[News] Palestine de-Osloized
news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Nov 10 12:27:34 EST 2015
Haidar Eid <https://electronicintifada.net/people/haidar-eid>
9 November 2015
What is happening in Palestine? Is it a new intifada? If so, what are
Many compare the current situation in Palestine with apartheid South
Africa <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/south-africa>. The tribal
chiefs of the South African bantustans
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/bantustan> — the nominally
independent Black-ruled “homelands” created by the racist government —
used to believe that they were heads of sovereign states. The apartheid
regime promoted the fiction of Black independence under its overall
control in an attempt to legitimize and perpetuate white rule.
While the anti-apartheid movement and most of the world rejected the
idea of separation based on racial identity in South Africa, the
Palestinian leadership boasts of having laid the foundation for its own
bantustan, claiming it to be the “State of Palestine
For Zionism <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/zionism> to survive in
Palestine, the “other” — the indigenous Palestinian people — must be
assimilated and subjugated without being conscious of that subjugation.
This was the thinking behind Israel’s decision to grant Palestinians
“autonomy” under the Palestinian Authority. It is the logic behind the
1993 Oslo accords <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/oslo-accords>
between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/plo> that created that authority.
Oslo aimed to bring about the Palestinians’ surrender and create among
them a passive consciousness, but its architects did not foresee that
Israel created its antithesis — defiance and reaction — as a result of
decades of ethnic cleansing, settler-colonialism and apartheid.
They did not account for the legacy of civil and political resistance
that has become a trademark of the Palestinian struggle. The formation
of the Boycott National Committee
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/bnc> in 2007, two years after the
boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) call
<http://www.bdsmovement.net/call> made by more than 170 Palestinian
civil society organizations and around which there is an overwhelming
consensus, the resistance to Israel’s war machine in 2009, 2012 and 2014
in Gaza, and the current uprising, all represent what I call a process
Oslo held out the promise — illusory though it always was — that
one-third of the Palestinian people, those living in the Gaza Strip and
the West Bank, would realize their “national dream” of statehood on no
more than 22 percent of historic Palestine.
But the impossibility of realizing even that — as Israel has entrenched
its occupation and relentlessly expanded its colonization in the West
Bank, and placed Gaza under permanent siege — ended up, ironically,
reviving the embarrassing question of the rights of the remaining
two-thirds: the millions of dispossessed refugees inside and outside
historic Palestine and the 1.5 million third-class Palestinian citizens
of Israel <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/palestinians-israel>.
The Oslo accords paid lip service to the millions of Palestinian
refugees scattered all over the world as a result of the Nakba
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/nakba>, the 1948 ethnic cleansing
of Palestine by Zionist militias.
But the Palestinian elites who signed Oslo more or less explicitly
that they were ready to sacrifice the rights of those refugees in return
for a state. The Palestinians in Israel were not mentioned at all.
Oslo was designed — at best — to improve the conditions of oppression
(while making some Palestinians partners in the occupation) and thus
make Israel’s Palestinian “problem” disappear. In the end, it did not
even do that — save for a small Palestinian elite that profited from
economic deals with Israel.
Most events that have taken place in Gaza since the 2006 Palestinian
Legislative Council elections — won by Hamas, which had opposed the 1993
accords — have represented a complete rejection of Oslo and its
And noting that some 80 percent of Palestinians in Gaza are refugees
from other parts of Palestine, the results of the 2006 elections in the
Gaza Strip and the West Bank become more comprehensible as anti-colonial
and anti-Oslo acts.
But this is deliberately hidden by the Oslo signatories and their
Palestinians’ resistance depends, like that of Black South Africans
under the inhumane apartheid regime, and African-Americans under Jim
Crow laws, on the higher moral ground that they occupy as a result of
being dispossessed of their rights and land.
Palestinian victory will be the inevitable result of their /sumoud/ —
steadfastness on their land — that has not wavered, despite the feeling
that they are left to fight Israel on their own.
What has helped keep the Oslo regime alive for so long is the ever
fainter promise that redemption — in the form of “statehood” and
“self-determination” — lay at the end of it. But the Oslo generation
Palestinians born after or around the time the accords were signed, do
not buy it. They are fed up and their message is clear: the problem is
not only with the occupation, but also with settler colonialism,
apartheid, ethnic cleansing and Israel’s genocidal policies
The current uprising — whether one calls it an intifada or not — may be
the crucible where a new leadership is forged, one that can understand
the unity of the cause of all Palestinians, whether inside or outside
historic Palestine, whether refugees from today or from long, painful
This is a generation that is telling us that they are opposed to all
forms of collaboration with the occupier. This is a generation that has
seen nothing from Oslo but defeat and humiliation, and they are throwing
They are saying — and we should hear them — that coexistence based on
colonization and apartheid is no coexistence at all. It is slavery and
they will no longer accept it.
Palestine’s youth are saying: we want all our rights and will accept
/Haidar Eid is an independent political commentator from the Gaza Strip,
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415
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