Thursday, March 13, 2008

The PA's hollow protests

A Good Piece
By Amira Hass

" .......The condemnations heard from the PA camp are for internal purposes only. It is a way of telling the Palestinian public that its representatives are in the same boat as the weak population that suffers under occupation, just as the armed struggle is intended to show the Palestinian public which organization really knows how to exact revenge. The PA's condemnations prove how ridiculous and impotent they truly are. They signal to both Israel and the Palestinians that it does not matter how many new settlement homes will be erected, a Palestinian partner will always take his place at the "peace process" show.

Negotiations and armed struggle are not the only means of fighting the occupation. The question of why the Palestinians have not adopted Mahatma Gandhi's nonviolent resistance should be addressed to PA leaders - not the millions of Palestinians who every day wage an unarmed struggle against the sophisticated and advanced methods of oppression.

The protests would sound completely different if the protesters were to organize a calculated public revolt against Israel's tactics of annexation. There is no lack of opportunities.

There are hundreds of concrete barriers blocking exits to villages. The PA could send a bulldozer to remove one of them every day. Senior officials could come along: Mahmoud Abbas or someone from his bureau, heads of security organizations, members of the PLO central committee, senior Fatah representatives, ministers and directors general.

There are roads that are forbidden to Palestinian cars. PA officials and West Bank residents could form a long convoy of cars and drive on these roads. Many Israelis would be happy to join them......

....... The senior officials accompanying the work will be arrested. Even better. Should only the residents of Bil'in be arrested for their unarmed struggle against the occupation?

It is possible to come up with hundreds of other measures of this kind, which could replace the official Palestinian governmental plan, and force the leadership away from their "make-believe state," and bring them back to battle for liberation. True, these measures alone cannot end the colonization, but they have the potential to end the status quo that is so convenient for Israel: expanding settlements, endless negotiations, protests and shootings. There is a potential here to change the alienated relations between the people and their representatives, to create a new type of Palestinian diplomacy.

But it is also true that such a vision has no chance. The present PA and PLO leadership has grown accustomed to living as a nomenclature. They are confusing the interests of their own people with their relatively comfortable ceremonial status; a status that is their reward for being willing to participate in a spectacle of respectability scripted by the Americans and Europeans for the benefit of Israel."

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