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‘De-Osloizing’ Palestine is a precondition for peace with justice

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In one of his most quoted Fanonian statements, founder of the South African Black Consciousness Movement and Anti-apartheid icon Steve Biko says:

Not only have the whites been guilty of being on the offensive, but by some skillful maneuvers, they have managed to control the responses of the blacks to the provocation. Not only have they kicked the black, but they have also told him how to react to the kick. For a long time, the black has been listening with patience to the advice he has been receiving on how best to respond to the kick. With painful slowness he is now beginning to show signs that it is his right and duty to respond to the kick in the way he sees fit.

This, in a way, sums up apartheid Israel’s expectations of the Palestinian people and the latter’s responses.

In order to understand the Oslo Accords and the extreme damage they have caused to the Palestinian cause, one needs a historical contextualization of the so called “peace process.” This understanding is a necessary step towards a process of what I call De-Osloization.

The process of “Osloization” i.e., a combination of corruption, NGO-ization, and a selling-out of revolutionary principles, fused with the fiction of the two-state solution, has been dealt a heavy blow in the 2006 elections, rise of the BDS movement and revival of ideas of liberation and secular democracy in historic Palestine. Judging by statements made, not only by PA officials, but also by parts of the Palestinian Left, and even the Hamas government, the ultimate goal of the current river of blood, whether in Gaza or the West Bank, is still the establishment of a Palestinian state in any dimension, i.e. the two-state solution. The contradiction between the tremendous international support, the rise of the BDS movement, the outpouring of demonstrations against Apartheid Israel and its war crimes against the Palestinians of Gaza, the eruption of the Great March of Return, on the one hand, and the reiteration, by most political organizations, of the two state mantra, on the other hand, is a strong indication of the need for an alternative program that makes the De-Osloization of Palestine its first priority.

The Oslo Accords were claimed to be the first step towards an independent state that was supposed to be declared in 1999. But it is clear now, 25 years after the famous hand shake on the White House lawn, that no state in the short run will be established because of the mere fact that Oslo simply ignored the existence of the Palestinian people as a people. And yet, to claim that ‘Oslo’ was a great missed opportunity and ‘breakthrough’, and that the so-called ‘peace process’ was on track until the Palestinians blew it is a deliberate distortion of reality claimed in order to prepare Palestinians for more concessions.

Real comprehensive peace was not created in Oslo and Washington; rather what was created is an American/Israeli plan to resolve the conflict after the destruction of Iraq and the collapse of the Soviet Union and their attempt to construct a “new Middle East”—to use Shimon Perez’s words–a Middle East characterized by Imperialist-Zionist hegemony and supported by despotic regimes whose security can only be guaranteed if they normalize with Israel. In fact, the Oslo Accords were born dead because it did not guarantee the minimum national and political rights of the Palestinian people, as the late Edward Said argued very eloquently.

All these accords have led to is the creation of a limited “administrative autonomy” in the Gaza Strip and some parts of the West Bank. A third of the native population was given “the right” to form an authority that they could call “national.” It has now become very obvious that despite the famous handshakes on the White House lawn, and the optimistic talk of the ‘New Middle East,’ these accords, in contradistinction with UN and Security Council resolutions, have not guaranteed the establishment of a sovereign, independent Palestinian state, or the return of the refugees, nor even the demolishing of the Jewish settlements, and compensation for those Palestinians who have lost—and still losing—their homes, lands and properties; nor the release of all political prisoners, or even the opening of all checkpoints…etc.

Instead, what has been created in parts of the West Bank and Gaza is an apartheid-type Bantustan endorsed by the international community. What has been created is literally two different worlds, both of which have been led by undemocratic institutions, many security apparatuses, Third Worldish courts, corruption, mismanagement, inefficiency and nepotism—to mention but few (neo)colonial qualities. Fanon must be turning in his grave!

Israel– a settler-colonial state—has always hoped to move into a new stage; a stage that requires the formation of  a ‘new consciousness’ amongst colonized Palestinians. Herein lies the danger of Oslo — Osloization, within this Zionist context, means the creation of a new paradigm through which you wash out the consciousness of your supposed enemy-the ‘Other’-and replace it with a one-dimensional mentality, through the construction of a fiction (two states for two peoples) whose end is unattainable.

Put differently, to aim at creating the two-state Palestinian is to aim at creating false consciousness led by assimilated intelligentsia, some of whom have a revolutionary past record. Singing the slogans of “the two state solution,” “two states for two peoples,” “return to the 1967 borders,”–or even “a long-term Hudna” (as proposed by Hamas) — is intended to guarantee the subordination and conformity of the Palestinian. Gone are the right of return of 6 million refugees and their compensation, and the national and cultural rights of the indigenous population of Palestine 1948.

This goal, however, never sees the antithesis it creates as a result of displacement, exploitation, and oppression; it ignores the revolutionary consciousness that has been formulated throughout the different phases of the Palestinian struggle. Nor does it take into account the legacy of civil and political resistance that has become a trademark of the Palestinian struggle. Hence the need for formulating alternative politics.

The tribal chiefs of the South African Bantustans used to believe that they were the heads of independent states. Luckily, the ANC, despite its many compromises with the National Party, had never accepted the idea of separation and Bantustans. The official Palestinian leadership on the other hand, after the collapse of South African apartheid, boasts of having laid the foundation for a Bantustan, claiming it to be an independent state in the make. As Biko would have argued, for Zionism’s continued presence in Palestine, the ‘Other’ must be assimilated and enslaved without her/ him being conscious of her/his enslavement. Hence the granting of ‘semi-autonomous’ rule over the most crowded Palestinian cities, and hence the logic driving the Oslo Accords.

The lesson we learn from Gaza 2009, 2012, 2014, The Great March of Return and the BDS movement is to harness all efforts to fight the outcome of the Oslo Accords, and to form a United Front on a platform of resistance and reforms. This cannot be achieved without dismantling the PA and realizing that ministries, premierships, and presidencies in Gaza and Ramalah are a façade not unlike the South African Independent Homelands with their tribal chiefs. The classical national program, created and adopted by the Palestinian bourgeoisie has reached its end.

Hence the necessity for a new vision, and alternative paradigm that divorces itself from the fiction of the two-prison solution, a paradigm that takes the sacrifices of the people of Gaza as a turning point in the struggle for liberation, one that builds on the growing global anti-apartheid movement. This is how we, Palestinians, with painful slowness are now beginning to show signs that it is our right and duty to respond to the Israeli kick in the way we see fit.

Haidar Eid

Haidar Eid is Associate Professor of Postcolonial and Postmodern Literature at Gaza's al-Aqsa University. He has written widely on the Arab-Israeli conflict, including articles published at Znet, Electronic Intifada, Palestine Chronicle, and Open Democracy. He has published papers on cultural Studies and literature in a number of journals, including Nebula, Journal of American Studies in Turkey, Cultural Logic, and the Journal of Comparative Literature.

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12 Responses

  1. Ossinev on December 17, 2018, 1:43 pm

    Excellent dawning reality check. All that is needed to seriously kick start the demise of the two state solution sham is the demise of the Vichy PA Apparatchiks.

    Tick tick

  2. JaapBo on December 17, 2018, 4:34 pm

    Very good observations!

    The two-state solution is a dead track anyway, that’s clear, but it will take a long long time before the general public will realize this. Therefore it’s better to finish it off soon.

    We need a new vision: full equality of Jews and Palestinians!

    • JaapBo on December 18, 2018, 2:48 am

      On the other hand, there are some arguments for two states:
      – the “Jewish right of self-determination” is endorsed by various international organisations (I believe also the UN), as is, by the way, the “Palestinian right of self-determination”. Demanding one state goes against this
      – the real problem is not that Israel is Jewish, but that it is racist. Palestinians and their supporters should demand an end to a racist Israel, but not necessarily to a Jewish Israel. Even if all refugees return, there can still remain a Jewish state (although much smaller than current Israel)
      – Demanding an end to a Jewish state is, as such, not something that will generate international support; demanding full equality and an end to racism is

      Eid is right that the two-state solution envisioned by Left-wing Zionists is a legitimisation of racism and Apartheid, but a two-state solution combined with a refugees return, full equality in both states, and full equality of the two states is also a good, just solution.

      Perhaps, for the time being, the BDS strategy of keeping both options open is the best. Focus on justice and equality as just demands. But it does no harm to point out the Apartheid-character of the Israeli vision of two states of which one is a bantustan.

      • eljay on December 18, 2018, 10:22 am

        || JaapBo: … – the “Jewish right of self-determination” is endorsed by various international organisations (I believe also the UN), as is, by the way, the “Palestinian right of self-determination”. … ||

        Self-determination belongs to the people of a geographic region. Palestine is a geographic region. Jewish is not.

        || … – the real problem is not that Israel is Jewish, but that it is racist. … ||

        The problem is that Israel exists as a “Jewish State”, a religion-supremacist construct primarily of and for Jewish Israelis and non-Israeli Jews.

        Israel should be an Israeli state of and for Jewish and non-Jewish Israelis (living in and up to n-generations removed from it).

        || … Palestinians and their supporters should demand an end to a racist Israel, but not necessarily to a Jewish Israel. … ||

        Demanding an end to “racist Israel” is the same thing as demanding an end to religion-supremacist “Jewish State”. Zionists will have none of that.

      • Mooser on December 18, 2018, 12:20 pm

        “JaapBo”, what is a “Jewish State”?

      • JaapBo on December 18, 2018, 4:44 pm

        @Eljay, @Mooser

        For clarity:
        In the above Israel as a “Jewish state” is meant as the equivalent of e.g. The Netherlands as a “christian state”, i.e. a state in which the majority is either religiously Jewish/christian or secular descendant of religious Jews/christians, but also a state that has laws against discrimination and a state without privileges for Jews/christians.

        Currently, I would say Israel is a Zionist state (a racist state) that calls itself a Jewish state

      • eljay on December 18, 2018, 6:22 pm

        || JaapBo: @Eljay, @Mooser

        For clarity:
        In the above Israel as a “Jewish state” is meant as the equivalent of e.g. The Netherlands as a “christian state”, i.e. a state in which the majority is either religiously Jewish/christian or secular descendant of religious Jews/christians, but also a state that has laws against discrimination and a state without privileges for Jews/christians. … ||

        Curious: What happens to Israel’s “Jewish State” status if/when non-Jews become the majority?

      • JaapBo on December 19, 2018, 1:57 am

        @Eljay
        The same as when The Netherlands loses its “christian” majority: nothing special

      • eljay on December 19, 2018, 7:40 am

        || JaapBo: @Eljay
        The same as when The Netherlands loses its “christian” majority: nothing special ||

        If…
        – today it doesn’t guarantee Jewish supremacism in Israel; and
        – tomorrow it becomes the laughable (and/or offensive) informal title of a predominantly non-Jewish state,
        …I honestly don’t see the point of referring to Israel as a “Jewish State”.

  3. jaspeace2day on December 17, 2018, 7:05 pm

    Calls have poured in, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi still hasn’t committed to stopping the Israel Anti-Boycott Act from being snuck into a year-end, must-pass appropriations bill.

    Negotiations are still going on, so we are asking you to pick up the phone right now and call Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at (202) 225-0100 to tell her not to include the Israel Anti-Boycott Act in the budget.

    According to the ACLU, this draconian law would violate our First Amendment right to boycott and could be used to impose criminal penalties on individuals who support some boycotts of Israel for Palestinian rights.

    This bill is so clearly unconstitutional that even an internal memo by ADL staff called this and other anti-BDS laws “unconstitutional” and “bad for the Jewish community.”

    The Israel Anti-Boycott Act has been one of AIPAC’s top legislative priorities for the past two years. But, with your help and our partners, we’ve been able to stop AIPAC and the ADL from passing the act through an open vote.

    That’s why they’re trying to sneak it in the backdoor, before the current Congress adjourns and a more progressive Congress is sworn in next month.

    Can you pick up the phone right now and call Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at (202) 225-0100 to tell her not to include the Israel Anti-Boycott Act in the budget? She’s part of the small group of top Congressional leaders that is meeting behind closed doors to decide what gets into the final version of this year’s budget.

    Your Voice Matters.

    Here is a sample script, but feel free to use your own words!:

    Hi, my name is ___ from City, State and I am calling to urge Leader Pelosi to make sure that the Israel Anti-Boycott Act is not included in the omnibus budget bill. This bill can be used to criminalize individuals who support human rights and equality for Palestinians by engaging in boycotts of Israel. The ACLU has said that this bill is a violation of our First Amendment right to boycott for social change. It should not be included in the budget. Thank you for passing on my views to Leader Pelosi.

    Again, you can call her at the Office of the Democratic Leader: (202) 225-0100.

    Can’t get through to leave a message? Send her an email here.

    No matter what happens, the fact they’re trying to sneak this through shows our growing strength. It’s clearer than ever that the movement for freedom, justice and equality for Palestinians is gaining in strength, with corporations like Airbnb getting out of the settlements and U.S. law enforcement canceling free trips to Israel for police exchanges. And we’re not going to stop using our right to boycott until Palestinians have human rights.

    Momentum and strong partners like the ACLU are on our side, but we have to act fast. Call Leader Pelosi, show AIPAC and leaders in Congress that we’re not going to let up in our fight for the right to support justice and human rights for Palestinians.

    Thanks for all that you do,

    Michael Deheeger
    Congressional Organizer

  4. Misterioso on December 18, 2018, 11:07 am

    In the long run, while it may be preceded by two states, both peoples will eventually realize that one state will best serve their common interests.

  5. echinococcus on December 19, 2018, 8:01 am

    both peoples will eventually realize that one state will best serve their common interests

    There you guys go again, speaking for the Palestinians and giving away their rights!

    Which goddam “both peoples”? Peddling the Zionist legend of an invader “people” again? Invaders are invaders and have strictly no rights, not even the right to be there, unless formally authorized by a valid, unconstrained, full plebiscite of the Palestinian people.

    Repeat: invaders (including the offspring thereof) are not a “people” with any say over Palestine. They have no “common interests” with the Palestinians but opposite interests.

    Until one of you guys finally makes a valid argument to counter this, you may want to moderate your voluntary help to Zionist propaganda.

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