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Palestine: It Is Time for a New Beginning

By       Message Ramzy Baroud       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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From Palestine Chronicle


It is time for a new beginning.
(Image by Palestine Chronicle (Photo: Wall art, file))
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Now that the American mask has completely fallen, Palestinians require an urgent rethink in their own political priorities, alliances and national liberation strategy.

Business should not go on as usual after US President Donald Trump accepted Israel's definition of Jerusalem as its capital, thus violating the overwhelming international consensus on the matter.

The Fatah movement, which has controlled the Palestinian Authority (PA) since its inception in 1994, has preempted people's anger over the US move, by declaring a "day of rage." Several Palestinians were killed and many wounded in unrest throughout the Occupied Territories in what is understandably justified anger over the unwarranted American decision.

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But the manipulation of Palestinian emotions by their leadership is contemptible to say the least. The "politics of rage," which has been used by the Palestinian leadership in the past has often worked to deflect popular discontent and criticism.

Sure, Israel and the US deserve all the condemnation for their role in sustaining, funding and defending the military occupation and subjugation of the Palestinian people. But the Palestinian leadership is deserving of much condemnation as well. Those who have willingly participated in the futile game of the "peace process", dangling the dim prospect of a "two-state solution" before despairing Palestinians should not get off the hook so easily.

Palestinian leaders and an army of officials, politicians, pundits and contractors made billions of dollars from foreign funds to keep the "peace process" charade going for over 25 years, while the general population grew poorer and more despondent than ever.

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Those who resisted, outside the acceptable political framework as presented by the Palestinian leadership were harassed, imprisoned and severely punished. This was the case not just in Gaza, but in the West Bank as well. Many journalists, academicians, artists and activists were treated harshly for questioning the PA's methods throughout the years.

Yet here we stand; the PA is calling on those very Palestinians to rage. Hamas too is calling for a new intifada. Oddly, Palestinian factions never learned from history. Real, sustainable popular uprisings are never a response to a party's or a politician's call. It is a spontaneous, genuine cry for freedom that originates from the masses, not the political elites.

While some Palestinian factions are hoping that the people's anger directed at the Israeli occupation will create a protective buffer so that they may survive another day, other groups are riding the wave for their own political interests.

But this is not a strategy. Sending bare-chested people to fight armed soldiers only to communicate a media message will neither pressure Israel nor the US. In fact, most American media outlets are centering their debate on "Palestinian violence," as if the violence of the Israeli occupation is a non-issue, and as if the safety of Israelis is the most compelling concern at the moment.

Nor will polite appeals to the US to reconsider its decision and pressure Trump to rescind his embassy move make a difference.

The final statement presented by the Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo on Saturday was an example of the lackluster language that will prove ineffective.

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Calling on Trump to reverse his decision will not, on its own, make an iota of difference. The Palestinians need their Arab brethren to articulate a strong, unified position on the issue, without hesitating to explore new political routes and put real, tangible pressure on the US and Israel to relent.

The Palestinian leadership that has downgraded the Palestinian struggle, and wasted precious years chasing after an American mirage, must be held accountable.

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Ramzy Baroud is the Managing Editor of Middle East Eye. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold (more...)
 

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