Professor of Political studies, Al Najah National University,
Some people will hate reading this article, either because it will expose them and their agents, or because it will shake their deeply held convictions and push them to question their ability to arrive at solutions to political phenomena. Following the Palestinian Authority's decision to defer the Goldstone report and the circumstances of the Palestinian people have been exposed beyond question, I find it critical to clarify the position of a Palestine put in jeopardy by its leaders; to venture an explanation as to why, for a hundred years, Palestinians have made tremendous sacrifices only to at last find out that some of their very own people are custodians of the Kingdom of Israel?
The tremendous failure of the Palestinian people to regain their rights and achieve some semblance of self-determination is neither haphazard nor is it caused by foreign powers alone. That is not to say that numerous foreign powers, headed by Britain, America, Arab leaders and a number of other Western countries, have not all been directly and abominably implicated in the expulsion of Palestinians from their land; the appropriation of Palestine and the killing, torture and persecution of Palestinian men, women and children. However, we cannot overlook the responsibility and part played by Palestinian leaders themselves; their collusion with those foreign forces to bring Palestinians into subjection; to turn them into a homeless people either searching for bread to eat or waiting on a monthly salary paid to them by their enemies.
It is worth noting a few issues related to past Palestinians leaders as well as to influential individuals within the administration of the affairs of the Palestinian cause.
The Hajj Amin al-Hussayni years
Hajj Amin Al-Hussayni, who never actually performed Hajj (the pilgrimage to Makkah), was in 1920 sentenced to ten years in absentia for participating in a demonstration against British policy in Palestine and Al-Sham (the region that constitutes Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories). While in Cairo, he attended Al-Azhar University. In 1933, after the death of the president of the Supreme Muslim Council of Palestine, Britain saw it necessary to keep a balance between the Hussaynis and their rival clan, the Nashashibis, having deposed the Hussayni mayor of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and installed a member of the Nashashibi clan as part of the cretinous British policy of divide and rule.
There were orders to nominate three candidates for the position of mayor, after which the British High Commissioner in Palestine, the then actual governor of Palestine, would select one of them to be the president of the Supreme Islamic Council. The Al-Quds municipality recommended three people not including Mr. Amin. However, the High Commissioner put pressure on one of those nominated to withdraw his candidacy in favour of Mr. Amin whom the high commissioner then appointed as mayor of Al-Quds, notwithstanding the Nashashibis objections.
Britain dropped Mr. Amin's prison charges and wanted him back in Palestine in order to take over the mayorship of Al-Quds. Then they came up with the claim that Hajj Amin Al-Hussayni was hiding till the year 1937 in Al-Aqsa Mosque because Britain wanted his arrest. Historical data show that Hajj Amin Al-Hussayni was totally sure of Britain's unwillingness to bring justice to the Palestinian people following its decision to partition the country. He then contacted a few rebels who may have been involved in the assassination of the British officer in charge of Nazareth at the time. Britain sought to arrest him for investigation so he fled to Al-Aqsa. It is worth noting however that Hajj Amin Al-Hussayni did not flee the mosque to Lebanon by his own means. History reveals that he was assisted by a British officer with the knowledge of the British authorities.
The Arafat Years
In 1979, I wrote that the PLO would one day recognize Israel. Many people including the martyr Khalil Al-Wazir stood up furiously against me, taking my words to be a misrepresentation of the revolution. I wrote my assumption based on the deviant behaviour of some Palestinian leaders and 'militants'. I used to wonder whether there was anyone monitoring their actions or taking steps that would deter their behaviour.
Behaviour such as carrying guns on city streets and opening fire on people; interfering in people's private lives; molesting girls and attacking public employees and ministers were all an indication that some wanted to push both Jordanians and Lebanese to hate Palestinians. I was young at the time and only years later did I realize that the ultimate aim was the isolation of the Palestine cause from its Arab and Islamic milieu.
Palestinian militant patrols that were supposed to be top-secret missions from Eastern Jordan and Southern Lebanon targeting the Zionist enemy were almost always confronted with the Israeli army, waiting exactly where those patrols were meant to cross. The Israeli army would use microphones to tell Palestinian militants that they knew they were coming and what their target was and they would advise them to surrender or they would die.
Palestinian Military operations would only rarely accomplish their missions successfully. Over a period of 13 years, very few operations were successful. The Israelis would be killing Palestinians with their advanced weapons at the same time that Palestinian leaders were issuing statements announcing the militants' return to their base, safe and sound, after killing large numbers of Israelis.
This used to happen and nobody would investigate it. We never heard of the cracking of a single spy ring infiltrating the Palestinian people and factions both inside and outside Palestine. Nor did we hear of a single word as to who was to be held responsible for the security chaos and why Palestinian fighters were continuously let down. At a time when Palestinians were yelling, backing the resistance and giving it full support, there were those who would seek loyalty at the expense of military competence. Militants were distracted over salaries and military ranks. Al-Hamra Avenue in Beirut was turned into a district for military leaders.
In the 1982 war, the only thing the military leadership in Lebanon could do was to 'turn tail'. Leaders ran away and left behind fighters confronting the enemy in their own way. The military forces commander was reported as saying that Arafat himself gave his orders of immediate withdrawal from southern Lebanon. Sa'd Sayil, the then commander-in-chief of the revolution forces, resented the decision but was assassinated after initiating an investigation into the matter.
Throughout the Arafat years, the Palestinian National Covenant was violated several times and nobody actually listened to complaints. It was first transgressed when the PLO announced its strategy of establishing a democratic secular state comprising all religions, then with Arafat visiting Egypt in 1983, followed by his issuance in 1985 of a condemnation of terrorism; the recognition by the Palestinian National Council of Israel and the two Security Council resolutions; the announcement in 1988 of a state based on the partition plan and the signing in Madrid of the Oslo Accords in 1993… Why was the covenant transgressed and in the interest of whom?
A western journalist once asked me whether I had something to say to Arafat as he was to meet him the next day. I told him to inform Arafat that I knew of his relations with Western German Intelligence during the fifties and sixties. I was arrested the very same day.
The West Bank
Similar to the security chaos in Lebanon, there has been chaos in the West Bank and Gaza. It is evident that the number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails is completely disproportionate to the scale of sacrifice and achievement throughout the conflict with Israel. Palestinian militant cells are often attacked before fulfilling their tasks as information is being siphoned out to the enemy. Palestinians have long been falling prey to Israel as a result of this security chaos which lies behind the consecutive defeats they experience. As a matter of course, any leader who is indifferent to security chaos and security infiltrations by the enemy is suspicious.
A grave development in the West Bank and Gaza is the phenomenon of begging and of people getting used to being subservient to whoever can pay more. Nationalist activity has turned into paid work, which has turned the Palestinian struggle into a purely materialistic endeavour. This humiliation was reinforced after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Many Palestinians no longer find it disgraceful being the object of humiliation and subservience in exchange for money. How can a homeland be liberated when its people are beggars who feel no shame in submissiveness?
Since the establishment of the PA there has been an enormous spread of nepotism. Corruption looms in every corner. Bullies and thugs have been deployed to frighten, bully and blackmail people and as a result, the social and moral textures have been severely damaged by arrogant people.
How can a leader establish a state or achieve independence with incompetent individuals who can do nothing but harm themselves and others? What kind of future can he promise and fulfill with a collapsed judicial system; when the ignorant are favored over the knowledgeable, the despicable over the good and thieves over those who are honest? All these practices do not reflect a determination to establish a state, but rather the deliberate and systematic intention to turn Palestinians into a flock of people begging for bread to eat. I bet everyone has heard Palestinians lament the occupation on account of the PA's practices.
Following Oslo, The PA committed the grave error of placing 'Palestinian bread' on the enemy's table via so called donor countries. What leader on earth places the bread of his people's children in the hands of the enemy? This is to enslave the people and 'imprison them' within the vicious circle of salaries and financial benefits. In short, it is a flagrant robbery of the political free will of the Palestinian people.
The Abbas Years
It was the Americans who imposed on Arafat the appointment of Abbas as Prime Minister following their decision that the PA must have a Prime Minister. It was also the Americans who exerted pressure so as to transfer many of the president's powers to the prime minister and it was also them who exerted pressure for the transfer of those same prime minister's powers to the office of the PA's presidency following Hamas' victory in the elections. Abbas was described by a number of Arafat's assistants prior to his death as Palestine's Karzai. Opinion polls showed that his popularity did not exceed 6% in the territories occupied in 1967. However, all of a sudden his opponents backed him in the presidential elections and he won 63% of the votes.
Abbas called for assistance from Dr. Salam Fayyad, a man much praised by the Americans who insisted on assigning him to a high position as a precondition for keeping money flowing to the PA. They even took a firm stand regarding his continuation as Finance Minister in the National Unity Government formed after the Makkah Agreement in February 2007. During the Abbas Era, Palestinian security forces have tightened their grip on the people and the West Bank has fallen under the control of General Dayton and the American Consul through secret and ever intensifying involvement of the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Abbas and Fayyad have turned the West Bank into a ravaged land for despotic Westerners and Zionists.
They have been working towards distracting people from what should be their real concern by pre-occupying them with the search for money or with false promises of the fulfillment of big achievements. The invariable national rights of the Palestinian people have been turned into a salary, a car and a 'breath of air'. Even worse than this and as confirmed by General Dayton who trained it along with other squads in Jordan, a Palestinian military squad was responsible for the killing of the Palestinian militant Abdul-Majid Dudin from Dura Al-Khalil (Hebron) under the command of an Israeli military officer.
Producing Leaders for Palestine
Who produces these leaders? Israel and some Western countries headed by the United States. It is a long and complicated topic that requires a thorough analysis. Yet, it is crucial to mention it so as to get across the full picture of what is happening. Some time ago, I announced on Al-Jazeera that the Israelis had offered to make me a Palestinian leader. They said that they would employ TV cameras to cover my release from prison, that they would focus on my activities in the media and within two weeks my Palestinian people would bear me upon their shoulder in joy.
When I asked about the price, I was told it would be to deliver breathtaking and lofty-sounding speeches against Israel, to call for freedom of Haifa and Yafa but then to go home and to do nothing. This is only one example and I am sure that those who accepted the offer were many. Had it not been for the anticipated legal pursuits, I would have given a few names. I am willing however to mention names of some persons who are now taking decisions on behalf of the Palestinian people and who have enjoyed tremendous support from the Israeli media against investigation committees.
Israelis and Westerns give financial and media assistance to their Arab and Palestinian agents, particularly if they are Masonic 'proficient' traitors who exert pressure to climb up the political ladder. They offer them enough money for them to move freely and be 'full-time' traitors without actually hindering them from living their lives or enjoying their spare time. They make a lot of things easier and mobilize the media for them. They create propaganda around their proficiency, genius and extraordinary intelligence and thereby give the Palestinian people the impression that their condition will only worsen without them.
Everyday we see how intellectuals and academics are being manipulated by governmental organizations to work for the West by way of academic research and conferences and we also see how those who compete to commit treason against their own people and homeland are 'over-showered' with money.
Portraying Palestinian agents as patriotic heroes is a major Israeli tool used to assist its agents and move them up the Palestinian ranks. Israel sometimes calculatingly arrests its own agents for a given period and deliberately circulates the news of their arrest in the media in order to put pressure on the Palestinian public and the faction to which the agent is affiliated. False news of his torture, harassment and endurance during interrogation may also leak. He is likely to be put in solitary confinement or they may pretend to do so in order to portray him as an imprisoned leader who takes part in the management of other prisoners' affairs and thus makes him privy to their secrets which would ultimately be passed on to the Intelligence and so on.
Israel hastens to make any gesture that would enhance the positions of those who collaborate with it such as launching media attacks against them based on specific statements they have delivered. Israel may ask them for instance to be particularly extreme so that it can retaliate in a way that would stir public opinion to support them. I remember one day a Palestinian leader stated at a bar entrance in Beirut that he would burn down American interests in the Gulf countries. The man was drunk, yet the media covered his statement fully, which in turn stirred up strong Arab and Palestinian emotions and passionate public opinion against Israel.
Israel would perhaps expel its agent so that he became a leader outside Palestine or could return to it at some point as a leader. It is obvious that these gestures are supported by the institution of the Palestinian leadership who is unconcerned with caution or extensive security precautions and investigations of those keen to join or persist in resistance.
In this regard, allow me to highlight an Israeli attempt to drag me to the 1991 Madrid Conference, which will hopefully serve as a warning to the public up and down the homeland. Prior to the Madrid Conference, an American official sought to meet me in my house in Nablus to convince me to be among the Palestinian delegation affiliated to the Jordanian delegation. I twice refused to receive him into my house. I then got called to the office of the military governor of Tulkarim who asked me why I refused to go to Madrid and tried to gently persuade me to attend. I once again refused. Two days later I got called again and threatened with arrest or expulsion if I continued to refuse. I was not at all bothered, however, when I asked whether he had the authority to nominate me as part of the Palestinian delegation heading to Madrid, he told me to forget about it.
I had absolutely no doubt that had I accepted to go, he would have had to call Israel's war minister who himself would have contacted the American consul in Al-Quds (Jerusalem) who would have then gotten in touch with a Palestinian official from the city. This official would have called the Palestinian leadership in Tunisia which would have issued an order nominating me to the Madrid delegation. The public would have appreciated 'the wisdom' of a leader who had made the right choice. This act of bullying was not aimed at manipulating me but rather at 'burning' me so that I would not dare to speak up and tell the truth in the future. As for the public, it would have absolutely no idea of how I got to Madrid or how I became a leader boasting about speaking in heroic languages and of political enigmas.
What about Abbas?
Today, Abbas will not respond to calls by Palestinian individuals and groups for him to resign. Those who can accept to resign from an influential position are those who got it through hard work and effort in the first place. Since these leaders are a product of forces 'from outside' the Palestinian people and that they get foreign assistance and support, they do not normally step down. They are either deposed or killed by those who appointed them, but by no means do they themselves own the decision to resign.
My assumption is that America and Israel feel sorry for the great media uproar against Abbas. They are undoubtedly looking for a way to repair the damage. This is why I expect something will be done to restore his dignity, at least among a section of the Palestinian people, and allow them defend him.
For instance, Abbas may deliver a powerful speech supporting the Palestinian resistance. Israel will then pretend anger whereby Netanyahu will issue an order preventing Abbas leaving Palestine for two weeks.
It is also probable that they will leak forged documents of a plot by Abbas and the PA security forces to pull off a sudden assault on a Zionist settlement. Israel will decide not to give the PA income from taxes or anything else similar. Then people will forget all about The Goldstone report and will instead begin enumerating Abbas' 'heroic' deeds.
Translated by Monjia Abdallah Abidi
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.