This post is part of “What Comes Next?: A forum on the end of the two-state paradigm.” This series was initiated by Jewish Voice for Peace as an investigation into the current state of thinking about one state and two state solutions, and the collection has been further expanded by Mondoweiss to mark 20 years since the Oslo process. The entire series can be found here.
Those of us who oppose the Oslo Agreement and the farce of negotiations or the two state solution, are often faced with the question: “what is your alternative?” The answer: Liberation. Many Palestinians will then follow up with, “liberation in the most hopeless era in the history of Palestinian struggle?” Yes. The necessity to envision solutions and strategies becomes bigger when we see a blocked road. This may be the best time to envision liberation, and with liberation, I mean the decolonization of Palestine.
Few years ago I got engaged in discussions about the “one state” solution as an alternative to the already dead two states solution (a privilege reserved to the intellectual elite). Soon enough, I realized that more attention should be given to the liberation process, rather than a political solution that will come after liberation.
Living in Ramallah for some years, helped me widen my perspective. As an “Israeli” citizen, I am not allowed to do so according to military order. It was an act of defying the division between us Palestinians living in lands occupied in 1948, and those occupied in 1967. This move enabled me to draw clear lines between Israel’s policy in 1948 and in 1967, understanding better how the colonialist machinery interacted with the different parts of the Palestinian people.
It was only then that I was able to fully understand the disastrous implications of the “Oslo Agreement” on Palestinian society, in particular in the West Bank and Gaza. Understanding how Oslo was engineered to destroy Palestinian resistance and protect the interests of the colonizers, shaped in large my ability to see challenges for liberation.
The challenges, and their solutions, facing Palestinians are immense:
1.) Need for a return to a liberation movement and a move away from the current development project;
2.) The creation of a unifying body that will translate the aspirations of our nation to a resistance project with fitting movement ethics;
3.) Defying divisions among Palestinians and the creation of a unified, anti-colonialist, struggle discourse;
4.) Liberation from the full reliance on international aid and the creation of a self-sustaining economy;
5.) Re-producing values of solidarity and social connectedness (currently interrupted by the neoliberal Palestinian Authority and donor aid economic policies);
6.) The need to reclaim our public sphere for producing political culture and engagement.
This is how I envision the liberation process.
The international donor community, the World Bank, United States and the Israeli government, will form “special forces” to fight this. The Palestinian economic and political elite will also join them in the fighting. The elite of the NGO’s, who are enjoying the donor industry and its benefits, will be left fearful of any change in the status quo.
Despite that and perhaps as a result of that, a new leadership will emerge and rise beyond the faction-led power struggle, beyond geography. It will be a generation that has learned enough about our history, our struggle and from other struggles around the world. It will be transparent, principled, progressive, and socially responsible. It will rise and inspire. It will unify. It will liberate.