in advocacy, educational, social and trade union activities. However, a number of the MB youth were not satisfied with such a delay. As a result, Dr. Fathi Shiqaqi and a number of his colleagues founded the Islamic Jihad Movement in 1980, and since then this movement has become one of the prominent Palestinian armed resistance forces.

As for the Islamic movement members of the 1948 territories, they established, in the 1970s, a resistance group called Usrat al-Jihad, supervised by Sheikh ‘Abdullah Nimr Darwish and led by Farid Abu Mukh with a number of colleagues. They executed several operations, however the Israeli occupation was able to hit the group and arrest lots of its members.

In the early 1980s, Sheikh Ahmad Yasin founded a military organization in GS, but in 1984, the occupation forces was able to hit it and arrest Yasin and a number of colleagues, and in the following year, Yasin was released in a prisoner exchange deal.

Thus, it can be concluded that the emergence of Hamas in 1987 is considered a continuation of a long process of Palestinian Islamic resistance, which has not stopped over the past hundred years.

The Fourteenth Illusion: The Fatah movement had fired the first bullet of the Palestinian Resistance:

As we noted in the discussion of the previous illusion, the armed Palestinian resistance is genuine and deeply rooted in modern Palestinian history; and its members have confronted the British occupation and the Zionist project since the beginnings. Armed resistance organizations emerged, preceding the launch of the Fatah movement by more than forty years, and their bullets were fired in the uprisings of Jerusalem 1920, Jaffa 1921, al-Buraq 1929 and al-Qassam 1935, the Palestinian Revolt 1936–1939 and the 1948 Palestine War.

Fatah supporters may argue that what is meant by the first bullet is the revolution that followed the catastrophe of the 1948 war; but as we have indicated earlier, the resistance action did not stop after the Nakbah, and in the first half of the 1950s the MB armed resistance organization emerged and carried out a number of operations. It was led by Khalil al-Wazir and a number of his colleagues, who later established Fatah.

Even if the “first bullet” was intended for the resistance action during the 1960s, during that period there were Palestinian organizations that were preoccupied with the guerrilla action or were preparing for it. There was the Palestine branch of the Arab Nationalist Movement, which formed in May 1964 the National Front for the Liberation of Palestine that launched a guerrilla warfare, and had its first member killed on 2/11/1964, about two months before the launch of the military wing of Fatah. Also, in mid-1965, the Palestine Liberation Front launched its military action.

Historically speaking, and regrettably, Palestinian literature ignores the resistance action in the 1949–1956 period, during which many resistance operations were carried out by Palestinian individuals and small groups. Israeli reports have acknowledged tens of thousands of border breaches, where part of them were related to resistance action. These reports have also acknowledged the killing of about 540 Israelis in the same period; a large number of whom were killed by resistance fighters, or whom Israeli reports called “the infiltrators.”

The Fatah movement’s literature is filled with the “fact” that it had fired the first bullet, to the extent that it seems to be an indisputable axiom, whereas we are concerned here with establishing historical facts. Fatah will not lose much by abandoning this claim, for what is more important is that when it fired its bullet, it continued without stopping, worked in difficult and harsh conditions, succeeded in expressing the concerns of the ordinary “non-ideological” Palestinians, led the national project, and maintained wide popularity, over dozens of years. It remained the backbone of armed resistance until the mid-1980s, and it actively participated in the Palestinian uprisings. It still has the highest number of prisoners in Israeli prisons.

It should be noted that a number of Fatah affiliates use this argument for political gains and in a way that eliminates or diminishes the role of others. They try to grant legitimacy to those who fired this bullet so that they would be able to speak on behalf of the Palestinians and represent them, or to silence their opponents, critics and competitors. This has been the case especially after Fatah’s adoption of the peace process and after it has undertaken the leadership of the Palestinian Authority…, which is what we referred to in a previous article.

SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

I hold a bachelor's degree in political science and international relations as well as a Master's degree in international security studies, alongside a passion for web development. During my studies, I gained a strong understanding of key political concepts, theories in international relations, security and strategic studies, as well as the tools and research methods used in these fields.

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