Palestinian statehood and the struggle for self determination and national rights

I’m struck by how old and tired Mahmoud Abbas and his companions at the UN look. These guys have been with us for decades. They are certainly an experienced lot but it is not likely that we will get much innovative (or quick) thinking from any of these individuals. They are encumbered by their long history of engagement in Palestinian political life, diplomacy, and to a great extent failure.

There is, however, innovation in Palestinian political discouse. Much of it is being developed by young Arab academics and intellectuals in the United States who are probably far more talented than anyone in Abbas’ entourage. I want to speak here about the article by Saree Makdisi in the LA Times and I’m writing this also as a partial response to Ali Abunimah’s article in Foreign Affairs

Saree Makdisi’s article reiterates and to some extent reformulates Joseph Massad’s concerns that the Palestinian UN bid has the capacity to undermine the rights of Palestinians. Saree’s emphasis is on the PLO, which has since 1974 been recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Should the UN recognize a Palestinian state most of the Palestinians presently represented by the PLO can potentially lose this representation. Essentially, the cause and rights of the unrepresented Palestinian refugees will likely return to the awful first two decades of our Nakba. Ali Abunimah’s article calls for refocusing Palestinian efforts towards the attainment of Palestinian rights and away from statehood. There are coherent common threads  in both articles.

My focus here is on the nature of the diplomatic gains that the Palestinians achieved in the 1970s, the thinking of the Palestinians at the time and its relevance to today.

The recognition that accrued to the Palestinians in the 1970’s was wrangled from the international community at a time when the PLO was enjoying Arab recognition, the PLO was crafting sovereignty in the refugee camps out the chaos of Lebanon, and the PLO was developing a non-negligible capacity for vigorous self defense. We were able to wrestled these rights out of the miserly hands of the international community partly because of our emerging military presence in south Lebanon, partly because we were able to capture the imagination of the Arab world, from falah to fida’i, and perhaps because parts of the PLO had engaged to some extent in the leftist revolutions of the time (including in Europe).

The diplomatic prelude to all of this was the 1969 Cairo agreement between the PLO, chaired by Yasser Arafat, and Lebanon which afforded Palestinians a measure of self determination in their refugee camps and a right to enhance their capacity for self defense in south Lebanon. We achieved visible international recognition of many of our rights in 1974 when the late Yasser Arafat spoke before the UN General Assembly in his capacity as Chairman of the PLO. The PLO in the mid 1970s was no longer the ineffectual organization of Ahmad Shukeiri and Yahya Hammuda, it was now internationally recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian cause was no longer simply an Arab cause, our struggle became a national liberation movement. An independent Palestinian liberation movement. That, was what international recognition afforded us.

Throughout that time there was explicit insistence within the PLO on the nature of the Palestinian cause and the direction of international diplomacy. Aside from a desire for the independence of the Palestinian struggle from Arab powers, in particular Syria (in the second half of the 70′s); there was also an insistence that the Palestinian cause was not simply a refugee problem. In our minds it was not simply a humanitarian issue. Nor was it an issue that is exclusively about individual rights. The aims in our international diplomacy were instead independence, sovereignty, and recognition. In addition, in the refugee camps we developed a capacity for vigorous self defense, which to my mind was a main reason for our diplomatic successes. We wanted recognition from the international community and emphasized that the Palestinian refugees had a right to national self determination, and not simply individual rights.

In 1988 when the PNC approved a Palestinian Declaration of Independence a number of Palestinians were concerned that the Declaration would undermine the gains we had acquired in 1974. Similar arguments to Makdisi’s were put forward. These were that the Declaration will undermine the standing of the PLO and related international recognition of our rights and our cause. Of course, in the late 1980′s our international standing, and recognition of our national rights, were almost entirely undermined by the very fact that PLO had lost its base in Lebanon and the Palestinians had lost all capacity for any form of self defense, even on the diplomatic and Arab fronts. The prudent priority, which was to an extent articulated by Yasser Arafat, was to reestablish a base for the Palestinian national movement and reformulate some degree of sovereignty somewhere with a significant Palestinian population. Our internationally recognized rights survived the Declaration of Independence because we were able to reestablish a base for national liberation in the West Bank and Gaza.

Even a third intifada now cannot protect the gains that we made in the 1970′s without a Palestinian diplomatic effort to emphasize our insistence on self determination, independence, sovereignty, and national rights. After all, that was the nature of the diplomatic gains and recognition associated with Yasser Arafat’s speech at the UN.

The only way to protect and realize our rights is to insist that the Palestinian cause remains a national liberation struggle and not simply a humanitarian crisis or a struggle for individual rights. I see no better way to do this at present than our move for the recognition of a Palestinian state by the UN. The individual rights of refugees to return to their homes in Haifa and Jaffa will be enhanced and not diminished by the recognition and establishment of an independent sovereign state of Palestine in Palestine.
 

About Simone Daud

A Palestinian academic. A progressive internationalist with a wholly secular outlook. Meticulously pacifist and a militantly anti-reactionary perspective. An interest in progressive advocacy spanning gay rights, refugee rights.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 53 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Citizen says:

    But Mr Daud, there the rub: If you mean the correct goal is a fully independent, fully sovereign state such as like, say, the US or Israel, have not the last few decades suggested to you that Israel simply will not agree to anything but a rump state, a bantustan (sic?) state? Bibi made that very clear and Wikileaks evidences this as a pattern of the “peace process.” Not to mention Bibi is very clear regarding what Israel must have, and what Israel will never let any future Palestinian state have? Does the name Dennis Ross strike a bell?

    This does not necessarily mean the single-state solution is the way to go since, unlike apartheid S Africa, who thinks one state of Israel will capitulate to world BDS for full =rights within such a state? Afrikaners never convinced anyone in the powerful western nations that they had an ancestral right to the land; rather the white world, especially Europe withs its colonial past, viewed them as colonial dinosaurs. And the Afrikaners could not point to their very own Shoah. Methinks we are between a rock and a hard place: 1 S = apartheid state, 2-S = fake Palestinian state, basically, at best, a small Pale of Settlement or volunteer Warsaw Ghetto.

    Is there a third way/solution (other than ethnic cleansing; the current Dennis Ross solution de facto backed by full might of USA, “Israel’s lawyer in ‘honest broker’ mask.

    • sammy says:

      Yes. The third way is from the inside out, with Jewish Americans and Israelis engaging with Zionist ideology and challenging it – it is the only way it can work – the only way such skewed power relationships work, with part of the stronger group divesting from “their side” to “the other side”. And the people to challenge Jewish Americans and Jewish Israelis to take that stance are Palestinians like Mr Daud who have to wade through the hasbara bubble and reach them. There are parallels to this in every society where oppression is based on race or religion or exceptionalism based on some artificial social construct. Americans will recognise this statement by Lyndon Johnson “We have lost the South for a generation” and that is what committed anti-Zionists have to look forward to. We’ve already seen the massive impact of this kind of activism in the short duration by individuals like Ali Abuminah, Max Blumenthal and Philip Weiss to mention a few

      • Simone Daud says:

        I am very pessimistic about the possibility of getting anything significant in terms of broad support from the American Jewish community.

        The main reason is the apparent solidarity with Israel as though it is a friend, a relative, a brother. Rather than simply a state. The solidarity is solid and the use of instruments such as charges of anti-semitism, or self hatred, are very effective in maintaining this solidarity.

        Further, there is an underlying acceptance of colonial thinking. Look at J-Street for instance. I was approached by two Israeli Arab parties in 2009 about the possibility of full Arab representation in the J-Street meeting. After all it was a meeting about Israel and many Jewish representatives of Israeli political parties were participants.

        I approached J-Street and was told either NO, or that if they do participate it can only be in committees about internal Israeli issues and not Israel foreign affair, or Israel’s relation with the American Jewish community, or Jewish issues which include israeli defense.

        Of course, we didn’t go.

        Also, of course I am affected by the recent events on a democratic forum, and the bullying that Palestinians received from almost the whole of the community there. The racism and vilification was unbelievable. It was as though we were living on the edge of an extremist settlement in Hebron. And look at the solidarity within that forum’s community with the decision to decimate Palestinian advocacy there.

        • sammy says:

          I think you will face much worse than that, the closer you get to the bone of the issue with Jews in both the US and Israel. The reason why is not hard to comprehend. It is to the Zionist advantage to keep Palestinians as an indistinct entity, something rather than a person with a name who can speak up for himself and express himself articulately while embodying principles and ideologies they hold as sacrosanct to themselves. This is why a person like Zubin Mehta says :”I thought all Palestinians were construction workers”. Americans and Israelis alike are steeped in a narrative where the “backward” Arabs – like the backward native Americans and the backward African Americans – are to be controlled – because they are incapable of participating in the superior western system of democracy and likely to revert to violence and suicide [for the 72 virgins] when “upset”. The narrative is so deeply entrenched that most cannot even understand how ridiculous and immature it appears to the people they are referring to.

          I was watching the Palestinians being interviewed on al Jazeera today and yesterday and I was pleasantly surprised at the level of self confidence and realism – as well as gentle humour – they displayed, understanding only too well what they were up against and still determined to persevere in the face of illogic and suppression. I think it is the first time I understood what sumud means. I encourage you to be visible, to be articulate and to be patient. Let people see Palestinians and interact with them. Most people in the west are hard put to put a name to Palestinians because they hear so little that they can associate with a face, with a name.

          Also I disagree that there are many American Jews who automatically support Israel, this is primarily a grey hair constituency and young American Jews are more pragmatic about Zionism even when they reflexively make pro-Israel noises. I have had lengthy conversations on the subjects with young Israel supporting Zionist Jews in the US and I find that much of the enthusiasm is based on very superficial things. It is possibly different in Israel but then I met Joseph Dana and the conscientious objectors I realised its not at all clear cut what Israelis think. I believe that grass roots activism can only be successful with good organisation. So that is where the Palestinians should focus their efforts

        • seafoid says:

          Sammy

          Zubin Mehta is Parsi, not Jewish.

        • sammy says:

          Yes, I know, I am from Bombay,India and a fan of his. He is also American, not prone to Zionism and the Music Director for life for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. I gave his name as an example of how Palestinians are seen by Americans who are not exposed to anything but the Zionist narrative.

      • AhVee says:

        “The third way is from the inside out, with Jewish Americans and Israelis engaging with Zionist ideology and challenging it – it is the only way it can work”

        Absolutely, that’s my favoured solution, too. It’s high time for a change of perspective in the Zionist world. There are reasons for optimism: things are going the right way presently, the Zionist worldview was never since its inception under this much criticism, and subject to this much international scorn, it has forced those who take a rabid pro-Israel stance into a defensive position instead of being the dominant one, currently the Zionists are still clinging to a “being pro-Palestinian means you guys hate Jews” position, which of course, is untrue, transparent and a feeble attempt at justification. (What makes this even better is that its untruth is so easily verified) The weakness of their rhetoric, the utter childishness with which they defend their cause and repeated failure to get their facts straight is damaging their own ideology greatly.
        The chief means through which the ideology is spread currently – through the mouths of agitators and mind polluters who frequently resort to human beings’ lowliest instincts and fears in order to garner support, isn’t working in their favour, either, it’s increasingly pushing Zionists who have never associated with the far right to get into bed with them ideologically if they want to maintain their current stance, something I can’t see going well into all eternity either.

        There is yet a chance that the majority of Zionists end up departing from their belief, leaving it where it belongs – on the radical, opposed fringes of society along with other ideologies that have departed from the mainstream in the Western world. With that out of the way, I can see the rest falling into place eventually with no major setbacks.

        • sammy says:

          ” it’s increasingly pushing Zionists who have never associated with the far right to get into bed with them ideologically if they want to maintain their current stance, something I can’t see going well into all eternity either”

          Is that really true? When the Weiner seat was lost to a Republican, I read a lot about Jews changing seats over to the right, but when I looked at the statistics for percentage of votes, I realised that the Republicans had won by default, because the Democrats stayed home.

        • AhVee says:

          You’re right, I retract that statement, it’s likely too much of a stretch to conclude that Reps pushing Zionism is enough to make a part of the liberal population in the US mentally depreciate or question that ideology as a result, especially with liberal Zionism as popular as it is in Democratic intellectual thought at the moment.

    • Simone Daud says:

      We never looked to Israel for our rights and we should have never trusted the Americans in this regard. Indeed, as we saw from Obama’s speech there is little that is different between the “left” in the US and the extreme right in Israel.

      Our only hope is to achieve self determination unilaterally not because of but despite the US and Israel. Further, the Arab world has changed and no ethnic cleansing on any scale is going to happen again in Palestine (to either side).

      • Newclench says:

        It’s obvious you know a great deal of Palestinian diplomatic history. One point you make that derserves to be emphasized is the road from ‘individual refugee rights’ to ‘collective, national rights.’ The Palestinians had to struggle very hard to win on that front.

        Those who argue that individual rights should be emphasized over national and collective rights are going back down a long and hard fought road. We need both, and that means compromise. Example: no way that ‘justice’ means a restoration of the pre-48 landowner class. Individual property rights will get chewed up in favor of collective Palestinian political rights and economic decision making.

  2. Elliot says:

    Thank you, Simone.
    The ongoing abuses of Palestinian life by Israel generated the human rights perspective on Israel-Palestine in the international community. We clearly need a structural response to a longstanding problem. The time has come to link the world’s growing consciousness of this systemic injustice to the cause of Palestinian statehood.
    Today is an exciting day for those who stand with Palestine. I am hopeful that the UN bid will give voice to the silent supporters of justice for Palestinians.

    On another note, I am curious about the how the timeline of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination on the world stage relates to the Israel-Arab wars. Yasser Arafat’s UN speech came just one year after the 1973 Yom Kippur/October War. Similarly, the 1969 Cairo summit was a short time after the 1967 Six Day War.

    • Simone Daud says:

      The emergence of Arafat and the 1969 Cairo agreement had to do with the massacre of Palestinians in Jordan and dually with the defeat of the Arab armies in 1967.

      1974 had far more to do with the entrenchment of the PLO in a troubled Lebanon.

  3. seafoid says:

    “The individual rights of refugees to return to their homes in Haifa and Jaffa will be enhanced and not diminished by the recognition and establishment of an independent sovereign state of Palestine in Palestine. ”

    I think so too. The idea would be to get the state and sue their assess off.
    Anyway Israel won’t let anything happen so the debate is theoretical.
    I think its a long term play. The Zionists will lose.

  4. kalithea says:

    Israel is an Apartheid State. The U.N. must stop legitimizing the Apartheid State of Israel and all U.N. members must walk out on Netanyahu’s speech in protest.

    • Simone Daud says:

      No one will walk out. That’s my bet. No one representing the west has an ounce of morality in the UN.

      • kalithea says:

        Yes but at the General Assembly all countries supporting a Palestinian State will be present and they are the majority. These countries represent billions of citizens around the world. The voices of billions of people are being drowned out by the corrupt system of the SC’s veto. The will of billions of people around the world should matter over the U.S. veto.

        Netanyahu will be delivering the platform for Apartheid. The world’s leaders must deliver a message back to him that the world community will not tolerate another Apartheid State. This is the moment to deliver that message by WALKING OUT ON NETANYAHU’S PLATFORM FOR APARTHEID.

        This should go viral. Everyone should start tweeting this message worldwide. These leaders must get the message.: Walk out on Netanyahu’s Apartheid platform.

  5. Dex says:

    Interesting read, but I wish the author would give us his definition of “sovereignty,” because it is clear that the two-state paradigm, as it stands today, will leave Palestinians with a non-viable, non-contiguous state. How this will lead to greater rights for refugees is beyond me? If Palestinians achieve some type of pseudo-state, this will give Israel the loophole it needs to absolve itself from the refugee question. The position will be that these people can return to the state of Palestine.

    I’m willing to bet that the average Palestinian would prefer shared patromony over all of his/her land then a state on about 10-15% of the occupied 22% of the 100% of their historical land. It is a no-brainer. They just have to be given this option!

    The author is write; Abbas an his ilk are anacrhonisms, and must go. Why is it that most young Palestinian academics and activists seem to be calling for one-state? Do they seek the “destruction” of Israel? No. It is for the simple fact that in the 21st century, the world is a multi-cultural, mutli-ethic, multi-religious place, and universal human rights/values/equality is what drives movements for freedom.

    • Simone Daud says:

      There are degrees of sovereignty. Recall that here we are talking about the Palestinians who have never enjoyed real sovereignty and in fact in our refugee camps in the first few decades we were simply prisoners in Lebanon as well as Jordan.

      So at this stage the ability to mount non-negligible self defense is a degree of sovereignty and I’m hoping for in the west bank.

      The hope is that eventually we will be able to secure the same kind of sovereignty that Italy enjoys.

      • seafoid says:

        “the same kind of sovereignty that Italy enjoys.”

        Italy is looking at a possible IMF bailout, Simone ;)

      • Dex says:

        Simone (can I call you Simone?),

        I think one has to be very careful about the threshold he/she applies to the Palestinian case for sovereignty. The notion that “any” type of sovereignty is acceptable, simply because Palestinians have never enjoyed such is a dangerous road to travel. Considering the assymetrical power relationship between the two sides, why would one believe that a “next stage” of attaining greater sovereignty would be any easier than the first 60 years?

        This idea of sovereignty in a tiny, fragmented Palestinian “state” is a trap; it is percisely what Israel has been laying the foundation for during the Oslo years. If it is sovereignty over the whole of the 1967 borders, that is one thing, but we all know what Israel will reliquish is far different than what “two states” was originally meant to mean.

        As you know, it took several decades of struggle for Palestinians to force the international community to acknowledge their grievances. My fear is that if they reach the first stage of “limited sovereignty,” the world, with its limited attention span, will put the Palestine issue to rest once and for all. Then what, fight another 60 years to simply enjoy the rights of Italy? I’m not so sure sovereignty should come in stages.

        I think for Palestinians, the time is NOW. They have to decide: is it 2 states on the borders of ’67, or one secular democratic state for all. I support the latter, but either way, Palestinians need to develop a clear strategy, which includes a timeframe. That is why I am fully opposed to this UN move. I just think we have to be realistic about the outcomes, and then act quickly afterwards…

        • sammy says:

          Dex, I think the whole point of this UN move was to put the US and Israel on the spot where the two state solution was concerned and I think it has been spectacularly successful in exposing the death of the two state solution. I am not in favour of a two state solution for various reasons:
          1. It will result in wholesale violence against the Palestinians
          2. Israel will not give up the settlements or stop building them
          3. It will take years – wasted long years – to get the US and prominent EU states to get on board with sanctions against Israel and there is no guarantee that the Americans will not protect Israel from the effects of BDS
          4. Palestinians will still be demilitarised, colonised in two ghettos and at the mercy of Israeli advanced weaponry when Israel feels threatened [be it real or fictional threats]

          For all these reasons, I am strongly supportive of a one state solution, which will ensure the end of Zionism and a secure future for both peoples

        • Dex says:

          I completely agree Sammy.

          I think the biggest success of the UN move is that it exposes the US-Israel cabal for what is….a cabal! Whether the dog wags the tail or the tail wags the dog is irrelevant to Palestinians; they only see/feel the results.

          The big question is: now that this will solidify the end to the two-state farce, are Palestinians able to change their strategy to fit the new paradigm of the conflict? Are we stuck in the outdated mode of partition, or can we accept the new reality and begin to understand/accept the binational vision as the most just solution for both people.

        • Dex says:

          Oops, I meant to say, “That is why I am NOT fully opposed to this UN move.”

  6. kalithea says:

    This moment is a golden opportunity for protest and to send a message to the U.S. and any other country supporting and legitimizing Apartheid. Millions of tweets should go out worldwide asking the U.N. community of nations to walk out on the Apartheid State’s platform to be delivered by Netanyahu at the U.N.

    It’s time to condemn this injustice with a show of solidarity. U.N. members must stand up and walk out on Netanyahu’s speech!

  7. BillM says:

    Excellent article. I see this pattern so often when lefist (or nationalist, in this case) movements try to move forward: the right simply attacks at their internal fault lines (and there are always fault lines in any broad-based movement) and the movement retreats to cover its bases and protect its coalition. The only way to move forward is, well, to move forward. You can hold the base together in the face of attacks if you are making real gains and expanding your power. You have to accept the reality of the fault lines and the attacks on them, and move forward anyway, or else be permanently trapped in the status quo waiting for the fault lines to disappear (but they will only disappear when the base fades away entirely). This campaign for recognition is advancing the ball and empowering ALL Palestinians, including both refugees and those still in Palestine.

  8. Dr Gonzo says:

    Great to see you on Mondoweiss Simone !

    Indeed I fully believe this statehood vote recognising Palestine will be huge moment in the history of the struggle (that is why the US and Israel have been fighting it so hard).

    I would hope that soon Abbas and Co step down and let a younger generation take the reigns. As the Al Jaazera cables show Erekat and Abbas are too weak to lead Palestine and this UN vote is the first time Abbas has ever done anything bold and brave.

  9. tombishop says:

    It is good that, as some commenters state, young Palestinians are abandoning the two state solution for one democratic, secular state solution which will give equal rights to all regardless of religion or national origin.

    The two state solution would created a situation worse than the partition of India and Pakistan because Palestine would be a puppet, apartheid state at the mercy of the Zionist government of Israel. The Zionist settlements have made the two state solution impossible.

    Separation of church and state is one of the great achievements of the American revolution. It was a break with the medieval theocratic state which brought Crusades, the Inquisition, and centuries of oppression. It is the only way forward in a global community where we are all interdependent.

    There is opposition to this in the political class of both Israel and Palestine because such a state would threaten their interests. A democratic, secular state is in the interests of all and the only way to peace in the Middle East.

  10. Mooser says:

    Sorry, this is just an OT observation: My head is literally spinning, and oh yeah, there’s that sick feeling in my gut. I read Simone Daud’s post, I too was thinking ‘what a good addition to Mondoweiss’ and then it hit me: creating the situation reflected in his article is considered by many the proudest, if not the only real accomplishment of the Jews.
    We are so screwed.
    I gotta stop reading Mondoweiss, or I won’t have any lining left on my stomach.

  11. annie says:

    thanks simone. i have nothing to add except to comment we need a louder palestinian voice coming thru in our american discourse. it’s so zionist centrist, i think that’s going to be changing tho.

    The only way to protect and realize our rights is to insist that the Palestinian cause remains a national liberation struggle

    the most famous national liberation struggle known to mankind.

  12. seafoid says:

    Strenger reckons Israel’s South Africa moment is coming

    link to haaretz.com

    “Israeli politicians aware of the importance of this class’s attitude towards Israel often ask me what PR trick could get Israel out of the negative spotlight of the international media because of my research on the global creative class. They tell me things like “Brazil’s image is good, despite its terrible social conditions and high crime rates; why can’t we get them to talk about our beaches instead?”

    My answer is best summarized in the words of Joseph Nye, a Harvard political scientist who coined the term “soft power” referring to a country’s the ability to get what it wants without its military and economic power: “Even the best advertising cannot sell an unpopular product. Policies that appear as narrowly self-serving or arrogantly presented are likely to prohibit rather than produce soft power.” ”

    In other words, you cannot polish a Zionist turd.

    • annie says:

      When it comes to the economy, Netanyahu perfectly well understands that Israel has to adhere to international standards, but he has never understood that the human rights paradigm is the new global gold standard in international politics. As a result, Israel’s financial rating has gone up to A+, but its political rating is sinking towards the analogue of bonds issued by the Greek government.

      can’t polish this turd about wraps it.

  13. American says:

    Questions:

    What is the game plan -(political and legal) -by the young Arab academics and intellectuals in the United States? What would they do that Abbas isn’t doing?

    You also go back to the 70′s and say the Palestinian cause was no longer simply an Arab cause, that your struggle became a national liberation movement. An independent Palestinian liberation movement.
    You say there was also an insistence that the Palestinian cause was not simply a humanitarian or refugee problem but one of independence, sovereignty, and recognition.
    Isn’t that what it still is?

    Who represented the refugee camps and why was that the main reason for Palestine diplomatic successes? I am not educated on that. I thought the refugees problem was worked on a lot by the international Human rights orgs.

    How does the Palestinian UN bid have the capacity to undermine the rights of Palestinians? How would the Palestinians presently represented by the PLO lose this representation by PLO? Are you talking only about the Palestines refugees, that the PLO would sell them out?

    You say the only way to protect and realize your rights is to insist that the Palestinian cause remains a national liberation struggle and not simply a humanitarian crisis or a struggle for individual rights. And you see no better way to do this than your move for the recognition of a Palestinian state by the UN.
    Since that is what Abbas is doing I don’t understand why exactly the academics and intellectuals want him replaced unless you think he will cave or renig on that effort.
    What could the academics and intellectuals do or do differently if they became the leadership of Palestine that isn’t being currently done?

    It is apparant that intellectually, emotionally and most every other way the bulk of the world already recognizes the need for human rights for Palestines, including the refugees and the right to statehood of Palestine—-What stands in the way is ”politics”, primarily the US.
    If the academics and intellectuals want to mount an intellectual and political assault in the US on why zionism is intellectually and or morally wrong that is fine.
    But the fact is intellectualism only goes so far and only appeals to some people. What gets the majority of people going, politicians included, is ‘emotionalism’. People were pulled to the Palestine cause because of the
    cruelty of the Israeli occupation. Learning of, seeing, the assaults on children, the humiliations , the constant oppression and injustice in every facet of their lives.
    One picture of a injured or dead Palestine child, one story about the soul grinding humilation a Palestine goes thru or how his home or vineyeards are stolen or destroy is worth more than any intellectual argument ever invented. This a fact. This is how 99.9% of people are influenced.

    I am just not getting what you are after except replacing the old leadership with a young intellectual academic leadership because everything you suggest/talk about is/ has been included in this struggle in some way at some time.
    I don’t see a academic and intellectual “party”, so to speak, if took over leadership of Palestine goals, having any better chance to get to a State or get to refugees rights than what is currently being done.

    • sammy says:

      American: “What is the game plan -(political and legal) -by the young Arab academics and intellectuals in the United States? What would they do that Abbas isn’t doing?”

      I’d like to add my own thoughts on this. Firstly, young Arabs would speak to Americans in English [or American as they like to call it]. I cannot overemphasize the importance of this. In my experience [and this is a generalisation] the average American is intellectually lazy about foreign languages, translations and sub-titles and impatient with accents and unfamiliar cultural tropes. They are simply not interested in listening to some foreigner whine about his problems

      Secondly, and this is related to the first, the ideal way to communicate with Americans is to compare everything to something with which they are already familiar and to which they can draw a comparison. I have frequently been advised by Americans to make Jim Crow rather than apartheid or Nazi analogies because Americans have a greater understanding of what Jim Crow means and are not comfortable with South African and Nazi parallels. People like Abbas do not have the background to understand stuff like this

      Thirdly, Americans as a people are very goal oriented and admire things like focus, brevity, presentation, organisation and attitude. Arab culture like Asian culture is more flexible and laissez faire but the kind of protracted roundabout and indirect argumentation which dominates Eastern discourse will have Americans dozing in their chair. They are not interested in perspectives, they want bullet points and action.

      Lastly, and this is very important, Americans admire ruthlessness. It is a feature of their resilient personality and one of the first things which struck me when I went there. Things which lead to individual collapse and family breakdowns in my culture – like divorce for example – are dealt with much more effectively by Americans. They believe in things like closure which do not resonate with older people in my culture and have a pragmatic attitude about things with which we deal emotionally.

      All these things are very superficial seeming perhaps, but they are very important if you want to put your perspective across to Americans.

      • American says:

        O.K…..here’s my take on a few of those points.

        ” I cannot overemphasize the importance of this. In my experience [and this is a generalisation] the average American is intellectually lazy about foreign languages, translations and sub-titles and impatient with accents and unfamiliar cultural tropes. They are simply not interested in listening to some foreigner whine about his problems.”

        Americans are intellectually lazy for the most part, agreed.
        But they are as uninterested in listening to an American whine as they are in listening to a foreigner whine. We don’t do whine well no matter what the accent. People were sick of the Israeli holocaust whine decades before it became o.k. to say they were sick of it. But on the flip side, a lot of Americans think they and America are God’s gift to the universe and foreigners are not as smart as we are so in some cases we see foreigners with their other accents and not perfect English and their pleas for fairness or justice as poor souls who we should help.

        “Secondly, and this is related to the first, the ideal way to communicate with Americans is to compare everything to something with which they are already familiar and to which they can draw a comparison. I have frequently been advised by Americans to make Jim Crow rather than apartheid or Nazi analogies because Americans have a greater understanding of what Jim Crow means and are not comfortable with South African and Nazi parallels.”

        I think who ever advised that is way off. You still have some Jim Crow bigots anyway in the US so they wouldn’t care, and then you have a lot who would consider it just more old civil rights stuff in some other country, no big deal and not their business.
        Why would anyone want to present I/P as mainly someone being denied their civil rights when it’s about occupation, violence, conquest of an other peoples land –like Hitler rolling over Hungry, and etc.?
        On the other hand Apartheid was a more recent cause and Nazism
        is something everyone associates with the worse of the worse. Whether using nazism is pc or not it has a hell of lot more impact than Jim Crow.
        Most important, Americans like “a great cause”, a challenge, whatever it is, more than they want to be reminded of their own Jim Crow which was so yesterday.
        American like fighters, not necessarily violent fighters, but fighters, so they can join the underdog side and fight against ‘great odds’ for the glory and exhilaration. They just plain like a fight. Underdogs is how the Israelis pitched themselves successfully for decades.

        ” People like Abbas do not have the background to understand stuff like this.
        Thirdly, Americans as a people are very goal oriented and admire things like focus, brevity, presentation, organisation and attitude. Arab culture like Asian culture is more flexible and laissez faire but the kind of protracted roundabout and indirect argumentation which dominates Eastern discourse will have Americans dozing in their chair. They are not interested in perspectives, they want bullet points and action. ”

        Have to say I listened to Abbas and several other Arab diplomats like the one on Rose the other night and have listened to them over the years. I thought each time they were on exactly on point and down pat on how to talk to Americans. They talked eloquently about the human aspects without whining, they talked about the right of Palestine as any other people and state and they covered the legal and problematic obstacles without rambling or going astray. To be absolutely frank the several articles on here making the case for academic and intellectual leadership, American accent or no accent, make my eyes glaze over. Americans aren’t to dig thur a pile of intellectualism or academic-ism to find the pony. As you said, we want concise, to the point, with reasons that “hit us in the heart” or ‘ego’ or sense of fairness to make us take action on it, and some plan of attack on the problem, not some rambling on, hand wringing or philosophical meandering or haranguing on how the people in charge don’t know what they’re doing. Because we hear that crap 24/7 every day about our own leadership and would think it’s just another fucking political party spat in that country. And if they aren’t getting it together enough to get on one page we ‘d be wasting our time on them. Which has been a frequent complaint on Palestine.

        “Lastly, and this is very important, Americans admire ruthlessness. It is a feature of their resilient personality and one of the first things which struck me when I went there. Things which lead to individual collapse and family breakdowns in my culture – like divorce for example – are dealt with much more effectively by Americans. They believe in things like closure which do not resonate with older people in my culture and have a pragmatic attitude about things with which we deal emotionally.
        All these things are very superficial seeming perhaps, but they are very important if you want to put your perspective across to Americans.”

        I agree and here’s the deal–the average American is a “fixer”.
        And having once ‘fixed, moves on. Talk about a problem and their first thought is ‘fix it’. Once whatever is fixed, they consider their part done. You get it back to do whatever you want with it. THIS..does not apply to politicians and governments naturally. LOL
        Most Americans except whatever ‘fringes’ quite honestly don’t give a rats ass about someone else’s culture except as tourist or if they suddenly discover Buddhism or whatever and decide to adopt it. If Arab or Asian cultures are more emotional they don’t care –as long as it doesn’t screw up whatever they been asked to help ‘fix’.
        The culture of the victims is not important unless they roast children or something equally as evil.
        What they need to show Americans is a great “Injustice” and if you want to ‘liken it’ to something Americans can understand then you ‘put them in picture”——-a child “like their child” injured or dead, a humiliation or lose like they themselves might have ever felt.
        What Palestine activist need more than intellectuals is money and more money, for a world class marketing campaign to blitz the US public and create more outrage and political pressure on Washington for them.

        I know this might sound like Americans are mostly shits ….lol.

      • seafoid says:

        “Americans admire ruthlessness”

        It would be better for them if they put competence first.
        Rumsfeld was ruthless but totally incompetent.

        • sammy says:

          This is going to sound bizarre but I felt as though Netanyahu had read my script and was pitching it to Americans.

          “I know this might sound like Americans are mostly shits ….lol.”

          You are unique, just like everyone else!

  14. “diplomatic gains that the Palestinians achieved in the 1970s”
    “vigorous self -defence”

    You mean like murdering the Israeli athletes in Munich in 1972?
    Attacking Kibbutz baby care centres?
    Attacking the arrivals hall at Ben Gurion airport by proxy and spraying passengers with gunfire?
    Apr 11, 1974 – PLO terrorists attacked Kiryat Shmona, killing 8 children, 8 adults, and 2 soldiers.
    May 15, 1974 – Maalot Massacre: 22 children and several adults were killed (66 children were wounded) by Palestinian terrorists of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
    Mar 11, 1978 – PLO terrorists seized a bus on the coastal road, killing 35 men, women, and children.

    • seafoid says:

      Imagine how much more efficient the Israeli killing machine is with white phosphorous.

    • Shingo says:

      Yes LLI,

      Notice how all those attacks happened AFTER Israel launched the unproved war of conquest in 1967 and stole even more land.

      Any comments about the 1000 Egyptoan POWs Iseael massacred after forcing them to dig their own graves at gun point?

  15. American says:

    I have another question.

    Who thinks equal, human and all other rights for Palestines in a one state solution, the dominate state and government being Israel, could be ENFORCED?
    Since it would then be a INTERNAL issue of the one state, what outsiders or entity would interfer and enforce it and by what means?

    I don’t see Israel ever giving non Jews the same rights and privilages within one state. So whose gonna make them?

    • DBG says:

      Even if they have the same rights they wouldn’t have the same access to the institutions which are already created in Israel. The economic disparities would be huge. What happens when Palestinians become wary of this new situation? it will be just the British Mandate w/ out an occupier to struggle against.

      • seafoid says:

        The court cases for reparations, habibi.
        Israel is going to get its ass sued.

        The Occupation reparations are going to cost Israel at least $80 bn
        and then there is 1948…

        Israel can’t afford any of this. Throw in the relocation of the settlers…
        And that’s before the financial markets turn on it.

  16. Parity says:

    A solution that should be considered is two states with identical borders that would then form a condominium or exist as parallel states. Visit http://www.parityforpeace.org and google “parallel states solution” for details on how two states on the same land might work.

  17. Inanna says:

    Hi Simone,

    What I’d like to see is more connection between those doing the diplomatic running on this and the aspirations of the people they speak for and govern. I’ve said before I think that the statehood bid will fail so I’m not that worried about it. But what I am worried about is Palestinians being represented by leaders who don’t have either electoral nor popular legitimacy and that this will continue into future events/negotiations. There has to be some connection between aspirations of Palestinians in refugee camps and under occupation to what their leadership is asking for. Otherwise we lose the connection between national and individual rights.

    • Simone Daud says:

      I agree with you Inanna,

      I would like to see Mahmoud Abbas retiring soon and a general election being held for the chairmanship of the PLO. An that hopefully covers all the camps in and out of Palestine. I would also like to see the PLO taking over all the activities of the PA. Not dismantling the PA but consolidating it within the PLO. In particular the PNC should supplant the PA parliament (so Fayyad, the should be out too as well as hanniyeh.)

      I would like Hamas to join the PLO.

      What is likely to happen however is Abbas will remain at the helm till he starts shaking like poor old Arafat. But there are ways to prevent this.

  18. sammy says:

    I just read on 972 that Abbas’s Plan B is to dismantle the PA and abdicate all responsibility to Israel
    link to 972mag.com

    The reference source is AlQuds:
    link to alquds.com

    Can anyone confirm or deny this news? This is earth shaking news if true