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Is the Official Leadership Still Calling for the “Peaceful” Popular Resistance?
By: Moatasem Hamadeh
May 29, 2018

When the Return and Breaking the Siege Marchs have been launched, the Oslo figures have realized, since the very first moment, that they have been targeted by these actions, at least for their responsibility for the unjust sanctions imposed on the Gaza Strip, on the illusion that the trip would one day explode against Hamas as its current authority, after Ramallah government has cut its relations with its people, under the pretext of responding to the vague attempt of assassination of the prime minister and his companions.

The Oslo figures tried to behave with some political obstinacy, so they declared their satisfaction as the armed resistance factions in the Gaza Strip, finally convinced of the usefulness of the "peaceful" popular resistance as an alternative to military actions, which according to the Oslo figures' opinion just caused the destruction and disasters for the Palestinian people.

But when the peaceful popular resistance has escalated in the return and breaking the siege marches, the Oslo figures have found themselves in the circle of embarrassment. As the Gaza Strip, under the leadership of the National Committee for Return and Breaking the Siege Marches (DFLP, PFLP, Jihad, Fatah and Hamas…) a pioneering experiment in the methods of (peaceful) popular resistance that has restored some of the experiences of the unified leadership in the first national Intifada, either by the formation of a unified leadership with committees of different competencies, or in the naming of weeks of rage with political titles or by the mobilization of the Palestinian public situation in all areas of the Palestinian presence (occupied territories in 1948, in 1967, and Diaspora).

Every Friday, the attention has been turned to the Gaza Strip to follow the popular epic that has transformed the Strip, with its sacrifices and steadfastness, and put the occupation in the narrow political corner, to a central point of Palestinian national attention, which has deprived the Oslo from its political cover, its figures and authority, and made a separation between two strategies: the strategy of betting on the promises, and probabilities and the remnants of Oslo, which requires the besieging of the popular movement and tightening on it, so as not to exceed the limits of failed bets. And the strategy of fighting in the field, which has launched the energies of the popular movement, highlighted again the elements of the Palestinian power, captured by the security coordination, and returned the Palestinian issue to the circle of Arab, regional and international attention. Perhaps the international reaction, after the epic of May 14, 2018 is a shining guide to it.

Unfortunately, some Palestinian elites inside and outside the Palestinian territories have slipped to the futile discussion on the most effective method of struggle against the occupation: is it the peaceful popular uprising or the armed struggle?

Before of the great sacrifices of the Return and Breaking the Siege Marches, some of them have fallen into the trap when they have been dazzled by these sacrifices, and ignored at the same time, the great sacrifices made by the Palestinian, Arab and international fighters in the ranks of the Palestinian revolution in the different struggle stages. They also have biased in favor of the popular resistance as if at the same time condemning the experiences of the armed struggle. This is a serious fall, because it does not estimate experiences in their historical context, but rather estimates them with a reactionary logic, governed by the elements of the present moment. Moreover, this fall considers the methods of struggle as if they were ready recipes, and that the Palestinian people should choose one of these recipes, quoting the experiences of others.

Those who are dazzled by the experiences of India, adhering to the peaceful resistance. And those who are fascinated by other experiences such as Algeria and South Yemen, and some stages of struggle in Morocco and Libya, and in Vietnam, Cuba and others, are biased towards the armed struggle, even some have considered that this method is the only way to achieve the salvation program from the occupation, ignoring at the same time that what might fit the Palestinian bank, in some circumstances, may not fit the Gaza Strip, and that what works for the camps in Lebanon, does not fit to the camps in Syria.

The Palestinian people lives in different political, economic and security circumstances, and therefore the political mind is supposed to invent the methods of struggle that serve the national interest at the given moment, not to be subjected to mood, or to prior intellectual standards, that insists on dropping themselves into a different reality, in which there are no acceptable conditions.

The essential element of all this, remains the element of political program and options. On the basis of the political program, its objectives and choices, the methods of struggle are built.

Therefore, it is necessary to say that the Oslo project, which is limited by the recognition of Israel and the security cooperation with it (under the title of security coordination) and whose owners' economic interests are connected with Israel's economic interests, may have a declared goal of independence, but its options for achieving this independence will remain governed by the limitations of the Accords and their obligations. Hence its calls for the peaceful popular resistance come , not from the conviction of the role of the street and the role of the masses in the struggle, but in order to manipulate the street, and its role in shaping the objectives of the struggle and its mechanisms, and in order to restrict the will of the people in the cage of security coordination, and economic dependency and for a single option, that presents itself as an ideal that rejects violence whatever its source, that is, the option of bilateral negotiations outside the UN auspices and its binding resolutions. It is an option that its idealism drops when it rejects violence if it comes from the Palestinian street (because it embarrasses it in front of the Israeli side) and does not do what is necessary to stop the Israeli violence, whether by the occupation soldiers or by settler gangs.

As for the national project, (return, self-determination, independence, freedom and national dignity), it is a project free of all restrictions except its commitment to the complete legitimate national rights. It also adopts all options in an integrated framework, in which these options unite, to form a struggle strategy with its various elements, based on the principle of resistance in its different manifestations. From the armed resistance, where it is required to the popular resistance, as the central option, with its innovative and genius ways, to all forms of resistance in culture, media, education, politics, diplomatic and economic movement and others.

What has embarrassed the Oslo leadership is not that the popular resistance remained peaceful. It has remained peaceful unilaterally, on the Palestinian side, but it has been turned into violent and bloody resistance, by the occupation forces.

Also, what has embarrassed the Oslo leadership, is that the Marches of the Return and Breaking the Siege have revealed that this leadership is involved in the imposition of the blockade, by punitive measures and:

• This leadership is constrained by the Oslo Accords, and therefore it does not want any form of resistance, whether armed, popular, violent or peaceful.

• This leadership has fallen in more than one experience when its reactions to Israeli massacres have remained much lower than what the responsibility imposes on it towards the people, land and cause.

This raises the question:

Is the official leadership really still convinced of the peaceful popular resistance?

Moatasem Hamadeh is a member of the Political bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by Rawda Abo Zarqa
Revised by Ibrahim Motlaq

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