[News] Recognising the right of the Palestinians to surrender

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Sun Aug 1 11:34:51 EDT 2021


middleeasteye.net
<https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/palestine-israel-recognising-right-surrender>
Recognising
the right of the Palestinians to surrender
Joseph Massad - July 30, 2021
------------------------------

One of the exceptional and key elements in the diplomatic game Israel
<https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/israel> has deployed since
its establishment in 1948 has been its refusal to recognise the right of
the indigenous Palestinian people to represent themselves.

Whereas Israel, in the words of Golda Meir, insisted
<https://www.haaretz.com/1.5256637> that "the Palestinian people do not
exist" well through the 1970s and 1980s, the international community,
especially the United Nations and formerly colonised countries around the
world, came to recognise the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) as
their sole and legitimate representative in the mid-1970s.

Essentially, what Israel, and the US behind it, demanded was that for
representatives of the Palestinians to gain legitimacy by the colonial West
and the Israeli settler-colony they would have to fully surrender all their
national indigenous rights to their Jewish colonisers.


A legitimate representative

Israel’s belated acknowledgment that there indeed existed a Palestinian
people was quickly followed by two principal conditions
<https://www.nytimes.com/1988/12/08/world/arafat-says-plo-accepted-israel.html>
it set to recognise the legitimacy of their representatives, namely that
the PLO accept the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish settler-colony built on
the stolen lands of the Palestinians, the theft of which the Palestinians
must acknowledge as legitimate, and that the Palestinians cease and desist
from any and all resistance, especially military, to Israeli
settler-colonialism. Otherwise, representatives of the Palestinians would
be deemed "terrorists" not fit for any negotiations with their colonial
oppressor.

It took representatives of the Palestinians from 1948 until 1993 to accept
Israeli conditions and surrender, when the PLO signed the Oslo accords

It took representatives of the Palestinians from 1948 until 1993 to accept
Israeli conditions and surrender, when the PLO signed the Oslo accords
<https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/what-are-oslo-accords> and was finally
recognised by Israel as the "legitimate representative" of the Palestinian
people.

Once the PLO surrendered
<https://studies.aljazeera.net/en/reports/2018/11/181106114236864.html> all
the internationally recognised national indigenous rights of the
Palestinian people in Oslo, the negotiations that Israel agreed to conduct
with it were essentially about the nature and mechanisms of continued
Israeli occupation over less than a third of the Palestinians (in the West
Bank and Gaza).

<https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/Israel-western-allies-run-out-Palestinian-enforcers>

Israel and its western allies have run out of Palestinian enforcers


Israel barred any negotiations
<https://studies.aljazeera.net/en/reports/2018/11/181106114236864.html>
over its rule over and oppression of the rest, whether refugees in exile or
the oppressed minority subject to an apartheid
<https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/israel-palestine-apartheid-long-making-news>
regime
inside Israel. Almost three decades of negotiations later, Israel decided
that the nature of its settler-colonial rule over all Palestinians after
Oslo should remain as it was before, if not intensified further. Israel
then moved to ensure that the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, would
be labelled a terrorist organisation in Europe and North America, as
it had done
with the PLO until 1991
<http://aei.pitt.edu/14582/1/WD328_Al-Fattal_on_EU_FP_in_Palestine.pdf>,
unless Hamas followed in the footsteps of the PLO and surrendered by
accepting the legitimacy of Israeli settler-colonialism across Palestine,
and renounced all resistance.

But was this a new or old colonial strategy? Whence came Israel’s
longstanding refusal to recognise the Palestinian people and the legitimacy
of their representatives unless they surrendered and accepted dispossession
by Jewish settler-colonialism as legitimate?
Colonial precedent

As with every other measure the Israelis use to subdue the Palestinian
people, they have never innovated strategies, but rather plagiarised
well-established European colonial precedents. In fact, the conditions
Israel set for recognising the legitimacy of representatives for the
Palestinians were the standard conditions set by British colonial rulers
after Britain conquered Palestine between December 1917 and September 1918.

Palestinians had established myriad organisations to resist British
occupation and sponsorship of Jewish settler-colonialism; the most
prominent were branches of Muslim-Christian Associations (MCA) across the
country, with the first formed <https://www.jstor.org/stable/4284071> in
Jaffa.

In November 1918, the Jaffa MCA submitted
<https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Origins_of_Palestinian_Nationalism/vaOrAgAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1>
a memorandum to Brigadier-General Sir Gilbert Clayton, chief political
officer and policymaker of the British military administration, affirming
the Arab character of Palestine (“our Arab homeland, Palestine”) and
objecting to the 1917 Balfour Declaration
<https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/balfour-declaration-enduring-colonial-criminality>’s
Jewish National Home policy.

[image: A picture dated before 1937 during the British Mandate in Palestine
shows Arabs demonstrating in the Old City of Jerusalem against the Jewish
immigration to Palestine (AFP)]
A picture taken during the British Mandate in Palestine (dated 'before
1937') shows Arabs demonstrating in the Old City of Jerusalem against
Jewish immigration to Palestine (AFP)

This was especially important, as the Jewish colonists, under the
sponsorship of the Zionist Organization (now the World Zionist
Organization), staged a parade on 2 November, the first anniversary of the
Balfour Declaration, to celebrate the success of their colonial project.

The MCA convened the first Palestinian National Congress in Jerusalem in
early 1919, and called for
<https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Origins_of_Palestinian_Nationalism/vaOrAgAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1>the
liberation of Palestine and all of Syria. The major purpose of the Congress
was opposition to Jewish settler-colonisation. Citing Wilsonian principles
of self-determination, the Congress dispatched a delegation to the Paris
Peace Conference to deliver its demands.

<https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-palestine-violence-young-jewish-stoking#autoplay>

Israel-Palestine: Meet the young Jewish ultra-nationalists stoking violence

Read More »
<https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-palestine-violence-young-jewish-stoking#autoplay>

In July 1920, the same month France conquered Syria and ended its
independence, the British replaced their military government in Palestine
with a civilian one, and appointed the Zionist British politician Herbert
Samuel <https://www.jstor.org/stable/565641> as the first High Commissioner
of their new colonial acquisition.

A third National Congress convened in Jaffa in December 1920 and called for
the "independence" of Palestine. The Congress elected a committee, the
Palestinian Arab Executive, to represent it before the British government
and internationally. High Commissioner Samuel replied to the Congress’s
demand for independence by stressing that the participants did not
represent the Palestinian people.

The League of Nations also refused
<https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Guardians/W4sIMQAACAAJ?hl=en> to
grant them legitimacy, as it too was committed to the Zionist movement’s
project of Jewish colonisation of Palestine. The League’s 1922 Mandate
<https://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/palmanda.asp> document did not
once mention the Palestinian people, who constituted the majority of the
population at the time, and dedicated a third of the Mandate articles to
issues dealing with Jewish colonisation and the Jewish colonists, who
constituted less than 10 percent of the population.

When the Muslim-Christian Associations appointed a delegation to travel to
Europe in 1921, the British colonial secretary wrote to Samuel to state
that the delegation should be aware that: "administrative reform can only
proceed on [the] basis of acceptance of the policy of creation of a
National Home for the Jews, which remains a cardinal article of British
policy”. He added that “No representative bodies that may be established
will be permitted to interfere with measures (i.e., immigration, etc.)
designed to give effect to [the] principle of a National Home or to
challenge this principle."

When the British offered to establish a legislative council for Palestine
in 1922, they insisted that candidates and parties would have to recognise
the legitimacy of the British colonial Mandate and its Zionist
settler-colonial project. The Palestinians refused. The fifth Palestinian
Congress
<https://books.google.ae/books?id=3GwMAQAAMAAJ&q=Ann+lesch+Arab+politics&dq=Ann+lesch+Arab+politics&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y>,
convened in 1922, launched a campaign to boycott the elections.

[image: People march through downtown Chicago protesting Israeli air
strikes in the Gaza Strip on 16 May 2021 (AFP)]
A march in Chicago to protest against Israeli air strikes in the Gaza
Strip, 16 May 2021 (AFP)

The sixth
<https://books.google.ae/books?id=3GwMAQAAMAAJ&q=Ann+lesch+Arab+politics&dq=Ann+lesch+Arab+politics&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y>
Congress, in June 1923, met after the League of Nations granted the Mandate
to the British, and stressed non-cooperation. Ultimately, the British
refused to recognise any Palestinian representative association that did
not accept the legitimacy of the British Mandate over Palestine and its
commitment to Jewish colonisation of the country.

As none accepted these conditions, the British denied the Palestinians and
their organisations national recognition throughout their three-decade rule.
Drastic transformation

When the Zionists conquered Palestine and established Israel in 1948, they
already had an effective strategy that the British and the League of
Nations had followed to deny the Palestinians national recognition.

Once Palestinians surrender and accept Israel’s right to colonise them, the
West would grant them a hypocritical understanding of a "lite" version of
"human" rights

Therefore, it was a drastic transformation when the UN, the successor to
the League of Nations, recognised the PLO in 1974, more than half a century
after the League had sponsored Jewish colonisation of their country and
denied recognition to the Palestinian people.

Following the Oslo accords, the PLO, which established the Palestinian
Authority
<https://www.middleeasteye.net/fr/tags/palestinian-authority?page=4>, lost
much of its legitimacy, as it became a collaborator with the occupation and
surrendered the national rights of the Palestinians. With the rise of Hamas
<https://www.jstor.org/stable/2538077>in December 1987 and its increasing
legitimacy among Palestinians, the Israelis began to follow the same old
British colonial formula they had followed with the PLO, an effort that
intensified internationally in the 1990s, following the Oslo surrender.

As a result of Israeli efforts, in the past three decades the United States
<https://www.state.gov/foreign-terrorist-organizations/> (October 1997) and
the European Union
<https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/fight-against-terrorism/terrorist-list/>
(December 2001) designated Hamas a "terrorist" organisation, and refuse any
diplomatic engagement with it unless it "recognises" Israel and
"renounces" armed resistance to Israeli settler-colonialism. Following
Hamas’s landslide victory in Palestinian legislative elections in 2006, the
so-called Quartet of US, EU, Russian and UN diplomats imposed
<https://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/354568CCE5E38E5585257106007A0834>
similar conditions on any Palestinian Authority government that might be
formed.

These are hardly novel conditions that the West has set before it agrees to
engage the leaders of the colonised natives of Palestine.

In 2018, a US-sponsored resolution to condemn Hamas was defeated
<https://www.dw.com/en/un-general-assembly-rejects-us-resolution-to-condemn-hamas/a-46623413>in
the UN General Assembly, though assiduous US efforts were able to rally 87
countries to support it. Hamas mounted a legal challenge in 2010 to the EU
designation, a case it won in 2014 when the EU General Court ruled in its
favour. The EU appealed the decision in 2015.

More court judgments came in 2017
<https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/hamas-terrorist-organisation-ecj-european-court-of-justice-eu-uk-palestinian-israel-a7860301.html>
and 2019, which maintained Hamas on the designated terrorist list. In
September 2019, however, a lower European Court in Luxembourg
<https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-israel-hamas/eu-court-moves-to-keep-hamas-tamil-tigers-off-terrorism-list-idUSKCN11S1JJ>
reversed those decisions and removed Hamas from the list, leading the
European Court of Justice to also remove it.

Nonetheless, as the EU court decision is a legal "opinion", it is not
binding on the EU, which continues to consider Hamas "terrorist". Hamas’s
legal efforts came to nought. Still, last May the EU sent signals
<https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/Israel-western-allies-run-out-Palestinian-enforcers>
of its willingness to open diplomatic channels with Hamas, provided the
latter met its conditions of recognising Israel and the PLO’s 1993
surrender at Oslo.
Indigenous rights

The effort to delegitimise Hamas became more urgent after the resistance
organisation’s military performance last May, when it retaliated against
Israel’s ongoing colonial onslaught. In response, Swiss Jewish
organisations launched a campaign to have the Swiss government list Hamas
as "terrorist".

The Swiss foreign ministry refused
<https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/switzerland--hamas--and-the-question-of-terrorism/46658172>
to do so, while stressing that it "condemns the fact that Hamas denies
Israel’s right to exist and defines armed struggle as a legitimate means of
resistance".  Also last month, the German
<https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/6/25/hamas-flag-banned-in-germany-under-new-terror-rules>
parliament went as far as to ban the Hamas flag. As for the United Kingdom,
the longtime sponsor of settler-colonialism in Palestine, it had
designated Hamas’s military - but not its political - wing as "terrorist"
in March 2001.

Meanwhile, the Quartet faced the possibility of yet another Hamas victory
in the cancelled elections that were supposed to take place this year, and
reasserted
<https://ecfr.eu/publication/back-to-democracy-europe-hamas-and-the-palestinian-elections/>
its own conditions for recognising a Palestinian government, namely, that
the "future Palestinian government must be committed to non-violence,
recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and
obligations".
Palestinian leadership

What the history of British, US, European and Israeli refusal to recognise
the national and indigenous rights of the Palestinian people to their own
country, and their right to defend themselves against Zionist
settler-colonialism, has clearly shown is that the Palestinians would only
be recognised as a people after they surrender all their national
indigenous rights.

<https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/israel-palestine-apartheid-long-making-news>

Israel has long been an apartheid state. Admitting it now is too little,
too late

Read More »
<https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/israel-palestine-apartheid-long-making-news>

Once they surrender and accept Israel’s right to colonise them and steal
their country, and once they renounce resisting settler-colonialism, the
West would grant the Palestinians a hypocritical understanding of a
"lite" version of "human" rights, which Israel itself, however, would
continue to deny.

The Palestinian leadership refused to surrender to Britain and Israel from
1918 until 1993. Since their surrender, the PLO and the PA have come to
symbolise nothing less than a Quisling regime.

With the final loss of the PA’s meagre legitimacy during the Israeli
attacks on all Palestinians in May, Israel, the West and their Arab
allies began to worry about the astronomical rise of Hamas’s popularity
<https://apnews.com/article/hamas-middle-east-science-32095d8e1323fc1cad819c34da08fd87>among
the Palestinians and across the Arab world, prompting the increased
pressure to further delegitimise the organisation internationally in an
effort to force a PLO-style surrender.

Hamas leaders, especially its military commanders, know very well that
acceptance of Israel’s and the West’s colonial terms is detrimental to
Palestinian national rights and to the century-old Palestinian national
struggle.

What Israel and its Arab and Western allies refuse to recognise, however,
is that no matter how many Palestinian leaders they have coopted to
surrender since the early 1920s, their efforts have always failed to end
the Palestinian anti-colonial struggle. There is no indication they will
succeed in the future either.

*The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not
necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.*
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