Total Capitulation

Tariq Ali · 'The Palestine Papers'

 The 'Palestine Papers' being published this week by al-Jazeera confirm in every detail what many Palestinians have suspected for a long time: their leaders have been collaborating in the most shameful fashion with Israel and the United States. Their grovelling is described in grim detail. The process, though few accepted it at the time, began with the much-trumpeted Oslo Accords, described by Edward Said in the LRB at the time as a ‘Palestinian Versailles'. Even he would have been taken aback by the sheer scale of what the PLO leadership agreed to surrender: virtually everything except their own salaries. Their weaknesses, inadequacies and cravenness are now in the public domain.

Now we know that the capitulation was total, but still the Israeli overlords of the PLO refused to sign a deal and their friends in the press blamed the Palestinians for being too difficult. They wanted Palestine to be crushed before they would agree to underwrite a few moth-eaten protectorates that they would supervise indefinitely. They wanted Hamas destroyed. The PLO agreed. The recent assault on Gaza was carried out with the approval of Abbas and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, not to mention Washington and its EU. The PLO sold out in a literal sense. They were bought with money and treated like servants. There is TV footage of Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton at Camp David playfully tugging at Arafat’s headgear to stop him leaving. All three are laughing. Many PLO supporters in Palestine must be weeping as they watch al-Jazeera and take in the scale of the betrayal and the utter cynicism of their leaders. Now we know why the Israel/US/EU nexus was so keen to disregard the outcome of the Palestinian elections and try to destroy Hamas militarily.

The two-state solution is now dead and buried by Israel and the PLO. Impossible for anyone (even the BBC) to pretend that there can be an independent Palestinian state. A long crapulent depression is bound to envelop occupied Palestine, but whether Israel likes it or not there will one day be a single state in the region, probably by the end of this century. That is the only possible solution, apart from genocide.


  • 24 January 2011 at 6:12pm
    Geoff Roberts says:
    The only chance of an end to the Israeli occupation and the acquiesence of the PLO in their own incarceration would seem to be an uprising on the lines of the rebellion in Tunisia.

    • 24 January 2011 at 7:58pm
      Joe Morison says: @ Geoff Roberts
      In Tunisia, it was a people rising up against their own leaders - and when enough do that it works because armies tend to be reluctant to turn on their own and are liable to share their sympathies. The Palestinians are facing an occupying army, and i doubt many in that army would have qualms about brutally putting down any uprising.

    • 25 January 2011 at 12:00pm
      Geoff Roberts says: @ Joe Morison
      True, but is there an alternative? Nobody will talk to Hamas and Obama has taken up the policy followed by Bush II: ask the Israel pm what he wants and then agree. The only possible way out seems to me a UN conference at which the Palestinians have an equal say with the big guys. Or an uprising, which will cost many lives and make life for the Palestinian people even more unbearable. Peace Now - where are you? What happened to the left in Israel? Didn't Obama get the Nobel Peace Prize? Now he could earn it.

    • 25 January 2011 at 1:09pm
      Joe Morison says: @ Geoff Roberts
      Perhaps there really is no way out of this terrible mess, which puts Karma Nabulsi's 'Facebook in Gaza' posting on this blog (10/1/11) in a different light because if nothing can work then cyber 'Fuck you!'s to everyone concerned, even without a plan to back them up, are slightly better than nothing because frustration vented is better than frustration kept in.

      I think the only possibility for the Palestinians is to shame Israel so on the world stage that it has to provide a fair settlement: it worked in South Africa and it got the British out of India. The only way to so shame Israel would a long and peaceful resistance which managed to push the IDF into frequent bloody and lethal responses; but, without some entirely new and radical leader, it's impossible to imagine that without there being suicide missions attacking Israeli civilians under a rhetoric of Israel's destruction, thereby giving Israel the excuse it needs on the world stage to justify itself. It is a great shame that Islam is not a more pacific religion. The Palestinians need a Gandhi of their own.

  • 24 January 2011 at 9:46pm
    varunsamir says:
    The fact that the Palestinian authorities have caved in to the American and Israeli demands may not reflect well on them as individuals, but more importantly represents the way Israel effectively controls the whole situation, as the de facto single state existing on historic Palestine. Indeed, given that the Palestinians do not enjoy the 'friendship' of imperialist America and neither can they (rather they will be put by the US on the side of the terror), in the present context, no solution is possible for a long term. Hence, the only viable option would be to dissolve the PA and hand over the reigns to the Israelis (who already have it anyway) to effectively control the whole region and wait for the emergence of a binational secular democratic republic in the "unholy land". It is not as an apolitical option, but in the great repression of our times, it is the most political option indeed, for palestinians to struggle themselves and rebuild their fight against the occupation. Sure, historically no justice will be made to all that they lost in the last sixty years of tragedy - in the last leg of colonialism when the world saw the end of it. For all those in the left who have championed the cause of the birth of this nation-state (even though they themselves are against state oppression), no enduring solution is in light but one that probably impossible but meaningful - of a one state for all who live on that land, for all the curses that the land begets to them

  • 25 January 2011 at 1:46am
    erniesfo says:
    Tariq is correct - complete capitulation. Please let's not hear any more mood music about Israel the US or the EU being interested in a just resolution of the Palestinian-Israel conflict for it will be a brazen, cynical lie.

  • 26 January 2011 at 3:36pm
    Geoff Roberts says:
    Tunisia, Lebanon, Egypt; what is Israel going to do? They can't bomb all three, or can they? They must be a danger to the stability and security of Israel - so much civil unrest among the neighbours must mean danger. Or do they decide to support the demonstrators in order to isolate Iran and win over Syria? My take on the unrest in Egypt is that it must be a good sign for the Palestinians. Israel must be prepared to set up some sort of self-government before the roof falls in.

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