Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Lessons of Gaza 2009

by Bashir Abu-Manneh 

It's clear that Zionism is a different project than South African settler-colonialism, and that America's strategic interests in the region are such that Israel is protected much more from international pressure than South Africa ever was. The problem is not the absence of a Palestinian Mandela, but Israel's colonial project itself and the obstructions and impediments it puts in front of peace with the Palestinians.

Cutting a deal with U.S. imperialism gave Palestinians no state, no sovereignty, and no independence. It also forced the PA elite to go against the popular wishes of the majority of Palestinians and to abort or crush popular political mobilisation.

When Hamas decided to confront the PA politically on its own turf and agreed to participate in the elections of 2006 and won, only boycott, sanctions and more closure and siege ensued. The West has continued to support the side that lost the elections and to negate Palestinian democratic choice. This has resulted in deep internal political contradictions and polarisations among the Palestinians, which only worsened after Hamas' violent preventive takeover of Gaza in 2007 ["preventive" because of the imminent CIA-backed Fatah coup in Gaza -- ed.].

Today, the PA holds hundreds of Hamas political prisoners in the West Bank and continues to coordinate security issues with Israel (i.e. cooperating in suppressing resistance in the West Bank). During the Gaza invasion, it even suppressed demos against Israel and policed the streets in some areas in conjunction with the IDF.

Fatah elite capitulation and "partnership" with the Israeli occupier doesn't absolve Hamas' own behavior in Gaza since 2007, from the monopolization of executive and judicial power to the use of force in internal Palestinian affairs and the violent suppression of civil liberties, strongly condemned recently by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.[9] But it does show that the West and its Arab regional allies have produced and fuelled the current Palestinian crisis by systematically crushing Palestinian democracy and self-determination.

The only way out is to allow democracy to rein freely, opening up possibilities for autonomous mass anti-occupation organizations which express the will of the majority. The Prisoners' Document of Spring 2006, modified and ratified by both Hamas and Fatah in June 2006, remains the best and most popular basis for Palestinian struggle: a unified anti-occupation strategy that upholds all Palestinian rights and combines democracy with effective Palestinian resistance, regional mobilization, and global solidarity.

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