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

Related Videos

Advertisements

Palestinian Prisoner Israa Jaabis: My pain is visible as the burns on my body show

January 16, 2018

israa

Palestinian Prisoner Israa Jaabis Reveals Her Painful Experience at Zionist Jails

The Palestinian prisoner Israa Jaabis, 32, revealed traces of her painful two-year experience at the Zionist jails during an appeal session at the occupation’s court.

Israa told the reporters,

“My pain is visible as the burns on my body show. I’ve lost my fingers because I have never received any medical treatment since they were burned.”

Israa was arrested by the Zionist occupation forces on October 11, 2015 when she was accused of attempting to kill an Israeli soldier because a gas jar in her car exploded near one of occupation’s checkpoints.

It is worth noting that Israa was injured in the explosion, and the enemy authorities have not provided her with any medical treatment since arresting her.

Israa stressed that she needed a help in order to be released, describing her imprisonment as unjustifiable.

The Zionist court sentenced Israa, who descends from Jabal Al-Makber village in southern occupied Al-Quds, to 11 years in prison, and told her lawyer that the final verdict would be sent to him via the fax.

Source: Al-Manar Website

Palestinian Prisoner Israa Jaabis Reveals Her Painful Experience at Zionist Jails

January 11, 2018

Israa Jaabis at the Zionist court... and her photo before her arrest

The Palestinian prisoner Israa Jaabis, 32, revealed traces of her painful two-year experience at the Zionist jails during an appeal session at the occupation’s court.

Israa told the reporters, “My pain is visible as the burns on my body show. I’ve lost my fingers because I have never received any medical treatment since they were burned.”

Israa was arrested by the Zionist occupation forces on October 11, 2015 when she was accused of attempting to kill an Israeli soldier because a gas jar in her car exploded near one of occupation’s checkpoints.

It is worth noting that Israa was injured in the explosion, and the enemy authorities have not provided her with any medical treatment since arresting her.

Israa stressed that she needed a help in order to be releases, describing her imprisonment as unjustifiable.

The Zionist court sentenced Israa, who descends from Jabal Al-Makber village in southern occupied Al-Quds, to 11 years in prison, and told her lawyer that the final verdict would be sent to him via the fax.

Source: Al-Manar Website

 

What It’s Like to have Your Home Tear Gassed

What It’s Like to have Your Home Tear Gassed

(See additional updates below article)

This video apparently shows an Israeli tear gas attack on the Tamimi home in Nabi Saleh that took place back in 2010. The video was uploaded in 2013. The following is from the video description (note the “update” tacked on at the end):

29/1/10: While preparing to interview the Tamimi family in their home during the Nabi Saleh’s weekly protest, a teargas grenade came flying through the window, breaking the glass, and landing in the middle of the living room.

The IDF then sprayed Skunk water on the outside of the house, including the exits, and we were all trapped inside. There were about a dozen small children in the home at the time.

We all choked on the tear gas, the children were terrified and in shock, the parents couldn’t do anything to protect their kids.

Eventually, a Palestinian ambulance arrived and put a ladder up to the second-storey window – at which point the terrified kids had to climb out.

It was not the first time the IDF had shot tear gas into the Tamimi home – they were known organizers of the weekly protests against the Israeli settlers who were illegally annexing Nabi Saleh village land.

Dec. 2017 Update: Since then, Ahed Tamimi, a relative, has made international headlines for fighting back against Israeli soldiers invading her village, Nabi Saleh. A day after a video of Ahed slapping a soldier after her cousin was shot in the face by the army went viral, Ahed was arrested by the Israeli army. It’s not known how long she will be in jail. She is 16 years old.

This apparently is the sort of thing the young Ahed Tamimi grew up with. A little bit about the history of the Tamimi family is included in a post published today at Truthout:

In 2011, Ahed Tamimi was 10-years-old when Israeli soldiers arrested her father and charged him with the crime of organizing weekly demonstrations in their village to oppose the theft of its land for the benefit of a neighboring Israeli settlement. It would be 13 months before he was released and she would see her father again.

That same year, Israeli soldiers shot Mustafa Tamimi, Ahed’s 28-year-old cousin, in the face with a high velocity tear gas canister. Half of Mustafa’s face was destroyed. He passed away the next morning at the hospital.

The following year, when Ahed was 11 years old, Israeli soldiers shot her uncle, Rushdi Tamimi, in his lower back with live ammunition. The bullet lodged in his stomach and he died the next morning in the hospital.

Ahed was 13 when Israeli soldiers shot her mother, Nariman Tamimi, in the leg with a 22-caliber bullet. Ahed stood by, crying in the arms of her father, as her mother was placed in the back of an ambulance. Her mother had to rely on crutches for a number of years until she regained use of her legs.

None of this history, however, is mentioned in a commentary published January 5 by the supposedly liberal Haaretz. Instead, the writer of that piece, one Petra Marquardt-Bigman, accuses the Tamimi family of “fanatacism” as well as “Jew-hatred and enthusiastic support for terrorism.” A subheading above the article even reads, somewhat disturbingly:

Promote the blood libel? Check. Glorify terrorism? Check. Celebrate Israeli deaths? Check. Ahed Tamimi and her family aren’t fighting for peace, and they’re not just fighting the occupation: They’re fighting to destroy Israel, and their fight is seasoned with Jew-hatred

The Tamimis, including 16-year-old Ahed, are being accused of “blood libel” now–and outside of the one brief reference to the occupation contained in the subhead, Marquardt-Bigman makes no mention whatsoever of Israel’s 50-year-old occupation of Nabi Saleh and the rest of the West Bank until the very last paragraph of her commentary–where she writes:

Even if the Tamimis were only fighting Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, their fanaticism wouldn’t bode well for any peace agreement. But the Tamimis never wanted a peace agreement. They have always wanted the elimination of the world’s only Jewish state.

Two days ago the Israeli Knesset gave preliminary approval to a bill that would make it easier for military courts to hand down the death penalty for “terrorists.” Currently death sentences are allowed only in cases in which it is the unanimous decision of all three judges. The new law, which has the support of Benjamin Netanyahu and other top officials, would loosen that restriction to allow for death penalty sentencing if only two out of three judges favor of it. From the Jerusalem Post:

During the debate in the Knesset, opposition lawmakers asked more than once if the law applies to Jewish terrorists, and both Ilatov and Netanyahu answered yes. The bill does not include any language relating to religion or ethnicity.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) said the only “extreme situation” the bill is responding to is Liberman’s political threats.

“This is only about political considerations. The ministers need to ask: How will this help Israeli security? Will it deter? What will it do to our Jewish brothers in Arab countries? Analyze the psychology of those who commit acts of terrorism,” Herzog said.

It’s rather ominous that suddenly, in the midst of all the controversy raging around Ahed’s arrest, Knesset members would choose this time to pass a first draft of a new death penalty law.

Perhaps the timing is only coincidental. I hope there aren’t Israeli officials seriously planning to seek the death penalty (surely not! reasonable people would think) for Ahed Tamimi. I suspect, however, there are those in the state of Israel who would rejoice, at least secretly if not openly, were such a sentence handed down. The question is how free of a rein will such emotions be given as this case progresses.

***

Update 1:

Tamimi family member was Israel’s first victim of 2018:

Update 2:

Israeli Court Releases Nour Tamimi on Bail

Update 3:

Israeli Forces Violently Suppress Funeral of Mussab Firas al-Tamimi

Update 4:

Israel Plans Massive Expansion of West Bank Colonial Settlements: 3,829 New Units

Update 5:

Mohammed Tamimi, the cousin shot in the face just prior to the slap, goes public for first time:

Half a head.

The left side of his face is twisted, swollen, fragmented, scarred; there’s congealed blood by his nose, stitches in his face; one eye is shut, a seam line stretches across his whole scalp. A boy’s face turned scar-face. Some of his skull bones were removed in surgery and won’t be returned to their place for another six months.

See more here

Ahed Tamimi Indicted on 12 Counts by Israeli Court; Father says, ‘I’m very worried about my daughter’

“I am very worried about my daughter. Her fate is now in the hands of people who don’t even see Palestinians as full human beings.”

Those are the words of Bassem Tamimi, father of Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi, who at a hearing today was formally indicted on 12 counts by an Israeli military court.

According to a report by Aljazeera, the charges against Ahed include assaulting an Israeli soldier, interfering with a soldier’s duties, and two past instances of stone-throwing.

Ahed’s mother, Nariman, and her cousin, Nour, have now also been formally indicted. Nariman stands accused of “incitement” for uploading the video of the slap to social media, while Nour–at a hearing held in the same court yesterday–was indicted on charges of aggravated assault of a soldier and “disturbing soldiers conducting their duties,” according to a Press TV report here. All three remain in Israeli custody.

Ahed was arrested on December 19 after slapping an Israeli soldier. She has been held in detention ever since.

The girl’s lawyer is Gaby Lasky, an Israeli human rights attorney, who can be seen briefly in a video accompanying the Press TV report linked above and who is also quoted in an RT report.

“I am sure they want to keep her as long as possible because they don’t want the voice of resistance outside prison,” Lasky said.

Bassem, according to yet another report, here, “called Monday’s indictment a ‘political trial’ saying Israel dug up old incidents as well as the one filmed in order to justify her arrest.’”

Tamimi family photo: Bassem, Nariman, and a younger Ahed

But by far the most stirring and profound words from the worried father are contained in a commentary he wrote and which was published yesterday at Haaretz. The piece is entitled, “My Daughter, These are Tears of Struggle.” Here is a brief excerpt:

My daughter is just 16 years old. In another world, in your world, her life would look completely different. In our world, Ahed is a representative of a new generation of our people, of young freedom fighters. This generation has to wage its struggle on two fronts. On the one hand, they have the duty, of course, to keep on challenging and fighting the Israeli colonialism into which they were born, until the day it collapses. On the other hand, they have to boldly face the political stagnation and degeneration that has spread among us. They have to become the living artery that will revive our revolution and bring it back from the death entailed in a growing culture of passivity that has arisen from decades of political inactivity.

Ahed is one of many young women who in the coming years will lead the resistance to Israeli rule. She is not interested in the spotlight currently being aimed at her due to her arrest, but in genuine change. She is not the product of one of the old parties or movements, and in her actions she is sending a message: In order to survive, we must candidly face our weaknesses and vanquish our fears.

A bit later in the same article, Bassem goes on to address his remarks to Ahed directly:

Ahed, no parent in the world yearns to see his daughter spending her days in a detention cell. However, Ahed, no one could be prouder than I am of you. You and your generation are courageous enough, at last, to win. Your actions and courage fill me with awe and bring tears to my eyes. But in accordance with your request, these are not tears of sadness or regret, but rather tears of struggle.

In 2015, the Israeli Knessett adopted a law prescribing a prison sentence of up to 20 years for throwing stones. The fact that Ahed has been charged with two counts of stone throwing would suggest that Israeli prosecutors are planning to seek a lengthy prison sentence for the young girl.

Zionist Entity Extends Detention without Trial for Palestinian MP K. Jarrar

Zionist Entity Extends Detention without Trial for Palestinian MP 

January 2, 2018

Khalida Jarrar

 

The Zionist entity on Tuesday has extended the detention without trial of a prominent Palestinian politician by another six months, the army said Tuesday, meaning she will spend at least one year in custody.

Khalida Jarrar was arrested on July 2 for being a senior member in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a movement considered a ‘terrorist organization’ by the Israeli occupation.

She had been released from prison only a year before.

Details of the accusations against her are secret, as is customary with Israeli administrative detention orders, which allow detention without trial for renewable six-month periods.

On December 24, the detention was extended by another six months “after security personnel found she still poses a substantial threat,” the Israeli army said.

“The decision to hold Jarrar under administrative detention was made as a last resort, after the military official who signed the arrest warrant was displayed confidential information that clearly substantiates the threat posed by Jarrar,” the occupation army said in a statement.

The 54-year-old had only been released in June 2016 after 14 months in an Israeli jail for allegedly encouraging attacks against Israelis.

The administrative detention system has been criticized by Palestinians, human rights groups and members of the international community who accuse the Israeli occupation abuses the measure.

The Addameer rights group says around 6,150 Palestinians are currently in Israeli jails, including around 450 in administrative detention.

Jarrar is the 11th member of the Palestinian parliament currently in jail, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club NGO.

 

SourceAFP

Army Refuses Court-Ordered Bail, Decides To Hold Nour #Tamimi For Additional 100 Days

Source

IMEMC | January 1, 2018

01 Jan 5:31 AM

The Israeli army refused, Sunday, a court order for the release of Nour Tamimi, 21, on a 5000 Israeli Shekels bail, and decided to hold her for additional 100 days, after filing a new indictment against her.

Nonviolent activist, Mohammad Tamimi, said the army decided not to release Nour on bail, although an Israeli court allowed her release, and filed a new indictment to keep her detained.

Nour Tamimi was abducted along with world-renowned teen journalist ’Ahed Tamimi, 17, and ‘Ahed’s mother, Nariman, 43, after a video recording surfaced, showing them removing Israeli soldiers from their yard, especially when the soldiers used it to fire on Palestinian protesters, in Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah.

On December 24th, an Israeli court denied an appeal for the release of ‘Ahed, who stands accused of “assaulting soldiers.”

|Court Orders Tamimi Under Further Interrogation For Four More Days|

When Ahed was 12, her mother’s cousin, Mustafa Tamimi, was killed before her eyes during a protest, shot in the head by a gas canister. One year later, she witnessed the army shoot and kill her uncle Rashadi.

Approximately two weeks ago, her cousin Mohammed, nearly her age, was shot in the face by a rubber-coated bullet that penetrated his skull. He remains unconscious.”

%d bloggers like this: