Friday, August 26, 2011

23rd Day: Palestine never had a revolution

This article includes some CLASSIFIED materials never published before:

Time to revolt, with a first.
I am not spreading a myth of any sort, and I am not trying to swim against the current for publicity. (I have absolutely no disciples, and I am not even using my real name). But Palestine really never had an uprising that took the shape of a real revolution.
The last time Palestinians went out in masses was in 1936 during what came to be known as the Great Arab Revolt. The revolution was one of three major revolutions that took place under the British Mandate of Palestine, The Arabs of Palestine had revolted in 1920, 1929 and in 1936. The Great Arab revolution is said to have initiated the concept of an independent Palestinian identity. This claim, if true, already dismisses the first two "revolution"- mostly riots that claimed the lives of numerous Arabs as well as local Jews (In 1929, an ancient Jewish community in Hebron was eradicated by ignorants who were never educated about the difference between colonialist Zionists, and their fellow Arabs of Jewish heritage.)

The Great Arab revolution started as diplomatic civil disobedience by an Arab elite committee which consisted mainly of affluent, westernized and privileged Arabs who pursued their demands through civil strikes and "other forms of political protest". According to sources of Wikipedia by "October 1936 this phase had been defeated by the British civil administration using a combination of political concessions, international diplomacy [...] and the threat of martial law."

From that date on, regular Palestinian peasants fully backed by the elites and urban residents carried on a violent resistance movement that targeted British forces and others accused of efforts to swamp in more European Jews who the peasants were convinced were clearly intending to take over their lands. But the revolution was crushed. It is a major disappointment to history to see a nation so eager for independence and self-determination lose ten percent of its male population to either death, injuries or exile due to a brutal British crack down on their most organized form of civil disobedience... and local Arab greed.

If Palestine was to have it's freedom, it was supposed to have happened in 1936, or 1937 at most. 

Arab Palestinian Men and Women joined the Armed Resistence
in 1936-39
In 2011, Egyptians stormed down-towns in defiance of their brutal regime. Within 18 day they toppled their government and are now slowly but surely replacing an outdated and completely rejected government with one that meets their aspirations.

In 1936-1939, Arabs of Palestine led their one and only real revolution which was succumbed with brutality and greed. On Wikipedia, a picture of Palestinian Arab nationalist intellectual Khalil al-Sakakini has a caption which claims that he "called the revolt a 'life-and-death struggle.'" If we assumed he was right, then that revolution may be the reason why until this day we have not gained any of our nationalistic aspirations.

In 2011, Egyptian revolutionaries were scared. As the riot police and the scariest of them all "Amn ad-Dawla"- the State Security Investigations Service were brutally facing the revolution at Tahrir Square and everywhere across Egypt, the young revolutionaries were making it very clear: there was no way for them to back off. It was either life or death. That was not a motto. Egyptians knew that if they backed off they will be tracked down, tortured and even killed. They knew that it would cause the revolution to fade-away and they won't know when it will be rekindled again. They knew their government will do all it could for at least the next half a century to stop any form of civil disobedience and will only grow into a more brutal regime. The choice was simple: You either die as a martyr inside of Tahrir Square and hope that those who remain get a  better future, or you die somewhere underground, tortured and deprived of humanity, while others still live under the same violent system you tried to overcome.

The Arab revolution of 1936 had only one minuscule success: It is attributed to the birth of a Palestinian identity, one that was unique to those who were part of the revolution, and all of us who came afterwards.

But the revolution failed. Thus, the majority of its demands faded as soon as it was gone, and those who won got everything instead.

Go further in history to 1965. The birth of the PLO which was called a revolution. Excuse my language but if everytime its a revolution when a woman gives birth to a baby, we'll all be Che Guevaras without the cigars. The 1965 birth of the self proclaimed representative of the Palestinian people was merely an attempt to evolve the nationalist identity of Palestinians, using guns, high-jacking of airplanes, as well as other forms of terrorist activities. The PLO also embarked on an endless diplomatic cycle to further elaborate on its political aspirations.

Recognized by most Arab countries as the sole representative of the Palestinians, the PLO seesawed its nationalist aspirations according to place and time. Soon after its establishment and out of fear of being ousted by the Jordanian King they proclaimed very revolutionarily that they had no intention of taking over the West Bank, claiming that the West Bank was an integral part of the Jordanian Kingdom, its citizens fully nationalized Jordanians, and that their hopes were merely to take over the lands taken under the Zionist entity!

The revolutionary thought of the PLO did not stop there: In 1970 they attempted a coup against the king of Jordan who exiled all of them to Lebanon. Sometimes I wonder why he did not kill them all? It just looks like a well-organized plan to force Palestinians to lose their longest frontier with their enemy (Jordan has the longest borders with Israel) while keeping an establishing grass-root for a typical Arab dictatorship in a healthy ground to further sprout.

For the next 20 years, the PLO played an endless depletion war that absolutely contributed nothing to the liberation of Palestine for the years following their exile. Becoming a major part of the Lebanese civil war and fighting endlessly the wrong enemy.

Soon they were exiled. 

Sooner, Palestinians began their 1987 uprising in the West Bank and Gaza. The uprising was far from a revolution. Despite having the PLO as its primary leadership, the uprising consisted mainly of stikes, boycott actions and peaceful civil disobedience and sit-ins. The uprising was faced by heavy Israeli response against the infamous Palestinian child carrying a rock in one hand and a peace-sign in the other.

The uprising, known as the First Intifada, had no clear message to the occupier. "End the Occupation" was the vague motto which should not have been our message at that time in history specifically. It only makes me suspect that the PLO had to throw-together a "revolution" quickly before Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza started demanding equal-rights from the Israelis. Palestinians did not just suddenly evolved from demanding their entire historic homeland (which includes Israel) to suddenly demanding that Israel leaves their West Bank and Gaza. 

Why should they? In reality, the PLO was the secret hand behind the Palestinian uprising. It's already established agenda for a two-state solution which were first laid out in the early 1970s by Yasser Arafat, had to finally see the light.

Palestinians were being mocked and tricked into making dangerous demands to "end the occupation", meaning that Israel moves back to it's territories then everyone lives happily ever after.

The PLO, by the time of the 1st intifada, had not given up it's demand to act upon its name: the  Palestine Liberation Organization, was making its first concessions, but with Palestinian blood that they did not see with their own eyes.

Fast forward to post-Oslo agreement. The PLO, now represented by Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, attempted its second uprising: al-Aqsa uprising in 1996, which was a reactionary response to Israel violating the sanctity of the al-Aqsa mosque and threatening its foundations. The aprising claimed tens of lives of Palestinians but was crushed quicker than it started.

Then came Camp David. Arafat was presented with the most Israel could offer. After all, Israel thought the Palestinians were on the defeated side. Israel was the winner and was the one to make the calls.

Arafat refused becasue accepting meant Palestinians could revolt against the PLO. So it was better to delay the process, start a new uprising which demands are still as vague as ever, and waste five more years until he was gone.

In 2011 alone, Palestinian attempted and still will be attempting few "revolutions".

The first was probably the most ridiculous of all. It was a twitter and facebook advocated-for-revolution to: End the Palestinian division between Hamas and Fatah. Meaning if it got violent I'd be killed to have Hamas and Fatah officials make out and stay on their high-seats. The "revolution" also demanded new elections for the PLO's Palestinian National Council (PNC), a cowardly undercover attempt to erase the PLO's ancient status quo without appearing too direct when addressing the issue.

This so-called revolution was mostly a media-run battle that Palestinians were not part of. The few numbered Palestinians, mostly honest individuals who wanted to brainlessly participate, were about the only ones to ever be part of this "revolution". People on the streets walked past the "revolution" and never realized anything was going on.

Soonest than I thought, I met Moeen Koa, a Palestinian who worked at the Palestinian president's media desk. Koa was the least-brightest person I've met in a very long time, and with a Bachelor's and Master's degrees from some of the UK's and the US' top universities, it was shocking to see how little his knowledge in English extended.

Koa was the secret force behind the kidnapped-End the Division Facebook page, one that attracted thousands of online supporters. Later on, I secretly obtained a copy of a draft letter which he had requested its translation from a foreign source.

The document was adressed to the "Dear Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton" 
The DRAFT letter was published without any changes made to it.

"Dear Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton
The Honorable Secretary of State,

The following is our political vision:

Since we are committed to the two-state solution we look forward to restarting direct negotiations concerning the final status immediately. We are fully prepared for the prospect of amending state-borders and swapping lands as required for the interest of the future Palestinian state. We are prepared to negotiating a just solution to the issue of the Palestinian refugees and the affirmation that East Jerusalem will become the capital of the Palestinian state.
We are committed to the principles of democracy such as conducting elections, allowing for a multi-party system and guaranteeing pluralism in politics, among all other.
We are committed to direct negotiations under American auspices and we completely denounce violence.
We are committed to financial transparency through integrity, fighting corruption and the acts of good governance.
We guarantee public freedoms especially the freedom of opinion and expression.
We are committed to, and the protection of, human rights and we abide by the rule of law. Procedures Items: 1- This is a youth-driven trend that has been influenced by transformations taking place across the Arab World and utilizes the same peaceful means. We are ready to jump aboard and get out on the streets to implement peaceful demonstrations and other peaceful activities. 2- We will be working on true influence in decision-making in government institutions and regulatory frameworks. a. Item has to do with Palestinian Authority and its associated institutions
b. Item has to do with the organizational level We are looking forward towards a strategic partnership with the U.S. Administration and to further discuss the details that ensue."

After having read the letter, it was nearly impossible for me to ever trust #Mar26 movement. Plus that was the date of birth to my crazy ex, whom I don't trust either.

On June 5th, another revolution was planned. It was supposed to commemorate the Naksa or the defeat of the 1967 war. The revolution was supposed to bring Palestinians out of their coma. Alas, it failed as most Palestinians were busy with the daily routine which they have grown too used to since Fayyad decided to build an economy based on foreign aid which employs 80 percent of the working force and produces nothing in return.

The latest in these revolutions is the Olive Revolt. Using an olive tree symbol and a shade of pink both of which resemble those used at the Bank of Palestine, the Olive Revolt surely caught my attention. Reading about this revolt I realized how uneducated and what a pseudo-intellect I must be, as I simply did not get it. This time again.

Why was Egypt's revolution so successful? Why are ours so... not.

This brings us to the moral of the story which is quite simple: In Egypt, it was citizens who ran the revolution, despite being those who had access to internet, or those who did not. The motto everyone repeated and understood perfectly was "ash-Sha'b Yureed Isqat Annizam", or the people demand toppling the system.

And that they got, in 18 days. Exactly what we failed to gain in nearly 100 years of struggle, 70 out of which were nationalistic armed and/or diplomatic resistance.

We simply never had a "demand". It was always vague, or at least problematic. If we demanded ending the occupation, we are automatically recognizing the existence of Israel. If we denied Israel's existence, we embark on acts of resistance and terror. We simply never played it right.

At least two other "Revolutions" are coming our way in September. I do not place much hopes on them. One is being planned on-line with Arabs living outside of Palestine, the second will be Sulta's attempt to further-delay the real revolution from happening. Much like they did in 1987 and in 2000.
I do, however, think what we need is a revolution.

Since Palestine gave birth to its Palestinian Arab identity, it failed to produce a real revolution.

What we need now is a real revolution that comes with all the bells and whistles: a new flag, a new anthem, a real simple motto, but most importantly: people who are convinced their lives will not be wasted if they're gone. Real revolutionaries who do not aspire to aid the governing body, and a call that can never be challenged at the international level. Not as vague as previous ones but perhaps as clear as "one man, one vote, Justice an Equality for all", for instance.

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