I keep on forgetting that it’s happening because nothing ever happens. It is what’s in the news though. The peace process has no chance whatsoever of creating a just peace in cis-Jordan. No one should have the slightest illusion about that. What we should be watching for in the peace process is not its failure but what its architects will cast as its potential “success.” In those terms, the peace process is an acute danger to Palestinian nationalism, Nadia Hijab reminds us:

Such a scenario could sound a death-knell for Palestinian human rights. The Palestinian people have shown a remarkable capacity to regenerate resistance and evolve new strategies after suffering harsh setbacks over the past century. But there may be no recovery this time around. A “peace agreement” would end the applicability of international law to the resolution of the conflict; permanently fragment the Palestinian people; and demobilize Arab and international solidarity.

What can Palestinians do to forestall abrogation of their fundamental rights and to ensure just peace? In a contribution to the debate around this question, this brief examines five areas that are key to Palestinians determined to persevere until rights are realized: Unifying the Palestinian body politic; espousing common goals; applying international law; using appropriate tactics; and strengthening the Arab and international movement of solidarity.

Ominously, the Israeli military is already planning mass repression procedures for fear that a Third Intifada will break out if it starts “transferring” its Palestinian minority in the near future. +972 Magazine’s Yossi Gurvitz reports:

On Friday, the influential radio journalist Carmela Menashe – who has excellent sources in the security establishment – reported (Hebrew) that the police has finished a large exercise, supported by other services (such as the IDF’s Home Front Command and the Prison Service). The exercise was supposed to deal with “extreme scenarios of violent demonstrations in the Arab sector, as a result of a population-transfer agreement with the [Palestinian – YZG] Authority. In order to process the detainees, a detainment camp for Israeli Arabs will be built near the Golani Junction”. In less bowdlerized language than usually that of the Voice of Israel, the security forces are getting ready for the riots which will follow a transfer decision.

Didi Remez adds:

The drill is also disconcerting for other reasons. As described by Menashe, it seems to assume that there will be a strong violent response from the Arab population, which means the expulsion-and-denial of citizenship “population exchange” will be forced, rather than agreed on (through, say, referendum.)  The plan’s apparent concentration on population, rather than territory swaps, evokes the possibility of not only fencing out entire Israeli communities in a “redrawing of borders”, but of actual physical expulsion and removal.

But rather than seeing this drill as a conspiracy or a monstrous aberration, I propose seeing it as a natural outcome. When the Israeli Right took up the two-state solution it did so with every intention of living up to what this solution promises to the Israeli Jews: A secure and exclusive, ethnocratic nation-state for at least a few more generations. The presence of a large, rapidly politicizing Palestinian minority is a much bigger threat to this vision than either the West Bank or Gaza. The current developments are perfectly reasonable outcomes of a marriage between ultra-nationalist values and the two-state idea: The important thing about the two-state, the symbiosis goes, is to secure Israel’s Jewishness; how sovereign the Palestinian state is open to creative interpretation, but the important thing is that as many Palestinians are excluded from any influence and contact with Israel as possible.

And what would happen were this to occur? What would America and Europe do? The answer is simple. They would do nothing at all but remonstrate with with Netanyahu for his crassness, while the Zionist press would be utterly obeisant, focusing on the “peace deal” they’ve been excitedly and delusionally reporting on for the past month. In that sense, how to look at Hamas and PFLP attempts to shatter the smooth, collaborator-trod path to peace negotiations? Miftah reports on Palestinian attitudes towards those attempts, in a poll that deserves more attention that it has gotten:

Findings of the third quarter of 2010 show a clear majority of two thirds demanding a Palestinian pull out of the direct negotiations now that settlement construction has been resumed. Findings also show that a little over half of the public supports Hamas’s armed attack on Israeli settlers near Hebron, that attack took place on the eve of the Washington launching of the direct talks. It is worth noting that half of the Palestinians believe that Hamas’s goal was to derail these direct negotiations. 

Negotiations that Hijab warns could lead to effective Palestinian politicide and population transfer. Should they just wait complacently? What are their options? Those are the questions that those who wag their fingers at violence can not answer.

Technorati Tags: Abbas, Hamas, Lieberman, Nadia Hijab, Netanyahu, PA, Palestine, peace negotiations, peace process, PFLP

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