The *FREE ARAB VOICE*
July 29, 2000
In this issue of the Free Arab Voice (FAV) we present:
1) Join the General Grass-roots Campaign to Collect Two Million Signatures
for the Right of Return of Palestinians to their Land, an Action Alert.
2) Camp David II and The Tricks that Never Worked, by Imad Malhass, an Arab
writer and political activist.
3) Camp David II and The Demise of Arafatis who Oppose Arafat, A Free Arab
1) Action Alert: Join the General Grass-roots Campaign to Collect Two
Million Signatures for the Right of Return of Palestinians to their Land
The Union of Professional Association in Jordan (about fifty thousand
members) is preparing for a general grass-roots campaign to collect two
million signatures for the right of return of Palestinians to their land.
Below is the full text of the petition to be circulated by the Union of
Professional Associations. Please sign and distribute widely.
PALESTINE IS ARAB LAND WITH JERUSALEM IN THE FOREFRONT
THE RIGHT OF THE PALESTINIAN ARAB PEOPLE TO RETURN TO THEIR LAND IS A HOLY
RIGHT THAT CANNOT BE CONCEDED
We the undersigned, the sons and daughters of the Palestinian, Arab, and
Islamic people, and their supporters, declare the following:
Seeing that Palestine is an inherently Arab and Islamic land, we do NOT
recognize the legitimacy of the Zionist occupation of the land of Palestine,
and re-affirm our absolute belief in the right of ALL Palestinians to return
to their land, homes, and property. We, furthermore, reject all ploys to
circumvent the right of return through suspicious projects that purport to
settle Palestinians outside Palestine or pay compensation in lieu of the
land. We condemn all treaties and agreements that deprecate the right of
return, and recognize the right of the Palestinian people to confront the
occupation by all means necessary.
Please send your signature, occupation, and email address to:
2) The Tricks that Never Worked, by Imad Malhass, an Arab writer and
One did not really have to wait for the end of this round of negotiations at
Camp David to present a coherent analysis or take a stand on what has been
going on. Premises invariably give indication regarding the nature of their
conclusions. And the conclusion I have reached in the course of our
struggle over the last three decades or so has been proven correct over and
over again, in spite of all of the superficial changes that can not ever
touch the heart of the matter. My conclusion is that there are two parallel
paths that can never meet: one is the path one takes to fight for the
Palestinian cause, and the other is the path 'to settle the conflict'.
Since the early seventies, the premises of the present state of affairs
began with Arafat displaying a readiness to engage in the path to settle the
conflict through negotiations with Zionists on the basis of the so-called
'resolutions of international legitimacy'. The leadership of the PLO had
already violated the articles of the Palestinian National Charter, which was
not slated for amendment or annulment yet. It had also abandoned the
non-negotiable historical rights in all of the land of Palestine where
"Israel" currently lies. Hence, 'settling the conflict' entails an
agreement over DETAILS, under a specific balance of power. And agreeing
with the 'resolutions of international legitimacy' entails a recognition of
the Zionist enemy, now called 'Israel'. What 'settling the conflict' then
has implied for Palestinians extends somewhere between having them accept
one-fourth to one-tenth of a real solution, under humiliating conditions!
We have witnessed some of the tragic conclusions of these premises in the
last decade or so. The rest, we will witness in the coming weeks and months
perhaps. Because once you accept the premises above, any final status
negotiations won't go beyond bartering all of Palestine for a certain
percentage of the West Bank, with truncated and limp solutions for the
questions of refugees, Jerusalem, settlements, and the rest. This makes
awaiting the results of final status negotiations, and the careful
examination of its DETAILS, a mere waste of time.
As usual, the Zionists set off a bunch of trial balloons, in the form of a
list of supposed solutions for the more complicated matters under
negotiations. This included the possibility of Barak granting wide
self-autonomy to some Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem, and agreeing
to take back a limited number of Palestinian refugees, in exchange for a
Palestinian commitment to refrain from demanding anything else from "Israel"
in the future. Moreover, the Zionist negotiators expressed a willingness to
contribute large sums of money to an international fund designated to
compensate refugees. "Israel" would get to annex some of the larger Jewish
settlements in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza, and the Palestinian
Authority would get some land somewhere else in return.
No matter how steadfast and hard-line the Palestinian Authority tries to
look, it knows very well that ever since it set its feet on the path of
"settling the conflict", any final status solution will not surpass the
general framework delineated above.
Melodrama in the Wings
Certain Palestinian and Arab writers then take the Zionist bait. They rise
hence to the occasion of proving that Resolution 242 applies to Palestinian
land occupied in 1967, in response to Zionist remarks that it does not.
Some of them engage in a cost-benefit evaluation of the forty billion
dollars that the media said the Palestinian National Authority has demanded
from "Israel" to 'resolve' the question of refugees permanently.
Simultaneously, newspapers ran a story about a court order fining the
largest cigarette manufacturers $145 billion as compensation for the victims
of smoking in the state of Florida. It was obvious that the Palestinian
Authority was selling out Palestinian historical rights cheaply.
One writer sounded off a valiant call to the 'Palestinian opposition' to
support Palestinian negotiators at Camp David II, by 'pushing' them to hold
fast to Palestinian rights, and by providing a political cover for
negotiators to refuse to make any 'unjust concessions'. In fact, I don't
know which 'Palestinian opposition' this writer was talking about. If she
meant those opposed to the Palestinian National Authority's negotiating
style, while accepting the PRINCIPLE of 'settling the conflict' through
negotiations, she might as well save her breath since THAT opposition has
become long ago part and parcel of the Palestinian National Authority. That
opposition has provided the PNA with the political cover and been partners
with it through the good times and the bad. If, on the other hand, the
writer was calling on those opposed to the principle of 'settling the
conflict' through negotiations, she should know better than to make
differences with them look like disagreements within the same camp. They
are not. The latter don't think the Palestinian delegation should have been
there to begin with. They have chosen the path of struggling for the
Palestinian cause, regardless of their present inability to produce
victories in the magnitude of Hizbullah's.
Another writer cites the Palestinian martyr Kamal Nassir, who was
assassinated by Zionists in Beirut in 1973, to justify participation in Camp
David II. This writer quotes Kamal Nassir who used to always say that a
Palestinian needs a homeland and a pillow to lay his head on. But he
disregards the fact that Kamal Nassir was referring to all of Palestine as
designated by the Palestinian National Charter that he helped formulate.
Kamal Nassir used to also say that there will come a day when treason
becomes just another point of view. Unfortunately, that day has already
The mouthpieces of the Palestinian National Authority, and their supporters
among Arab writers, have gone far in their attempts to save the PNA out of
its dilemma. They have resorted to every possible lotion and cosmetic
device to help facelift its irreparably despicable image. They have
invented mystifying themes to explain away the debauched state the PNA is
wallowing in, and the worse condition it will reach after Camp David. May
be they will find what they seek in Arafat's insistence on the declaration
of Palestinian Statehood this coming September. They would be disregarding
here, of course, the fact that the declaration of Palestinian statehood is
not necessarily opposed by Zionist leaders, especially if that means the
end of the Palestinian cause on the official and legal levels, the closure
of all files pertaining to it, and the transfer of the conflict onto the
Palestinian and Arab realms. Nevertheless, these Zionist leaders have set
certain conditions and specifications for the shape the proposed Palestinian
state is going to take that turn it into a mere comical formality, without a
capital or specified borders perhaps, as has transpired from Camp David II.
I have no doubt whatsoever that the leadership of the Palestinian Authority
is about to accept a solution that might differ in this or that detail, but
not in essence, from such a package.
3) The Demise of the Arafatis who Oppose Arafat, A Free Arab Voice Editorial
There may be differences of degree, but there are NO differences of kind
amongst those who call for peace with the invader society called "Israel".
Differences over principle generate differences of kind, whereas differences
over HOW to best conclude the deal of surrendering the land of historical
Palestine to the Zionists generate mere differences of degree. Thus, if
one's main bone of contention with Arafat has revolved around his
negotiating style with Zionists in the way of his giving away too much for
too little, one is apt to have only differences of degree with Arafat. On
the other hand, if you disagree with the principle of recognizing "Israel's"
right to exist, the liberation of Palestine will be your supreme strategic
objective. Then, you will have differences of kind, not only with Arafat,
but with all those willing to cede the land of Palestine to the invader
under any disguise. Of course, disguises vary, and hence the differences of
degree amongst capitulationists. From Oslo, to Resolution 242, to some
kind of admission of guilt for past deeds committed by Zionists (while our
land remains theirs, de facto occupied), defeatism can wear different masks
but its identity remains essentially the same.
The problem of differences of degree with Arafat is that once you choose to
accept the principle of recognizing "Israel", any deal or treaty to be
signed thereof MUST be a reflection of the balance of power between the two
signatories. Hence, a treaty signed between a strong and a weak party can
never be in the favor of the latter. Such are the iron laws of political
motion. However, those who want Arafat to get better terms for his
capitulation to "Israel" are NOT doing what it takes to change the balance
of power with Zionists in their favor. They, just like Arafat, think that
negotiations savvy can compensate for the alignment of strategic factors on
the ground which predetermine the outcomes of wars or negotiations before
they even start. Only they think of themselves as more savvy at
negotiations than Yasser Arafat!
Note, on the other hand, that those who have differences of principle with
Arafat do not accept the CURRENT balance of power as eternal or
insurmountable, and seek effective ways to undermine the enemy's superiority
just like Hizbullah did in South Lebanon. In fact, once you adopt this
OPTIMISTIC and PROACTIVE point of view, i.e., once you take the view that
the present balance of power is neither eternal nor insurmountable, there is
no reason whatsoever why you should accept "Israel" or any deals which
recognize its right to exist. Frequently, acquiescing to the sanctity of
the unjust status quo is the necessary premise for the mentality that seeks
to ameliorate, rather than overthrow, the Zionist occupation of Palestine.
Paradoxically, those who have had only differences of degree with Arafat
have been dumbstruck by Arafat's refusal to yield the required extra
concessions to Zionists at Camp David II. His novel 'steadfastness' in
negotiations seemed to have given them exactly what they have been clamoring
for, to the point of discrediting them almost, which left them with only two
options: to disagree with him on principle, or to agree with him, and thus
admit his leadership. In both cases, however, they would cease to be the
ostensible opposition that competes with Arafat on the same ideological
grounds. An unenviable checkmate situation!
Those who have differences of kind with Arafat, on the other hand, will
experience no such crisis. For they do not recognize differences with
Zionists over how many blocs of East Jerusalem are to be run by the
sovereign-less, border-less, and capital-less Palestinian Authority as
serious manifestations of steadfastness by Yasser Arafat. Similarly,
differences over how many refugees are to be settled OUTSIDE Palestine, and
how much financial compensation is everybody going to get in exchange, are
hardly exemplary of principled stances for liberation or the overthrow of
injustice. For all THESE REMAIN DIFFERENCES OVER DETAILS, NOT PRINCIPLES,
In fact, those Palestinians and Arabs who are now touting the heroism of
Arafat for allegedly standing up to Zionist and American pressures at Camp
David II, and who previously had differences of degree with him, are GIVING
HIM THE VERY CREDIBILITY WHICH HE WILL USE LATER TO MAKE CONCESSIONS ON
PRINCIPLES. They are pumping him up as the undisputed leader of the
Palestinian people, and calling for all to support him, allegedly to
strengthen his stances against Zionists. But with or without taking heed,
they are endowing him thus with the very legitimacy to crush them ruthlessly
when the time is right for him. They are furthermore giving him the right
to speak on the behalf of Palestinians on crucial matters which his track
record has already shown he can play fast and loose with, simply because he
has displayed uncharacteristic spine on DETAILS.
Still, make no mistake about it. Arafat did not stop short of giving away
the extra concessions at Camp David II due to his steadfastness against
Zionists. Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, and the other issues pertaining
to final status negotiations are no laughing matters. The memory of the
assassination of the traitor Anwar Sadat looms large in Arafat's head. He
cannot sign away those Palestinian rights when the Arab state system,
especially Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, do not think this is the right
time for it (for more on this, see
http://fav.net/TheLessonsOfSouthLebanon_4.htm). And contrary to the claims
of the propaganda tools of the Palestinian National Authority, it was
exactly Egyptian red lines, Syrian calls to withdraw from Camp David, and
other Arab and Islamic pressures on Arafat which made him take a stronger
stand than usual. This becomes more of a consideration too when one is
sitting atop a volcano that has been known to erupt very unexpectedly in the
last century or so, a volcano that has become very well known to the world
as: THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE.
One final prediction based on the analysis above: the United States
Government and Zionists won't be able to make serious headway on the
Palestinian track unless the brakes of the Arab state system are either
weakened or broken.
The Free Arab Voice
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