The Palestinian official strategy based on negotiations with Israel as the only means to establish an independent Palestinian state seems to have utterly failed and a new strategy is urgently needed. Several reasons stand behind the failure of negotiations. The first is that Israel now feels that it has the upper hand in the Middle East and its national security is “assured” in view of the upheavals sweeping many Arab countries around it with the “urgency” of inter-Arab enmities exceeding by far their enmity against Israel in their present conflicts. This situation has led Israel to believe that it no longer needs peace where it has to give up the loot stolen from the Palestinian people.
A second reason is that the international community led by the US lacks the ability and the will to exert any pressure on Israel to stop its daily violation of international law and human decency principles.
Thirdly, the complete opposition by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) to employ violent means (whether military or political) against the Israeli colonial/apartheid measures being imposed upon the occupied Palestinian people in the West Bank, coupled with Hamas’ decision to impose a ban on rocket attacks on Israeli targets. Both acts have given Israel “immunity” from accountability for its hideous and criminal deeds perpetrated on a daily basis against the Palestinians.
As a result of all the above factors — in addition, of course, to its military might and US support — Israel has attained a false sense of security, which has infected the leadership with the deadly virus of infallible egotism and invincibility to continue Judaisation of all historical Arab Palestine. Such policy is bound eventually to usher in the possible demise of Israel as a politically recognised state, according to many Middle East experts, with Jews among them.
When a possible Palestinian third intifada is mentioned, many assume it will be similar to the two previous ones. Such an assumption is far from facts newly created and are now in play in the Middle East. The wrath of the so-called Arab Spring coinciding with the colonial/apartheid Israeli measures in Palestine may have paradoxically combined, possibly creating the biggest upheaval ever witnessed in the region and not a mere intifada as in the past years. Several western experts are certain that, in such an upheaval, destructive conventional and “disruptive unconventional” weapons will be deployed. Some observers also believe that the new reconciliation accord between Fatah and Hamas may (if it really works out) make this ‘upheaval’ a reality sooner than later. Indeed, a majority of the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims are waiting to see whether Fatah and Hamas consider this accord as a tactical move to be renounced later or a vital strategic means to forge a Palestinian unity to confront the Judaisation of historical Palestine.
A common belief among the majority of Palestinians is that Fatah was forced to be part of this accord because it failed to bring about the promised Palestinian state and needed something positive to offer to the Palestinian public instead. Similarly, Hamas is in a bind and needs a ‘national unity’ government to help resolve its conflict with Egypt and the rest of the Arab states that consider it as an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which has been outlawed in several important Arab Countries. According to an Egyptian source: “Hamas has to transform itself into an Arab Palestinian national liberation movement, exactly like the PLO, dedicated to establish a civil/non-religious Palestinian state before it is recognised by all who oppose the politicisation of religions as Israel did in its religious claim of all historical Palestine.”
The accord has led to the formation of a Palestinian unity government, but Israel has already taken measures to punish Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as well as the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) for forging the reconciliation agreement and the subsequent government. Such measures (especially those taken in late June and early July after the abduction and the killing of the three young Israeli colonists) aim to frighten the PNA from gaining memberships in various United Nations organisations, which threatens the legal status of Israel as a state. If these measures continue, the possibility of a demise of the PNA will become a reality. Such development may lead to wide unrest in the West Bank, which will be met with an iron hand by the Israeli military, leading consequently to more deterioration of the situation and even more violence.
Despite the recurring assurances by Abbas to the US administration (and all other western governments in general) that the new unity government will maintain the recognition of Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still adamant on boycotting it. It is the oldest trick in the book, he said, wherein “a shady organisation (Hamas) puts forward smooth-talking front men in suits”. In other words, Israel insists on viewing the new government as one with “terrorists wishing the demise of Israel”.
So, is the coming Palestinian upheaval a possibility or an imminent reality? Let us wait and see and be prepared because many observers (including Israeli writers) expect that the extremist and violent Israeli measures may make it a certain development.
Professor As’ad Abdul Rahman is the chairman of the Palestinian Encyclopaedia.