Following the defeat of 1948, the Palestinian national project distinguished itself from the policies of the Arab states and by transforming the Palestinian refugees living within those states into a people motivated by national aspirations. It also established a Palestinian movement for national liberation. At various points, the aims of this movement intersected with the ideological tenets of a broader Arab nationalism, turning the aim of Palestinian liberation into a strategic objective within the broader Arab-Israeli conflict. The Right of Return was born of this Palestinian strategy, and not merely the product of United Nations resolutions seeking Israeli permission for the return of refugees to land on which it had established a state.
From this perspective, it becomes difficult to discern a specifically Palestinian liberation struggle removed from the broader Arab war against Israel. There is no doubt, in my opinion, that the possibility of victory on such terms was widely accepted amongst the Palestinian leadership, at least up until the October War of 1973. Equally, a hypothetical democratic and secular state in Palestine was never realistic: the putative plans behind it were never feasible, but merely drafted in order to respond to a singular question raised by the European Left, “What shall be the fate of the Jewish residents of Palestine following liberation?” It was never clearly and exhaustively formulated during the interlude between the Palestinian National Charter in 1964, and the PLO Political Program (“the Ten Point Plan”) of 1974. The Charter was a pillar of Palestinian political doctrine, and the language in its preambles, even with the amendments following the 1967 defeat, came to form a plank of the national identity of the Palestinian people. It was that document which gave us the phrase “Palestine, the Homeland of the Palestinian Arab people” instead of “Palestine is an Arab homeland”. It also provided for the armed struggle as the path to national liberation. The armed struggle thus came to form a part of an identity of resistance, and transformed the refugees into legions of freedom fighters; now, the bonds which tied them together surpassed even those village-based ties which survived their exile into refugee camps.
Without a doubt, those who believed in armed struggle as a path to liberation were sincere in their adherence to the means of liberation movements. For the Palestinian Left--whether this meant the Left as organized in various political parties, or the Left diffused within Fateh--this meant the path of a popular guerilla struggle. Armed struggle, and the institutions which served it, formed a core component of the Palestinian National Project, and had no regard for the plausibility--or otherwise--of its political agenda, nor for the ability of armed struggle to defeat Israel militarily. This is not to underplay the damage which the armed struggle caused to Israel, or the extent of socio-economic-political disturbance caused in Israel by the armed struggle, and which Israel continued to feel until the various separate peace agreements were signed: with the Egyptians and ultimately with the Palestinians, following the Wadi Araba agreement with Jordan.
The Palestinian National Project, embodied by the Palestine Liberation Organization, rested on a number of key components:
1) Arab solidarity which supported and nurtured the Palestinian cause, and which reflected an acceptance of the main tenets of that cause.
2) The reality of “confrontation states”, and the ability and willingness of the PLO to use their territory to launch attacks on Israel. In Jordan, this continued until 1970; in Lebanon, until 1982.
3) Palestinian refugee camps, which acted as a social support base and a reservoir of freedom fighters.
4) An acknowledgement by the Palestinians across the globe of the PLO as the representative of their national will, even if the same organization did not necessarily represent them in the countries in which they were settled—and in some cases naturalized—on an individual level.
The rise of an anti-imperialist Non-Aligned Movement in the midst of the Cold War and the attendant division of the world into distinct camps provides an additional consideration to the above.
The Birth of a State and a National Authority: the Dilemma Facing the Palestinian National Project
The first harbingers of the change that was to come could be seen in the 1970s, but it was only after the Israeli assault on Lebanon in 1982 that the focus of the Palestinian National Project shifted towards a single-minded effort aimed at turning the Political Program of 1974 into a state-in-waiting, with the eventual aim of creating a Palestinian state on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. The means to accomplish this were secured by diverting all available sources of support to the Palestinian Territories occupied in 1967, with the concentration of the efforts of Palestinian political factions into those territories and the construction of national institutions within them. It was this diversion of focus which allowed a series of protests in 1987 into a national uprising or Intifada of which Palestinian society in Palestine itself was the pillar.
A necessary prerequisite for the achievement of this state-in-waiting was US recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in return for which the PLO abandoned the armed struggle and even “all forms of terrorism”, as undertaken by President Yasser Arafat in televised remarks in Geneva [in 1988]. Similarly, Israeli recognition of the PLO required the relinquishing of the Palestinian National Charter, effectively dissolving the PLO itself, in return for the establishment of a Palestinian National Authority in occupied areas vacated by Israel.
These concessions were made at a time of much larger changes which were sweeping through, and fundamentally altering, the world in which the PLO had been formed as the representative of the Palestinian people. Most significantly, these included:
1) The radical change of the Arab political scene, as a result of Egyptian acceptance of the Camp David agreement and ceasing to take part in the Arab-Israeli conflict, as well as Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and the formation of an international coalition against Iraq which included several Arab countries.
2) The departure of PLO forces from Lebanon following Israel’s 1982 aggression, removing PLO forces from the last frontline from which they could threaten Israel.
3) The transformation of Palestinian refugee camps from a grassroots support base for the armed struggle into deprived ghettos, in addition to the marginalization of Palestinians as foreigners within the host countries.
4) The end of the Cold War and the twilight of superpower competition.
Palestinian politics were not causes of these changes, but were deeply interconnected with them.
The Oslo Accords formed the fault lines along which Palestinians divided. The Palestinian leadership, backed by a considerable section of the Palestinian public, believed that the concession of parts of the Palestinian National Charter were purely figurative; that it meant only transferring the struggle to Palestinian soil to make it real. As if to make it seem that only the Palestinian leadership was equipped with a credible plan, one which would see the creation of the state, opponents of Oslo were asked rhetorically, “What alternatives do you suggest?”
This was the specific point at which the armed struggle ceased to be a component of the Palestinian National Project, creating a chasm that separated the armed resistance from politics, the two of which eventually becoming contradictory enterprises. The armed resistance became the reserve of those who would not cooperate with the political process and who were not involved in the national endeavor to build a state. Meanwhile, the aim of building a National Authority and the state-building process entailed the "combatting of terrorism". The result was that, in many cases, the armed cases was directed against the political machinations which were labelled a “peace process”.
Yasser Arafat was the last leader to attempt to synthesize these two diametrically opposed approaches on the tactical level, efforts for which he paid with his life. It was no coincidence, however, that his efforts in supporting the resistance were redoubled following the realization that the negotiations were intractable. It was at Camp David in 2000 that Israeli preconditions placed on a Palestinian state-to-be would have deprived such a state not only of Jerusalem and other territories, but of sovereignty as well. Meanwhile, a tacit conspiracy of silence grew around the Right of Return, and the impossibility of its achievement. This state of affairs remains true today.
Arafat made an exploratory attempt to rekindle the armed struggle, to discover not only that regional and global actors would strangle these efforts, but also that the proponents of a political process within his own party would betray him and disown those attempts. Support for a political process gained a momentum of its own within the Palestinian liberation movement. Now recast as an Authority, a new set of elites had risen within the ranks of the former liberation movement, and were reliant on such a political process for their very existence. It was these new elites who continue to regard the Second Intifada to be a disaster. This destructive irreconcilability between resistance and the political process continues to hold sway. The political fault lines between these two Palestinian camps were made more stark once the resistance factions settled into a firm political identity, becoming a “Resistance Movement” regardless of whether or not they engaged in the act of resistance. The most disturbing feature of this latest conflict is the way it took the form of a clash between competing political identity groups who divided the dominance of the two occupied Territories.
No Palestinian state came into being, nor were any of the various stages of the transition to such a state accomplished. Meanwhile, Israeli settlements continue to expand and, with enviable tenacity, the Israelis’ Judaization of Jerusalem continues unabated to the point that the city is now unrecognizable. Negotiations have come up against a barrier, for reasons which those of us who were always critical of the Oslo Process had long predicted:
1) There is no agreed common ground for the negotiations. Unlike a chat between friends, negotiations between enemies will never arrive at a conclusion without a mutually agreed basis. In a sense, negotiations should have been focused only on the implementation of an accord accepted between the enemies prior to the negotiations. This is particularly urgent given the power imbalance between the two sides. Given that this did not hold, the only agreement which flowed from the negotiations were those related to the transitional stage.
2) Given the lack of a common basis for negotiations, the Palestinians relied on the United States to compel Israel to end the settlement enterprise and to accept a two-state solution. The US demonstrated with time, however, that it was either unable or unwilling to compel the Israelis to do any such thing, leaving the Palestinians out to dry. The outbursts of popular anger following the failure of negotiations at Camp David and Washington’s abandonment of the peace process were merely expressions of the Palestinians’ refusal to be forced to deal with the Israeli occupation alone.
3) Despite not being a state, the Palestinian Authority nonetheless accepted all of the obligations and responsibilities of statehood. Under the pretense of “fighting terrorism”, as if functioning in a fully sovereign state, the Authority found itself suppressing an occupied people. Faced with an impossible task, the Authority was always left to be the side which did not fulfill its commitments. Even when it chose to fulfill those commitments however, the Israelis never compensated them with the kind of political concessions which would have secured the Authority’s prestige. Rather, the lack of a sense of resistance and the pacification of a pragmatic populace which followed in the wake of quietist attitude under occupation in fact emboldened the Israelis to continue building settlements and the occupation as a whole.
4) The peace process resulted in the marginalization of what remained of Arab and international solidarity with the Palestinian people. Once they became engaged in the negotiations process, the Palestinians’ political leadership started to view efforts to support the Palestinians by progressive and democratic forces around the world as attempts to outbid the Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority did not even adopt an Arab-wide effort to boycott Israel, making do with a commitment to boycott products made in illegal Israeli settlements. Friends and supporters of the Palestinian people have been left at the sidelines to wait for the conclusion of bilateral negotiations; the avenue left open for worldwide solidarity activists was to express their support for the Gaza Strip against the siege.
In the aftermath of the Second Intifada, efforts to normalize life for the Palestinian Ghettoes of the West Bank succeeded in sugar coating a reality: despite their ability to take out loans to finance cars and houses, life had not changed for everyday Palestinians there. While the negotiations had come to a dead end, a new Palestinian leadership which had adopted the path of negotiations wholeheartedly and as a matter of strategy had at times openly upbraided the former leadership’s merely tactical employment of the negotiations, which it occasionally ended. These developments took place while psychological barriers between the Palestinians of the West Bank and those in the besieged Gaza Strip were erected. Such barriers allowed for the rise of yet another dichotomy between two Palestinian groups, variously interpreted as Islamist versus non-Islamist; as the West Bank versus Gaza; or as Fateh versus Hamas.
With this failure of the state building enterprise, alongside expanded settlement construction by the Israelis together with the United States’ resignation of its inability to influence Israel--put into practice by the Obama Administration’s inability to rein in Tel Aviv--the Palestinians’ national aspiration, dated to 1982, of establishing their own state was now still-born.
What became of the armed struggle? Outside of the confines of the PLO, the armed struggle is now entirely unfettered by politics, meaning that it cannot be used as an instrument of politics and does not interact with it. The groups who adopted the armed struggle continued to abide by the Palestinians’ national consensus. While they eventually accepted the idea of a Palestinian state limited to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, their plans were nonetheless never articulated as a complete political platform. Actual resistance did succeed in driving Israel’s then-Prime Minister to withdraw from the Gaza Strip; but by doing this unilaterally, and without consulting with the National Authority, Sharon was able to avoid tying this move to any political concessions on the negotiating table.
Beyond this point, the Resistance movement became a source of internal dispute within the Gaza Strip itself. Once the groups within the Resistance had the upper hand, they found themselves under siege by both Israel and Egypt, and had to resort to defending their existence. Just as happened in Lebanon following Israel’s unilateral withdrawal in 2000, acts of resistance against the Israeli occupation were met with full-fledged war, the Resistance movements became defenders of the National Authority’s territory in the Gaza Strip, thwarting Israeli aggression with increasing skill and efficacy after each successive attack.
On the Future of the Palestinian National Project
When speaking of a National Project, I did not have in mind any of the piecemeal, partial solutions unveiled at various times. Nor was I referring to the various UN Security Council Resolutions. The intended meaning was the various institutions and policy vehicles which together form a focus of attention for the entire Palestinian National Movement. These included the formation of a people and their national institutions by way of a national liberation struggle. Later, this turned into a state-to-be, inclusive of the various vehicles needed to bring such a state to fruition. When the impasse facing the state-building project is combined with the dilemma facing the groups within the Palestinian Resistance, a question raises itself: in what project can the popular forces of the Palestinian play a constructive role?
I pose this question in the midst not only of a sharp division between Fateh and Hamas—or, alternately, between the West Bank versus the Gaza Strip--but also at a time when the entire Palestinian Diaspora has been sidelined and deprived of a chance of participating in its nation’s future. Recently, the Palestinian refugees living in Syria have experienced that country’s endless litany of suffering, while the Palestinian refugees of Lebanon have come to a political stalemate which has only added to their already-miserable living conditions. The other Arab peoples then became involved in their own struggles for freedom against tyranny. While I was, together with others, optimistic that the Palestinians would benefit from the rise of democracy in the Arab world and increasingly influential Arab public opinion, the Arab revolutions were stalled, and were forced to confront both the forces of the ancien regime and the of radical religious fanatics who had no connection to the goals of the revolutions against despotism.
In his neglect to mention the Palestinian cause once during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly, US Preisdent Barack Obama made clear his resignation to the fact that the United States was unable to play a decisive role in resolving the Palestinian issue. In the meantime, the Israeli government is led by settlers and Arab heads of state are enmeshed in their own domestic struggles to cling on to power and to face down regional and global threats. Opting not to mention the Palestinian cause, if only in passing, on their regular pilgrimages to the White House, their only concern is that the negotiations process continues to move along, freeing them of another nuisance.
These unfavorable circumstances witnessed the rise of their own antithesis:
1) Despite it no longer being a top priority on global agendas, there is now a growing global consensus, unprecedented in scope that accepts the justice of the Palestinian cause.
2) Palestinian youth today are building bridges between each other, using means that transcend the geographical boundaries that separate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, the Palestinian Diaspora and the Palestinians living within the Green Line. This novel form of trans-national cooperation continues apace and, while it has yet to produce institutional frameworks to guide their work, it has also grown to previously unseen levels.
3) It has become apparent that boycott is an effective tool against Israel, which can be successfully marketed to democratic sections of world public opinion.
4) The generation born since the Peace Process has proven to the world that Oslo did not make the Palestinian youth accept occupation and injustice; that the youth continue to be committed to their homeland and to the unity of the Palestinian people. Each generation will use its own mean owns, and fight its own fight; but no generation of Palestinians has allowed itself to fade silently away like a passing mirage.
I am aware of how many of those around us may be unimpressed by some of the methods deployed by these youth. The occupation must bear all liability, however. Either way, it is difficult to hear these objections in the midst of widespread Palestinian and broader Arab happiness with the rise of a new generation of Palestinians prepared to struggle in these unforgiving regional circumstances, where Arab tyranny has managed to overshadow even that of Israel. Yet the Palestinian cause cannot be measured in relative terms, by weighing the numbers killed and wounded, or the forms of violence deployed. Instead, it must be understood as a question of daylight robbery colonialism: one where an entire country was stolen. Its centrality is rooted in its ties to what I would describe as the “Arab Question” and, on a global level, to the “Jewish Question”. The challenge before us is to take these connections and turn them into points of strength instead of the sources of complication and weakness that they are today.
The shape taken by the anti-occupation struggle in Palestine today--call it what you will, an uprising, an Intifada--is a source of discomfort for Israel’s economy and society; the present pace of settlement construction and the Judaization of Jerusalem can simply not be allowed to continue unchallenged. History has shown us that the expansion of Israeli settlements was only ever stalled during Palestinian uprisings or Intifadas. Between every uprising and the next, however the settlements would reappear and expand again, mushroom-like. So the question is: what comes next, after the Intifada? What aims does the Intifada have and what demands does it make?
These are fundamental questions which we must not shy away from asking even with the unruly hyperbole on the part of others; these questions relentlessly demand answers from those Palestinian political leaders who have the ability to institutionalize the demands of this protest movement and to give them a political voice, both domestically and abroad. The demands of this new rebellion must be represented by institutions which do not shirk from upholding its case. The rebellion must itself first be nurtured and grown, its values must be upheld and demands made on its behalf, before political institutions that represent it can take shape.
The background for the latest uprising was the transformation of East Jerusalem into an Arab Ghetto within a Jewish city. Added to this was the egregious rise of Israeli impunity to the extent that Israel expected to be able to impose a “temporal division” of the Al Aqsa Mosque while backs of the Arab countries and the world community were turned. Simultaneously to this, Israeli efforts were underway to annex the areas which the Oslo Agreement had defined as Area C, not only in practical but also legal terms. In a speech with the same title as the one which I am delivering today, and delivered on 7 December, 2013, a full two years ago, I had previously referred to all of these factors.
Since that point in time, the move to abandon bilateral negotiations and approach multilateral international institutions has yet to bear fruit: Israel is assured that security coordination with the Palestinian National Authority, its highest priority in this regard, will continue unaffected. It seems apparent to me that we are fast approaching a fork in the road, where the Palestinian political leadership will have to decide if it continues to do business as usual within the confines of the Palestinian National Authority, or whether it is prepared to operate politically outside of those constraints. Today, the Authority can continue to coexist alongside the Intifada, which is dominated by individual actions born of despair and frustration. The moment that the Palestinian political leadership takes responsibility for organizing this wave of resistance to the occupation, will spell the end of the privileges which the Palestinian National Authority enjoys at present. That would bring us back to square one, to the point where Yasser Arafat was under siege.
With their political planning informed by the lessons learned in the last Intifada, this is a fate which the political leadership of the Authority avoids. Then again, if this present uprising is allowed to dissipate until it peters out, without accomplishing any of its demands and the Palestinian rejoin the peace process, then we would have returned to the negotiating table with fewer chips to bargain with.
It is difficult to imagine the rise of a fully-fledged popular rebellion without unambiguous support from the Palestinian leadership, in a manner that called into question a number of areas such as security coordination with the Israeli occupation and even making possible a direct confrontation with the Israeli occupation. I understand that such an approach would be dramatically different from the one which the Authority presently employs, but it is also true that the Authority has exhausted all of the negotiating tactics at its disposal with nothing to show for it. This was made starkly clear with the declaration by the President of the Palestinian Authority that it could no longer abide by their agreements with Israel, while never in fact ceasing their implementation of those agreements, including with regards to security coordination.
While the Authority’s leadership chose to remain shrouded in mystery, the youth had decided to come out to the streets. Nobody was going to take the Palestinian Authority at their word when they threatened to disavow bilateral agreements with Israel. Even the rhetoric that the statement was drafted in was conciliatory and supplicating to the world community, constantly renewing their commitment to the negotiated process.
To restate, if the present uprising within Palestinian territory is escalated, it will need to be met by a firm resolve on the part of the Palestinian political leadership. The alternative is that the Intifada will evolve into a direct confrontation with the Authority. In order for the Authority to avoid such an eventuality, it would have to find an organizational umbrella to bring together all of the Palestinians’ political factions, without which true Palestinian reconciliation is impossible. It is now clear enough for any Palestinian to see that reconciliation between two separate Palestinian Authorities, each labored with its own difficulties, is impossible.
I too believe that a genuine Palestinian reconciliation is impossible unless the parties are prepared to abandon the power associated with their separate authorities, in favor of a return to resistance to the occupation and of re-establishing the peace process on entirely new bases. This could happen after the United States and Israel are made to realize the inevitability that the Palestinian people will achieve their aims. Meanwhile, this broken record of negotiations will take us nowhere, except for an Authority under occupation--of which there are now two, irreconcilable authorities.
As the dream of a Palestinian state began to drift further and further away, the youth of Palestine rebelled against the alternative which Israel was imposing on them through its daily practices. This did not mean a well thought out One-State Solution, but rather a policy of the Judaization and annexation of Jerusalem; the expansion of the settlements across wide swathes of the West Bank; and the deepening of the isolation of the Gaza Strip. Just as I had predicted in the wake of the signing of the Cairo and Oslo agreements, it would mean that the Palestinian National Authority would be turned into a caretaker body with responsibility for overlooking a patchwork of Bantustans.
Today, the Palestinian Authority’s security forces have taken over from the armed wings of the Palestinians’ political factions. In step with this, their military doctrine has evolved from one which defines the enemy as Israel, to one which views “terrorism” as the sole enemy. Experience has shown us that the Palestinian Security Forces are prepared to face down planned challenges to Israel, even if that means facing Palestinian protesters opposing the occupation. These are results of the structure of the PNA and of its very raison d’etre, the very logic which underpins its existence and which serves to re-enforce the dynamics which keep the intra-Palestinian schism in place. In other words, only by casting aside the Oslo Agreements and the limitations imposed on the PNA is a true escalation of the present uprising possible. We must return to history, to make the most out of the experiences of both Yasser Arafat and of the Hamas movement which, today, finds itself under siege again, using resistance as a means simply to defend itself after having all possible avenues to avoid being besieged. This state of siege has helped to turn the Palestinian struggle from one in which they seek to achieve their national aspirations into a struggle to remain in place.
There are at present specific flashpoints in the conflict with Israel and Zionism:
1) The struggle against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Jerusalem, and the expansion of its settlements there.
2) The struggle against the continued siege of the Gaza Strip and against its isolation from the West Bank and its transformation into a large prison camp.
3) The struggle against racist policies within Israel itself, along two specific areas: equal citizenship as the antithesis of Zionism; and the collective rights of Arab citizens living within the Green Line in territories occupied in 1948. The significance of this struggle cannot be underestimated, it poses a challenge to Israel in the way it presents itself as a democratic state and illustrates a continued Arab presence in what was historically known as Palestine.
4) The global struggle with the racist, Apartheid and colonialist state of Israel.
All four of these struggles are complementary to each other, while the second two must be managed in accordance with their own logic and set of dynamics.
Sources of Optimism
We are all aware of the difficult tribulations faced by the Palestinians in the Diaspora, particularly those of Syria and Lebanon who today are revisiting the horrors which immediately followed the Nakba of 1948, a time which predated the birth of the Palestinian national liberation movement. Today, there is an urgent need for all of us to organize a genuine and effective campaign for their support, in a way which does not ignore the pains suffered by the peoples amongst whom they live. I am referring here specifically to Syria, a country in which both the joys and pains of life have been meted out equally to Palestinians and to Syrians.
The present civil war tearing apart the Arab Levant, and which is a result of the ancien regime’s violent reprisals against attempts at change has not afforded Israel an enhanced image on the world stage. To the contrary, the world public opinion has tired of the endless cycles of Israeli oppression. Running through the Cold War and surviving it, and irrespective of any Arab support or the lack thereof; impervious to the Arab revolutions around it, Israeli oppression remains a constant of history.
Today, the world is less prepared to tolerate Israel’s oppression and occupation, and is more understanding of the Palestinian people. We must utilize this to build a wider network of friends for the Palestinian people, a network which can support the people of the Gaza Strip and of East Jerusalem, as well as the Palestinians living in refugees camps, particularly those in Lebanon and Syria. It is also imperative that the youth of the Palestinian Diaspora, whom I want to address directly from here, that they join these efforts and particularly with regards to the boycott of Israel.
On the world stage, Israel has been able to live off of its self-portrayal as “the only democracy in the Middle East”, monopolizing the role of the victim. Experiences in Palestine and from across the various Arab revolutions has shown us that in order to challenge this rhetoric, that we must ourselves adopt a democratic discourse. It will be impossible for us to wage a global campaign courting public opinion and urging a boycott of Israel’s Apartheid-style colonialist policies unless we adopt a discourse of democracy. We cannot expect the world to boycott Israeli Apartheid if we adopt the rhetoric which holds tyrannical regimes to be “progressive” and regards their peoples, clamoring for democracy, to be obscurantist forces, and which looks to the Russian government, an ally of the Israeli Right and of Europe’s extremist Far-Right, as being the successor to what was once the Soviet Union, described as the “friend of the Arab peoples”.
If we want to be taken credibly in our struggle to overturn Israel’s disingenuous claims of democracy, we must ourselves be truly democratic and understanding of the struggles which other peoples are waging in order to achieve democracy. A Palestinian who is an enemy of other peoples, or ignorant of their struggles for freedom, can never serve his or her own people’s cause, and does them a disservice. Equally, we must be abundantly clear that Israel’s use of religious texts and doctrines, and its deployment of fanatical zealots to relive a long lost glorious part in the allegedly empty and barren country that is our homeland cannot be met on religious terms. Religious arguments may indeed prove useful in building support for the embattled Al Aqsa Mosque, but it will not serve to reveal Israel’s fraudulent claims of democracy for what they are, nor will it serve to wash away the veneer of democracy which hides the essential and ugly truth of religious fundamentalism at Israel’s core.
I have drawn the above lessons from the complex of factors behind the Palestinian cause, factors that result from the interplay between the Palestinian Cause and what I have described elsewhere as the “Arab Question” and of course with the “Jewish Question” on a global level. No other people has been asked to overcome such complexities before they are allowed to exercise their right to self-determination in their own country. We must continue to think along the lines drawn above if we are to take this specificity of the centrality of the Palestinian cause and transform it from a weakness into a source of strength.