Palestinians Deserve – And Will Get – A More Effective Leadership

By Rami G. Khouri

January 19, 2018 “Information Clearing House” –  BEIRUT — The crushing irony for Palestinians today is that their cause remains widely supported by over 120 governments and billions of ordinary men and women around the world, yet the Palestinian leadership is a case study in hapless incompetence that verges on national shame. This was confirmed again this week as the Central Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) issued a policy statement after days of deliberations that is a sad example of meaningless clichés uttered by aging men whose track record of political achievement is empty — and astoundingly so, in view of the massive and sustained support around the world for Palestinian national rights.

The Central Council is supposed to fill the gap between the National Council (parliament-in-exile) that represents all Palestinians around the world, and the Executive Committee that represents the major Palestinian political factions and functions like a government cabinet, headed by the president. In fact, these three organs of government and the presidency are all moribund institutions that have neither impact nor legitimacy, for the leadership has lost touch with the ordinary Palestinians whom it is supposed to represent and serve.

So it is no surprise that after another fiery but hollow speech by President Mahmoud Abbas, the Central Council has decided to “suspend” its recognition of Israel, end security cooperation with Israel, effectively nullify the 2003 Oslo accords, and call on the world to work for the creation of a Palestinian state and end Israel’s colonization policies. These meaningless words by a powerless leadership will have no impact on anything.

It is hard to know what else to say or do in the face of such a failed leadership of a noble Palestinian people that continues to struggle, mostly nonviolently, for their peaceful statehood and end to refugeehood and exile, alongside an Israeli state that would acknowledge those rights for Palestinians. But we must do something, because simply continuing with the same inept leadership that has excluded the vast majority of Palestinians from participating in their national decision-making only guarantees that daily life conditions and future prospects for those millions of Palestinians will only worsen with every passing month — and for those in refugee camps or under Israeli siege in Gaza, it is hard to imagine how life could get any more difficult.

The Palestinians cannot force major changes in the policies of the Israeli government that continues with the same colonial, Apartheid-like policies that have defined Zionism since the 1947-48 creation of Israel and the dismemberment, disenfranchisement, and dispersal of the Palestinians. But 1.5 million Palestinians of 1948 have become nine million or so today, and they do have the power to do one thing, whether they live in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, as Israeli citizens inside Israel, or throughout the diaspora around the region and the world.

They can and must re-legitimize their national leadership into a single movement that listens to all their views, represents them legitimately, reaches policy decisions on the basis of serious consultations and consensus that allows Palestinians to speak in a single voice, and engages diplomatically around the world with the full support of all Palestinians.

None of these dynamics exists today, which is why the current leadership of the PLO under Mahmoud Abbas is not taken seriously in the region or internationally — least of all by the majority of Palestinians themselves, who have looked elsewhere for leadership in the years since the Oslo process proved to be a failure and Yasser Arafat started to lose his credibility. The leaderless condition of the Palestinian people today is reflected in how the three most dramatic examples of pubic political action in recent years have occurred without any meaningful input from the PLO, or from the Palestinian Authority (PA) which administers limited services and regions in the West Bank and Gaza where Israel gives it permission to do so.

Those three examples are: the current campaign around the world to support Ahed Tamimi, the 16-year-old girl from a West Bank village who is detained in an Israeli jail pending a possible military court trial, because she resisted Israeli occupation and slapped an Israeli soldier; the weeks of spontaneous popular protest last summer in Arab East Jerusalem, when tens of thousands of Palestinians there defended their holy sites at the Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount, for Israelis); and, the ongoing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement by civil society to pressure Israel to stop its mistreatment and human rights denials of Palestinians in the three arenas of occupied Palestine, the state of Israel, and the disapora.

Hamas’ challenge to the PLO leadership in Gaza is another sign of the PLO’s delinquency in protecting, representing, or leading the Palestinians. It is difficult now to create a whole new national leadership, given the fragmented nature of the Palestinian community. Yet the cohesion that all Palestinians feel, wherever they live, also makes it feasible to at least start consultations amongst themselves to find a way out of the current nightmare by giving fresh blood and new life and legitimacy to existing PLO organs.

There is no reason why we should suffer this ghastly fate of being plagued by a colonial Zionist Israeli state that steadily eats up our land, ignored by a mostly caring world that is otherwise preoccupied by more pressing issues, and abandoned by a Palestinian leadership that has become powerless, dependent on donors, docile, a purveyor of empty clichés, and largely incoherent. Such situations might lull some observers to see the end of the Palestine issue, while a more likely conclusion would be that this low point will mark the start of a process of re-birth for the nine million Palestinians who have never stopped struggling and working for their national rights since the 1930s. They are certainly not going to stop now, regardless of the poor quality of their current leaders.

Rami G. Khouri is senior public policy fellow and professor of journalism at the American University of Beirut, and a non-resident senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Middle East Initiative. He can be followed on Twitter @ramikhouri

Copyright ©2018 Rami G. Khouri — Distributed by Agence Global

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بين تفجير صيدا ومؤتمر «المجلس المركزي»… لا بديلَ عن المقاومة

يوسف الصايغ

على وقع الانتفاضة المستمرة في مختلف المدن الفلسطينية رفضاً لقرار الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب القاضي بمنح القدس عاصمة للكيان المحتلّ، حيث قدّم الفلسطينيون ما لا يقلّ عن 14 شهيداً ومئات الجرحى وعشرات الأسرى، وفي ظلّ الإنجازات التي يسطّرها محور المقاومة على مختلف الجبهات، جاء التفجير الإرهابي في مدينة صيدا حاملاً بصمات العدو، ولعلّ المفارقة التي يجب التوقف عندها أنّ العدو «الإسرائيلي» الذي يسعى إلى تبرير اعتداءاته على مواقع عسكرية في الشام بأنها تهدف إلى منع المقاومة من تحقيق أهدافها وكسر التوازن، او امتلاك المقاومة أسلحة كاسرة للتوازن على حدّ زعم إعلام العدو وقادته العسسكريين والسياسيين، لن يجد هذا العدو ما يبرّر به عدوانه وقيامه بعملية التفجير في مدينة صيدا التي تشكل عاصمة المقاومة وبوابة الجنوب.

الإجابة على هذا السؤال لا تمتلكه «تل أبيب»، لأنها تدرك جيداً أنّ تبريراتها غير مقنعة بالنسبة للمقاومة التي تختار المكان والوقت المناسبين للردّ على الاعتداءات. وما التفجير الذي استهدف أحد كوادر حركة حماس المرتبطين بالعمل المقاوم داخل فلسطين المحتلة، إلا دليل على الخوف «الإسرائيلي» من تنامي قدرات المقاومة بعدما باتت تنسّق عملها بين الداخل والخارج، وهذا ما رفع منسوب القلق لدى العدو، لا سيما بعد العملية التي وقعت في رام الله وأسفرت عن مقتل أحد الحاخامات.

وعليه يبدو أنّ «إسرائيل» تلقت الرسالة وفهمت مضمونها ومفادها بأنّ المقاومة لم تعُد محصورة في مكان أو زمان معيّن، وعليه جاءت محاولة استهداف القيادي حمدان كمحاولة «إسرائيلية» للإيحاء بأنها قادرة على الردّ أيضاً ـ على عمليات المقاومة الفلسطينية في الداخل من خلال استهداف كوادرها في الخارج.

الاعتداء «الإسرائيلي» الذي وقع في صيدا يُضاف إلى ما سبقه من عمليات اغتيال لعدد من قادة وكوادر المقاومة في سورية، هي بمثابة اعتراف صريح وواضح من قبل قيادة العدو العسكرية والسياسية بأنّ المعركة مع محور المقاومة باتت واحدة، من فلسطين إلى الجولان وصولاً إلى جنوب لبنان. وهذا التطوّر يتزامن مع عودة وهج المقاومة في فلسطين المحتلة التي تواصل انتفاضتها، من أجل إسقاط قرار ترامب الذي لا يقلّ خطورة عن وعد بلفور، الذي اعترف بفلسطين وطناً قومياً لليهود، بينما يريد الرئيس الأميركي تهويد ما تبقّى من أراضٍ فلسطينية محتلة.

وفي موازاة التطوّرات الميدانية الأخيرة وفي ظلّ اتّقاد شرارة الانتفاضة مجدّداً، جاءت نتائج اجتماعات «المجلس المركزي» التابع لـ«منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية» مخيّبة للآمال، وليست على قدر طموح أبناء الشعب الفلسطيني. فالتوصيات الصادرة عن اجتماعات المجلس المركزي لم تتضمّن موقفاً واضحاً، لجهة العمل من أجل إتمام المصالحة الفلسطينية الفلسطينية التي تبدو اليوم حاجة ملحّة واجبٌ تحقيقها، في وقت تمّ تعليق الاعتراف بكيان العدو وليس سحبه، إلى حين الاعتراف بـ»الدولة الفلسطينية» بحدود الرابع من حزيران عام 1967 وعاصمتها القسم الشرقي من القدس، ما يكشف عن وجود نيات لدى السلطة الفلسطينية لاستعادة المفاوضات العبثية مع العدو، على الرغم من أنّ خيار المفاوضات العبثية لم يجلب على فلسطين وأبنائها إلا التنازل تلو التنازل، بينما المطلوب كان واضحاً باعتماد المقاومة الفلسطينية خياراً بديلاً عن كلّ خيارات التفاوض غير المجدية، لا سيما بعد قرار الرئيس الأميركي واندلاع الانتفاضة الشعبية الفلسطينية…

ناموس عمدة الإعلام

في الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي

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المجلس المركزي وعباس: رهان التسوية مستمرّ


ناصر قنديل

– كانت كلمة الرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس أمام المجلس المركزي الفلسطيني رغم طولها، مليئة بالروايات التاريخية عن القضية الفلسطينية المفيدة، وبالأخبار والطرائف التي عايشها مباشرة، وتكشف مواقف الأميركيين والإسرائيليين وخفايا التفاوض، وبعض التلميحات لمواقف بعض الحكومات العربية، فخلال ساعتين وأكثر كان عباس يترافع ليصل إلى خلاصة هي جوهر ما أراد قوله، لن نقبل ما يريده الأميركيون والإسرائيليون وبعض العرب، وسنبقى تحت سقف دولة فلسطينية على الأراضي المحتلة عام 67 وعاصمتها القدس الشرقية، لكن طريقنا لذلك هو التفاوض والضغط الشعبي والسياسي السلمي، ولن نسحب الاعتراف بـ»إسرائيل»، ولا نسقط أوسلو فقد أسقطه الإسرائيليون.

– الواضح أنّ محمود عباس قد قرّر التموضع تحت عباءة ثالثة كما في كلّ مرة تقفل فيها سبل التسوية، فهو لا يستطيع التموضع تحت العباءة الأميركية والعربية، ولا يريد التموضع تحت عباءة المقاومة، فيبتكر عباءة افتراضية بانتظار أن يصير لها أصحاب، عنوانها التفاوض المتوازن تحت مرجعية الشرعية الدولية ويراهن على أن ينتج لها الفشل في إيجاد شريك فلسطيني في الصيغ الأميركية الإسرائيلية، فرصاً واقعية، وحتى ذلك الحين فهو سيتمسك بالممانعة، وإقفال الباب أمام خروج شريك فلسطيني يوقع على الطلبات الأميركية الإسرائيلية، التي قال إنّ مضمونها قد عرض عليه من بعض العرب، وقد قال له بعض العرب كم تريد لتسمح لنا بالتطبيع قبل قيام الدولة الفلسطينية؟

– الشارع الفلسطيني لم يجد أجوبة على الأسئلة الكبرى في ما سمعه من عباس، فالتوتر مع حماس والجهاد والقيادة العامة، ليس ما هو متوقع، حتى لو قاطعوا المجلس المركزي، والردّ على مقاطعتهم كان ممكناً بإسقاط مخاوفهم، وإظهار أنّ الخطاب السياسي الذي حمله المجلس المركزي جاء بحجم التوقعات، ليندم الذين قاطعوا على مقاطعتهم، بينما هم الآن يزيدون ثقة بأنهم أخذوا القرار المناسب بالمقاطعة، وأنّ السقف السياسي لخطاب عباس دون الثوابت التي كانوا يرديون لها أن تكون نتائج المجلس المركزي.

– واقعياً سيكون بسبب التعنّت الأميركي والإسرائيلي، موقع حركة فتح في خط التصادم مع الاحتلال وضمن تنسيق ميداني مع سائر الفصائل في قلب الانتفاضة، لكن سيكون هناك خطان متوازيان واحد لفتح والآخر لسائر الفصائل المقاومة، وسيشارك فدائيو فتح سراً مع فصائل المقاومة، وسيتكامل الخطان دون أن يتطابقا، وسيبقى الخطاب السياسي لعباس والمنظمة بما لا يزعج الأوروبيين الذين يتوقع عباس منهم أن ينعشوا عملية التفاوض كلما بدا أنّ طريق الضغط الأميركي مسدود، ولا مانع من استثمار أعمال المقاومة وإدانتها في آن واحد، لإثبات الأهلية للتفاوض، ما يعطي تفسيراً للرغبة بعدم شراكة فصائل المقاومة في المجلس المركزي، ورفض بيان موحّد يلزم بالمواجهة مع الاحتلال ويسحب الاعتراف بالكيان ويعلن الخروج من أوسلو.

– على فصائل المقاومة أن ترتب أمورها على أساس أنّ الوحدة ليست مشروعاً لدى محمود عباس، بل ربط النزاع، للإفادة من نتائج عدم التصادم في تعزيز الوضع نحو التفاوض، والإفادة من عدم التعاون لعدم خسارة تصنيف الغرب لعباس كشريك في عملية سلام، ولعلّ ربط النزاع مفيد لقوى المقاومة أيضاً لعدم منح البراءة لخط أوسلو الذي تسبّب بكلّ الأضرار والخسائر التي أصابت القضية الفلسطينية، وفي المقابل عدم القطيعة ليتحقق في الشارع تعاون أكبر بين المناضلين مما هو بين القيادات، فيكون توازن بين فائدة الانتفاضة والمقاومة وتجنّب الأضرار، بربط النزاع، وهو ما لا يتحقق بالتفاهم المستحيل ولا بالتصادم المؤذي.

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Donald Trump: A president swallowed by history

Donald Trump: A president swallowed by history

US President Donald Trump is a great impersonator. Not a day goes by without his desperate effort to masquerade as human. Surrounded by faux gold and fawning fools from his earliest days, Trump has stumbled from scam to scam, bank to bank, grope to grope, as he reached the absolute pinnacle of moral failure. His is a world of cheap thrills, empty rhetoric and intimidating context.

Few of knowledge would stop to challenge Trump’s unprecedented scorecard of international failure. Indeed, ad hoc chaos has become very much the executive order of his day.

Whether it’s a Muslim ban that targets states from which not a single national has engaged in an act of terrorism that has cost the life of a US citizen, to his retweets of videos posted by a British far-right activist, to a pointless border wall styled on hateful votes and little else, to a proposal to seize Iraqi oil as “spoils of war”, his is a hustler’s hustle. It’s the penultimate Ponzi scheme, a boiler-room operation based in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The life of Donald Trump is a full-time campaign to disguise incompetence to the roar of the inept. While the spectre of nuclear holocaust on the Korean Peninsula, military threats to Iran, and attacks on the domestic political aspirations and independence of Venezuela and Cuba may empower those who draw vigour from the echo of empty words, they do little but confound a world built on fragile relations and nuanced exchange. To be sure, they present a clear and real danger to us all.

Those foolish enough to believe the arrival of the Romanovs of Fifth Avenue would herald a tempering of US imperial ambitions were soon disappointed.

Thus, in Yemen, having been empowered to act on its own, the Pentagon unleashed drone slaughters of mostly civilians at an unprecedented pace. From offshore, the US fired dozens of Tomahawk missiles into Syria as an offset to a suspected chemical weapons attack. In Afghanistan, we saw the detonation of the world’s largest non-nuclear bomb as very much a herald to more US troops and to permanent US warfare.

With reckless abandon, Trump has fled from international agreements designed to give hope to the prospect of life for us all long after the debacle of his imperial design comes to its well-deserved end.

The Paris Climate Agreement became the first victim, with the US departing as the only country in the world indifferent to a global call for adoption of clean energy and the phase-out of fossil fuels. With damning nationalist praise, Trump announced to the world he “was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris”.

Not long after his coronation, he withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, distancing the US from what were its Asian economic allies. Later, citing its alleged anti-Israel bias, he withdrew from UNESCO, which the US helped found in the shadow of World War II. Can it be long before the US abandons a nuclear arms-control agreement that has long been, verifiably, working?

US President Donald Trump gestures to show the extent of temperature change he thinks there is, as he announces his decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement [Joshua Roberts/Reuters]

Unsurprisingly, Trump’s global “no confidence” rate soared to 74 percent

Cast in the light of a presidency certain to soon enter its second year of crude dysfunction, why is anyone, at all, surprised by Trump’s empty, lawless announcementthat the US will hereinafter recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?

Like the wall for which Mexico will pay, at day’s end, Trump’s apostolic blessing was little more than a “sham show in waiting”, to offer up to a powerful Zionist lobby and ignorant evangelical political base when needed.

Indeed, having shown no understanding of the history or complexity of today’s world, let alone core values of international law, Trump’s gratuitous toss of “legitimacy” to the illegitimate journey of Israel was as predictable as it was desperate.

Jerusalem is not Israeli, by law

Any discussion of Trump’s mindless recent croon about a world-defining moment of 70-plus years, reduced to presidential fiat, alone, must necessarily begin from the reality of international law. To bestow upon an occupation force lawful annexation of land not theirs for the taking is, ultimately, to do little more than insist that the world is flat.

In 1948, when the United Nations recognised Israel as a state, it called for a demilitarised Jerusalem as a separate entity under the protection of its exclusive aegis.

Not long thereafter, pursuant to Resolution 194 (III), the General Assembly declared Jerusalem to be an open city subject to the well-recognised legal principle of internationalisation.

Predictably, not long thereafter, Israel declared Jerusalem to be its capital as it established various government agencies in the western part of the city.

Meanwhile, Jordan continued to exercise formal control of Jerusalem’s eastern section, including, most importantly, the Old City, leaving open its ultimate status to a final settlement of the unresolved “question” of Palestinian statehood. 

All was to radically change as Israel seized and occupied the entire West Bank of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, during the war of 1967, thus rendering it subject to the various protections of the Geneva Convention.

In relevant part, the convention holds it unlawful for an occupying power to transfer its own population into the territory it occupies. In addition, it prohibits the establishment of settlements and the confiscation and annexation of occupied land.

Time and time again, the United Nations, as a toothless organisation, has ordered Israel to cease its expansion of illegal settlements and annexation of occupied Palestinian land.

Time and time again, Israel, as a rogue state, has scoffed at the notion that it owes any obligation whatsoever to well-settled international law. 

Indeed, between 1967 and 1989, the UN Security Council adopted 131 resolutionsdirectly addressing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Israel held itself out as beyond the reach of these resolutions. 

In 1980, and again in 1990, pursuant to Resolutions 478 and 672, the UN demanded that Israel abide by the Geneva Convention and end the construction of illegal settlements. In doing so, it emphasised the “independence” of the City of Jerusalem and the protection of its “unique spiritual and religious dimension”. Israel ignored this demand.

In February 1999, the Security Council again rebuked Israel’s effort as an occupying power “… to alter the character, legal status and demographic composition of Jerusalem”. Israel ignored this demand.

In point of fact, as of 2015, Israel had been condemned in, and had ignored, some 45 resolutions by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Anyone with even a modicum of historical context, let alone intellectual capacity or interest, would understand that a now seven-decade-old, deadly standoff between Palestine and Israel will not go away by wishful thinking or inane talismanic chant.

Yet that is precisely what Donald Trump did when, with typical denial, he preached on a faux resolution, took credit, and then, with alarming ease, said, “Problem solved … next”.

Ultimately, in a strange sort of way, and in more ways than one, Trump’s unearned arrogance and dramatic disconnect from the crossroads of history and reality may have produced results clearly unintended, yet, necessary.

Oslo is dead

For decades, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has toiled under the well-financed illusion that the Israelis who sat across the negotiation table, and their enablers in Washington, brought more than just the appearance of goodwill to the effort.

Time after time, outrage after outrage, the PA has always returned with hat in hand to the folly of talks which accomplished little, but provided an irrelevant political vent as more and more land was annexed, and lives stolen, to the hum of bombs or the slam of prison doors. 

Palestinian technocrats who started out in their prime with Oslo have now aged beyond hope, along with any illusion of relevance. So, too, the march of time leaves no doubt that Oslo has represented nothing but a palpable pretext for Israel to carry out systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, be it by force of arms or by law.

In the years since Yasser Arafat posed with Yitzhak Rabin and renounced armed strugglethree US presidents have come and gone. Each has sold a perverse balance that the US could, somehow, play objective arbiter in the midst of a one-sided slaughter supported, all the while, by US politics and money.

US President Donald Trump and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands as they deliver remarks before a dinner at Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem [Ariel Schalit/Reuters]

However, do give Donald Trump credit where credit is due. With one, short, slurred speech, he peeled away, forever more, the veneer of any US integrity or independence when it comes to facilitating a just and equitable resolution, respecting the rights and aspirations of Palestinians. 

Oslo is a failed, futile fantasy that has filled the coffers of the few while the many have suffered from an economic strangle-hold dressed up in institutional benevolence that, in reality, has been used primarily by the PA to buy and control political winds and opposition.

Any reasonable read must lead to the conclusion that the long terminally-ill Oslo has died, along with its whimsical two-state solution, when Trump, essentially, told the PA to shut its doors and walk away.

Hopefully, 82-year-old Mahmoud Abbas got the message loud and clear.

The one state solution

It is well past reality’s reach that a two-state solution can, at this late date, provide a viable vehicle for meaningful Palestinian sovereignty or for overall peace.

The notion that a series of disconnected Bantustans – stripped of a traditional land base, natural resources, and the unique centre of religious and faith-based history – can suddenly become a feasible independent state for millions of stateless Palestinians is fool’s gold.

Ultimately, no matter what its form or shape, the essence of statehood is the ability to develop and maintain political and economic institutions and security and to control borders, including air rights and, where applicable, seaports.

To suggest that Israel would cede any degree of meaningful self-determination, in these all-defining cornerstones of sovereignty, to a Palestinian state is simply laughable, in light of its decades-long practices.

Indeed, at this late date, there is but one solution acceptable to the millions of Palestinian living as refugees abroad or suffering under apartheid, occupation and ethnic cleansing fueled by supremacist hate: one state for all from the river to the sea.

It matters not whether this state becomes a system of independent, but connected, cantons – as in Switzerland. What is important is that the single state embraces no official state religion, ensures equal protection and rights for all, guarantees “one person, one vote”, and opens all jobs, roads and communities. What is also important is that it is based not on race, religion or politics but on the willingness to struggle for a collective good that will at long last serve the united interest of one people.

While some will surely scoff at this notion and, perhaps, find little hope for its success, unification provides the sole means by which Palestinians and Jews, Muslims and Christians can begin to heal the wounds that have long divided people that, left to their own unimpeded devices, would find much more that unites them than divides.

Lest there be any claim of naivete, the road to a one-state resolution is, of course, littered with more than mere encumbrances of communities, schools and highways long segregated by barricades and barbed wire.

Seventy years of forced displacement, death and destruction have left, for many, the scars born of tears and hate. Only time and unification can begin to heal those wounds and end the nightmare. All else is just sheer destructive folly.

For Israelis, who see delay as their ally, it’s a false hope born of little more than convenient denial. “Out of sight, out of mind” does not solve a crisis but simply puts off its reckoning to another day – one which grows more difficult and demanding with the passage of time.

All occupations, large and small, ultimately awaken one day to find themselves captive to a “graveyard of empires”. Here, it will be no different.

The eternal capital of Palestine

Today, in Palestine and in Israel, there are more than 5 million Palestinians with the median age of 19 years. They will not go away or surrender to the silence of the night.

For years, the young women and men of Palestine have been in the vanguard of an unbroken national effort to reclaim their freedom and rebuild their state.

For them, the price has been dear. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Information, since 2000, alone, Israel has killed more than 3,000 Palestinian minors. During the same period, Israeli forces have injured another 13,000 youth and arrested more than 12,000 others. Today, Israel holds about 300 children in its prisons.

Despite an awful price exacted for their courage and resistance, for the young women and men of Palestine, the future holds no truth but one, built on a determined struggle to confront and end a criminal occupation and apartheid by any means necessary, including armed struggle. 

For Palestinians, history is, indeed, a guidepost of what is yet to come. For Palestinians, history is an unbroken saga, handed down from the elderly in refugee camps throughout the Middle East to their very young who find comfort in the cultural breath of dabke.

Mr Trump: Were you an informed observer of history, you would know well that this is not the first time the US has tried to designate a city as the capital of a state against the political and historical will of its people. 

In Vietnam, such an attempt did not end well, as Saigon eventually gave way to the legitimate, national aspirations and rights of millions who refused to be held captive by the imperial design of a foreign occupation force.

Yes, Mr President, history does, and will indeed, repeat itself.

Capitals are much more than cold, sculpted monuments to those that have come before, or warehouses of political ideals and rights beyond the reach of all but the chosen few. Nor can they inspire from behind barricaded buildings in which petty despots dole out rights and benefits based upon one’s mere name or faith. 

Capitals are homes to collective freedom and will, with open doors that know no artificial boundaries or lawful segregation. To be honest, to empower, they must represent the collective will and aspirations of all those who look to them for justice and opportunity.

For millions of Palestinians, that capital is Jerusalem. It weaves with the rock of the ages and hums to the tune of history. To walk down the ancient pathways of the Old City, to hear the call to prayer, to look out in all directions from Al-Aqsa plaza across the open and free expanse beyond its age-old walls is a journey that is Jerusalem.

Nothing that you, Donald Trump, can say or do will undo the magic and majesty that is Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Palestine.

لو لم يكن هناك نصرالله


لو لم يكن هناك نصرالله

ديسمبر 16, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– بعد انكشاف علني للموقف السعودي كشريك في خطة أميركية «إسرائيلية» يشكل الاعتراف بالقدس عاصمة بـ«إسرائيل» جزءاً منها، صار لا بدّ من إعادة رسم للمشهد المرتبط بالقضية الفلسطينية وما سيترتّب على المواجهة السياسية، والتي تشكل الحكومات العربية والإسلامية والدولية محورها، والسعودية ركن رئيسي في صياغة هذه المستويات الثلاثة. فالتساؤل عن سقف للموقف العربي والإسلامي يتوّج بقطع العلاقات«إسرائيل»، صار جوابه معلوماً. فالضغط السعودي سيمنع ذلك، فكيف إنْ كان المعنيون لا يريدون قطع علاقات وسيكتفون بالغطاء السعودي؟ وكيف يمكن تخيّل موقف مصري أو أردني يذهب لقطع العلاقات«إسرائيل»، والسعودية تقف علناً في مؤتمرات تنسيقية مشتركة مع «إسرائيل» تحت عنوان جبهة ضدّ إيران وتحالف ضدّ حزب الله بقيادة واشنطن؟ وكيف سنتوقع موقفاً تركياً يترجم الكلام الخطابي عن القدس بقطع التعاون والتنسيق مع «إسرائيل»، تحت عنوان الموقف الإسلامي فيما السعودية تنظّر وتسوّق للعلاقة«إسرائيل»؟ وهل طبيعي أن يتوقع أحد موقفاً أوروبياً جدياً لحماية القدس وربط كلّ تسوية للقضية الفلسطينية بها، في ظلّ موقف سعودي يسوّق لتسوية عنوانها شعار الدولتين، لكن الدولة الفلسطينية بلا القدس سلفاً؟ وهل ستسعى أوروبا لدور وسيط تفاوضي، بينما تقول السعودية إنّ أميركا وحدها مؤهّلة لهذا الدور؟

– عربياً وإسلامياً ودولياً سيكون التضامن الرسمي مع القضية الفلسطينية، أقرب لرفع العتب، وسيأخذ بالضمور والتراجع، كلما أخذ الموقف السعودي بالظهور للعلن أكثر، وقد بدأ ذلك يظهر، والمعركة ستكون فلسطينية بامتياز، فعلى جبهة القيادة الفلسطينية، تدرك السعودية أنّ الخصم الذي ستواجهه لتسويق مشروعها الفلسطيني هو القيادة الفلسطينية إذا لم يتمّ إخضاعها وترويضها، وأن التأثير المعنوي للقيادة الفلسطينية في المستويات العربية والإسلامية والدولية سيكون سلبياً على خطّتها ما لم تمسك بالقرار الفلسطيني، لذلك يتوهّم مَن يظنّ أنّ المعركة على القرار الفلسطيني قد انتهت بقول ولي العهد السعودي للرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس، أنتم تقرّرون ونحن لن نضغط عليكم، بعدما عرض عليه أمرين، الأول القبول بما سُمّي «صفقة القرن»، أيّ دولة فلسطينية في غزة وبعض التجميل في الضفة ومن دون القدس، والثاني إعادة محمد دحلان للقيادة الفلسطينية. فالمعركة تبدأ لتوّها، ومَن يعرف العقل السعودي وماذا قيل للرئيس سعد الحريري في الزيارة التي سبقت احتجازه، من أنّ السعودية تحترم خصوصية قيادته للملف اللبناني، يعرف ما ينتظر الرئيس الفلسطيني سعودياً.

– المعركة على القيادة الفلسطينية ستكون الأشدّ شراسة، وسيبذل فيها المال وتشتغل المخابرات، وستستعمل «إسرائيل» ما لديها من ملفات وأوراق تهدّد بها قيادات فلسطينية لضمان أحد أمرين، أن يسير عباس بالخيار الأميركي السعودي «الإسرائيلي»، ويجازف مهما كانت التبعات. فالمال والعلاقات واللعبة هنا، أو سيتمّ تعويم دحلان وإحاطته بمجموعة رموز فلسطينية تحت عنوان مكافحة الفساد، واتهام عباس بشتى الاتهامات الصحيحة والملفّقة، وسيُدعم دحلان بالمال الذي يُقطع عن عباس، ويتولى دفع الرواتب التي سيُضطر عباس إذا صمد سياسياً لوقفها، وسينسّق مع الأجهزة «الإسرائيلية» والعربية تحت شعار أنّ الذي يجري هو مواجهة مشتركة للنفوذ الإيراني والميليشيات الإيرانية، وأنّ عباس رهينة لهذا النفوذ وتلك الميليشيات، كما يقول أشرف ريفي وخالد الضاهر عن سعد الحريري.

– كان السؤال مع محنة الرئيس الحريري ونهايتها السعيدة، ماذا لو لم يكن هناك السيد حسن نصرالله، الذي شكّل الخلفية المطمئنة لموقف رئيس الجمهورية الحاسم برفض التعامل مع الاستقالة المفخّخة، لكن السؤال فلسطينياً أكبر بكثير، فالقضية ليست بحجم ما جرى في لبنان، بل أكبر من حجم كلّ ما يجري في المنطقة، وهي الحلقة الأهمّ في رسم ختام حروب المنطقة، التي كانت تقف «إسرائيل» والسعودية معاً في إشعالها، وستقفان معاً اليوم لإطفاء الشعلة المقدّسة فيها التي تمثلها القدس، والتي تشكل للسيد نصرالله حرب حروبه كلها، لذلك ستقف السعودية و«إسرائيل» وأميركا في حلف عنوانه مواجهة حزب الله، هو الحلف الفعلي ذاته لإسقاط القدس من جدول أعمال العرب والمسلمين والعالم، وسيتطلع الفلسطينيون الصادقون في إيمانهم بفلسطين والقدس نحو السيد نصرالله، قوى المقاومة أولاً، ومن يريد مواجهة الضغوط والانضواء تحت راية القدس، لكن الكلمة الفصل ستقولها فلسطين ومقاومتها، رأس رهان السيد نصرالله، الذين سينجحون حكماً في مواصلة الانتفاض والمقاومة، ويحاولون الجمع بينهما لحرب استنزاف تترنّح تحت ضرباتها منظومة الأمن «الإسرائيلية» فترضخ أو تهرب إلى الأمام بحرب جديدة تكون فيها الضربة القاضية، وفي كلتيهما سيكون السيد نصرالله بالمرصاد، وسيبقى يؤرقهم حتى تأتي تلك الساعة.

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‘The Last Bullet in the Peace Process’–Abbas Urges Trump not to Move US Embassy to Jerusalem

In addition to writing to Trump, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also reportedly has written letters to the leaders of Russia, China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Arab League asking them to do what they can to stop the newly-elected president of the the US from moving the embassy.

Secretary of State John Kerry has waded into the controversy as well, warning that if the embassy is moved, “you’d have an explosion–an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank and perhaps even Israel itself, but throughout the region.”

A typically un-hinged-from-reality comment on the matter has come from an Israeli official. Ron Dermer, the ambassador to the US, said the embassy “move would be a great step forward to peace,” and he claims also that it would work to undo the “delegitimization of Israel.”

There are also now reports of worries that moving the embassy could increase security threats to State Department personnel in other countries besides Israel–but apparently this doesn’t concern Florida Sen. (and devoted Zionist) Marco Rubio.

“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state of Israel, and that’s where America’s embassy belongs,” says Rubio. “It’s time for Congress and the president-elect to eliminate the loophole that has allowed presidents in both parties to ignore U.S. law and delay our embassy’s rightful relocation to Jerusalem for over two decades.”

Rubio is referring to the “Jerusalem Embassy Act,” approved by Congress in 1995, which calls for the moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem but which also allows for a presidential waiver if it is deemed the move would harm US security interests. Every president from the time the law was passed up until today has exercised the waiver.

The PLO response to the move–at least as stated in the above video–would be a withdrawal of its recognition of Israel. There is also a warning that the Palestinian Authority could dissolve itself, effectively rendering Israel responsible for administering what are now referred to as the “Palestinian territories.” This would leave the Jewish state with the choice of either annexing the territories and giving Palestinians living within them the right to vote in Israeli elections–or, alternately, Israel could openly rule over a subject people who have no rights as citizens. This would basically remove the fig leaf cover and expose Israel once and for all as an apartheid state. Should it choose this latter course of action, doubtless it would become grist for the mill for a conference set to take place in Ireland and which I posted an article about four days ago.

The three-day conference is to be entitled “International Law & the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Exceptionalism, and Responsibility,” and as I reported, one of the questions its participants will examine is whether Israel has a legal right to exist under international law.

If Dermer and other Israeli officials are worried about the “delegitimization” they are experiencing now, doubtless the fires of illicitness will get hotter if the Palestinian Authority “hands the keys to the territories” back to Israel. Whether the PA will actually go through with that remains to be seen, however. And my own personal view is that it is something they probably should have done a long time ago.

However, if today’s resignation of a Palestinian mayor inside of Israel is any indication, we could perhaps seem something like that come to pass.

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