It is time for a new beginning.
Since Trump signed the Jerusalem Embassy Law on December 6, many Palestinian intellectuals voiced their ideas about the proper course of action for their leadership and their people.
Even though Palestinian intellectuals from across Palestine and the diaspora subscribe to different ideological schools of thought and come from different generations and locations, they share a lot in common.
Palestinians are demanding change, or, in the words of renowned Palestinian historian Salman Abu Sitta, they want to “go back to the roots”.
(Below are 4 women among the intellectuals interviewed)
|Resurrecting the PLO
Samaa Abu Sharar – journalist and activist based in Beirut, Lebanon.
Palestinians everywhere should adopt a new approach to give more honour to their cause. They should:
1 – Unite all Palestinian think tanks under one umbrella to assess, evaluate and draw up a new strategy capable of dealing with the current Palestinian situation.
|Samaa Abu Sharar|
2 – Dismantle the Palestinian Authority and revoke the Oslo Accords.
3 – Elect an alternative young leadership under the PLO, representing Palestinians everywhere, capable of uniting Palestinians and working towards a one-state solution with equal rights for Palestinians.
4 – Encourage all forms of resistance in occupied Palestine including armed resistance (which is consistent with international law) until the demise of the occupation.
5 – Mobilise affluent Palestinians abroad to establish a support system on the moral and financial level for Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, and refugees abroad.
|One state for all
Samah Sabawi – award-winning playwright, author, poet and policy advisor to Al-Shabaka, based in Australia.
The Palestinian leadership seems to be stuck in a loop desperately trying to find ways to “save” the two-state solution by seeking a new mediator for the peace process to replace the US.
But having a dishonest broker was only one of many traps within a process that was designed from the start to cripple Palestinian resistance by fostering Palestinian dependency on international aid in exchange for maintaining Israel’s security and well-being.
What is needed today is for the PA to immediately cease all security collaboration with Israel and for the old guard within the PA/PLO to make way for the young generation of Palestinians both in the diaspora and in the homeland, who can lead us in a popular unified civil rights struggle for freedom, justice and equality.
I believe our time has come, and we are ready to turn today’s one-state apartheid reality into tomorrow’s vision of one state for all its people.
|Full steam ahead with BDS
Randa Abdel-Fattah – academic at Macquarie University, Australia.
The global rise of far-right, populist racism, coupled with Trump’s indisputable exposure of US bias, offers us an opportunity to reaffirm that our liberation cause is not “too complicated” but is very clearly an anti-racist, anti-colonialist and anti-apartheid one.
I, therefore, believe we must go full steam ahead with the BDS movement, specifically forcing dramatic changes in Israel’s international economic/trade relations.
Academic and cultural boycotts lay the groundwork for promoting public opinion and action in favour of isolating Israel.
Ultimately, we need to “follow the money”. By mobilising a critical mass of support from global civil society, especially in western countries collaborating with Israel (such as my country Australia), we can press for economic sanctions and divestment.
|Rallying the people
Lamis Andoni – writer and journalist based in Amman, Jordan.
The immediate task ahead is to unify the Palestinian people, inside Palestine and in the diaspora, against US President Donald Trump’s so-called “deal of the century” that is swiftly unfolding before our eyes. Trump’s deal is nothing more than another attempt to legitimise Israeli control over all Palestinian territories and delegitimise the Palestinian people’s historic, national and legal rights – especially the right of return.
We should not focus on whether we want a two-state or one-state solution. Instead, we need to focus on uniting Palestinians around the goal of freeing Palestine by dismantling the Zionist colonial project that employs brutal methods to keep them under control, including apartheid and ethnic cleansing.
We cannot ignore the urgency of the reconstruction of the PLO. The Israeli and US governments have been bent on its destruction, and they are being successful. Let us work towards its revival on a wider, more inclusive basis, and its transformation into a body that represents all Palestinians. We should also not accept the criminalisation of armed resistance.
The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement is a crucial tool in this struggle, but it cannot be the only form of resistance. We must take Israeli officials to the International Court of Justice and try them for war crimes. We need to delegitimise the occupation and all its practices, challenge the US at the UN Security Council and use all legal tools to resist Israeli and US pressure.
But first, we must halt our heavy reliance on foreign aid, particularly US aid, which is being used to tame the NGOs and maintain the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a policeman for the Israelis.
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