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The Palestinian Response to the Annexation is Rational, Necessary

The Palestinian Response to the Annexation is Rational, Necessary

Friday, 3 July, 2020 - 11:30
Nabil Amr
Palestinian writer and politician

There is consensus over rejecting annexation in principle, regardless of its scope; as for the means employed to resist it, they diverge and will remain so as long as Fatah calls the shots in the West Bank while Hamas makes the decisions in Gaza.


The divergence was apparent in the official positions declared by both parties. In the West Bank political confrontation is preferred, to organize mass protests and pursue a peaceful struggle, while in Gaza a call to arms has been raised, albeit at not as loudly as before, and their rhetoric about the path of popular resistance through demonstrations and days of anger is exaggerated.


The supporters of the two main powers in Palestine will abide by these official positions, and work on implementation had begun before the official annexation but was postponed amid promises to pursue it to the greatest extent possible.


For its part, Israel does not conceal its relief that the armed force was categorically ruled out by Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. Of course, it also welcomes the fact that armed retaliation has been made secondary to popular action by the authorities in Gaza, as this does not pose a security threat that would call for the kind of military action that had previously been taken in both the West Bank and Gaza.


In Gaza, there are armed factions, though they understand Hamas' influence and its capabilities and take them into account, who can take military action that furthers their agendas and those of their supporters. This puts Hamas in an awkward position, if it were to arrest the resistance fighters, something it has sought to avoid through any mean possible, it would undermine the foundations of the trust in its sincerity to its slogans, and if it were to condone or pretend to approve the actions and claim responsibility for them, it would pay the price if the Israeli policies adopted in the past in such cases are implemented.


The Israelis have reiterated that Hamas alone, as the de facto rulers of Gaza, are to be held responsible for everything that goes on in Gaza and every attack launched from it. Undoubtedly, Hamas has a lot to lose if military action outside of its control is taken and solicits an Israeli response that creates a broader conflict. Such a conflict would make it impossible to speak of a prisoner exchange agreement, which Hamas considers a major potential achievement, and it would also remove the possibility of a badly needed alleviation of Gaza's harsh conditions, especially in light the economic and financial recession caused the blockade and the coronavirus epidemic.


In the West Bank, if threats to end security cooperation have real implications, unlike previous cases, the revival of lone-wolf attacks would become a real possibility. These kinds of attacks, regardless of their size, are a source of very serious apprehension for the Israeli security leadership, which has not found and will not find decisive solutions to.


The hustle and bustle that comes with demonstrations and protests and the sharpening of the rhetoric rejecting and condemning annexation do not conceal the Palestinians’ divisive and explicit inclination to respond rationally. This is a rationality of necessity that stems from past experiences; the Palestinians reaped significant benefits from the first unarmed intifada, and pay devastating costs for the second armed intifada.


Despite the danger posed by annexation and political initiatives hitting rock bottom with the Deal of the Century. The Palestinians’ reasonable and calculated decisions, though did not go as far as canceling the annexation, but they provided the means necessary for making progress in the political battle the international climate of which seems promising as condemnations of the annexation project become more widespread and allows the millions of Palestinians determined to keep their land and receive their rights to avoid having rivers of blood flow, an option the Israeli right openly states its willingness to resort to if the pretexts were provided.


Cutting their losses is a realistic and practical aim for the Palestinians at this stage, as is prioritizing popular reliance and taking to the ground, as political solutions and negotiated settlements are very distant.


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