Our First Year: And what a Year!
It’s just a year since this site, advocating for One Country in Palestine and against the Two State cul-de-sac, was first posted. What a year it’s been!
♦ Within the first week, the Gaza aid ship Mavi Marmara was waylaid and attacked by Israel’s navy. Nine killed, the whole ship impounded, robbed and its passengers and crew kidnapped. Israel’s good relations with Turkey forever ruptured, and its international isolation deepened even if frantic damage-limitation appeared to have levered it off the hook.
♦ A huge lift-off for the BDS movement with major companies such as Deutsche Bahn pulling out of Israeli infrastructure projects, its main owner of stolen Palestinian lands, the “charity” Jewish National Fund, coming under the spotlight too, and University of Johannesburg severing its ties with Israel’s Ben Gurion University.
♦ The leaked Palestine Papers revealed the reality of the potential two-state deal, the high price that the grovelling Palestinian leaders were prepared to pay and which the contemptuous Israeli establishment still refused to accept.
♦ The Arab Spring started with Tunisia and Egypt, blowing away the stable alliances that held the Oslo process in place. The incredible courage, unity and clarity of purpose have inspired Palestinians to demand democratic renewal of their own leadership. The ground has shifted and the game is changing.
♦ In response, Hamas and Fatah announced reconciliation. It’s great if Palestinians stop attacking and imprisoning each other. But the “imminent” joint government is yet to happen, none of the huge questions about how this will work have been answered, nor do we know if it will benefit the Palestinian people’s struggle, since neither Hamas nor Fatah has any policy for right of return or the rights of the “1948″ Israeli Palestinians.
But the unity move has undone Israel’s policy of setting up Fatah against Hamas, and has brought to a weak whisper the talk from Washington about “getting round the table again”. The unity move, whether it is judged a success or a failure, may end up further discrediting these leaderships’ role as either separate or joint administrators of the occupation. The instability at the top of the PA and its variable response to Israeli and international financial reprisals may spell its doom. One senses that some are already regretting the move and are not in the least reconciled to the reconciliation.
♦ The civil society and grassroots struggle is now verging on a third Intifada, and now the demand for Right to Return, which the PA administrators supposed had faded away, has come to the centre, only helped by Israel’s attempt to outlaw Nakba remembrance and the Palestine Papers’ revelations that the mini-state negotiators had torn up refugees’ rights as recognised by international law. The large marches of May 15th, and the attempts to cross Israel’s illicit borders to “go home” have re-established Right of Return as an absolutely fundamental demand.
♦ And in May we got the flurry of speeches and statements from Obama and Netanyahu, including the latter’s grandstanding at the US Congress to 55 standing ovations. This has finally shattered all illusions in Obama as an impartial broker, or Washington’s role in mediating a two state “solution”. The one relevant word Obama spoke was that the present was “unsustainable”, but this was cancelled out by accepting as valid Israel’s refusal to move forward if Hamas was involved. Meanwhile George Mitchell has resigned, leaving ultra-zionist Dennis Ross in sole control.
♦ The international One State movement has evolved further this year, with a major conference and declaration in Houston, and a new network launched recently to promote lobbying and action, which individuals can join. There is also an informative Facebook page with useful Notes and Discussions
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