Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Identifying Palestinian options

Ida Audeh, The Electronic Intifada, 29 September 2008

"......So effectively has Israel tamed and co-opted its Palestinian partners that they use the same terms that Israelis use when referring to Hamas. It is beyond shameful when Palestinian figures, in an apparent attempt to curry favor with the Americans and Israelis, refer to Hamas as "terrorists" and try to insinuate a connection with al-Qaida and Iran. Palestinians listen to this nonsense and seethe; Hamas was never the enemy, and its assessments of the PA's direction have been borne out by events. PA figures in Ramallah faulted Hamas for winning the elections for the Legislative Council in January 2006, which resulted in the withholding of foreign aid, and for defending itself against the US and Israeli-backed attack by militias loyal to the PA's former National Security Adviser Mohammad Dahlan in the Gaza Strip. The sordid details of the campaign against Hamas, orchestrated at the behest of the US and Israel and in which the PA and elements in Fatah were willing participants, was revealed in an April 2008 Vanity Fair article. [3] Moreover, the PA government in Ramallah should be made to explain how it is that the majority of the population was slowly slipping below the poverty line long before that election, when the money was flowing in uninterrupted.

Palestinians have been in a crisis for many years now. The political and national conditions of Palestinians today are arguably worse than they were in the spring of 1948, when Palestine was dismembered and the majority of its indigenous inhabitants were flung into exile. Sixty years later, the majority of us remain in exile (and some, such as the community in Lebanon, are at risk); those who still live in Mandate Palestine are caged, used for target practice, our lives reduced to negotiating checkpoints. According to the World Bank, 79 percent of the population in the Gaza Strip and 45 percent of the population in the West Bank live below the poverty line. [4]
In an attempt to initiate a Palestinian change of game plan, a group of Palestinians acting in a personal capacity met to discuss Palestinian strategic options. The outcome of their meetings is described in "Regaining the Initiative: Palestinian Strategic Options to End Israeli Occupation: A Report," which outlines Palestinian strategic options and discusses them in terms of Palestinian ability to achieve them and Israeli ability to block them. It calls for a reorientation of Palestinian strategy to end negotiations, reconstitute the PA so that it no longer serves Israeli interests, reconstitute the PLO so that it is truly representative, empower Palestinians to conduct "smart" resistance, and shift the strategic goal from two-state to a single state. [5]......."

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