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Palestine’s Achilles Heel: the Begging Bowl

Poor Palestine – the major Palestinian players, Fatah and Hamas have degraded and set back the liberation movement by crawling with begging bowls to self-interested, absolutely not Palestine-interested, Arab states, and furthermore both are fickle beggars switching loyalties to conform to the US volatile currents in the Middle East.

Arab regimes quarter-hearted support for Palestine goes back to the Nakba,

“The five Arab states who joined in the invasion of Palestine were Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq; while the two contingents came from Saudi Arabia and Yemen. All these states, however, only sent an expeditionary force to Palestine, keeping the bulk of their army at home.”  — Avi Shlaim

The Arab coalition was doomed to fail Palestine. Apart from being outnumbered and outgunned by the superior Zionist forces typically, then (and now), the Arabs were disorganised, under-resourced, headed by weak commanders, military incompetence, conflicting national interests and fractured by internal rivalries. These were mainly rooted in the Zionist ally, Jordan’s King Abdullah’s ambitions to hold sway over a Greater Syria encompassing Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine threatening the independence of Lebanon and Syria as well as a potential challenge to the Egyptian leadership of the Arab world.

One would expect that the Palestinian leadership would have learnt from  the debacle of  Arab interference,

“[T]he League remained curiously unwilling to allow the Palestinians to assume control over their own destiny…. At Arab League meetings, the mufti argued against intervention in Palestine by the regular Arab armies, but his pleas were ignored.  All the mufti asked for was financial support and arms and these were promised to him but delivered only in negligible quantities. It is misleading, therefore, to claim that all the resources of the Arab League were placed at the disposal of the Palestinians. On the contrary, the Arab League let the Palestinians down in their hour of greatest need.” — Avi Shlaim

The unwillingness of the Arab League 70 year ago has slackened off  over the  decades into a paralysis  that produced the flaccid Arab Peace Initiative described by Marwan Barghouti as,

“..the lowest the Arabs have gone in terms of a historical settlement with Israel. The statements of the Arab ministerial delegation to Washington in regards to amending the 1967 borders and accepting the land-swap inflict great damage on the Arab stance and Palestinian rights, and stimulate the appetite of Israel for more concessions. No one is entitled to amend borders or swap land; the Palestinian people insist on Israel’s full withdrawal to the 1967 borders, in addition to removing the settlements.”

Furthermore, ‘the issue of the “right of return” isn’t even mentioned in the peace initiative. The wording is: “Attaining a just solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees to be agreed upon in accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution No 194.” The statement that the solution will be “agreed upon” points to an Israeli veto on every solution which we find unacceptable.” Amnon Reshef  The abandonment of refugees is the signal that the Arabs are spruiking the Zionist agenda.

These conditions, while untenable to Barghouti,  Abba$, on the other hand,  in 2016  ‘rejected any changes to the Arab Peace Initiative, stressing that he is sticking to it as it was approved by the Arab League in 2002’.

Warned repeatedly by the intellectual likes of Edward Said, Naji Al Ali, Ghassan Kanafani and  Mahmoud Darwish  who distinguished the Arab people from their corrupt leaders, Hamas and Fatah know full well the politics of the the dictatorial Arab regimes is a sordid 70 year revolving door of intrigues, hypocrisies, betrayals. Edward Said remarked, “All, however, have decided that they do not trust each other any more than they care strongly for the welfare of their own people (which is to say they care very little)”.

Take the UAE for example, on 10 July 2014, as Israel blasted Gazan families with airstrikes, UAE pledged $25 million in humanitarian aid. A mere 5 days later, the UAE met secretly in Paris with Avigdor Lieberman ‘to discuss how to eradicate Hamas from the Gaza Strip.’ By an amazing coincidence, the Saudi and Jordanian foreign ministers were meeting in Paris with John Kerry where  it ‘was agreed that Israel would execute the military operation against Hamas while the UAE provided the funds….All that was required from Cairo was that it kept the Rafah crossing closed and coordinated with Israel when the assault began.’

In 2016, the Arab League including the Sauds, Egypt, Jordan attended, in a show of support, the pie in the sky  Abba$/ French Peace Initiative in Paris  while Jordan, UAE and Egypt were simultaneously manoeuvring (along with  Israeli defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman) for Death-Squad-Dahlan to replace Abba$.

If that’s not enough to make your head spin, the under-the-radar rapprochement steps between arch enemies Dahlan and Hamas, should send you reeling; a reminder that in 2007 Israel’s darling,  Dahlan and his  death squads, under the supervision of US general Dayton, spread terror throughout Gaza, set up torture centres, assassinated Hamas officials and resistance fighters and led the failed  military coup against Hamas.

Prior to the US-backed war on Syria, Hamas had it headquarters in Damascus, but in 2012, as Syria struggled against US/Saudi armed Islamist forces, Hamas took its begging bowl to Egypt which kept the Rafah border closed in 2014 during the 51 days of the vicious Zionist assault on Gaza.

To date, not one Arab regime, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, in 70 years, has saved  an inch of Palestine from unabated Zionist theft and yet Hamas and Fatah leaders incompetently, stupidly, shamefully overlook the fact that all these regimes are puppets whose strings are controlled by the Zionist/USA alliance.

It had been said of George Habash, founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP), “He was feared by Arab regimes, and respected and loved in the refugee camps.” Therein lies the  key to revolutionary success  à la Castro – the power lies with the people, within of the comradeship of struggle, within uncompromising focus on liberation and sovereignty.

In that spirit, in September Mohamed Ahmed Madi and young Gazan PLFP members formed  a Palestinian solidarity committee for the Sahrawi people. The struggle for freedom from violent occupation, theft of land and resources, wholesale government subsidised colonial immigration, exile in refugee camps, a vast Separation Wall, dependence on humanitarian aid,  and international betrayal is almost identical in the histories of Palestine and Western Sahara oppressed by the Zionist entity and Morocco respectively .

Respect goes to the young Gazans for defiantly continuing their solidarity online with the Sahrawi people and shame on  Hamas for banning the group’s activities to toady up to King Mohammed VI who is Morocco’s Netanyahu clone.

It is  hard to understand why Hamas would offer a begging bowl of appeasement to Morocco which the US had designated as a major non-NATO ally,  which since the 1960’s has had public and covert intelligence connections with Israel and Mossad including the assassination scandal of Moroccan opposition leader Mehdi Ben Barka in Paris.

Even worse, in early 1967 King Hassan II passed on a secret recording alerting Israel that Arab leaders were ill-prepared for war giving the Zionists  the edge for their preemptive strike and victory in the 6 Day War in which the Zionists seized the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jerusalem, the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights.

While Morocco and Israel ostensibly haven’t had formal relations since the First Intifada, Hamas would know that Israel has continued to supply intelligence and weapons, such as Heron drones to aid Morocco’s control over Western Sahara.

The examples here are but a drop in the ocean of  decades of ‘diplomatic’ bungling by the Palestinian leadership that has obstructed the political rights of the people of Palestine – unlike the stones of resistance hurled by the young at the lethal Zionist occupation.

The identity of Palestine’s liberation movement in not in Hamas or Fatah, but in the stones and hands that Palestine herself has brought into being. Hands that link together with oppressed brothers and sisters struggling for  justice as in Ferguson, with Black Lives Matter, at Standing Rock,  with the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, with the millions who protested globally for Gaza in 2014, and who recently joined the global BDS* action against Hewlett-Packard in over 100 cities.

Solidarity works. The people power of BDS has thrown the Zionists into  paroxysms of panic demanding that Western flunkeys criminalise BDS and criticism of Israel.

There’s no place for begging bowls in the new order of growing global solidarity with its dignified single-mindedness of purpose grounded in unity. Unity, dignified and resolute – is – the only paradigm that Palestinians must expect their future leadership will uphold to secure Palestine’s freedom and the fulfilment of political and human rights,

“Isn’t it astonishing that all the signs of popular solidarity that Palestine and the Arabs receive occur with no comparable sign of solidarity and dignity for ourselves, that others admire and respect us more than we do ourselves? Isn’t it time we caught up with our own status and made certain that our representatives here and elsewhere realize, as a first step, that they are fighting for a just and noble cause, and that they have nothing to apologize for or anything to be embarrassed about? On the contrary, they should be proud of what their people have done and proud to represent them.” — Edward Said

* Boycott Divestment and Sanctions

More articles by:

Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.

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