The Palestinian situation is facing one of the most complex historical challenges in the light of Zionism’s renewal of its colonial and occupational principles and its pursuit of Judaising the land, the state, and the geography at all costs. Over the past two decades, the Palestinian geography has been cut up and severed into several parts in the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, and the territories occupied in 1948. The Jewish Nation-State Law that was passed in 2018 was a prelude to more conflict and Judaisation, as, according to its statements, the Zionist state will not accept less than complete surrender to its positions from its victims, taking advantage of the dismantled Arab situation and an international situation conducive to this.
This means, in the practical sense that Israel is seeking to annex critical parts of the occupied West Bank to Israel, especially those densely populated by Jewish settlers, whose numbers reached 750,000 in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Given this atmosphere and situation, Israel will seek to create conditions, perhaps military conditions (a new war) to displace and expel more residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, although it may not succeed in doing so. In essence, the two-state solution has ended and nothing but the awareness of the Arab Palestinian people and their resistance of Israeli policies.
Until now, neither the PA, Fatah, or Hamas and its authority in Gaza can offer an alternative to the increasingly dangerous conditions. The Palestinian strategy, as confirmed by the return marches in Gaza and the various struggles in the West Bank, is unable to move towards a comprehensive initiative in light of the enemy’s growing brutality. The situation is even more dangerous due to several Arab countries adopting a new policy, which gives priority to the alliance with Israel to confront Iran, without providing any consideration to Jerusalem, Palestinian rights, and the presence of 6 million Palestinians on Palestinian land. The official Arab approach only exacerbates the Palestinian crises, which, in itself, has become a victim of greater forces and strategies.
The Palestinian movement cannot remain in a state of defence against systematic and organised attacks on the political and media level, such as the deal of the century and the attack on Palestinian rights, which have been linked to terrorism and Islamophobia. This means it is necessary to find a new way that is not based on the principle of the establishment of a Palestinian state as a goal or even on the principle of a single state, but instead, on the priority of confronting the Zionist apartheid that is based on the principle of Jewish statehood in the land in which half of its population, i.e. 6 million people, are Arab Palestinians. For the confrontation against the Zionist apartheid to succeed, there must be a clear vision in place based on a broader and more comprehensive resistance to the displacement of the people and the confiscation of Palestinian land and rights in Palestine.
This situation must lead the Palestinians and their leaders away from focusing on the authority and state icons and figures, apart from concentrating on guardianship, Independence Day, the authority, and the political government in the occupied territories, and push them towards a new space based on resisting the plans for displacement, continued settlement, and destructive racism. The BDS movement succeeded in mobilising many people against Israeli settlements. Confronting the apartheid and displacement by means of organised movements can, according to the BDS movement, become a major moral and political force that can gain the support of many people around the world and attract many Jews who are against Zionism and apartheid.
On the other hand, this movement will highlight the significant weaknesses of the Zionist movement, as Zionism is in stark contrast to the growing number of Jews in the world who do not agree with Israel’s current religious approach. The main weak point suffered by the Zionist movement is linked to its isolation, tribalism, an alliance with the popular and religious right wing in the US and Europe. This puts the Zionists in state of contradiction and conflict with young emerging forces that view Israel as a model of colonialism and injustice.
The focus on human rights first and on the right to the land, homes and place, as well as the right not to be displaced from one’s homeland and the right to a decent life is the essence of the confrontation against the apartheid and Israel’s Jewish Nation-State law. This approach will give the Palestinians the potential to ally with the international social and political counterpart to Israel, which stands against President Trump’s racism. Moving the American embassy to occupied Jerusalem and the American recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights is an indication of the nature of the stage and its danger.
One of the Palestinians’ key strong points in the upcoming stage is the futility of the Israeli vision, which is based mainly on closed and unjust policies for a solution in Palestine. The Israeli vision is based on violence, confiscation, displacement and racial segregation. On the other hand, the Palestinians have great flexibility in proposing a solution. This flexibility is evident in the idea of a Palestinian state, which was introduced since 1974 on the part of the land and reaching the idea of a single state or a bi-national state, which many Palestinian cultural circles have discussed.
However, none of this will open the door to justice in Palestine. The door to justice in the next phase can be summed up in bringing together all of the Palestinian popular movements and mobilising them in a major movement that reflects the Palestinians’ determination and insistence on their right to the land, place, homes, dignified lives, justice, equality, and basic rights. The Palestinian flexibility is what will go head to head with Israel’s closed-minded colonial approach. While the Palestinians’ basis must rely on the fundamental rights to the land, their homes, the place, free expression, and human dignity, Zionism carries a vision that dates back to the Middle Ages and to colonial times. This vision can only be realised through crime, murder, displacement, and confiscation.
The conflict between the Palestinians, the indigenous people, and the Zionist movement will gain new meaning in the following stages. The deal of the century will not succeed in ending the conflict, but, once any of its clauses are implemented, the agreement of the century will, instead, ignite a Palestinian nation more determined to live and to restore its rights.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Al-Quds Al-Arabi on 24 April 2019