Monday, November 3, 2008

Two observations

National unity among Palestinians should serve the national project of resistance and liberation, not set the stage for meaningless, parochial power sharing

By Azmi Bishara
Al-Ahram Weekly

"1. If there's national unity, why have elections?

If Palestinian national reconciliation can be achieved through restructuring and reactivating the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and through the creation of a national reconciliation government, what is the point of holding elections? In view of the fact that the Palestinians do not even have a state yet, it seems that the purpose of any national unity government and restructured PLO is to oversee the process of reconstruction and resistance. A framework for national unity, not elections or power struggles, is the more sophisticated form national liberation movements should take under conditions of occupation and against the occupation, even in their primary phases.......

2. On dealing with Israel and the Arab peace initiative.

There were two main dangers in the Arab peace initiative. The first was that it would not improve Saudi Arabia's image in the West and US public opinion (which was the real aim after 11 September). The second was that it would sacrifice major principles in the Arab position without receiving anything from Israel in return. There is no need to dwell on the first danger. With regard to the second, Israel reacted in two ways. The first was expressed by Shimon Perez's "Bravo! Encore! That's the way to behave. Now let's see some more concessions!" The more practical response was Sharon's incursion into Ramallah and siege of Arafat's compound......."

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