In a ceremonious announcement -yet a showing off phone conference- last month between United States President Donal Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu & Sudanese Prime minister Abdalla Hamdok; the known secret became a fact. Israel & Sudan to normalise their relationships and end their verbal enmity that lasted more than 60 years.
Sudanese Israeli normalisation was not the question, never been, at least since the Emirati shock; the juggle was “when, not if” and this, of course, includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar & Oman & other countries on the waiting list. In contrast, Palestinian backlash didn’t pass the regular irrational nervous breakdown of state-sponsored shy sit-ins and TV interviews blaming UAE for backstabbing and treason of the long-lasting covenant in Khartoum in 1967.
Little I believe in the Israeli annexation as a potential act; it was controlled chaos, an atomic bubble that was created to pave the way for a hero to come from the shadows to burst it and then gain momentum out of it. Theoretically, this was meant to be a momentum but ended up being a trap. The annexation would remain as a joker card in the Israeli pocket to embarrass those who propagated halting it as a landslide victory and this time whoever brought the genie, might not be able to dismiss it.
It was worth monitoring how Palestinian factions came together and united their national political front for the first time since the civil war in Gaza in 2007. Still, this time as the traditional fundraisers “Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates” took an unusual exit on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict highway, exit 2020 normalisation, Hamas & Fateh sought Turkey & Qatar to sponsor their freshest episode of “Friends or Foes”. The paradox here is that Doha & its close friends in Ankara are the very close friends of Tel Aviv, way more intimate than the new Israeli friends in the Gulf. But the Palestinians had to show any sign of life, any political reaction even if it was a complete disaster, as usual, Arafat’s legacy never died.
One can’t miss the fact that Qatar & Turkey front turned favourable to the new political unity in Palestine; only because Hamas now is the decision-maker after the divorce between the PLO and its allies in the wealthy Gulf monarchies. The PLO was also facing for the first time a severe pressure from the EU to admit the tax revenues from Israel; Brussels harsh response came after the PLO’s calls for loans from the EU.
As the breaking News of the Emirati-Israeli deal was circulating the news, I was scrolling down and up on social media, calling friends, colleagues and those who I know in Gaza, West Bank and the diaspora. Palestinians seemed to be less offended than they should be. After a typical session of cursing the traitors in the Gulf and a very shy pointing at Sudan for abandoning the cause, they pause for minutes trying to find an answer to my only question;
-Didn’t you see it coming?
- Yes we did, but we all thought it would be Oman or Mauritania! Just a single deal, not a race towards Israel.
Reality says “When you see something coming, you visit the indicators, the movement in the stagnant water over time”. However, their thoughts seemed to normalise the idea normalisation in their daily life and future resistance. For a nation third of it living in the diaspora, the other third is living in a cage,, and the last third is living under occupation; normalisation of the forthcoming reality forces you to accept it; however, you still need to react -helplessly- to show any sign of life. Palestinians and their political factions knew that their responses wouldn’t change what they could have changed 40 years ago. They witnessed their cause slipping through their fingers, thrown like a ball from one side to the other, from one faction to the other and from one fundraiser to another. They did nothing but erupting a civil war, halting their resistance, decreasing their legitimate demands and killing any hope of a better future by being divided and weak.
Looking at it from a bird’s eye, the recent rush towards normalisation amid the Arab countries & Israel is not exactly breaking any eggs; it’s the omelette of the already broken eggs, a way of benefiting from the secret relationships that lived under the table for decades. Moreover, it was just enhancing these relationships from a known secret into a media propaganda that came with a price; unlocking the gates of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, United States. The Republican White House.
Undoubtedly, If the Palestinian leadership couldn’t comprehend the sidelining of their cause over the last 40 years, then there is a severe political problem of vision, political readings, strategy & planning. And if the leadership couldn’t notice & change the shift that took 40 years in the making; they are not only incapable of leading the mass, they are also responsible for this severe loss. This political blindness will surround the Palestinians by the new Arab normal that they have no other option, but accepting it; Israel is no longer a foe, and you’re no longer our friends.
The Broken Eggs:
1- Socialism Vs Capitalism
History is past, but as Arabs are very nostalgic and they live in their past more than their present; they get stuck there,, and one of their common curses is that time stopped somewhere in the 1980s’.It should be noted that Arabs during the surge of Arab-Socialism didn’t rise to the fight for Palestine just because it was a fair struggle against occupation, displacement and mass killing; It’s more of a political than a humanitarian statement. A political statement fueled by the ideas of the communist soviet union, Guevara’s brand and the struggle of the proletariat versus bourgeoisie, the labours against capitalism. Palestinian front for the liberation of Palestine PFLP, for example. Fateh’s most stubborn competitor inside the PLO until 1994, reflected that struggle in its fashion, Hijacking the wealthy west planes, blow them up, but not the passengers to attract attention to the Palestinian cause and to create damage, but not shedding blood. That communist spirit was welcomed in Iraq, Syria, Yemen & western Germany where the PFLP enjoyed military training, free passage, access to forged passports & ID and access to explosives. Meanwhile, the same communist blood that ran in the Arab world was its ventilator to continue the struggle.
Certainly, The collapse of the soviet union in 1991 drew an end to that approach, not because the USSR was funding the PFLP and then they went broke, it was the idea that became irrelevant as its origin in Moscow. When PFLP rose to the occasion again, it was during the 2nd Intifada, the 17th of October 2001 only when they assassinated Israeli minister Rehavam Zeevi as a revenge for the death of Abu Ali Mustapha in his office in Ramallah. Apart from this heavily priced operation that smashed the rest of the PFLP legacy- the communism versus capitalism was silent, undoubtedly dead. Arafat himself couldn’t bear the pressure and was forced to create a theatrical court during his siege in El Mukataa in Ramallah to sentence those who assassinated the Israeli ex-minister, Arafat wanted an exit and PFLP had no weight to be considered in that fight.
2- Bilateral Secret Deals
It’s hard to say; the PLO didn’t see normalisation coming, it’s even harder to deny that they didn’t seek a deal with the United States (The evil in their perspective in the 1970s’) at the peak of their resistance in Beirut. In the 1970s’ Arafat’s “Force 17” was protecting the American Embassy in Beirut as per the deal verbally sealed between Ali Hassan Salameh and Robert Ames a CIA top agent in Beirut station in exchange for a podium in langley for the PLO & a trip to Walt Disney for Georgina Rizk. Arafat, also, sent several messages to the CIA during the Yom Kippur War assuring them that the PLO won’t lit another front against Israel from Lebanon in addition to the Syrian army in Golan and Egyptian Army in Sinai. The Americans valued the unrequested offer & thanked him in a written letter (This will not go unnoticed). As Arafat juggled the Palestinian interests wherever he thought right, he was mostly wrong and never paid any price for these mistakes until his siege in Ramallah in 2002.
In Jordan he wanted to be the king, in Lebanon, the saint, in Ramallah, he played the carrot and the stick in politics with Israel by formulating the second Intifada and turning a blind eye on Hamas military rise meanwhile keeping the negotiation channels active. That was a horrible formula to cure the deep wound, and for that, he paid its fat cheque, his life.
Off the top of my head: I recall Turkey-Israel 1949, PLO-CIA 1975, Bashir Gemayel-Sharon 1982, PLO-Israel 1993, Jordan-Israel 1994 (secretly since 1968), Qatar-Israel 1996, Morocco-Israel since forever, Mauritania-Israel 1999, Kurds-Israel 1995…and I can’t help it, how Palestinians didn’t see mass normalisation coming?
The catch here is that the PLO initiated the normalisation, fed that wolf. However, it wanted to keep the leash in its grasp. That strategy worked when the Palestinian political house was one, under one roof with firm demands, and enjoying Pan-Arab support, International support and most the crucial support: the Palestinians themselves. The leash is now tied to the tree, and the wolf is at large.
3- Palestinian Identity
”The greatness of this revolution is that it is not a rifle; if it were only a rifle, it would have been a bandit. But, it’s a poet’s poem, an artist’s brush, a writer’s pen, a surgeon’s scalpel and a needle for a girl stitching the shirt of her fedayeen and her husband.” Yasser Arafat, 1983 in Tunisia interrupting Mahmoud Darwich’s most sacred poem Praise of the Highest Shadow. The PLO knew that any struggle without a stable identity is a lost battle, that’s why they invested systematically in the Palestinian identity which didn’t exist on a patriotic level before the creation of the state of Israel. Poems, Dabkeh, gender equality Yarghul & Kofyeh the cultural pillars of that identity that they fought to preserve. Seventy years of struggle shaken the house and cracked the wedges. Palestinian poems almost died by the death of Mahmoud Darwish. Indeed they were sung during his life and after his death. Still, even Darwich and his Rita were a propaganda story; while he was asking Palestinians to die for Palestine, he was still in love with the occupier. He romanticised his tale that Palestinians thought of Rita as a beautiful Palestinian girl from Hebron.
Notwithstanding, Dabkeh still fighting for its life, gender equality is a slogan with few women in positions here and there (the gender quota). The Kofyeh became a symbol of anarchism in violence or peace, even recently it became a fashion trend. The Palestinian struggle for the lines of 1967 is now hijacked by cash calls for Hamas from its deep pockets in Doha or on the other side its the traditional corruption of the PLO and the lack of real leadership in Ramallah.
The Arabs sold us, the Palestinians said. While the PLO was fighting Israel, it was also fighting on another front, Arab-Imperialism. The revolutionary spirit the PLO was spreading like wildfire all over the middle east and found allies, voices and podiums in Cairo, Baghdad, Beirut & Damascus. However, these were only 4 out of 21 Arab capitals and only four capitals of Limited income and resources against the super-wealthy Americanised monarchy regimes in the Arabian Gulf. A complicated equation, as the PLO, ought to spread the revolutionary breeze all over the Arab countries, yet they have to keep flirting with the monarchies to support its mission financially & diplomatically in fighting Israel, that was not leisurely political picnic.
PLO had two options; the first is to encourage local revolutions against the wealthy regimes in the Arabian Gulf, and if that worked then the new rebel regime would support the Palestinian cause naturally & align politically with the anti-imperialist movement. However, the 2nd option was creating public hatred towards these regimes & myths of how they as pro-imperialism helped or were the reasons of why Palestine is occupied. Well, They jumbled the two options, and the result was catastrophic.
Echoing since the 60s’ until today, the Spirit of “They sold us.” was stories and legacies generations of Palestinians passed one to another, these narratives that never ended made the Palestinians feel superiors & betrayed way before August 2020. It’s also worth mentioning that the Palestinians enjoyed a special status in the Gulf; the societies & the governments appreciated them as the ones who can cure, build and educate. That respect during the absence of a highly educated gulf society made the Palestinians closer to the ruling circles, made them influencers and also business pioneers, still, they felt superior, and they considered the wealth in the Gulf as their fundamental right. Generation after generation passed stories of favouritism of Palestinians over gulf locals & now they are used in the propaganda campaigns on social media to demean the Palestinians. Not only because the Twitter community wants to frame them as unfaithful towards the special status they were given, but also to isolate any possible sense of solidarity with them and that as a strategy what makes Saudi normalisation with Israel a matter of time.
The Palestinians sold their land, The Arabs said. Meanwhile in the Gulf, during the 1970s’ as a countermeasure, the political system started generating its myths about Palestinians too. Unofficial verbal campaigns that circulated stories of how the Palestinians sold their land to the jews, how cowards they are to flee their homeland and how unfaithful they’re for whatever the Gulf monarchies offered them. As Palestinians were close to the ruling circles & maintained high positions in the societies, municipalities and governments; this favouritism generated hatred from the local communities against them as I mentioned previously.
Until 2005, Palestinians enjoyed a global immunity that assisted them in their mission of having a sovereign state in Gaza strip & west bank, this immunity came with respect and appreciation for their long struggle regardless of their catastrophic mistakes globally, regionally and domestically. But, as Israel was preparing for the unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza strip, another issue was growing like small cancer cells in the society, the flood of weapons. Israel withdrew from the strip leaving behind a generation that knew nothing, but guns, almost half a million Kalashnikovs, tons of bullets and a fractured Palestinian authority, 15 Palestinian militia and a tired economy. Hamas was the major player in Gaza strip; it had the most advanced weapons, better-trained soldiers and before all the society usually respects the resistance for its patriotic moments. Hamas soaked all this support and was ready to transform itself into a legitimate force, not by weapon this time, but elections.
25th of January 2006, Palestinians voted, EU monitored, Fateh lost, Hamas won, No surprises.
Undoubtedly a democratic election that brought Hamas to the Palestinian authority, no asking for a crack of bread, but the majority seats. Hamas & its affiliated Islamic Sunni movements saw in this shift long-waited dawn of the Muslim Brotherhood rise to the power.
Democracy only works if you know how to play it, Hamas thought just because they’re democratically elected this means the world will accept them in a heartbeat. Now the doors are wide open to welcome their representatives, Well, it didn’t work this way, and democracy shut its doors in their faces, democracy doesn’t work that way. Faced with fierce rejection from the United States and Israel & latter threatened to cut cooperation with the Palestinian Authority if Hamas gets involved. Hamas shifted its attention to plan B, The only thing they know how to do, fight. This time at the end of their rifles the target was Palestinian. By June 2007, the Gaza Strip fell in the hands of Hamas after a fierce fight in Gaza City, as there was no real fight in the other cities apart from one military camp in the north and one in Khan Younis. Gaza Strip was not the only thing Hamas shattered in 5 days. Hamas take over destroyed the remains of any respect the Palestinians managed to preserve in the world, Hamas willingly crashed the Palestinian political decision. It forced itself and another 2 million Palestinians into a cage inside a bottle. Arab regimes, all of them apart from Sudan, had problems with the rise of the Muslim brotherhood and what Hamas did, cemented their impressions.
Because of Hamas, Palestinian national demands shrunk from 1967 borders, east Jerusalem as a capital and the return of the refugees; into Appeals for Rafah border to open & appeals for Palestinian unity. Israel, on the other side of the border with Hamas, was the winner of this dividedness in the Palestinian house and issued a parking ticket for the political negotiations with the PLO. I’m not saying if Hamas take over didn’t happen the Palestinians by now would have their independent state, capital in east Jerusalem and airport. Still, at least their struggle would have remained united.
4- Anti-Colonialism & 5- Pan-Arabism
“Arabs are an acoustic phenomenon.” Abdullah al-Qasemi
The rise of Gamal Abdel Nasser as an Arab leader who can defeat colonisation & free the Arabs from their chains as he did in Algeria & his own country Egypt before that, the idea lived with him and died with him. What Abdel Nasser accomplished during his life by diplomacy and force was turning the Palestinian cause from a nearby country into a Pan-Arab cause. His efforts were much crushed twice in 1948 & again in 1967, once as a soldier and the second as a leader.
Later on, Saddam Hussien & Hafez Al Asad jumped in the Pan-Arab raft to conquer the significant space Nasser has left behind after his death. Both as unmerciful rulers of their countries through the Ba’ath Party, the stolen treasure of Michel Aflaq, managed to slay the idea of Pan-Arabism by associating it to brutality, authoritarianism, assassinations and oppression. Today in 2020, they’re all extinct along with their ideologies.
6- Tribal Unity
For thousands of years, Arabs became a mixture of tribes and clans that came together through marriages, invasions, slavery & immigrations. They share traditions, a language & religion; yet they differ in their applications, accents and heritage. Still, they share a simple rule “I & my brother against my cousin & I and my cousin against the stranger.”, also “I stand by my brother, oppressor or oppressed.”, these two sayings summerise 50 years of Arab support for the Palestinians. In that norm of manhood, one to remember Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, ruler of United Arab Emirates 1971–2004 and the way he performed in politics. A humble bedouin man who managed to unite the trucial states (Excluding Bahrain & Qatar) in a country that before it’s creation was playing a strategical role of solidarity with the Palestinian cause. Zayed, as the tale tells, surrounded himself with Palestinians who their grandsons and daughters are now Emirati ambassadors all over the world.
Sheikh Zayed supported the cause financially and diplomatically without preconditions, even when the PLO and Arafat took Saddam’s side during Kuwait’s invasion. Still, nothing stays as it’s forever, nor the goodman in Abu Dhabi who prioritised brotherhood over politics. Zayed’s death in 2004 made his sons Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ruler of the seven emirates and Mohamed Bin Zayed, the de-facto ruler of the new Middle East.
MBZ In contrast to his father, plays politics, politics and diplomacy that help in retaining his country’s position in the Arab world. As the Emirati kids were growing and leaving their primary cacoon through western education & ideologies, they started taking over from the other nationalities that surrounded Sheikh Zayed & influenced the political decisions of the UAE. MBZ couldn’t do it alone, he and his generation of well-educated Emirati who most of them studied abroad who were soaked to the skin by the western ideas of Business is Business made that change happen in business and politics.
In contrast to his father Sheikh Zayed, MBZ didn’t spread the wealth UAE for the well-being of the Arabs only, he did share the wealth, but it’s conditional to matching his political philosophies. These philosophies took their shape when he was a waiter in Morocco when his father sent him abroad under a fake name & ID to be the man he wanted him to be, to start from zero before becoming a hero. MBZ’s ideology is of three pillars; defeating political Islam, countering the rebellious spirit that destabilised the Middle East since 2011 and posed a significant threat to the monarchies in the Gulf and the third pillar was the end of the Carte-Blanche diplomacy.
7- Anti-US Backed countries. The rise of the Shia.
1st of February 1979, Air France Boeing 747 flight #AF 4721 lands in Tehran, and Ruhollah Khomeini descended the stairs of the flight that returned him as a king after 14 years in exile he spent in Iraq, Turkey and France. That famous scene of Air France started a new era in the Middle East. Little he knew as here died ten years later that his country will lead the destabilization of the region and change its boundaries forever. As he witnessed the rise of Islamic shia domination in Lebanon represented in Hezbollah, Khomeini died before seeing what his country did to its bitter-sweet neighbour Iraq.
The Islamic revolution in Iran didn’t want only to change the regime in Iran and throw the shah; it wanted its idea to spread far away from its boundaries and especially to its 1400 years old nemesis, Saudi Arabia. Sure the rulers of the gulf didn’t swallow Khomeini’s rise that easily, they knew that hard days are to follow and since they didn’t have the means to defend themselves they found in Saddam Housien the perfect man to wage that war and themselves to fuel it. Meanwhile, on the Palestinian front, it took Yasser Arafat 18 days to land in Tehran congratulating the Iranians on their revolution. Arafat’s speech in Tehran said it all “We will continue our efforts until the time we defeat Zionism and Imperialism”, he said. His speech came as he officially took over the former Israeli diplomatic mission on Teheran, proclaiming it the Iranian office of the PLO.
Upon his return to Beirut, Arafat and his PLO assisted the creation of Hezbollah, as some may not know, at that time in the 80s’ Syria was of significant opposition to the idea of Hezbollah and they maintained a long time hostility. One of Hezbollah famous military leaders Haj Imad Mughniye was a Fateh member, he wasn’t an ordinary player. However, as he was a founding member of Fateh’s Force 17 (Named after house number 17 in Al Fakahani), Time passed by. Mughniye’s interests in Fateh started fading; he learnt what he could during his time and Fateh. It was time to co-create what he believed in, a Shiite resistance. What helped him and helped Hezbollah at that time was the absence of Fateh from the Lebanese scene, after their departure in 1982, Hezbollah took its place in the Lebanese scene, and indirectly Mughniye harmed the PLO and Arafat as no one could have imagined. On April 18, 1983, Hezbollah bombed the American embassy in Beirut, killing several Americans and Lebanese but most important they killed Robert Ames. This single thread was connecting the PLO to the American administration.
Ten years later, Arafat and his PLO were packing their languages for the third time in less than 30 years. This time in Tunisia and preparing for their eternal return to Palestine, and ten years later in Lebanon, Hezbollah became god’s hand in defending the Lebanese people from the invincible army in the south of Lebanon. Still, as per Khomeini’s visions, they as a resistance movement they were obliged to spread the revolutionary spirit, and it was about time until Hezbollah and Hamas weld their commitment to each other, somewhere in Marj El Zuhour.
By Exiling 415 Palestinian from the Islamic movements to Marj El Zuhour in Lebanon, Israel thought of expelling them to silence the internal front due to the rise of military operations against the Israeli occupation of Gaza Strip and the west bank. What Israel missed (or maybe not) that it was upgrading Hamas from a local Islamic movement with no regional support into an International Islamic movement that later on will end up being one of it’s worst nightmares. Also one of Arafat’s first obstacles upon establishing the Palestinian Authority in Gaza strip and the West Bank
The rise of Pan-Islamic unity right after Al Mujaheedn’s victories in Afghanistan was to take two shapes as any other reformation after a brutal victory. One walks steadily towards turning the military victory into a political campaign using the popular base that was seeded and watered during the days of glory. The 2nd walks even steadier towards more blood, Hamas was neither nor, they were in their baby steps, Hamas was only six years old and wanted to learn more about weapons and explosives instead of knife attacks.
The same PLO that supported and trained Shia militia in Lebanon won’t do this for Hamas this time. The PLO is now turning into a typical Arab regime that has to crush it’s opponents (Also as agreed in Oslo), and Hamas was the real threat, nothing freaks national movements more than a religious competitor. As PLO wasn’t an option, Hezbollah rose to the occasion, and the rest is history.
In life, you don’t get stuff for free, the same in politics. Hamas was ready to pay the price for its glory, they were willing to stand by Iran once requested, and the shift was dramatic. Any youngster who lived in Gaza between 2002 and 2009 might remember the CD & books kiosk in front of The Islamic University in Gaza city. just passing by this shop one would notice unfamiliar faces like “Khattab” , Abduallah Azzam and many others Mujahideen. But what will catch your attention and your listening senses is the Imam’s voice coming from the cassette player as he is encouraging Al Ummah to remember how the Shiaa killed the Sunni and how they curse Asahaba in their gatherings. This kind of Islamic Sunni cassettes was all over the middle east during the 1980s’ and 90s’, the authoritarian regimes never stopped it because it worked perfectly with their policies in raging an Islamic Sunni war against the Shia. The war that was funded by Saudi Arabia and encouraged by most of the Arab countries, that rise if the Islamic Jihad after Afghanistan what made Hamas ready for its military upgrade.
Sooner, Hams learnt how to fuse bombs and to create violence that in the Arab societies was the solemn Jihad against the infidels and the jews. As Hezbollah used its Jihad legacy in joining the political ecosystem in Lebanon after the assassination of Rafiq Al Hariri, Hamas did it, in its fashion, they took over power by power. The unfulfilled wish of Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Student, overtook the master.
8- PLO Dominance
Black September’s operations caught attention since their first bullet that assassinated Wasfi El Tal Jordan’s prime minister in Cairo 1971, the global support for the Palestinian cause supported the group in its operations until Munich attack when they lost it all. If we list their operations, they can’t be compared by quantity to any other Guirella work, as they were active only for eight years 1971–1979 they managed to reach territories beyond their expected size. 1971 assassinating Wasfi Al Tal. 1972 assassinating attempt of Zeid El Rifai Jordan’s Ambassador in London, Revenstien in Germany, Belgian flight 572, Letter bombs to Israeli interests in London and1972 Munich attacks. 1973 The Attack on the Saudi embassy in Khartoum, Exposing Mossad’s network in Europe, especially Madrid, NY bomb plot, Cyprus attack and Athens airport attack. Then, 1974 Casablanca attack & 1981 Antwerp synagogue attack. All these attacks were of a significant number for an ideological armed group that represented 10 million people. Black September used that reputation as a scarecrow against the Arabs who do not align fully with the PLO interests, not the Palestinian cause.
There was a time when Palestinian writers, philosophers and poets were the lighthouse of the Pan-Arab literature enlightenment. Palestinian books were in every house, their words echoed through workshops to demonstrations, and their lyrics became the essential national anthem that gathers Arabs during patriotic moments “Mawtini”, But that time is far gone. Palestinians now have no public figures, no torch to follow in their political darkness; the poems they know are now irrelative, the songs expired, and no one writes anymore. Palestinians now don’t have a patriotic figure who leads apart from a singer who is young and distracted and a thug who runs a mercenary company.
The continuity of this Palestinian chaos and the absence of real pragmatic movement is very dangerous. Palestinian are sick of being promised milky promises, of return and a new Singapore. That everyone knows they can’t be done and reboot their struggle in modern manners and fashions the next loss, they will suffer it may finish all their dreams in having an independent country they call Palestine.
Democratic Republic of Fakahani
The emotional scenes as PLO guerillas were preparing for the last departure, little they knew that it’s the last time they would travel using fake names and forged ID and the last they would be kicked out from another Arab capital. For 13 years, Fakahani was the heart of the state within a state and the way of life the Palestine Liberation Organization had built in the city of Beirut. What defines a state? Boundaries? Fakahani had strong borders, Patrols & they printed passports, Yes Lebanese ones, but they printed them. What defines a state? A medical system? With the presence of the Palestine Red Crescent Society PCRS, Palestinians were treated for free; they had hospitals better than the Lebanese ones, they had hospitals six floors under the ground, they had a medical system with presence all over the Arab world. What defines a state? An army? An educational system? Taxes? Corruption? Aradio? The PLO had it all, apart from one thing a Clay court Tennis team. They had an army more substantial than all Lebanese militias and official army combined, they had an education system called UNRWA, and later on, one can get a scholarship abroad in Russia, West Germany, France and Even Cuba. The PLO had business projects all over the world that generated funds for the revolution and of course, wealth for the leaders. They had Banana farms, supermarkets, construction companies, and the list is endless, needless to say, that all these companies disappeared with their capitals and revenues once Arafat died.
The Diaspora is another factor of Palestinian dominance for more than 50 years, each Palestinian family that immigrated from Palestine to one of the nearby countries on its way to the new world carried its memories of the occupation, killings and a keychain to open the door when they return. These families that established themselves in the west, Latin America and the Arab world became little Palestinian ambassadors wherever they work and live; they were the engine for demonstrations supporting the Palestinian cause. They passed that heritage to their newly born babies in exile. As a crucial and well-educated workforce and a Magnette community, they became an essential gear in the dynamism of any society and with domination comes fear.
Now in 2020, the importance of the Palestinian community shrunk to almost no weight. The 3rd and 4th generations of Palestinians born abroad became less and less attached to the idea of the struggle, if mentioning Palestine is a terrorism crime, and attending a BDS protest may jeopardise your career by labelling you as anti-semitic. Moreover, once you leave the camp, you leave the cause.
Palestinians born and raised in the diaspora have different interests that those being bombed by Israeli Air Force in Gaza, or those who face hell at airports just for carrying a Laisser-passer. They share non of these sufferings; therefore, their interests differ. Indeed, they are still attached to their identity, always dreaming of visiting one day, and they change their profile pictures once Gaza is bombed, but that’s it.
The Time of the fight against colonisation is gone, all countries got liberated. The Time of struggle in the 3rd world as the unity against superpowers is gone. Some of these countries became rich and independent. The Time when Palestinian resistance was a reflection of the Irish struggle is also gone, In Dublin now they burn Palestinian flags. There was a time when postulates were before interests; this time is even gone. The rise and fall of Qatar & Turkey as radical superpowers without a united Pan-Arab resistance is also gone, look at Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Libya & Sudan.
The Time when Egypt used to decide for the Arabs is gone, Egypt is too busy trying to recover its revolution for the best. UAE & Saudi Arabia see the future of them leading the Arab world into a region where they can do business; they need fewer guns and more money, more modernisation and fewer revolutions.
Arabs are now blindly believing in the idea that Israel is one of them. A friendly neighbour that they misunderstood for 70 years, no need for shy midnight text messages, they decided to take their relationship to the world and Palestinians have no place in this new love story, no one cares about their ex’s.
Saudi Arabia is on the verge of something new, the last thread of leaders who believed in the postulates is ageing, his son, the well-known MBS, is ready to do whatever to join the new friendly middle east. In MBS’ vision, more prosperity & less blood, sure the less blood part of the equation is shaking considering the war in Yemen and Khashoggi, but Israel is no longer a foe.
It’s not a normalisation; it’s Union! One jokes about the idea of Israel joining the Arab League; this is fictional a bit as if Israel to join anything it will create its own. That would be the league of Peace and Prosperity that will overtake the Arab League to make a new form on Union, same as the European’s one, Different languages and ethnics share the same currency. The new Arab normal is to state that Israel is more reliable than the USA; they both live here, they’ve share common interests, same enemy, same waters and they are all sons of Abraham!
If Palestinians still think that just because their cause is a fair struggle, the world won’t sleep at night, they’re wrong. Not because the cause is unfair, not because they don’t deserve a country and to live in peace. It’s simply no one cares now. The world is entirely different than 20 years ago; the world will start watching again when Palestinians are a changemaker.