ישראל נאמן | Lectures, Articles, Tours: Israel | Mideast onTarget | Elliot Chodoff & Yisrael Ne'eman | Fatah/PLO Ideology: The Obstacle to Peace 30.11.2010

Fatah/PLO Ideology: The Obstacle to Peace

30 November 2010

by Yisrael Ne’eman

Once we all get past the latest Wikileaks scandal and find out what the Americans really think of us Israel will once again face the continuing demand for a settlement freeze in Judea and Samaria (West Bank). Whether this comes to resolution or not is often thought to be the determining factor concerning the resumption of peace talks between the Netanyahu government and the Palestinian Authority. While these are preliminaries, much greater issues remain to be resolved whether they be borders, security, Jerusalem or the Palestinian demand for refugee return. But before diving into such weighty issues there is a fundamental misunderstanding many outsiders have as concerns not only Israel, but the Jewish People - emanating from the Palestinian side.

The crucial question facing Israeli policy makers when attempting to arrive at conflict resolution with the Palestinians is "What does the other side truly want in a Permanent Status Agreement?" Supposedly the Abbas/Fayyad government wants a two-state solution. However what is the quality of that solution in principle? As we know the Netanyahu government has demanded that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the national home or nation state of the Jewish People, something which even the pro-West secular Fatah led PA government in Ramallah has refused to accept. But why should the supposedly pro-Western American sponsored West Bank Palestinian State to be reject the agreed upon national basis of the two- state solution as presented by the UN Partition Plan in 1947, exactly 63 years ago?

Firstly the UN Resolution 181 was roundly rejected by all the Arab states and the Palestinians at the time. Secondly and more important it does not fit into the secular Palestinian Arab world view and understanding of eternal total Arab dominance of the Middle East. The concept of the totality of the Arab domain is contained in Fatah's Palestine National Charter (PNC)– that same document that PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat (died 2004) promised to amend in 1998 at the urging of then US Pres. Bill Clinton. It was part of the 1998 Wye Accords signed by Netanyahu during his first term (1996 – 1999). Arafat was to ensure that all references or euphemisms implying Israel's destruction were to be removed. This was never done and a year and a half later Arafat responded with the 2000 – 2004 Low Intensity Conflict/Terror Offensive designed to draw in other Arab combatants. The LIC/TO violent option failed as did Arafat's scheme for a wider conflict.

Today and yesteryear's failings are in particular (but not only) rooted in the offending clauses of the PNC – Articles 19, 20 and 21 quoted below with commentary:

Article 19: The partition of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of the State of Israel are entirely illegal, regardless of the passage of time, because they were contrary to the will of the Palestinian people and to their natural right in their homeland, and inconsistent with the principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, particularly the right to self-determination.

* This is the Palestinian Arab "secularization" of the absolutist concept of the holy "waqf" or endowed lands as understood in Islam and in particular the policy pursued by Hamas (the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood). The Palestinian People have a "natural right" to their homeland regardless as to whether the same land has proven claims by another people, in this case the Jews who pre-date the Muslim Arab invasion of 638 CE. The UN decided to split Palestine, recognizing both national claims as legitimate. Fatah uses the "waqf" definition in the guise of secular nationalism while determining that Israel (Jewish nationalism) is "inconsistent with the principles" of the UN Charter when confronting the national "right to self-determination". If this was truly the case, then why would the UN violate its own Charter, not only voting for the two-state solution but granting Israel membership a year later? The Palestinians attribute to themselves primordial God (Allah) given intrinsic rights overriding UN Resolution 181, the international recognition of Jewish nationalism and the Jews unbreakable connection to their Biblical homeland.

Article 20: The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void. Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong.

* Any international determination, whether the Balfour Declaration (Britain) or the Palestine Mandate (the League of Nations), both of which only spoke of a Jewish National Home and not even a state are "null and void". Furthermore the Palestinian Arabs take upon themselves the right and the obligation to eradicate Jewish history and religious memory, one which determines the Land of Israel (or "Palestine" of much later years) as the homeland of the Jewish People. Secular Palestinian Arabs made themselves the absolute judge of the Jewish past and belief system, deeming it null and void thereby relegating Jewish memory to either the trash heap of history (as done by such Christian historians/antisemites of the Arnold Toynbee type) or better yet these same Fatah intellectuals are dictating the Jewish past to a vacuum of emptiness, this fate being akin to a collective religious and cultural death.

The Jewish People may retain physical existence, but it is devoid of Jewish content. What is allowed to remain appears to be a certain general ethical monotheism obliterated of all memory. Fatah employs its own secular interpretation of the Islamic Hamas dhimmi oppressed second class status upon the Jewish People world wide. As pointed out by Bat Ye'or in her book Dhimmitude, eradication of both Jewish and Christian memory by Islam over the centuries guaranteed Muslim sovereignty and an Islamic unilateral narrative over these two "tolerated" religions. The secular Fatah/PLO includes a minority of Christians who secularize "replacement theology" when addressing the Jews while Muslims enforce a secularized disinheritance of the Jews for rejecting Arab (Muslim) dominance. When taken in a religious sense this is akin to the Jewish rejection of the Prophet Mohammed and his message. To become part of the only legal national entity in his own homeland a Jew must become a Palestinian Arab nationalist. This is parallel to the centuries old Muslim demand for the disinherited Jews - conversion to Islam.

Article 21: The Arab Palestinian people, expressing themselves by the armed Palestinian revolution, reject all solutions which are substitutes for the total liberation of Palestine and reject all proposals aiming at the liquidation of the Palestinian problem, or its internationalization.

* The Palestinian Arab People believe in war as the only solution to the conflict against Jewish nationalism (Zionism) since they are 100% in the right, the Jews having no legitimacy as a national entity or a people with a homeland. This revolution is akin to the Islamic understanding of holy war or Jihad – which by definition is all consuming and total in its world scope for Islamic dominance. When applied as a localized Palestinian nationalism the euphemisms of "revolution" through armed violence to obtain "total liberation" add up to a secularization of the Jihadist concept. Furthermore, "all proposals" falling short of secular Jihadist revolutionary liberation are "reject[ed]" including international attempts at peace making. The only solution acceptable to the Palestinian Arab People is a non-compromising total victory over the non-People, the Jews.

Such "secular" Fatah/PLO thinking parallels the Muslim Brotherhood and the Palestinian Hamas in its demand for total victory. Specifically the PNC expresses positions as are found in the Hamas Covenant - Articles 11, 13 and 32.

The first step in achieving the two-state solution is a full recognition of the Jewish rights to the Land of Israel. One cannot adhere to the Palestine National Charter and advocate peace with the Jewish nation state simultaneously. Although it appears that Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad would accept peace with the Jewish State it is not clear whether PA President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) holds similar views. Without amending the Charter Palestinians are living a contradiction in regards to engaging in war and peace. To make peace while the PNC remains unchanged theoretically turns peace into a tactic whereby Israel relinquishes land as a first step in an overall war against the Jewish State to obtain a total Palestinian victory – the annihilation of Israel.

So what appears to be the Palestinian game plan from the Fatah perspective? Serious military action is out of the question, certainly for the foreseeable future. Hence action on the civilian front becomes the answer. This secular Fatah/PLO Palestinian perspective will be dealt with in the next article.