This is the third week of the third intifada ignited across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. It is spreading and escalating but the Palestinian Authority, under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, is busy playing musical chairs. He still believes that negotiations with Israel are the solution even though they have been ongoing since 1993 and have been fruitless. During this time, some Israeli leaders have passed away; some have disappeared from the scene; and some still practice the worst types of torture against the Palestinians. Where are Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, who said at the Madrid Conference in 1993 that he would not mind negotiating for 100 years while continuing to build and expand Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories? Israel’s illegal settlements have expanded and multiplied in the West Bank and Jerusalem, but Abbas’s PA continues to call for negotiations. Sharon and Rabin have also passed away, and Ehud Barak is no longer in power, but Mahmoud Abbas is and he still wants to engage in negotiations with Netanyahu, the most hostile of Israeli leaders against the Palestinians.
The Israeli army and security forces are lurking in every part of the West Bank in order to track down Palestinians and kill them in front of the PA security forces, which only exercise their authority against their own people. The Israelis are spread across all the streets and alleys in the West Bank cities, in the villages and the suburbs, killing whoever they please, torturing whoever they please, and arresting whoever they please. The number of Palestinians arrested since the beginning of November stands at 420, and the number killed this month is 86. This is all happening before the eyes of the PA, which is funded by some Arab countries and America. In the middle of all of this, Abbas went to New York to witness the raising of the Palestinian flag at the UN building, but what is the point of the flag being raised if the Palestinian people are not being protected?
Israel is now trying to take advantage of the Arab states’ distraction with their own domestic issues in order to expand its colonisation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as complete its occupation of Jerusalem and displace those living in the holy city. Syria is busy with its civil war to keep Bashar Al-Assad in power, regardless of the people’s will. This war is led and funded by Iran and protected by Russia, while the political leadership in Damascus has no authority that would allow it to raise its voice against Israeli actions in Palestine. Cairo no longer has any impact on what occurs in the Arab arena. In fact, it is waging a war against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, for Israel’s benefit. Egypt has built an iron wall between Gaza and Sinai and dug a canal that is 13 km long and 8 metres deep; it was filled with seawater on 11 September. According to experts, this will contaminate the underground aquifer of fresh water, which is already badly polluted and suitable for neither human consumption nor agricultural use. The Gulf States, meanwhile, are involved in a fierce war, demanded by the legitimate Yemeni government, against the Saleh-Houthi alliance that seized power with support from Iran.
In countries where the leaders have respect for their people, when two trains collide, for example, resulting in deaths and injuries, the relevant minister often resigns if the precautions necessary to prevent such an accident were not properly in place. However, Israel has killed 86 Palestinians and the PA has not lifted a finger or batted an eyelid in response.
Israeli soldiers, especially the Mista'arvim (undercover) units, kill a large number of Palestinians on a daily basis in front of the world’s cameras and no one in Abbas’s PA takes action. Last week, Israel arrested more than 20 Palestinians from the West Bank, injured over 200, many of them seriously, and shot 30 people with live ammunition. Before this, there was the war on Gaza causing massive death and destruction, but the PA did not avenge Gaza, the injured or those killed; what kind of authority is it?
Mahmoud Abbas says in his televised speeches, “If the intifada and the resistance were for the sake of destroying the Palestinian people, then we do not want resistance and we do not want an intifada.” How can he say this? I ask the godfather of the cursed Oslo Accords, is the path of resisting aggression lined with silk or blood? The Soviet Union sacrificed millions of people in order to defeat the Nazi aggression; the Algerians gave over a million martyrs for the sake of liberating their country from the French occupation; and the Vietnamese people sacrificed thousands for their freedom, as did South Africa and many others.
It is unfortunate that Europe appears to be keener on the issues facing the Palestinian people than the PA, with Britain’s University and College Union (UCU), which has more than 120,000 members, backing calls to boycott Israeli universities in solidarity with the Palestinians. The Norwegian government has banned Israeli submarines from entering its territorial waters due to their involvement in the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Some churches in America are boycotting Israel and urging their congregations to withdraw any investments there, while many American universities voice their objections to Israel and its policies towards the Palestinians.
The Jerusalem Intifada?
Rising tensions in the Occupied Territories have led to dozens of deaths and hundreds of clashes.
Learn more about the Jerusalem Intifada
The European labelling of Israeli agricultural products, especially products from the settlements in the West Bank, cost the Israeli economy an estimated $6 billion in 2013 and 2014. What if the Palestinian workers boycotted working in Israeli settlements and farms; wouldn’t that result in the collapse of the Israeli economy?
Why is the PA still using Israeli money and paying its salaries in shekels instead of Jordanian dinars? Why doesn’t the PA dissolve itself and put Israel on the spot as an occupying power responsible for the people under its occupation?
I will end by saying that Mahmoud Abbas should accept reality and disengage from Israel; consider the Oslo Accords as void and of no value; regard the Arab Initiative as expired; and announce the dissolution of the Oslo-created Palestinian Authority once and for all.
Translated from Al- Araby Al-Jadid, 16 November 2015
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