Daniel Mabsout: The Palestinian Struggle – Many Idols and No God
The Palestinian cause is definitely at a turning point . What will happen next we don’t know . With the fall of HAMAS in the sectarian set up has fallen the last bastion of the Palestinian Resistance if bastion there were . During more than sixty years the cause has remained stagnant if not worse. And even if the PLO thinks that it had succeeded in preserving the Palestinian identity , what about the other goals? What about Palestine? What about the land ? Even this identity is a double edged sword , it has separated the cause from its Arab belonging and has not retrieved the land .
For sixty years there was no serious attempt at liberating Palestine . The intentions might have been there in the resolves of some Palestinian leaders but these resolves never really matched the cause nor were made to materialize . Where are we from the liberation of Vietnam and the unification of the country in just a decade or so ? What we have witnessed regarding the liberation of Palestine was rather the proliferation of Palestinian organizations that will not engage seriously in liberation to the point that it became difficult to keep up with the increasing number of movements that will sprout over night, and will fall short of the goal like the ones that preceded them .
From the beginning there was no serious attempt at embracing the situation nor were there serious attempts at embracing armed struggle as a solution and becoming committed to it as a sole means for liberation . The Palestinian organizations engaged half heartedly in the armed struggle, one operation here and another there , an ambush here and an ambush there, but there was no continuity and no progress. The money was provided of course and the funds were available and the wages were paid; all this money was spent under the label of Resistance and for its sake but there was no Resistance.
The funds coming from the gulf countries and from Saudi Arabia must have required this version of armed Resistance that was not one. Until today this has not changed . Those who opposed the armed Resistance then- among the Arab establishment- are still opposing it now and plotting and conspiring against it . They are the same people acting for the same reasons that say that the Palestinian Resistance shall not turn into a real one. Some organizations like the FPLP tried to make a break through by operating in western countries to awaken the world to the Palestinian cause .Many operations in foreign countries were thus conducted, but not with much success on the ground or significant repercussions on the cause itself.
For more than sixty years, from Palestine to Jordan , and from there to Lebanon, and from Lebanon to Tunisia and then from Tunisia to the last station- Ramallah – the same scenario was repeated all over again. From one place to another and no where to go and no place to stay. Because the Palestinians did not have much to rely on and nothing to back them from which they can draw strength, they had to present concession after concession. From Madrid to camp David to Oslo nothing was achieved.
Another breach was opened by the first and second Intifada and by the emergence of HAMAS . The release of Gaza from the Zionist clutches was another achievement ; a modest achievement in comparison of what was required, but a step in which Palestinians could invest . But Gaza was to remain besieged and subject to warfare and even genocide. Some say that the whole thing was operated by Ariel Sharon as an experimental field to see what will be the outcome of any Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian land.
The Arabs –in general -did not fare better than Palestinians in this endeavor . Not only they did not adopt the Palestinian cause as their own throwing it on the Palestinians alone, but they also engaged in shameful agreements and peace talks that ended in normalization and recognition to the advantage of the enemy, to whom they surrendered fully, forsaking Palestine and Palestinians .
Palestine seemed thus an irresolvable issue and the Palestinians seemed to have adjusted to this hard reality .There was no hope in sight . The Palestinians still offered the greatest of sacrifices as they always did but these sacrifices were not properly invested , they were rather wasted because of the lack of adequate leadership that could channel the efforts and focus on the goal of liberation. All this, not to forget the corruption that pervaded the multiple organizations and their affiliations to Arab systems- mainly the Gulf corrupt regimes – and the Israeli infiltration of the Palestinian organizations that made some of them work for Israel directly – or indirectly – and coordinate with the Shin Bet or the Mossad and have the CIA train Palestinian security people and learn methods of torture and extortion from them .
All this, in addition to the constant harassment and bullying and violations and incarceration and daily massacres and killings, contributed in creating the adequate atmosphere where the Palestinians will be conditioned to the fact that they were vulnerable and totally exposed, and that Palestine cannot be retrieved nor Palestinian rights restored .
All this was a policy designed by the Israelis and carried on by the Palestinian authority and other organizations- including HAMAS- and by Arab corrupt regimes to induce to Palestinians and Arabs the condition of total defeat and the invincibility of their Israeli enemy .The Palestinians and Arabs resigned to this condition finding in it some peace and stability after all.
In the middle of all this darkness that pervaded the whole Palestinian and Arab scenery there shone the light of the Lebanese Resistance , the possibility of real liberation , of dreams becoming true , of dignity recovered ,of the land retrieved and victory achieved. This happened here in south Lebanon in the eyes of all . In less than two decades, the impossible became possible : the land was liberated and the Israelis evicted and the Lebanese villagers back to their homes and towns and the Israelis defeated in two consecutive wars .
Achieved by the Lebanese Resistance, backed by Iran and Syria at the high cost of many martyrs who offered their lives to make this dream possible to all , this victory was offered to the Palestinians . But the Palestinians could not overcome the conditioning they have been subject to. There was difficulty for them in admitting the fact that Israel – not only could be vanquished – but was utterly defeated at the hands of the Lebanese Freedom Fighters; in admitting that Israel was weak , weaker than a spider’s web , that the invincible Israeli army was nothing but a bunch of cowards fleeing the battlefield , that the Palestinians have been told lies for decades, that their leaders cheated them, that Palestine could have been retrieved- long time ago- by true commitment and dedication, with modest means, by self reliance and God’s help.
That is all what was needed , no negotiations and no agreements and no compromise or concessions , just steadfastness in the struggle . All this the Palestinians could not accept, that everything could have been otherwise, had their leaders been straightforward and honest. For this reason the Palestinians could not accept the offering of Hizbullah which is precious lesson in the art of resisting and winning . The Palestinians could not adjust to this new reality.. Not only this, but they turned against those who offered it to them . Sectarianism or no , the truth is that the Palestinians are turning against those who told them and showed to them the reality that they don’t want to see and the truth they don’t want to hear . Let those be Shi’as as they happen to be , the problem is in fact somewhere else that is inherent to the history of the Palestinian struggle and in the capacity of the Israelis to put them in this condition.