Articles > > The world's Eyes are on the Palestinians

Articles - Addostour - Date: 2020-02-04
By: Oraib Al Rantawi

The world's eyes are on the Palestinians, waiting to see what they can do to foil the 'deal of the century' and thwart its goals.
In the background, a question constantly arises about why we are not witnessing more serious and widespread waves of popular uprisings, perhaps to the point of igniting a third intifada. Two main reasons help to explain the focus on the feeble popular resistance: The first stems from a conviction that the fortunes of the 'deal of the century' will be determined by the lines of engagement between the occupying [Israeli] newcomers and the indigenous [Palestinian] population. The second reason is evoked by [former U.S. UN ambassador] Nikki Haley's sarcastic comment that the 'sky is still up there' when the U.S. decided to move the embassy to Jerusalem. Well, the sky has not fallen this time either, so far at least.
Many suggestions have been put forward to explain the Palestinian popular resistance's atrophy, especially at a severe juncture such as the 'deal of the century.' One is that since 2005, the West Bank resistance movement's structure, framework, culture, and morale has been subject to systematic campaigns to crush and bore holes into it, carried out under direct international supervision. [U.S.] General Keith Dayton [tasked with reforming the PA's security forces after 2000] and [former UK PM] Tony Blair developed a theory or 'doctrine' for a 'new Palestinian' [pacified and cooperative with Israel] that formed the basis for the PA's security services' restructuring, a practice that went hand-in-hand with enforcing 'economic peace' on the West Bank, with its consumerist implications that leave little room for resistance, stone-throwing, and tire-burning. Among other things (or symptoms), this emptied rural areas of their populations and targeted local economic, agricultural, and vocational resistance structures – the economy of steadfastness and determination – replacing it with an inflated role for financial networks, banks, consumer loans, and other tools to subdue a generation of Palestinian youth.
Another explanation stems from the repercussions of the [Fatah/Hamas] split, turning two authorities of struggle into enforcement agencies where security concerns have encroached upon politics, and the Palestinian street has lost its ability for active independent struggle, and resistance has become costlier to the Palestinians than the Israelis. This is accompanied by the systematic breakdown of civil society organizations; the more they proliferate and their budgets grow, the more their 'resistance' function erodes.
The growing rift in trust between the political system in its institutions, factions, entities on the one hand, and the street on the other, emerges as one of the constant and key explanations for the unfortunate phenomenon of the faltering Palestinian popular movement. Nothing is changing in the Ramallah PA, and nothing points to this distorted situation being rectified in the Gaza Strip.
Another explanation suggests that the Palestinians did not feel that their daily lives were any different after the U.S. embassy move compared to before, until the deal revealed what comes next. Occupation and Israeli settlement are the only fixed feature of their daily lives. They have a feeling that will stay on their land and whatever is not restored today may be recovered tomorrow, and if they do not manage to get their independent state today, they will get a united state free of apartheid tomorrow.
But however this phenomenon may be explained, and regardless of how much each of the preceding factors contributes to creating it, one theory stands out as most significant: In the wake of the series of successive frustrations since the end of the second [2000/2005] intifada, the Palestinian street cannot be galvanized at push of a button or with a single strike of an intifada venture. However, its comeback is forthcoming, even if gradually, and could take the form of successive waves of revolution.
After all, Israel has left the Palestinians no choice but to champion their freedom or rot in the quagmire of their bondage.