At the time of the Oslo Accords there was a debate among Palestinian supporters about their character. Edward Said was one of the most outspoken critics of the Accords & I agreed completely with his critique that they were the terms of Palestinian surrender. I was excoriated for calling them a bantustate solution by one writer who argued they were the best the Palestinians could get. My response was, ‘Absolutely so, if you rely on regimes colluding with Israel against Palestinian justice. But if you trust Intifada & social struggle, Palestinians can achieve self-determination & not settle for a travesty.
The treacherous character of the Oslo Accords has been more than exposed in the 21 years since they were signed & have proven themselves to be not just terms of surrender but justification for intensified ethnic cleansing & apartheid. They have been divisive to the Palestinian struggle & have privileged people like Mahmoud Abbas, a traitor to Palestine if there ever was one.
The discussions now around these European parliament resolutions recognizing Palestine as a state remind me very much of that debate in the early 90s. I consider these resolutions a dead-end, an end-run around Palestinian self-determination, a diversionary tactic, & an attempt to discredit a democratic secular state where Jews & Palestinians can live in peace. They are nothing but a massive compromise with injustice & Israeli apartheid. How Palestinians on the front lines of struggle deal with these resolutions is one thing; but why would Palestinian supporters ever agree to such massive & miserable concessions when for the first time in 66 years millions of people around the world stand with Palestine!?
What exactly is being recognized anyway? Does anyone really want to claim that Gaza, which cannot even rebuild after Operation Ethnic Cleansing due to the Israeli embargo, is a state? That the West Bank is sovereign whilst Israel continues to occupy & move in thousands of settlers? Why instead don’t those parliaments denounce Israeli apartheid; sever their military & economic contracts with Israel; promote the economic & cultural boycott of Israel; demand Israel end the embargo & stop Zionist settlements?
Symbolic doesn’t cut it anymore. Not whilst thousands of Gazans are sustaining a winter without housing due to Israeli ethnic cleansing; not whilst Israel is trying to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque; or whilst they continue to tear down homes & villages, assault & incarcerate thousands of protesters in their gulag.
Supporting these parliamentary resolutions is in the same league as MoveOn’s call for UN troops to Palestine–although the call for UN occupation has got to take the cake for misguided. And they’re in the same league precisely because at heart they doubt Intifada & Palestinian solidarity & are looking for a gimmick as a substitute.
Long live Intifada! Take it international! No phony bantustates but only justice.