Three scourges of the Palestinian movement

UNREALISTIC OPTIMISM. Optimism is justified when a) aims are defined for which b) a realistic balance sheet is made of all the actual and potential friends and enemies c) from which a strategy can be drawn based on a coalition of forces supporting those aims and d) the strategy can be shown to have realistic chances of success The success then exist only in potential. There is also an essential need for a leadership with courage and vision capable of mobilising the Palestinian people in support of the strategy. In its tactics, the leadership must be able to recourse to politically daring moves capable of transforming potential allies into actual allies. However, some Palestinian groups have adopted objectives for which they can draw no strategy having realistic chances of success. Since there exist no successful strategy for those aims, it is replaced by wishful thinking and by statements as to the rightfulness of the aims. I defy any such group to develop an innovative, and potentially successful strategy, to replace those which had failed for decades and which are intended to realise the aim of a single Palestinian state over all of Historic Palestine, and from which all post-1948 Jewish immigrants (and their descendants) would be expelled. If only because Israel does have an atomic capability, no such strategy can ever exist. Cornered by the imminence of the realisation of such a Palestinian aim, a Sharon would rather use the atomic bomb "on me and my enemies" as the Biblical Samson is reported to have said. In addition, such strategy doomed to failure, would also result in the utter isolation of the Palestinian movement, and the total loss of sympathy of the international public opinion. The validity of an aim is not to be measured by its righteousness. It has to be measured by the demonstrability of the possibility of it being realised. The tragedy is that this kind of unrealistic optimism leads to neglect the possibility of realising a more modest aim. As a result, it can compromise even that. The belief that methods of action, that had consistently failed for decades, somehow would suddenly bear fruits, is irresponsible. Leaders holding to such belief should be accountable to the Palestinian people. It is not enough to make bombastic nice declarations. One should not gamble the future of the Palestinian people on strategies which have NO EVIDENCE OF POSSIBILITY OF SUCCESS. FEEDING THE PASSION FOR REVENGE Humiliation is hard to bear. It is known that revenge alievates the hurt of humiliation. However, it alievates it at a very low level, a level detached from rational thinking, detached from consideration of consequences, detached from the study of long-term objectives. Revenge is a medicine addressing the short term pains, and increasing the long term hurt. Revenge is an act of blindness losing sight of the main objective, the creation of a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 boundaries, which the Israeli army would have totally evacuated and from which the Israeli settlers would have been withdrawn into the state of Israel. Each act of revenge has been followed by a more murderous attack by the Israeli military. The data of numbers, do prove that the policy of revenge is costing the Palestinians much more than it costs the Israeli. The Palestinian leaders organising acts of revenge may be considered heroes by a section of the people. But the Palestinian people cannot afford its heroes. Every such "heroic" act permit Sharon to implement still more his repressive policy. A continuation of such acts, will result in an extension of the lands occupied by the settlers, and an increase in the barbarity of the Israeli occupation. What is needed is not heroes. A Palestinian motivated by despair and a desire for revenge can easily become an hero. However, what the Palestinians are most in need of are cool heads, wisdom, and vision to develop the policy designed not at satisfying a desire for revenge, but designed to achieve the political aims of the Palestinian people. And then, what the Palestinian people needs are leaders who have the courage to present such policies, defend them and implement them. The Palestinian people will certainly respond to such leaders, if they are able to make their case with clarity and compelling evidence and arguments. DEFEATISM Of all the scourges, defeatism might be the worst. It characterises the Palestinians who, overwhelmed by the military power at the disposal of Israel, overwhelmed by the fact that decades of struggle did not result in the obtaining by the Palestinians of their rights, have concluded that Palestinians are indeed powerless. Some Palestinians, and many PLO leaders among them, have therefore put their hopes in the possibility of a change of attitude of the US versus Israel, as being the only opening for the Palestinians to ever obtain some of their rights. Defeatism is based on the impossibility for those people to imagine what else can be done. They know that a policy of revenge is counter-productive, they know they do not have the strength to oppose to the Israeli military, and they can't see what else to do, except to ask the US to realise the rightfulness of the Palestinian claims. As we have shown before, such an attitude puts the fate of the Palestinians, out of Palestinian hands. A Palestinian leadership with vision and courage, could build a strategy around the fact that the long term interests of the Israeli people and the Palestinian people are very similar and consist in peace and prosperity. This fact is disregarded by the Israeli people afraid as it is by false fears, engendered and sustained by the Israeli leaders and by the lack of vision of the Palestinian leaders. However, this fact points to the possibility of introducing a serious wedge between the Israeli population and their leaders. A strategy based on this vision can imagine ways of influencing the Israeli population for the common good of the two people. It can be done, but has not been seriously tried. I have previously distributed the suggestion of two speeches Arafat should have done to the Palestinian people and to the Israeli people. This could be a very little start for the implementation of a new vision. Instead, Arafat is risking more and more to become a puppet for the implementation of Israeli policies. Palestinian people! Palestinian leaders! Take back the fate of the Palestinians into your own hands. Realise the possibilities resulting from introducing a wedge between the Israeli leaders and the Israeli people. To refuse to believe in its possibility, even without having seriously started that way, is also a tragic act of defeatism. Their are two ways indeed, one who passes through a reliance on the US, which practically means on the Israeli leadership. The second way relies on detaching the Israeli people from its leadership and recognising that it is so much easier to come to terms with the Israeli people, after you did your best to de-mystify them and un-brainwash them, than coming to terms with their leaders. If you think it is impossible, then you lack vision. A friendship between Germany and France, an undefended border between them, was thought to be impossible. It is now a reality. Clement Leibovitz #56, 3221-119 street Edmonton, Alberta Canada T6J 5K7 Phone: (780) 436 9883 e-mails: websites: