On current Palestinian developments and their impact on the Palestinian American community

The Free Palestine Alliance (FPA) regards the increasingly dangerous situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as detrimental to the struggle of the Arab people as a whole and to the Palestinian people in particular. We hold accountable before our people each person responsible for denigrating decades of struggle. Specifically, we hold the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmud Abbas, and his band of supporters responsible for the grave conditions to which they have led the Palestinian people. In fact, Mahmud Abbas and company are no longer only attempting to appease the United States-Israeli designs, but are also carrying that very same program to achieve their own personal gains, and are attempting to use the imposed starvation of our people to overturn everything the Palestinian Arab people have stood for over many decades.

Recently, news reports on Al-Jazeera revealed that the United States government has been engaged in funding





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Photo: Bill Hackwell

Mahmud Abbas and a host of related entities, including non-governmental organizations, in an effort to boost capitulating policies to a tune of $42 million dollars. Earlier reports indicated that the United States pumped millions of dollars to support Fateh candidates during the last elections to preempt the ascendance of Hamas and other political parties. Loyalists to Mahmud Abbas have also been receiving police and security training by the United States, along with shipments of arms. On a related note, USAID and other such arms of the United States have been actively working in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to provide resources to a select group of organizations. Civil society actors in occupied Palestine should continue to be aware of such attempts to manufacture consent via aid and “dialogue” claims, and to pave the way for United States-Israeli plans in the region. There are many examples worldwide of the United States corrupting movements from within during the process of liberation and then in the post-colonial era. United States and Western neo-colonial structures of dominance in fact prevail in many of the recently de-colonized nations.

All political parties that constitute the anchors of the Palestinian liberation movement should multiply their efforts to place the Palestinian movement back on its rightful track of liberation based on the principles enunciated in the founding National Charter of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Delays in this critical effort also leave those in the leadership of the various parties responsible for this unbearable deterioration. The current Palestinian Authority government under Hamas should spare no effort in safeguarding the unity and well-being of the Palestinian people from all assaults and escalating dangers. Only the United States-Israeli program stands to gain from the continued slippage into this political abyss that was dug even prior to Oslo.

In that regard, the FPA cautions against any rush to a forced “unity” at the expense of Palestinian and Arab fundamental rights. We are wary that the formation of a Palestinian “National Unity Government” would likely be dangerously used by malicious functionaries as another mechanism to further solidify the Oslo Accords, strengthen the chokehold on the Palestinian Arab People, and liquidate the primary anchors of the Palestinian movement. It must be noted that this attempt to impose a United States-style Palestinian Authority government, brokered and gradually implemented by bankrupt Arab regimes, is occurring in coordination with Israeli Zionist policies. Israel carries out continuous arrests and assassinations of prominent and effective political cadres as the United States imposes a lockdown of starvation and hunger. Simultaneously, attempts are being made to overturn the will of the Palestinian people and extract further concessions.

Ironically, these ominous developments are occurring as the Lebanese resistance is emerging triumphant against the Israeli occupation forces (presumably one of the strongest in the world), and while simultaneously safeguarding the cohesive unity of Lebanon despite attempts to ignite a civil war. As the Lebanese Arab people were assuming their role, yet once again, against the advance of Zionist conquest, clear solidarity and reciprocity from the Palestinian movement would have served the Arab people very well, particularly in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq. Instead, Mahmud Abbas and company shamefully went to the extreme to distance themselves from the Lebanese resistance, and all to earn brownie points from the United States. At the peak of the assault on Lebanon, Mahmud Abbas opted to carry out the functionary and treasonous role that the Egyptian, Saudi, and Jordanian regimes were implementing by pressuring the Palestinian resistance to acquiesce to Israeli demands and de-link itself from Lebanon. At the same time, however, the Palestinian people themselves took strong positions in support of the Lebanese resistance and articulated their feeling of connectedness in mass demonstrations in the streets, through statements issued by intellectuals, and with material support and solidarity from students, women’s organizations, and the general public. Mahmud Abbas and his ilk do not and have not articulated the aspirations of the Palestinian people.

Today, attempts are being made to plunge the Palestinian American community into the evolving internal strife occurring in Palestine, and to use unsuspecting activists and community leaders behind the scenes as leverage to stack the deck against one side or the other. Within this context, the FPA strongly urges our people in the United States not to allow this destructive trend to enter our organizations and living rooms. Appointees, envoys, and mouthpieces trying to rally our community one way or another against the unity and well-being of our entire Palestinian Arab people should find no hospitality among us in any and all forums and meetings. We must stand firm against all internal strife and abrogation of our rights.

In the past, members of our community were selected/appointed by the various political tendencies to serve in various capacities in Palestinian institutions, such the Palestine National Council. Some of these appointees used this privilege to accumulate personal political gains all without accountability to the community they represent. This selection and appointment process generally occurs during critical times, such as the one we are in now, and is used to amass votes in favor of one trend or another. Nepotism and corruption have been the primary characteristics of many of these appointments, eventually leading to the political decay the Palestinian movement is now witnessing.

The FPA cautions against these upcoming attempts and stresses that the only way to secure representation for any of



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our sectors in any location is through transparent and democratic principles. We further caution against using promises of appointments or possible seats of power as a hook to lure community members and activists into positions of power at the expense of fundamental national principles and democratic participation.

Our ability to champion the Arab struggle against war, Zionism, racism and colonial conquest, from Palestine to Iraq to Lebanon, is anchored in long-held principles of our people. In doing so, we have thus far successfully denied sly opportunists and their destructive elements the capacity to inject divisive politics into our midst. Those holding allegiances to corrupt functionaries in Palestine disguised as political leaders have no place here. Those in the United States wishing to capitalize on the current unfortunate disarray of the Palestinian movement for their own personal gains and ascendance to false positions of power should be shamed and exposed, as we are fully aware of the dangerous ambitions that some people have to be selected/appointed at all cost for upcoming Palestinian Authority institutions.

The FPA is dismayed by some attempts to inject religious and various sectarian divisions into the Palestinian American community. We categorically reject these bizarre and alien elements and stand clear that we, the Palestinian Arab people, have demonstrated that we are inseparable from each other and inextricable from our Arab Nation—in our history, current struggle and hopes for the future. Thus, we assure all that the Palestinian Arab people will reject these divisive ploys.

The FPA regards the Palestinian struggle for return and liberation as inseparable from the overall Arab struggle for freedom and against colonialism, themselves inextricable from the fight against Empire and in opposition to war. It would be a travesty to allow the Palestinian struggle to be reduced to that of an isolated Bantustan fighting to set the confines of its boundaries and bartering over who and how many can enter and through which gate. This sort of Oslo-style defeatist mentality has been introduced lately and there are successive attempts to normalize it as the discourse of today.

At this critical juncture, the FPA stresses the vital need to maintain the democratic Pan-Arab trajectory of the Palestinian movement and to fight against the rising isolationist voices wishing to separate Arab nation-states from each other. Reductionist political programs that do not reflect the cumulative history and struggle of the Arab People, and chauvinistically isolate any of the components of the Arab mosaic, are destructive and lead to sectarianism and Balkanization serving only familiar colonial designs. In fact, when taken to its fullest conclusion, this isolationist trend will lead to the fragmentation of the Palestinian people by forcing false levels of priorities on the three indivisible components of the Palestinian people: those of us in exile, those living and resisting within the 1948 borders and those standing steadfast within the 1967 borders.

The twin dangers of reductionism and isolationism are not only related to undermining the collective strength of the Arab People and dislodging Palestine from its position as the primary anchor of the anti-war movement. These dangers are also widely opening the gates for attrition in rights and principles. For example, Mahmud Abbas’s current demands that the Palestinian people fully normalize with Israel and accept racist Zionism will inevitably lead to aborting the Palestinian Right to Return and abandoning the Palestinians outside the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. His ultimate goal is to occupy the seat of a loyal servant at the doorstep of United States Empire, and damned be Palestinian rights and the Arab struggle for liberation.

Mahmud Abbas and his various supporters are now using the urgency of the situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to invoke a false and conniving moral imperative on a humanitarian level to extract expedient acquiescence on abandoning our fundamental rights—such as the Right to Return to our original homes and property. We remind our people and community that Mahmud Abbas and his supporters have a direct hand in creating the disastrous situation we are in through jailing leaders like Ahmed Sa’adat and others from various political orientations, starvation and blockage of funding, and shameful political agreements that hail butchers like Sharon and Rabin as presumed heroes of peace.

The FPA reiterates its previous demand for full investigation and accountability for all those responsible for the Jericho attack during which Sa’adat and others were captured by Israeli occupation forces. We further caution against dangerous attempts by Mahmud Abbas and his supporters to use the void created by Israeli arrests of Palestinian parliamentarians and political leaders to create a new and forced political reality on the ground.

Thus, Mahmud Abbas and company, here and in Palestine, should not be allowed to leverage the hunger of our children to break the collective will of our people. Rather than barter our rights and unity for food crumbs, we demand of them to surrender the millions of dollars they have appropriated away from our people and with which they have constructed their palaces, formed their gangs of thugs, and became merchants of war and peddlers of misery.

The Palestinian Arab people must question the sudden emergence of wealth and demand transparency and full accountability. We agree that those guilty of corruption are in fact guilty of high treason at a time when Palestinian children are denied a loaf of bread.

We call on our community in the United States to stand firm against all attempts to plunge us into the sectarianism and manipulation of the few, and to reject isolationism and chauvinistic tendencies lest we find ourselves pawns being leveraged one way or another, all while Palestine slips away.

Finally, the FPA stands in support of all efforts aimed at strengthening and uniting Arab causes in the United States, but cautions against the perpetual hatching of selective political boutiques to serve the interest of the few. We encourage all activists and community leaders to question any effort that may emerge at the expense of either our fundamental rights or our principled unity. We should collectively take pride in what has been accomplished in the United States during the past few years on multiple levels, including the identification of Palestine in the forefront of the anti-war movement, continued emphasis and education on the Palestinian Right of Return, the initiation and spreading of divestment and boycott campaigns, and the struggle against racism and bigotry. Our community should be exceptionally proud that an alternative notion to what it means to be Arab American has been introduced. Rather than accepting the repulsive notion that we must shed our Arab skin to belong in the United States, our community is embracing a constitutional belonging while proudly standing firm on its identity.

Together, as one Palestinian Arab people, inextricable from our belonging to the Arab Nation, we remain destined to return and to be free.

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