On the Occasion of the 71st anniversary of Al-Nakba… What is the National Project?

One of the most important topics that is worthy of discussion, especially in commemoration of the seventy first anniversary of Nakba, is the national project, since the state of labyrinth experienced by the Palestinian situation requires such topic to be reconsidered, particularly in light of the continued and deepened factional division, the multiplicity of political projects and adopted strategies and the failure to achieve the national strategic goals set by the national movement.
On the contrary, the Zionist project has expanded and become more extreme, whereas there are over 800,000 colonizers in the West Bank, in the context of creating new facts as a prelude to annexing parts of lands classified as area (c) to Israel, after having emptied such lands of almost all of their indigenous people.
The discussion of the national project issue is becoming more significant in light of the United States plan, known as the “century’s deal” which aims at the liquidation of the Palestinian cause from all its aspects. Moreover, the redefinition of the national project has become a matter of utmost urgency, given that the Palestinian people cannot develop adequate plans when they’re unaware of what are they willing to achieve, whereas Palestinians have experienced constant alteration in their goals, beginning with the return and total liberation, moving towards the establishment of a national authority over any part to be liberated, then the return, self-determination and statehood, until the willingness to exchange statehood for return and reducing the State’s area by approving on the “lands swap” principle which has legitimized the settler colonization.
Presumably, any national project must include the objective or objectives to be achieved, in order to develop the phases and strategies that help in attaining such objectives, including the plans, mechanisms and forms of struggle. In addition, objective-setting is mainly based on the Palestinian natural, historical and legal rights, nonetheless, it is irrelevant to the balance of power which is related to achieving the maximum objectives at each phase, in order to move to the point where the tasks of the next phase shall be defined and so on until we achieve the final objectives.
The acknowledgement of reality, and handling it with the intention of changing the reality is extremely important, whereas it is to no avail to justify the serious mistakes that are already committed in order to decorate and ease the acceptance of reality, or to suffice with auguring well for the future as a way to escape reality, as the two mentioned options help the enemy in achieving its objectives with less time and cost.
Upon the outset of the contemporary Palestinian revolution, the national project was based on the Palestinian right and the return and liberation slogans by adopting the armed struggle to combat and defeat the colonial project, afterwards, the national project was developed through raising the issue of democratic State all over Palestine where Muslims, Christians and Jews live on an equal basis, and then, the national project was altered and degenerated through linking it to the balance of power and the illusion of the possibility of achieving a Palestinian State on 1967 borders.
It would have been possible to adopt the “interim program”; the program of the right to self-determination, return and national independence on 1967 lands, without renouncing the natural and historical rights and the final objective of establishing one democratic State after the defeat and dismantle of the colonial project and the apartheid regime on which it was based, and while resolving the Jewish question within the understanding that the conflict isn’t between the Jews, Muslims and Christians, however, it is between the Palestinian people, Arab people, liberal and progressive forces around the world and the colonial project which targets everyone and Jews are among their victims.
In this context and with our realization that the Zionist project hasn’t completed the achievement of its goals and is suffering from an impasse, due to the existence of half of the Palestinian people on its land, we shall refer to the adoption of the enormous number of the racial laws which culminated in the adoption of the discriminatory Jewish nation-state law as a constitutional law, the redeployment of the Israeli forces from Gaza Strip, sowing seeds of division and ensuring its continuity, the horrific settlement expansion and the so-called creeping annexation of land which precedes and paves the way for legal annexation.
In addition to the Israeli ideas and plans to displace Palestinians, as more than half of Jews in Israel support the expulsion of Palestinians including those who obtained the Israeli citizenship, furthermore, the vast majority of Jews support the displacement and full annexation of the West Bank or most of its land until there is a suitable opportunity to displace the rest of Palestinians to Jordan, Sinai, and other countries around the world, also, the rest of Israeli Jews support the separation from Palestinians without granting them their rights. Since the Zionist movement has so far failed to apply its phrase “a land without a people for a people without a land”, nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that it gave up, yet it will try again as they did previously, noting that the Zionist movement accorded priority to the seizure of land, and has considerably achieved such priority, whereas 82% of the land of historical Palestine is currently owned by Jews or controlled by Israel as State’s territories, indicating that the time of executing the plans of forced and collective expulsion is approaching and waiting for the appropriate moment.
The critical point is that our current situation is a long way from reaching a national solution, moreover, it is not expected to reach such solution in the foreseeable future, however, our situation is currently facing an impending disaster that is about to end the closing chapter in the Palestinian tragedy. In more explicit terms, a Palestinian State won’t be established anytime soon, and the issue that is raised presently is the self-autonomy, the thing which is already existing. In addition, there is no possibility of achieving One-State solution since Israel wishes to annex the land without the people, or with the lowest possible number of people.
Priority shall be given to the reconsideration and rehabilitation of the national project, ending the factional division, thwarting “Trump’s Plan” and colonial settlement projects, especially in Jerusalem and the West Bank, lifting of the siege of Gaza Strip, keeping the Palestinian cause alive, in addition to providing all that is needed to ensure the continued presence of Palestinian people on the land of Palestine through providing the elements of their steadfastness, existence and continuity, as well as providing all of their needs to live in freedom and dignity, guaranteeing Palestinians’ civil rights whether they are located within Palestine or abroad, whereas there is no contradiction between preserving the Palestinian’s national identity and his/her civil rights, especially if he/she is a citizen, furthermore, the prevention of committing a new destructive aggression against Gaza Strip and keeping the Palestinian factor active so as not to be overcome by an Arab regional solution.
In this connection and without delaying any matter that can be immediately done and without linking it to anything, it would be of great importance to rebuild the PLO’s institutions to include various political and social spectrum on a national basis, genuine partnership and consensual democracy, in addition to the development of a comprehensive vision that is based upon the unity of the cause, land and people, and concerned to preserve the Palestinian historical narrative and presenting it in the best manner, in accordance with the justice and moral superiority of the Palestinian cause, along with the development of a unified strategy that is capable of preventing the imminent disaster.
The steadfast Palestinian people who have been resisting for more than a hundred years and bearing the cause in the places of refuge and diaspora, are definitely capable of thwarting “Trump’s deal” regardless of the power imbalances. After all, a “deal” can never be carried out without another party, and no wedding can be thrown without a groom, additionally, the forcibly imposed facts create no rights, entail no commitments, and don’t put an end to the conflict unless the victim grants legitimacy to the perpetrator.
Finally, the option whether to put forward the interim program or the final program or not, and the extent to which we shall concentrate on each of the options must undergo a comprehensive assessment, including the winning and losing calculations. For instance, if the renouncement of the statehood program is useful and helps us in moving ahead, then we shall take this step, on the other hand, if such renouncement has adverse results, then we shall refrain from taking such step.
I strongly suspect that declaring the renunciation of the national independence objective and the embodiment of the Palestinian State on 1967 lands, whilst the West Bank is experiencing the most serious project which aims at its annexation, is considered as the best gift we could offer to Israel, whereas it will hold Palestinians responsible for its crime of eliminating the option of the Palestinian State, the option to which Israel has never approved, as some people have previously believed.
Furthermore, the renunciation of such objective means the renunciation of 140 States’ recognition of the State of Palestine, the political and legal advantages resulting from such recognition, and the international legitimacy, which, despite of all what is rightfully said against its weakness, includes the minimum Palestinian rights, as evidenced by Trump and his administration’s determination to eliminate what they call the “international bias towards Palestinians”. But even more seriously, the renunciation of the Statehood option shall enable Israel to complete its Judaization and colonization of the West Bank more rapidly and at lower costs, as the most important battle was over the land, nonetheless, it is now over the West Bank, and waging this battle mustn’t be avoided under any pretext.
There is a possibility of combining the interim program with the final one, the statehood with the One-State, the national struggle with the democratic struggle and between the national, regional and the international dimensions, without neglecting the critical importance of the national dimension, provided that it shall be clear that, until further notice, no national objective can be achieved, in light of the current balance of power, through negotiation, nevertheless, such objective can be achieved through struggling to alter the balance of power cumulatively, within the understanding that the balance of power needed to embody the Palestinian State on the borders of 1967 is less influential than the balance of power necessary to defeat the colonial project on all of Palestine, as the destiny of over 800,000 colonizers is more tolerable than the destiny of the whole colonial project.
Let us learn from the Zionist movement which set its goal of establishing Israel at the Basel Conference 1897, yet, it didn’t concentrate on such goal, but limited itself to goal-setting, and focused on how to reach the goal until it was achieved fifty years later as planned.