Yossi Schwartz, ISL – the RCIT section in Israel/Occupied Palestine, 04.01.2022
The collaboration of the Palestinian Authority with the Zionist state
The Zionist war minister Benny Gantz met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at his home in Rosh Ha-Ayin on Tuesday night. It was the second meeting between the two. “Gantz emphasized the parties shared interest in deepening security coordination, maintaining regional stability, and preventing terror and violence” [i]
According to the Zionist army, there has been an increase in Palestinian resistance activity in the West Bank during 2021, but also a decrease in Israeli deaths from attacks, with two this year. In 2020 there were three Israeli deaths from attacks in the West Bank, five in 2019 and 14 in 2018. In the past year, the Zionist army arrested 2,899 Palestinians for questioning and confiscated about $3.5 million that they say was intended for terrorism. [ii]
In the last year, there have been three times more Palestinian resistance acts than in 2018. In 2018 there were 1,881 defying acts of throwing stones on the Zionist army and settlers, this year 5,532. In 2018 2,921 defying acts included stone-throwing, Molotov cocktail throwing, shooting, and use of knives. In 2021 6,633 defying acts. On average 18 defying acts every day. Thus, the report of the Zionist army is unreliable because every repressing organization (army, police, Shabak) has a separate account of only its repressive actions. [iii]
No doubt if it was not for the collaboration of the Zionists and the PA that represses the resistance and provides Israel information on the resistance, the number of defying acts would be much higher.
An example of this collaboration was reported in Jerusalem Post this week:
“Palestinian Authority security forces have foiled two attempts by Palestinians to set fire to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus, a PA security official confirmed on Tuesday. The PA has taken flak from many Palestinian activists for thwarting the arson attacks and serving as guards for Jewish settlers Critics of the PA said what happened in Nablus over the past few days proves that security coordination between the Palestinian security forces and the IDF is continuing despite growing tensions in the West Bank”. [iv]
“ The torching attempts of “Joseph Tomb” are presented by the Zionists and their friends as acts of vandalism. While the Zionist claim that the place is the burial ground of Joseph a figure in the bible stories, the Palestinians view it as the location of a local medieval sheik Yusef Al-Dwaik. The present structure, a small rectangular room with a cenotaph, dates from 1868, and is devoid of any trace of ancient building materials, while Joseph according to the legend lived in Egypt between 2000 and 1600 BCE. The historical period is known as the “Middle Kingdom” that lasts from 2000 to 1786 BCE. Thus it cannot be the burial ground of Joseph even if someone believes that Joseph was a historical figure. When it comes to the account of Joseph, the difficulties are predictable. Indeed, the biblical account contains numerous details that align with historical realities of Middle and New Kingdom Egypt, but there is nothing definitive in the historical or archeological record that verifies Joseph or his exploits in Egypt. Yet the Joseph narrative is also somewhat unique. The genre of this narrative—with its carefully crafted sequence, plot shifts, characterization, and other features—has encouraged many scholars to categorize it as a short novel, rather than as history writing.” [v]
After the Zionist state captured the West Bank in 1967, Muslims were prohibited from worship at the shrine, and as though it fell under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) after the signing of the Oslo Accords, it remained under the Zionist guard with Muslims prohibited from praying there.
To understand how the Fatah has become an enemy of the Palestinians it is necessary to deal with the history of the PLO (Palestine Liberation organization).
In 1964 Sixteen years after the creation of Israel and the mass expulsion of the Palestinians, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded.
In 1964 Gamal Abdul Nasser, the Egyptian president convened the first Arab summit that dealt with the question of Palestine. It formed the PLO and nominated Ahmad al-Shuqairy, a Palestinian diplomat; to head the PLO. He was a lawyer who fled Palestine following the aborted Palestine Arab Revolt (1936–39and returned to Palestine only in the 1940s when he held several positions in the Palestinian civil administration. He fled the fighting of the Arab-Israeli War of 1948 and eventually took a position with the Arab League. He later became a delegate for both Syria and Saudi Arabia at the United Nations. [vi]
On 2 March 1951, Shuqairi was appointed assistant secretary-general of the Arab League, under Abd al-Rahman Azzam and his successor, Abd al-Khaliq Hassuna, but he remained a member of the Syrian delegation during the UN sessions. He was appointed minister of state for UN affairs in the government of Saudi Arabia and its permanent envoy to the UN. After the defeat of the regular Arab armies in June 1967, guerrilla activity became the foremost action for the Palestinian people. However, a struggle erupted between the guerrilla groups and Shuqairi, who had been facing difficulties in his dealings with several Arab regimes. In December 1967, he resigned as chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO in the wake of serious differences between him and some members of that committee, and he left for Cairo. [vii.
Overall Shuqairi was a servant of the Arab league rather than a real leader of the Palestinian people. He was nominated as the head of the PLO to isolate Haj Amin as the leader of the Palestinian people. He was forced to resign on December 24, 1967, and was harshly criticized for his management of the Organization and, since January 1965, was blamed for the increased influence of the fidayeen (Guerilla organizations), especially by Fatah of Arafat, because the Arab local rulers lost control over the fidayeen. The military defeat of the Arab armies in 1967 strengthened the fidayeen position. For this reason, the Arab rulers accused Shuqairi of contributing to their defeat with his extreme declarations against Israel before the war, which led according to this charge to the world favoring Israel. In the real world, Shuqayri served as a scapegoat for the Arab defeat in the war. The imperialist states would support Israel no matter what Shuqayri said. He became famous for supposedly calling on the Arabs “to throw the Jews into the sea”.
Randolph S. Churchill and Winston S. Churchill wrote that Shuqayri’s statement regarding the destruction of those Jews remaining after the war made no mention of throwing them into the sea: “He said that it was ‘possible and even most likely’ that his Palestinian Liberation Army would fire the first shot. If the Arabs took Israel, he said, the surviving Jews would be helped to return to their native countries. ‘But in my estimation, none of them will survive.’” [viii]
In an interview on French radio (September 28, 1967) that was picked up by Radio PLO the same day, it was reported:
‘As for the declaration that the Arabs would cast the Jews into the sea, attributed by western news agencies to Shuqayri, the latter replied: ‘I stated exactly the opposite. I was in Amman two days before the Israeli aggression and was asked at a press conference if we would throw the Jews into the sea if the Arabs won the war. I immediately answered this question and said that we have no desire to throw the Jews into the sea nor do we want to annihilate the Jews. But Jewish sources twisted these statements around, and as you know Zionism is expert at lying and distorting things Shuqayri then added, “We see that Israel is throwing the Palestinians into the desert, and this is no less dangerous than throwing the Jews into the sea. Where then is the public uproar? ‘[ix]
The establishment of the PLO
Fatah was founded in the late 1950s by Yasser Arafat whose goal was for the Palestinians themselves to liberate themselves. On January 1, 1965, Fatah launched its armed struggle against Israel. Their March 1968 stand against a superior Israeli force in the battle of Karama in Jordan made Fatah popular in the eyes of the Palestinians. Yet their military effort never exceeded a certain level in terms of scale and impact. Unlike the Stalinists in Vietnam, the PLO was unable to form a people army and has remained a small guerrilla force. Various factors explain the reasons for it. In the 1950s most Palestinians were refugees living in different countries. While the Arab states paid lip service to the Palestinians’ cause the last thing the Arab local rulers wanted was an independent strong Palestinian movement. Stalinist Russia that provided the Zionists weapons in 1948 kept close relations with Israel in the 1950s while Israel received support from other imperialist states. In Egypt, the 1952 uprising that lacked revolutionary leadership ended with the free officer’s coup that at the beginning was pro-American. Jordan had close relations with Israel. In Iran, the CIA initiated a coup that brought back the Shah. Thus the Palestinians themselves were not strong enough to win the struggle against Israel and the Palestinians could not rely on the Arab states to win a war against Israel. The Palestinians heroic struggle against Israel brings to mind the Indians struggle in North America against the European colonialist settlers rather than the struggle in Algeria, Vietnam, or Afghanistan.
Later on, Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 proving that the Arab states could not win a war against Israel. The only realistic road for the liberation of Palestine was for the Palestinians to participate in the Arab revolution of the workers, the poor peasants and the oppressed minorities against the Arab local ruling classes, but this was beyond the PLO’s vision. Furthermore, the Arab revolution began in 2010-2011and by then the PLO was already a servant of Israel. In the 1960s the Palestinian guerrilla movement remained a modest force in terms of combat strength and military effectiveness. Even in their heyday in 1968-70, the guerrillas had numbered fewer than 10,000 and their attacks against Israel were not effective. Yet the guerrilla warfare gained the Palestinians recognition as an oppressed nation.
The PLO in Jordan
Following the 1967 war with Israel, Jordan lost the West Bank of the Jordan River. Thousands of Palestinians fled into Jordan, swelling the refugee population to two million. The PLO gained popularity among the refugees. From their new base, the PLO launched military operations against Israel and Israel killed and injured Jordanians. King Hussein was an ally of Israel and a servant of the USA and Israel and the USA wanted him to crash the Palestinian guerrilla movement.
Jordan became a sort of dual power country with the Monarchy on one hand and the PLO on the other. In September 1970 the Jordanian army launched a full-scale attack on the Palestinian guerrillas in towns all over Jordan following weeks of sporadic fighting between the two sides. Syria, Iraq, and Israel quickly became involved, and Syrian troops invaded Jordan. The US 6th Fleet moved into the Mediterranean, the Russian Stalinists pressured Syria to pull out from Jordan and the PLO guerrillas were gradually driven out of the suburbs of Amman. The PLO agreed to a ceasefire on 25 September. Under the terms of the agreement signed two days later in Cairo, the guerrillas were to withdraw from Jordanian towns and cities and recognize the king’s authority. Fighting continued into 1971 when King Hussein drove out the Palestinians from their remaining bases and expelled them from Jordan. The beaten PLO relocated to Lebanon.
The PLO in Lebanon
From 1970 until the Zionist invasion of Lebanon in 1982 it served as a military and political center. Lebanon offered the Palestinian movement, constrained by the interests of the Arab local ruling classes, some degree the freedom to build its institutions.
“George Habash of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine asked in November 1987: “The Palestinian movement] must answer the following questions: What do we want from Lebanon? Why do we insist on maintaining a Palestinian armed presence in Lebanon? How do we perceive our relations with the [Lebanese National Movement? If the Palestinian revolution fails to provide a clear answer to these questions, the Palestinian presence in Lebanon will not grow the way we hope. . . . During its presence in Lebanon throughout the seventies and until 1982, the Palestinian revolution made mistakes. A bold reexamination process is in order. These mistakes must be identified, acknowledged, and rectified.” [x]
The PLO presence in Lebanon aggravated the internal contradictions of the Lebanese sectarian society created by Ottoman and French imperialism. Its weakness gave the Zionist state the possibility to launch massive punitive raids against it designed to destabilize both the Palestinian and Lebanon itself. For Israel to maintain its superiority and thus to gain the support of other imperialist states it is necessary to weaken the other states in the region. In 1969 the popular support of the Arab masses and the pressures by Egypt and Syria, allowed the Palestinian movement to resist the attempts of the Lebanese army to crush it. However, in the Cairo Agreement of 3 November 1969, the PLO recognized Lebanon’s sovereignty and security and undertook to coordinate its activities from Lebanon with the Lebanese army for an autonomous institution in the refugee camps. Thus the PLO blocked its road to the Arab revolt against the Arab ruling classes. It was unable to learn any lesson from its experience from Jordan. In 1973 the Lebanese army once again tried and failed to crush the PLO.
In 1974 Arafat came to the UN to offer his peace plan, having earlier in the year gained an Arab Summit consensus that the PLO was the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. He told the United Nations General Assembly that his Organization’s goal remained one democratic state where Jew and Moslem live in justice equality and fraternity. In such a state, he said, all Jews “now living in Palestine” could become citizens without discrimination. Needless to say, the Zionists rejected this offer.
In 1975 a civil war erupted in Lebanon and the PLO allied itself with the parties of the Lebanese National Movement (LNM) a coalition of secular petit-bourgeois Arab nationalist leftists and Sunni Muslims that wanted to form a democratic bourgeois state. The PLO was able to defend the Palestinian refugee status. In January 1976 the right-wing Maronite Christians and their militias the Lebanese Forces (LF) attacked refugee camps in Beirut. The PLO and its allies launched a counter offense that led to a cease-fire. After it broke down and the fighting continued Syria that presumably supported the Palestinian cause intervened on the side of the LF setting the stage for the massacre of thousands of Palestinian civilians in the Tall al-Za’tar.
The Myth of Syria as an Anti-Imperialist Regime
By the beginning of 1976 tension was growing between Al-Assad and the PLO. Syria’s growing influence in Lebanon led Al-Assad to try and restrict the influence of the PLO in Lebanon. In early February, however, “the Palestinian leadership”- particularly the leaders of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine- expressed open criticism of the reforms and the growing Syrian presence in Lebanon more generally. As dissident factions within the PLO joined the more radical wing of the LNM in resisting the spread of Syrian influence in Lebanese internal affairs, the Assad regime broke with Arafat and deployed units of al-Sa’iqah into the area between Zahlah and Shturah, providing support to beleaguered Christian forces. President Assad then warned Arafat to stop cooperating with Kamal Jumblatt’s Progressive Socialist Party, a warning “the Palestinian leadership” heeded, but the rupture between the Palestinians and Damascus proved irreparable and by the spring of 1976 “exchanges occurred between PLA and Sa’iqah units on the one hand and Rejectionist and PLO guerillas on the other” [xi]
In March 1976, Assad sent a message to the United States asking them not to interfere if he were to send troops into Lebanon to help the LF.
What caused Assad the father to intervene in Lebanon on the Side of the LF?
According to LtCol Theodore J. Stout, “Hafiz Assad’s had five strategic goals in Lebanon, including (1) Prevention of a radical regime led by the National Movement from gaining power in Lebanon; (2) Securing the Syrian western flank from Israeli invasion; (3) Controlling the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO); (4) Gaining legitimacy as the leader of pan-Arabism following the death of Nasser, and; (5) Enhancing the prospect of a “Greater Syria”
This common thesis may explain why Assad sent his army to Lebanon in the civil war but hardly explain why on the side of the LF? The LF in power would form a right-wing radical regime. Their victory would not bring a greater Syria. His intervention on the side of the LF was denounced by most Arabs. His intervention on the side of the LF an ally of the Zionist state was blessed by Israel.
Contrary to the Stalinists who have claimed that Syria is an anti-imperialist regime in the late 1960s Hafez al-Assad ended the land reforms as Patrick Seale wrote: “Assad knew he needed allies in the urban middle class, so, breaking with his political past, he tried to win over the shopkeepers, businessmen, and artisans of the towns as well as the many citizens who had fled Syria since 1963, mainly Sunnis from the former leading families”. [xii]
Assad turned to Egypt’s Anwar Sadat for an ally. Sadat’s goal was to force Israel to bargain for peace with terms suitable to Egypt’s ruling class interests. On the eve of the civil war, Sadat was moving towards the Sinai II agreement and eventual reconciliation with Israel.
ollowing Al-Assad’s intervention, Israel did nothing. Hilde Henriksen Waage wrote:
“This uncharacteristic prudence from Israel, when faced with Syrian forces entering Lebanon, has been attributed by many analysts to a ‘red line agreement’ which asserted a de facto partitioning of Lebanon into Israeli and Syrian spheres of influence, negotiated in secret by the powerful US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. Drawing upon American and Israeli archival sources, this article argues that the ‘red line agreement’ was no agreement at all but rather a short-lived Syrian–Israeli marriage of convenience within which the Americans acted as mediators. The Syrians and Israelis danced ‘a careful minuet’ in southern Lebanon, constantly probing each other’s strategic thresholds while seeking US assurances that neither would attack the other” [xiii]
Thus, even by this account the Assad intervention was in agreement with Israel and the US mediation. It seems as Assad wanted to inflict pain on the PLO that was too independent for him and at the same time, it was a message to the American imperialism that Assad is ready to serve the USA rather than Russian Stalinism.
In the war between Iran and Iraq, the bourgeois Pan-Arabic regime Syria took the side of Iran.
“As previously noted, in 1982 Syria closed its boundary with Iraq and shut down the Iraqi pipelines that crossed its territory. Iran, in return, provided Syria with free and concessionary-priced oil and became one of its largest export markets. Saddam Hussein never forgave his Ba’thist archrival for supporting non-Arab Iran in the war. Indeed, the Assad regime paid a high price for its stance, which left it with virtually no friends in the Arab world and made a mockery of its claims to be the guardian of Arab nationalist ideals. Domestically, the regime’s legitimacy was further called into question. Despite the unpopularity of Syria’s support for Iran during the war and the almost complete lack of ideological congruence between the two regimes, the alliance proved to be one of the more durable ones the region has seen” [xiv]
In the first Gulf against Iraq Syria participated on the side of the USA. So much for Arab bourgeois’ nationalism.
“Syria strongly opposed Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, scolding Saddam Hussein for providing the West with an opportunity to intervene in the region and diverting attention away from the dispute with Israel. But the invasion also provided the Syrian regime with a serendipitous opportunity to maneuver its way back to center stage, bloody its archrival, strengthen its relationship with Egypt, earn the gratitude of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf sheikhdoms, demonstrate its importance within the region to the West, and win the favor of the United States… In backing the coalition that sought to drive Iraq from Kuwait, the Asad regime gambled that its Ba’thist archrival would be defeated and perhaps destroyed. Given the intensity and intractability of the quarrel between the two governments, Syria’s position during the Gulf crisis was predictable” [xv]
But let us return to the PLO in Lebanon Sadat’s visit to Israel. On Nov. 19, 1977, was followed by the Camp David Accords in September 1978, which led to the signing of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty in Washington in March 1979. In October 1978, Sadat and Begin were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. This “peace treaty” was a prelude to the Zionist state invasion of Lebanon. When one hears of the Nobel prize for peace, one should prepare himself for a war or a military dictatorship.
The idea of constituting a Palestinian state limited to the West Bank and Gaza, a “mini-state” next to the state of Israel, namely a two-state solution, was proposed by Russian Stalinists. This became a subject of heated debate within the organization. Serious dissensions developed within the PLO. Arafat’s authority was challenged within the ranks of the PLO by the more militant groups.
Israel’s Invasion of Lebanon
On June 6, 1982, 40,000 Israeli troops, with hundreds of tanks and armored personnel carriers, rolled across the 33-mile border with southern Lebanon. Israeli seaborne troops landed on the Lebanese coast at Sidon and near the mouth of the Zahrani River, while the Israeli air force continued the intense bombing of Palestinian camps in the south and around Beirut begun two days earlier.
The guerrilla forces fought bravery “organized in small units, stood their ground and fought against overwhelming odds. The steadfastness of the guerrillas moved one Israeli military correspondent to write that their motivation “must stir within us uneasy feelings.” “The PLO fighters whom we had treated as rejects,” he continued, “showed in this war tenacity and intelligence which should not be underestimated. Israeli soldiers, who have shown contempt for the Fedayeen for years, have tasted this bitter truth most painfully.” [xvi]
However, they did not receive any support from the local rulers of the Arab states. “From June 9-11, the Joint Forces put up a major defense of Beirut and virtually halted the Israeli advance. On June 11, US mediator Philip Habib arranged a ceasefire between Israeli and Syrian forces. The Israeli air force used the war as an occasion to wipe out Syrian anti aircraft missile emplacements in the Bekaa and destroyed more than 60 Syrian jet fighters in just two days. The Israelis did not otherwise challenge Syrian control of the valley, but the vulnerability of Damascus to an Israeli attack was all too apparent. The Syrians, in turn, did not commit themselves to block the advance on Beirut. The ceasefire formalized this understanding” [xvii]
“The Israeli military machine overwhelmed the Palestinian and Lebanese fighters in the south with its incomparable superiority in numbers and weapons. In its massive, preemptive character, this assault resembled the June war of 1967. The important difference was that this time the IDF, now the fourth most powerful military force in the world, was able to concentrate on this single front. “Behind the victory in Lebanon,” asserted former Israeli military intelligence chief Shlomo Gazit, “there is the peace treaty with Egypt.” According to the Financial Times, Israel’s invading force by late June included nine armored divisions, equivalent to at least 90,000 troops; 1,300 tanks and an equal number of APCs; 12,000 troop and supply trucks; 3,500 ambulances; 300 buses. In addition, there were hundreds of 107 and 155-millimeter cannons, rocket-firing warships, and the most advanced warplanes in the world.”
The PLO was forced to leave Lebanon and move to Tunisia. The LF the allies of Israel massacred 2000 Palestinian refugees in Sabra and Shatila while the Zionist army used flares to help the butchers find the helpless victims. The following is a personal account.
“On September 16, 1982, following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the right-wing Christian Phalange militia stormed the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in West Beirut and began a massacre which ended in the deaths of hundreds, maybe thousands, of mostly Palestinian civilians. I was 19 years old at the time. By chance and by luck I managed to survive. My mother and five younger sisters and brothers; and my uncle, his wife, and eight kids did not…Israel’s invasion began on June 6, 1982. After much destruction, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which had defended the camps since its inception, agreed to leave Lebanon in August. They were given American assurances that civilians left behind would be protected. The president-elect of Lebanon, and the leader of the Phalange, was assassinated on September 14th. The Israeli army proceeded to invade and occupy West Beirut. Israeli troops surrounded the camps to prevent the refugees from leaving and allowed entry of the Phalange, a known enemy of the Palestinians. The Israelis fired flares throughout the night to light up the killing field – thus allowing the militiamen to see their way through the narrow alleys of the camps. The massacre went on for two days. As the bloodbath concluded, Israel supplied the bulldozers to dig mass graves. In 1983, Israel’s investigative Kahan Commission found that Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Defense Minister, bore “personal responsibility“for the slaughter” [xviii]
Who was Ariel Sharon?
In 1948, he was a platoon commander in the Alexandroni Brigade. This brigade was involved in the massacres of the Palestinian village Tantura. In 2004, Israeli historian Benny Morris and wrote that, war crimes were committed by the Zionist forces and that the Palestinians of the village were forcibly expelled. Morris relied among other things underlined the fact that in interviews conducted by himself and by the whistle-blower Amil Gilat, all refugees confirmed that a massacre had taken place, while all IDF veterans denied it. Regarding the on as a diary by an Alexandroni soldier, Tulik Makovsky, in which he wrote on the massacre.
Sharon became famous in the 1950s because he was an instrumental figure in the creation of Unit 101 and the reprisal operations against civilians in Jordan For example in Kibia:
“The massacre in Kibia was a retaliation operation carried out on October 14, 1953, by a detachment of the Israeli army under the command of Ariel Sharon. The village of Kabila was located near the Green Line in the territory occupied during the Arab-Israeli War of 1947-1949 and unilaterally annexed by Transjordan. The operation followed a terrorist attack in the Israeli village of Yehud, in which a woman and two young children were killed and other family members were injured.
During the operation, 69 villagers were killed, including women and children. Most of them died during bombings by Israeli soldiers of houses in which civilians were located. Initially, the Israeli government tried to blame the raid on a group of armed Israeli settlers who allegedly acted without the knowledge of the Israeli government. The UN did not accept Israel’s arguments” [xix]
“The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) has filed a complaint with attorney general Maher Abdel Wahid against Sharon, his Defense Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer, and six other Israelis, the officials said. The EOHR complaint wants Egypt to investigate and try them for their roles in “war crimes, including killing, torture and exterminating Egyptian prisoners and civilians,” during the 1956 and 1967 Arab-Israeli wars” [xx]
Thus, when Sharon led the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 it could be expected that he would murder directly or indirectly many Palestinians.
In any case, the beaten PLO was forced to move to Tunisia. But even there Israel attacked in October 1985 and assassinated Abu Jihad in April 1988. The Russian Stalinists were in a position to support them militarily. However, by 1988 Gorbachev was in power Stalinist Russia sought renewed relations with Israel and urged Arafat to do the same. Yasser Arafat had been moving in this direction, as indicated by his attempted rapprochement with Jordan, a close ally of Israel.
While in Tunisia the Palestinian people revolted against the Zionist repression in the first Intifada. In 1988 the PLO instead of providing leadership accepted American conditions for opening a U.S-Palestinian dialogue: the rejection of armed struggle recognition of Israel’s right to exist, and acceptance of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 which called upon Arab states to accept Israel’s right “to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries”. The Palestine National Council in November 1988, passed a political resolution accepting UNSC Resolution 242 and condemning any resort to armed struggle. This was followed by a speech from Yasser Arafat to the United Nations General Assembly and a subsequent press conference in Geneva explicitly recognizing Israel’s right to exist in peace and security.
The revolutionary uprising sent a shock wave in the entire region. For six years from 1987 -1993, the Palestinian masses struggled against the Zionist oppression. The Arab local ruling class was afraid of an Arab revolution and so were the British and the American imperialists. The fear of the Arab revolution is what stood behind the Oslo agreement:
“Since it erupted in December 1987, the Palestinian intifada (uprising) has had major political repercussions throughout the Arab world. It has evoked broad public sympathy and has also brought censorship and suppression of unofficial expressions of popular solidarity in several Arab countries. President Mubarak also sought to ameliorate any remaining tensions between Egyptian civil society (and the Arab world) on one hand and relations with Israel and the US on the other by staking out the role of regional mediator. When this failed, however, the semi-official media did not shy from direct attacks on the Palestinian movement, including a partial resurrection of some of the negative Sadat-era stereotypes of the Palestinians as a whole… Syrian domestic reporting has focused on those elements of the conflict that bolster Syrian legitimacy, highlighting both Israeli actions against Palestinians in the occupied territories and the pro – Syrian positions of those Palestinian groups affiliated with the PNSF. Several official solidarity rallies have been organized. Little effort has been spared in establishing an identification between the uprising and Syrian policy. At the same time, any dissatisfaction with government policy that may exist continues to be preempted by tight authoritarian controls, with President Hafiz al-Asad invoking the continuing conflict with Israel to justify the need for “regulating freedoms…In Jordan, These contradictions grew rapidly after December 1987, as the repercussions of conflict in the occupied territories and the anti- Hashemite orientation of the intifada spilled eastwards across the river” [xxi[
At the beginning of the 1990s Stalinist Russia collapsed and the PLO capitulated to the USA at that time the super imperialist power in what is known as Oslo accords. This was a clear betrayal of the struggle of the Palestinian people. This betrayal might surprise some middle-class radicals but even left-wing liberals like Edward Said understood that the PLO capitulated to the Zionists. Said wrote in October 1993:
“Now that some of the euphorias have lifted, it is possible to re-examine the Israeli-PLO agreement with the required common sense. What emerges from such scrutiny is a deal that is more flawed and, for most of the Palestinian people, more unfavorably weighted than many had first supposed. The fashion-show vulgarities of the White House ceremony, the degrading spectacle of Yasser Arafat thanking everyone for the suspension of most of his people’s rights, and the fatuous solemnity of Bill Clinton’s performance, like a 20th-century Roman emperor shepherding two vassal kings through rituals of reconciliation and obeisance: all these only temporarily obscure the truly astonishing proportions of the Palestinian capitulation.
So first of all let us call the agreement by its real name: an instrument of Palestinian surrender, a Palestinian Versailles. What makes it worse is that for at least the past fifteen years the PLO could have negotiated a better arrangement than this modified Allon Plan, one not requiring so many unilateral concessions to Israel. For reasons best known to the leadership, it refused all previous overtures. To take one example of which I have personal knowledge: in the late Seventies, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance asked me to persuade Arafat to accept Resolution 242 with a reservation (accepted by the US) to be added by the PLO which would insist on the national rights of the Palestinian people as well as Palestinian self-determination. Vance said that the US would immediately recognize the PLO and inaugurate negotiations between it and Israel. Arafat categorically turned the offer down, as he did similar offers. Then the Gulf War occurred, and because of the disastrous positions it took then, the PLO lost even more ground. The gains of the intifada were squandered, and today advocates of the new document say: ‘We had no alternative.’ The correct way of phrasing that is: ‘We had no alternative because we either lost or threw away a lot of others, leaving us only this one. To advance towards Palestinian self-determination – which has a meaning only if freedom, sovereignly, and equality, rather than perpetual subservience to Israel, are its goal – we need an honest acknowledgment of where we are, now that the interim agreement is about to be negotiated. What is particularly mystifying is how so many Palestinian leaders and their intellectuals can persist in speaking of the agreement as a ‘victory’. Nabil Shaath has called it one of ‘complete parity’ between Israelis and Palestinians. The fact is that Israel has conceded nothing, as former Secretary of State James Baker said in a TV interview, except, blandly, the existence of ‘the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people. Or as the Israeli ‘dove’ Amos Oz reportedly put it in the course of a BBC interview, ‘this is the second biggest victory in the history of Zionism” [xxii]
Unlike Fatah the Left-wing of the PLO the PFPL and the DFLP, while supporting a peace process with Israel, opposed the Oslo Accords because of the absence of any promise or even mention of Palestinian statehood. They realized that Israel offered only autonomy, thereby freeing itself of the economic burden of the Palestinian population while gaining overall control and keeping all the Jewish settlements with West Bank and Gaza. The Islamist groups rejected the peace process altogether and vehemently opposed the Oslo Accords.
While the Oslo agreement was a sell-out, Arafat did not go down to the level of Abu Mazen. Israel had a deep mistrust of Arafat. It attempted to eliminate him long before he died possibly by poisoning him. Israel wanted Arafat to use his power to provide security for the settlements and settlers. The Oslo agreement ended the PLO as a fighting body and transformed it into an authority policing the Palestinians under occupation subject to direct Israeli control, if not employed by it.
On September 28, 2001, the Second Intifada erupted after Ariel Sharon visited the Al-Aqsa compound with over 1000 Israeli soldiers. Sharon’s strategy included the isolation and replacement of Arafat, which would end even the idea of a Palestinian’s Bantustan. Sharon wanted a new Palestinian prime minister who will protect the settlers and block any popular uprising. For this Arafat had to be eliminated and replaced and his replacement was Abu Mazen.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is a left-wing party that was co-founded in 1967 by George Habash, Nayef Hawatmeh, and Ahmad Jibril, as a pro-Stalinist block and Arab nationalist groups. It grew out of the now-defunct Arab National Movement (ANM) – which was established in Beirut in 1948 It is the second-largest faction, and the main opposition force to Fatah, within the PLO. It has been in decline since the 1980s following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the growing influence of non-PLO groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It is not in the PA government and has been critical of its security coordination with Israel. It does not support the” two-state solution” and is for the liberation of all of historical Palestine.
Thus, the history of the PLO has been a history of courageous struggle, heroism, defeats, and betrayal by the Fatah and the PA. Thus the petit-bourgeois nature of the guerilla movement established by Arafat and his friends has prevented this movement from understanding that the only road for the liberation of the Palestinians is the strategy of Leon’s Trotsky’s Permanent Revolution a revolution that start with revolutionary democratic demands like one democratic state but to win it must be led by the working class and the poor peasants with a working-class revolutionary leadership. All other roads lead to defeat and capitulation. The Palestinian revolution must be part of the Arab working class and poor peasant’s revolution against all the local Arab rulers. There is no other way to defeat the Zionist apartheid state backed by other imperialist states
Trotsky in 1932 wrote on the petit bourgeois’ guerrilla warfare in China that can be useful if subordinated to the working-class revolutionary struggle. This is relevant to the next round of the Arab revolution and the PA that during the previous Arab revolution blocked the participation of the Palestinians in the Arab revolution:
“Our irreconcilable attitude toward the vulgar democratic Stalinist position on the peasant movement has, of course, nothing in common with a careless or passive attitude toward the peasant movement itself. The manifesto of the International Left Opposition that was issued two years ago and that evaluated the peasant movement in the southern provinces of China declared: “The Chinese revolution, betrayed, defeated, exhausted, shows that it is still alive. Let us hope that the time when it will again lift its proletarian head is not far off.” Further on it says: “The vast flood of peasant revolts can unquestionably provide the impulse for the revival of political struggle in the industrial centers. We firmly count on it… Nobody can foretell now whether the hearths of the peasant revolt can keep a fire burning through the whole long period which the proletarian vanguard will need to gather its strength, bring the working class into the fight, and co-ordinate its struggle for power with the general offensive of the peasants against their most immediate enemies… Isn’t it self-evident that in the event of their coming together the workers and the peasants must unanimously unite under the Communist banner? Unfortunately, the question is not at all so simple. Let me refer to the experience of Russia. During the years of the civil war, the peasantry in various parts of the country created its guerrilla detachments, which sometimes grew into full-fledged armies. Some of these detachments considered themselves Bolshevik and were often led by workers. Others remained non-party and most often were led by former non-commissioned officers from among the peasantry. There was also an “anarchist” army under the command of Makhno. So long as the guerrilla armies operated in the rear of the White Guards, they served the cause of the revolution. Some of them were distinguished by exceptional heroism and fortitude. But within the cities, these armies often came into conflict with the workers and with the local party organizations. Conflicts also arose during encounters of the partisans with the regular Red Army, and in some instances, they took an extremely painful and sharp character. The grim experience of the civil war demonstrated to us the necessity of disarming peasant detachments immediately after the Red Army occupied provinces that had been cleared of the White Guards. In these cases, the best, the most class-conscious, and disciplined elements were absorbed into the ranks of the Red Army. But a considerable portion of the partisans strived to maintain an independent existence and often came into direct armed conflict with the Soviet power. Such was the case with the anarchist army of Makhno, entirely kulak in spirit. But that was not the sole instance; many peasant detachments, which fought splendidly enough against the restoration of the landlords, became transformed after victory into instruments of counter-revolution. Regardless of their origin in each isolated instance—whether caused by the conscious provocation of the White Guards, or by tactlessness of the Communists, or by an unfavorable combination of circumstances—the conflicts between armed peasants and workers were rooted in the same social soil: the difference between the class position and training of the workers and the peasants. The worker approaches questions from the socialist standpoint; the peasant’s viewpoint is petty-bourgeois. The worker strives to socialize the property that is taken away from the exploiters; the peasant seeks to divide it up. The worker desires to put palaces and parks to common use; the peasant, insofar as he cannot divide them, inclines to burning the palaces and cutting down the parks. The worker strives to solve problems on a national scale and following a plan; the peasant, on the other hand, approaches all problems on a local scale and takes a hostile attitude to centralized planning, etc. It is understood that a peasant also is capable of raising himself to the socialist viewpoint. Under a proletarian regime, more and more masses of peasants become re-educated in the socialist spirit. But this requires time, years, even decades. It should be borne in mind that in the initial stages of the revolution, contradictions between proletarian socialism and peasant individualism often take on an extremely acute character.” [xxiii[
Down with the Zionist Apartheid state!
For the Arab revolution!
For a Palestine red and free from the river to the sea!
[iii]https://www.makorrishon.co.il/ in Hebrew
[viii] Randolph S. Churchill and Winston S. Churchill, The Six-Day War (London, 1967) 52 in Moshe Shemesh Did Shuqarri call for throwing the Jews into the sea
[ix] Ahmad al-Shuqayri, PLO Radio, 28 September 1967. quoted in Moshe Shemesh Did Shuqarri call for throwing the Jews into the sea
[x] George Habash in al-Khalij (Abu Dhabi), 4 October 1987 (in FBIS/JPRS, 19 November 1987
[xi] Syrian-PLO Relations Reviewed Work(s): Syrian Intervention in Lebanon. by Naomi Joy Weinberger Review by: Fred H. Lawson https://ezproxy.ono.ac.il:2161/stable/pdf/2536875.pdf?ab_segments=0%252FSYC-6168%252Ftest&refreqid=excelsior%3A751bed0c5cf75aeaaa283711ba9f51e6
[xii] Patrick Seale, ASAD of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East (London: I. B. Tauris & Co Ltd, 1988)
[xiii] Hilde Henriksen Waage, A Careful Minuet: The United States, Israel, Syria, and the Lebanese Civil War, 1975–1976 20 Oct 2019 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07075332.2019.1678507
[xiv] Alasdair Drysdale Syria and Iraq – The Geopathology of a Relationship 161/stable/pdf/41145606.pdf?ab_segments=0%252FSYC-6168%252Ftest&refreqid=excelsior%3Ad81c9766a94019c46d46fa9917034be2
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