The Palestinian people and their national intifada (uprising), Israel, its government and parties, and the Middle East region all are at a crossroasd. There are two signposts at this crossroad, one for peace, security and stability, the other points to confrontation, loss of security and the hegemony of the blind force and disorder that will lead to a total regional war.
The question that was imposed following the Israeli quake (Sharon‘s accession to power in Israel) was whether peace options had evaporated after Sharon had acceded to power And what is the meaning of Sharon‘s accession to power and the prevalence of the logic of power in Israel, instead of the logic of negotiations and peaceful means for solving the conflict issues
There is no need to affirm the Palestinian position regardless of who is sitting at the top of the authority pyramid in Israel. The Palestinian position can only be firm in adhering to the resolutions of the international legitimacy, the inevitable withdrawal, the uprooting of settlement, solving the issue of refugees on the basis of resolution 194, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with holy Jerusalem as its capital, regardless of the regime in Israel. There is no retreat, whether Sharon gives priority to security or to peace or whether he talks about long term interim accords which he probably means turning into a permanent and final settlement.
Our task was not any easier as we were struggling to reveal the fake peace discourse behind which Barak hid himself as he was constructing settlements and refusing to implement the accords he endorsed. Israeli accusations against the Palestinian National Authority, promoted by collaborators in the American Administration, prevailed in international circles for sometime, for refusing the Israeli proposals even in their American version.
It is high time to say frankly that these were insincere proposals for us that only secured every thing for Israel.
Barak fell because of his dual discourse: the lack of security, which is holy to the Israelis; and the violent confrontations that had prevailed instead of a promised peace. Because Israel itself is still in the stage of an uncompleted project, its society is reproducing the same forces that believe in power as the only means of providing Israelis with security. The same Zionist illusion that pushed Barak to political suicide, is the one that brought Sharon to power, to achieve the impossible which Barak was not able to achieve, namely defeating the Palestinian people, quelling their intifada, and establishing the second Israel in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, with the cancerous settlements as its fighting hard core. They believe and imagine that history can repeat itself, and that the first transfer perpetrated in 1948 can be repeated in the year 2001.
I am not trying to give advice to the Israelis. The power they possess has blinded them from seeing the objective situation and recognizing the impossibility of repeating transfer, and the impossibility of maintaining the occupation and settlement.
The bloody confrontation that has been going on for the last months has taught the Israelis more than the negotiations and all peace discourses. The Israelis resort to the use of sweeping force to achieve the dreams and protect the illusions, and this will only lead to their astounding failure. The mission of Sharon, who promised the Israelis a repeat of what he already perpetrated in the Gaza Strip in 1970, will not be an easy one, rather it is an impossible mission doomed to failure. The intifada that led to Barak s failure and his astounding collapse, is the mechanism in the hands of the Palestinian people, that is capable of toppling down Sharon who is trying to make history go backward in an counter-clockwise manner.
Our people have no illusions in regards to Sharon, his programs and goals, even if he tries to hide behind some pale Labor Party faces. The Labor party can not make up for the damages that Sharon has committed during his military and political life. But where do we begin
It has to be clear first of all that we did not plan for the confrontation. It was adventurer Barak who did that in an attempt to subjugate the Palestinian people and dictate his conditions of maintaining the occupation and settlement on our people and land. We have adhered all the time to our national rights, and to resolutions of international law. We have made it clear that we are ready to negotiate on the basis of these terms of reference. The open connivance, and total silence of the influential circles in the peace process are responsible for the twisting track, which is engulfed with vagueness and doubts. These influential circles always tried to exert pressure on us to make concessions in matters of principles and rights, as if we were in a stock exchange market where our principles and rights are subjected to regional and international speculations. Ultimately, Barak‘s proposals and lies fell down following enormous sacrifices. Now it is Sharon, and we ask how can we confront and defeat his program of power and arrogance that he is raising in our faces
On the political and diplomatic levels, it is necessary to follow the right path through which Barak‘s policies and proposals were ultimately disclosed and foiled. The isolation that must be imposed on Sharon and his government should not become a weapon against us. We do not decide who rules Israel, and we do not chose those who sit at the table to negotiate with us or those who confront us in the field, therefore we say that we are ready to negotiate with the Israeli government on the basis of the international law resolutions, the principle of land for peace, and respecting and implementing all signed agreements. We refuse going back to point zero and square one. This position can secure for us international understanding, and the sympathy of the world public opinion, so we have to cling to it, and assert it as alone being capable of tightening the grip of international isolation around the neck of Sharon, his government and program.
Sharon gives priority to absolute security for the Israelis over the issue of peace. Such an approach can not be accepted at all. Peace, and peace alone can provide security for all. Putting peace aside and hoisting the banner of security for the Israelis only means confrontations and war. Therefore the only place to discuss the security issue is within the framework of the peace negotiations.
The intifada has imposed its own logic on the international level as a national liberation movement and legitimate resistance against the occupation and settlement activity. It will continue, and escalate as long as the occupation and settlements exist in our homeland.
The Israeli circles and their mouthpieces have been alleging that the PNA is about to collapse. It is necessary to assert here that the PNA is the boy who carries the stone in the face of the occupiers. The Palestinian people have proved to have a mythical endless patience, and a courageous persistence. Shelling a building, or launching rockets can not deter their struggle from achieving its noble national goal, namely the elimination of the occupation, and the establishment of the independent state of Palestine with holy Jerusalem as its capital. Yes indeed, the coming stage is a critical and a decisive one. It is the stage of the painful labor of the birth of the Palestinian independent state and the termination of the occupation and settlements. For that goal we have to take stringent measures and form leading national frameworks in cities, villages and residential areas including the level of central command. This effort should be based on basic national principles and on the goal of national independence. The unity of objective manifested in the establishment of the independent Palestinian state, and the unity of means manifested in the intifada are the solid and strong base for the unity of local and higher leading frameworks. There will not be any compromise on this objective and on the intifada. This is the hard core of national consensus for defeating the Israeli occupation and settlements in our country. There is an inevitable need for the Arabs to support our national struggle and enhance their support and participation. They should enhance their awareness to the dangers coming from Israel, which are reiterated by Liberman and Zeivi who talk about transfer and striking Egypt, Iraq and Iran. We expect the coming Arab summit in Amman to take practical measures on a national level. In order to be victorious, the intifada needs new Arab stands on the international and Arab levels. Isn‘t it high time already to give the intifada more than mere verbal support and diplomatic contacts
The dilemma of the Arab support has to be questioned as well. Is it believable that we receive European support, while the Islamic Bank is still hiding behind fruitless arguments and allegations on PA corruption The question that comes to mind is whether Arab support is forbidden to reach us at this time so that it won‘t be held responsible for strengthening the national steadfastness in the face of the occupation
Indeed, we need Arab support so that we continue our confrontation and not for development purposes and what development How can we continue development under the threat of the Israeli bulldozers, which demolish houses, factories, and farms We want support so that we confront the tanks and bulldozers.
I do not want to create more questions; I just want to say that the Arab summit is requested to change the support mechanism so that it becomes a support for steadfastness, intifada, and the stone revolution. This is necessary to pave the way for real negotiations based on the adherence to the Madrid principles and the resolutions of international law. Any other trivial proposals made by Sharon or others, will not meet any attention on the part of our people. We demand that the American veto that defeats the proposal of sending international forces to protect our people from the Israeli savage attacks be revoked. We stress for American, European, and international participation in the negotiations and the need to expand the framework of these negotiation.
Finally, interim arrangements and giving priority to security over peace are not acceptable, and the intifada can never be something to bargain with.
Source: ATF Shu‘un Tanmawyyeh Issue 24