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The Burden of the Palestinian Leadership on Palestinians and Others

The Burden of the Palestinian Leadership on Palestinians and Others

Sunday, 23 October, 2022 - 11:00

As the Palestinians resist the occupation in Jenin or settlements in Jerusalem, their leadership continues to diligently devote itself to undermining the liberational and moral implications that their efforts and sacrifices certainly have. They have also devoted themselves to undermining the political advantages sought by Palestinian endeavors.

These leaders have championed this miserable task since Palestinian national action began. Indeed, what the leadership of Hamas and the president of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah share is a feeling that they can make mistakes without being held accountable. Why? Because the supposed consensus over the Palestinian cause allows for this. “My beloved knew his place and indulged,” as an Arab line of poetry put it.

Hamas, as well as the majority of the armed Palestinian factions, forms a delegation to head to Damascus on a visit to conciliate Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, who is despised in Syria, the Arab world and across the globe. The question that immediately comes to mind as they shake hands is: who can whitewash the other?

On the other end, President Abbas issues bizarre statements about the Holocaust and the Munich massacre. Where? In Germany. He followed this up with statements about Russia’s glorious course of action. When? During the war on Ukraine.

Those leaders may have thought being credited with carrying the “cause” allows them to do what they please. But they overlooked one thing: they have no credit. Negative credit is all that is available.

How was this negative accumulation achieved?

Let us remember some dates and experiences:

The first wave of leaders, Haj Amin al-Husseini and his colleagues, committed the crime of the Husseini-Nashashibi civil war, which dissipated the energy of Palestinian society and led to the assassination of some of its cadres as the foundations of the Zionist project in Palestine were being strengthened and solidified. Haj Amin went the distance in his alliance with the Nazis, giving their salute and working to recruit Bosnian Muslims to fight on its side. Of course, he also turned a blind eye to the Holocaust, which he had been briefed on by the SS commander and the most prominent engineer of the Holocaust, Heinrich Himmler, in 1943.

The second wave of leaders, Yasser Arafat, George Habash, Nayef Hawatmeh and others, allied with the Soviet Union and its bloc, thereby sharing its defeat in the Cold War just as Husseini had shared Hitler’s defeat in World War II. Despite momentary disputes, they tuned most of their actions to the beat of the Arab security and military regimes. This wave is associated with two civil wars in Jordan (1970) and Lebanon (1975-6) and “militant” actions, including hijacking civilian aircraft, the Munich massacre, and the murder of children... Their actions were crowned with the decision to side with Saddam Hussein when he invaded Kuwait in 1990.

The third wave, the post-Oslo leaders, engendered the rupture between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and then initially took confused, somewhat contradictory stances regarding the Syrian revolution before sticking with total hostility shortly afterward.

These leaders’ problems are multidimensional, but none reach the heights of their vision of right: they probably believe this right to be a total, complete, and fundamental quantity, that is not affected, neither positively nor negatively, by the actions of the persons representing this right. The fact is that right increases and decreases: it increases if served by politics that combine morality and ingenuity, and decreases if served by politics that combine immorality with stupidity.

Let us consider, for example, a man who had been unjustly and spitefully dismissed from his job. He retaliates by burning down the building where the company that had dismissed him is located, and his actions lead to the deaths of colleagues of his, in addition to destroying the building. This man is now less right than he had been (this is to say nothing about him burning a building next to the one in which he had worked and killing employees of a different company, which is more analogous to the reality of the situation at hand).

The suffering of the Palestinian people has been making new friends, and sympathy with them has been permeating milieus that had previously been closed off. These new sympathizers have been persuaded, over the past few decades, by the righteousness of the cause, the Palestinian’s right to independence, and the sympathizers’ repudiation of racism, settlements, and the arrogance of the Jewish state. However, the Palestinian leaders are a factor in putting sympathizers off. As for the reluctance, they might ask: could a just cause produce such figures time and time again? This repetition calls for skepticism.

In any case, the negative credit balance that the Palestinian leaders have accumulated doubles the effort required by the Palestinian victims. They are obliged, as they fight the present of Israel, to fight the past and present of their leadership. This was made more pressing once it became evident that these leaders want them to be nothing but fodder sacrificed to regional axes and projects.

To this end, their leadership “increases its value” by selling their blood in Souq Al-Hamidiyah in Damascus or the Tehran bazaar and through hyperboles that render every knife attack a revolution project and every gunshot an epic that ends one era and inaugurates another.

The Palestinian people undoubtedly deserve different sorts of leaders.

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