Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dissolve the PA!

The ongoing discussion about and the protest against the Palestinian Authority (PA) "president", Mahmoud Abbas' submissive attitude towards Israel and the US misses a central point. The issue at hand is not just Abbas stepping down but the continuation of the PA at all. There are basic structural problems about the Oslo agreement.

It should be asked whose interests are served mainly by the PA?
It is obvious that through the PA Israel saves billions of USD since the Oslo Agreement has been in force. Israel has not been obliged to pay for any of the services it is required to render as an occupying power. The so-call "donor states" are paying the bill instead. At the same time Israel can destroy infrastructures that it would otherwise be responsible for maintaining according to the Geneva conventions. Another profit is the partial "outsourcing" the oppression of Palestinians and the delegation the dirty work to Palestinian subcontractors, the "security" forces.
This is an incomplete list of the advantages for the Israeli ruling class, which has never seen an independent Palestinian state at the end of the process. Even the Geneva Initiative, supported by Israeli liberals and PA officials, envisions a kind of an Israeli protectorate and nothing more.
Despite the obvious benefits, the majority of the Israeli elite decided as late as the outbreak of the Second Intifadah in September 2000 that it wanted to abandon the Oslo model and actually destroy the PA. As it does not wish again to control so many Palestinians, this leaves practically only one option open and that is the mass expulsion of the Palestinians. But the US and EU have to be convinced that there is no Palestinian partner and that this is the only "final solution".

It was not very surprising that the Israeli leadership was very happy about the Hamas victory in the election of 2006. It is much easier to isolate Hamas and convince the world rulers that it is not a partner for peace.
With the Fatah leadership was alleged to be either unwilling or unable to do the job of suppressing Palestinian resistance. In recent times, especially since Obama came to power, it seems that the PA has apparently done the "job" more effectively and the Israeli leadership has gotten into some trouble.

Not only the theatrics over Iran have provided a welcome distraction from the Palestinian issue but also the Israeli exposure of Abbas as a stooge, massively weakened his position and "killed" him as a potential "peace" partner.

Sooner or later the Israeli leadership is bound to complete the project Nakba II or III (it is difficult to keep an account) and the present relative lull should not mislead anyone.

It might sound paradoxical but one very effective way to prevent this horror scenario is if the Palestinians themselves would unilaterally dissolve the Palestinian autonomy authorities including that of the Hamas in Gaza. One advantage of such a step would be that it would deny the Israeli leadership a pretext to expel a large number of Palestinians. Such a move would create a new dynamic and necessitate a new Palestinian liberation strategy, but that need has already existed for many years.
In the short run it would completely remove from the international agenda the illusion that a two-state "solution" is possible. It would make it clear that in Palestine/Israel, as in South Africa, a broad and strong joint movement among the colonized and the colonizers is necessary to overcome and dismantle the oppressive racist structures.
The move will make it clear that the Palestinian and Jewish-Israeli societies are damned to live together or die together and that any disengagement plan is not realistic or is bound to end up in a blood bath.
There have been several calls by Palestinians to dissolve the "autonomy" authorities and there is also rather broad Palestinian support for that, but many Palestinian activists are afraid of an economic disaster. This is because the PA but also Hamas instead of trying seriously to create productive jobs, which has been possible to some extent, have preferred to create a gigantic "state" apparatus bubble. Thus most of the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are dependent directly and indirectly upon the monies coming from abroad through the authorities.
Of course the abolition of the Palestinian authorities will cause a crisis in the short run, but will it be much worse than many past crises? Would the Israeli government not be compelled to ensure the well-being of the occupied Palestinians?
In the past I heard again and again from non-Palestinians that as an Israeli Jew I am not the one advocate for such a project. This argument is wrong on many levels as my proposal should be judged primarily on its own merits and shortcomings.
After the signing of the Oslo Agreement in 1993 I was then one of the few who criticized it publicly and was told then by non-Palestinians that it is not up to me, an Israeli Jew, to oppose an agreement accepted by so many Palestinians. To me this is an incorrect understanding of solidarity with the oppressed and of participation in a liberation struggle of which I consider myself to be a part.
An essential part of a liberation struggle is not just opposing those who are clearly the oppressors, but also to seek to correct mistakes within one's "own" ranks.
Besides if the aim of my proposal is to create a common democratic state, something that is also supported by a growing number of Palestinians, as an Israeli citizen I have of course some moral standing to advocate such an idea.

See also:

 2006: Hamas's Electoral Victory Serves the Israeli Government

Edited by George Malent

1 comment:

  1. I do fully agree with you about dissolving the PA and Hamas since the possibility of a Palestinian state is not realistic anymore, even since 1993. I just cannot imagine that one democratic state could be an alternative when we see how agressive, hateful and fanatic are a big proportion of the west bank and east Jerusalem settlers. In a one state the Palestinian population would become a majority within a short time and they would need space which should be made available by sharing the settlements with the settlers, and this I cannot imagine that it could happen in a peaceful way. Attempts from any Israeli government to evacuate the settlements or part of them will surely result in a Civil war with much of the army siding by the settlers. This leads me to believe that having opened the gates for massive immigration and colonizatiion, Israeli governments have complicated the problem to such an extent that a feasible solution of coexistance has become impossible and the end will be catastrophic for both sides.