Liquidation of Hamas or Termination of the Right of Return through Economy

August 4th, 2007 | Posted in Palestine, Imperialism, War and Terror
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    by Dr. Adel Samara, Kanaan Online

jerusalem-map1.jpg

Map: The Palestinian Bantustan Matrix, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

Is it right to declare a state before the state build its economy, its productive bases?

Is it possible for a huge bureaucratic apparatus to last while there is no local productive base to meet its enormous salaries and needs?

Is it possible to achieve freedom without sovereignty?

Is it possible to sustain democracy without independence?

These are the main reservations against Oslo Accords (OA), and against the recent elections of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (WBG) for the Palestinian Self- Rule (SR), in spite of its technical success.

What is really important is not the “wedding”, but whether the married couple will have any food after cutting the “wedding cake”.

In this context, an economic analysis is beneficial, albeit it disagrees with those who try to minimize the role of the economic factor, which I still believe is the determinant factor in the final analysis.

I

During the Jordanian rule, pre-1967 Zionist occupation, it was well known that the West Bank (WB) was the “food basket for Jordan”. That is why Jordan was able to export grapes, figs, olive oil and other products to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and some times even to Syria. However, this export was based on market needs, and was not a form of assistance from those Arab countries. During that period, there was no assistance to the Palestinian people from USA, Britain or any other western capitalist regime, and the NGOs did not even exist yet.

In the aftermath of the occupation of WBG (1967) by the Zionist Ashkenazi State (ZAS), a hot debate took place in Israeli cabinet as to how to deal with the WBG economy.

The ZAS war minister, Moshe Dayan suggested the integration of the WBG economy into that of the occupation pushing for a full Palestinian economic dependency on that of ZAS. Pinhas Sapir, the Israeli finance minister, on the other hand, favored a policy of open trade between two separated economies. Finally, it was Dayan’s position that was adopted.

Throughout the years, the Israeli occupation developed a plan of invisible re-structuring of the WBG economy to the extent that each economic sector and social class found itself dependent on the ZAS economy. According to this plan, more than one third of the WBG labor force would work in the ZAS economy, all exports and imports were either from that economy or through it, and as result many productive companies left the market, which was flooded with Israeli products.etc. Additionally, massive confiscation of fertile Palestinian land took place, as well as closure of vast areas of Palestinian land for so-called “security reasons”.

II

The PLO, on the other hand, failed to design and had certainly failed to implement a policy for the development policy of the Occupied WBG. In fact, the PLO was never interested in such a policy since it was a “rich” organization, enjoying large donations from Arab rulers whose goal was to contain the PLO, which will ultimately submit to the US and ZAS solution of the Arab – Zionist conflict, a goal which was finally crystallized in Oslo Accords (OA). The PLO was ignorant in the philosophy and the culture of development. It was “too busy” in political maneuvers ala Arafat style. This poverty in development was brought to the WBG when the PLO was delegated to rule there after the Oslo Accords (1993).

It should be noted that the first Intifada was a turning point. No body ever expected that it will transcend the struggle of the politicized elite to a full mass and popular participation. The leadership of PLO failed to tackle this significant development and advance it to levels of economic and cultural Intifada in parallel to the political one. In fact, this leadership decided to contain the Intifada to prevent the rise of a popular leadership from within the WBG. This was one of the main reasons why the PLO accepted the ZAS offer to lead a Self-Rule in the WBG. One of the important lessons drawn from the first Intifada was that it is impossible to fight your enemy as long as you are dependent on it.

The PA after Oslo, however, did not care to learn from this lesson. It was agreed upon between the ZAS and the western imperialisms to maintain the SR areas economically dependent on foreign sources. That is why, the ZAS minimized the number of Palestinian workers who were employed in its economy, while the US, EU and Japan “volunteered” to fill in the gap.

III

Why are western imperialists, who created and continue to arm the ZAS (including nuclear weapons), so keen to finance the Palestinian SR?

Frankly, these regimes have designed a solution to the Arab-Zionist conflict, at least since 1937, that : “Israel, even before its declared as a state, was created to be kept secured forever, and the Palestinian people be evicted from its land to be re-settled as far as possible form the borders of its native land”. In other words, this position is designed to ignore (and terminate) the Palestinian right of return (ROR).

But, how was the second aspect of this dependency plan, i.e. dependency on the West, designed?

First: the ZAS have to minimize the number of Palestinian workers employed in Israel, as a means of applying pressure on the population of the WBG and force them to be immersed in their worries of meeting the needs of their daily life and therefore, abandon political struggle. This would have been the most effective way to pass political conspiracies.

Second: Arab regimes shouldn’t donate to the Palestinians since this will fill in the gap created by the policies of the ZAS. Those regimes must follow US restrictions and directions. The goal here, of course, is to prohibit an Arab alternative to help the Palestinians.

Third: Western imperialists have to fill in that gap, but under one condition: the PLO must recognize the ZAS – Israel. That is precisely what happened. Accordingly, the assistance which poured to the SR was, in essence, is “political rent” to the Palestinian Authority (PA) for its recognition of ZAS. This assistance was never meant nor paid for the development of the PA economy. There were no signs that the donors would regulate and/or supervise the use of these funds: i.e. to insist that
they must be for development. It was a deliberate policy from the side of the donors to give the PA a free hand for corruption, so, the PA, would to stay dependent on the donors and have no other way, but to accept their position towards the solution of the conflict. The PA, one year after the other, fell into deep corruption. When several Palestinian politicians and intellectuals (myself included) issued the “Bayan el ishrin” (The Manifesto of Twenty) in November 1999 mentioning Arafat as the designer of corruption, we were jailed.

Years after that, the donors started talking about corruption, but without punishing the PA. The donors channeled more money to the PA through a “parallel body”, the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) which, in turn, became a new corrupting machine.

It is the policy of the donors to facilitate corruption as a first (and top priority) condition for dependency. And here in Palestine, corruption is necessary for achieving and implementing political dependency.

The interest of the donors, ZAS and the PA were in harmony for deepening corruption, creating a huge apparatus of employees who are dependent on the regime for their income and daily living. This was at the cost of creating productive jobs. This apparatus employs nearly 200,000 persons; more than 50,000 of them are secretly employed. As resources to support this number of employees became scarcer, the PA became more and more dependent on the donors.

IV

The PA fell into the trap, and it makes no difference whatsoever whether or not it did by mistake or deliberately – the trap and the crisis of: Rapid establishment of an authority without independence, the employment of nearly 200,000 persons in a country with poor resources and, finally, becoming totally dependent on foreign financing, this same financing which become like Damocles’ sword over the neck of the PA.

That is why it is impossible for any dependent authority to manage and rule without submitting to the political agenda of its donors. That is why the PA has to face the difficult and challenging equation: Could it, simultaneously, adhere to resistance of occupation, on the one hand, and finance most of its needs from donors who are against any form of resistance, on the other? I had continuously argued that this is impossible, at least in the era of globalization where western capitalist regimes and ruling classes insist, even if it is not declare, that there will be: “No resistance in the era of globalization”. In fact, I have raised these issues in several public gatherings in Ramallah with attended by various segments of the Palestinian public including Hamas supporters.

Here lies the danger and true role of Oslo Accords, here lies, if you will, the real meaning of Oslo, which is the termination of the ROR, albeit not written in the text of Oslo Accords (OA) themselves, or declared verbally. But, any profound reading of these accords will reveal that their content is aimed against the ROR.

V

That is why, once Hamas won the majority in the PLC elections, US, EU, ZAS and even some Arab rulers launched a political and psychological campaign against Hamas threatening to disarm it, demanding it to recognize the ZAS and to delete from its charter the destruction of the state of Israel. The statement against Hamas is clear: To receive money you have to make a declared U-Turn out of all your programs, beliefs and commitments. This is the price of dependency.

Where is the place of the ‘democratic game’ in the current Palestinian situation? Morals have no place in politics or in economic interests. It is certain that the PLC elections were the free choice of the Palestinians in the WBG. However, who dares to say that the US, EU and ZAS are ready to respect the will of the Palestinians? Western capitalist democracy actually threw a bomb over the heads of the Palestinians, essentially telling them: either you abandon your national rights or you will face famine.

Since it was expected that the PLC elections were going to be used to terminate the ROR, and because the western capitalist pressure were expected as well, the Islamic Jihad Movement, the Arab nationalist current and some socialists declared the boycott of these elections. I am, like all these people, proud to say that my thumb was not stained by the ink of these elections.

We boycotted these elections, along with nearly one fourth of the voters. The hope remains that Hamas will succeed in the after-the-elections battle.

VI

What is more important is that Hamas and the majority of the Palestinians in WBG are facing the following choices:

* to abandon the ROR and exchange it for “bread”;
* to expect a situation of chaos;
* Hamas to gave up its political position;
* to look for partners accepted by US and ZAS;
* for Hamas to gave up power;
* any other solutions which might be very compromising.

There is no doubt that the main gains of these elections are in favor of the ZAS, US and EU. Any political solution under the current circumstances is in favor of the camp of the people’s enemy. If the crisis leads to an internal war among Palestinians, the enemy will be more satisfied. If Hamas gives up power, the enemy will be delighted, and Hamas will lose its popular support the same way it happened to Fateh when most of the WBG Palestinians understood Oslo, although few years later.

The most ironic issue is that the Palestinians in the shatat[1] protest for not being allowed to vote in the PLC elections. This protest came in spite of the fact that these elections targeted the ROR. It behooves the shatat Palestinians to demand the right of elect the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the highest political authority of the Palestinian people.

Finally, will Hamas offer enough flexibility to meet US, EU and ZAS conditions? Flexibility that is adequate to ensure that these forces might offer Hamas the “ladder” to step down gradually from its high political ceiling and program, without looking as if it, Hamas, has “turned its back” to its program and it constituency.

And, if these forces (US, EU and ZAS) decide to go this route, would they decide to sacrifice the “First Oslo Palestinian Team”, i.e. the Fateh – PLO team, for the new one. All this is, of course, possible in politics, but, in all cases, the economic needs, or in fact, the material factor will still be the determining one.

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