Internet Statement 2002-4


The Fate of the Palestinians and the Year 1982

The war between the Israeli Zionist state and the Palestinians is reaching a level unseen since the Lebanon war. Today the confrontation seems without a solution, and many commentators give expression to a deep pessimism in which only an escalation leading to new bigger wars in the Arabic region seems possible. Nobody puts even the question any more, how a democratic and progressive development for the population of the region is to rise out of this whole situation. Neither the US, who still is the decisive military and political power of the whole conflict, nor the European states have even an idea how the confrontation is to be solved, and also the organised forces on the Palestinian and Israeli side don't seem to have a forward-looking concept yet.

Not sharing ourselves, for principal reasons, this pessimism, we want to collect some points which in our view have largely contributed to the Palestinians' miserable situation of today. The decisions of the year 1982 are still of large influence.

The deal of 1982

1982 the largest military confrontation between the Palestinian resistance movement and the Zionist state so far had taken place. Large parts of the Israeli army, under the command of the Nobel peace prize winner Begin, the then prime minister, and the war minister Sharon advanced into Lebanon, where the Palestinians had their main strongholds, encircled West Beyrouth and kept many positions under fire from the air, the sea and the ground for months in order to defeat the resistance movement and force it to give up. Israel, though, did not suceed in militarily winning through until finally the Palestinian leadership under Arafat because of promises by the US was willing to strike a deal. The Palestinians were promised the support of the US on their way to their own state in Palestine, and for that they agreed to retreating their armed forces from Lebanon. Upon US' navy ships several thousands of them left Beyrouth and were dispersed to other countries. This was equivalent to giving up an independent Palestinian military force, whereas the promised service in return, of course, was never translated into action.

Already then political observers expressed the opinion that this deal could not lead to a solution for the Palestinians, and that some kind of Palestinian "bantustans" in the occupied territories, following the model of the then South-African apartheid, would be the utmost concession Arafat could hope for. Within the Al-Fatah, too, the then still most important Palestinian organisation, a similar criticism was expressed, a rebellion broke out in the Al-Fatah. On the other side, the notorious massacres of woman, children and old people occurred in the Palestinian camps of Sabra and Shatila after the withdrawal of the Palestinian fighters from West Beyrouth, the Israeli leadership itself bearing immediate responsibility for them, which were to be seen as a renewed writing on the wall, showing the principal attitude of this state towards the Palestinians

The so-called "peace process"

The 18 years which followed are in the outer appearance characterized by a permanent delay of the promised solution, whereas on the Palestinian side the resistance was muffled down to a level of little dangerousness for Israel, and the masses were again and again put off with reference to the political promises. The so-called intifada of the Eighties after Beyrouth channelled the Palestinian masses' will to fight, and many thousands of Palestinians, youth above all, sacrificed everything in it; at the same time, however, real pressure could so little be put on Israeli any more, that it was able to extend its positions during this period. The occupied territories were systematically covered with a network of fortified settlements of fanaticized Jewish settlers, supplemented by "security zones" and connecting roads which are controlled by the military, and more and more ground of the Palestinians was disowned. The attempts by the Arafat leadership to gain somewhat more political scope by supporting Iraq in the confrontation with the US, could not essentially change its dependence from the US.

The peak of hypocrisy was reached with the so-called Oslo peace process. The agreements of 1993 and 1995, which were negotiated between the Arafat leadership and Israel under the immediate direction of the US in the US, gave the Palestinians the concession of local self-governments and of a certain international upgrading. A true autonomy, however, of the rag rug of Palestinian enclaves which emerged in this way in Gaza and the West bank could not originate, as Israel always reserved the right for itself to erect blockades, to exert economic blackmail and even to intervene militarily, not least to constantly penetrate with its own settlements into the regions formally assigned to the Palestinians, and thus to direct the development in its own interest. Neither had the US the intention to stop that, nor the Europeans, should they really have wanted to stop it, the power. Israel assigned the suppression of the Palestinian resistance to the Arafat self-government itself as its main task, and until today this is the gauge for its usefulness; a criterion which also the German diplomacy unter Josef Fischer has adopted.
But even the small concessions in autonomy were renounced when the negotiations finally concentrated on the question of Jerusalem in 2001. Apparently this question was the point for the Zionist state to explode the whole unloved "peace process". In fact, a true compromise with the Palestinian population runs counter to the essence of Zionism. It strives for a racist domination of the whole of Palestine, and a partition of Jerusalem with equal rights for all religious groups is out of the question for it.

Giving up the secular democratic program in favor of Islam

But also the political and cultural development within the Palestinian political forces since 1982 must be critically considered. Here it is decisive that the former PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organisation) which had integrated almost all currents among the Palestinians, has itself given up its democratic, anti-racist and secular programme by which during the Sixties and Seventies it had been able to gain a high degree of organisational force and international support. Under these key signatures the Arafat leadership had been able to achieve great military as well as diplomatic successes against Israeli Zionism.
The former charter of the PLO had declared a determined struggle against racism, as well in the form of Zionism as in the form of anti-semitism on the Arabic side, and demanded a democratic secular state for both Palestinian and Jewish forces on the Palestinian soil. This was simultaneously a front against Islamism. When, however, the PLO let this fundamentally correct stance erode during the past 20 years, a process inseparably interwined with the handing itself over to the helping hand of the US, it without doubt helped in a decisive way to create the situation of today, when the Islamic ultrareaction is able to play the role of a dominant political current among the Palestinians. In addition the fundamental, although often hidden furthering of Islamism by the US and its allies like Saudi-Arabia must be mentioned, by which in all societies traditionally formed by Islam the modern emancipative currents get the hangman's rope around their necks. The Israeli Zionists, too, are themselves often accused of a secret furthering of Hamas against the PLO, what in any case would be logical from their standpoint.

What has been left of the PLO is being accused of capitulation und collaboration with the enemy by Hamas, certainly not without grounds, but at the same time we know that in spite of its whole radical combat rhetoric, Hamas will never be able to lead the Palestinian population to a real success. What is in fact standing in the way is the contamination of all of Islamic fundamentalism by the control and instrumentalization from the part of the US, as it has again become clear now in the case of the Taliban and the El-Kaida. The whole puffed-up behavior of Islamists who declare their will to fight the US breaks down like a paper tiger as soon as the situation becomes really serious. They are good only as provocators but not as real fighters. In the way is standing above all the fact that an Islamistic resistance cannot be supported by any democratic and socialist forces in the world, because an Islamic regime means an even more terrible suppression of democracy and labor movement than even Zionism is able to deliver.

It is necessary to change the ways

In the outcome of this whole development the Palestinians today have even less political scope than before and are actually completely handed over. The tanks were all the time standing in front of Arafats office and take bloody revenge for any action, by which Palestinian organisations think they could intimidate Israeli. For the Palestinians there is in fact hardly anything possible than to intensify their retaliatory strikes by suicide squads and other atrocities against the civil population.
The Israeli Zionists have an easy job of justifying their actions from that, although they are the originators of the violence, but this they can easily cover.

The situtation which has now emerged in Palestine is the most intensified ever. The Palestinians have relied on the help of the US, and now whatever independence they had conquered for themselves is being crushed. And what else should the Israeli Zionists do from their point of view? Their state in fact doesn't exist for the purpose, for example, that in Jerusalem the Islamic and the Christian religion should coexist with true equal rights. This contradicts the whole way it sees itself. Islamism, too, does not advocate equal rights for all religions, whereas the democratic programme of the PLO is practically dead. So there seems to be no way out. The way out promised to the Palestinians, the interference and the benignly directing hand of the US, proves completely incapable of achieving anything. The US is incapable of further controlling the conflict.
In the extreme case it can even be imagined that Israel using its superiority expels the Palestinians altogether or as far as it is capable of doing so. If Israel occupies still more territories and eliminates the whole Al-Fatah - which is the only thing to promise success from the Israeli-Zionist point of view - there will be a gigantic yell among all the Arabic states, but they won't do a thing. This is decisive. These regimes are tied up so much by their inner problems that their interference is very improbable. When they together with the US led a war against Iraq in 1991 because of the emirate Kuwait, which fundamentally is a disgusting reactionary nothing except for its position in the international financial markets, they have given up themselves. This lack of any substantial support from the states of the region for the Palestinian matter is a very important factor.

The Palestinians basically have only a single choice, to return to their democratic programme, to isolate Islamism, and then to cooperate with those people in Israel who are interested in a civil solution, and this finally means also the overthrow of Zionism altogether. Otherwise this carnage, also this carnage among civilians will continue, will further feed fundamentalism and racism on both sides and block any progress.

Ed. staff of Neue Einheit
In the beginning of March 2002