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The Defeat and the Coup
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
June 18, 2018

The Zionist movement was able to establish the State of Israel. The displacement of the Palestinian people from its homeland, Palestine, was the practical mechanism for the implementation of this objective through committing massacres and terrorizing the Palestinians.

In addition to the tragic consequences of the Nakba for the Palestinian people, which most of it has become refugees, a complex and contradictory situation has emerged at the Palestinian political level, represented in the weakness and dispersion of the political movement, in return for the rise of major tasks as a national entitlement, imposed by the Nakba and its repercussions, until emerging Palestinian powers were able to mobilize their energies, arrange their ranks, and launch the revolution in 1965.

But after less than three years, the defeat took place in June 1967. Here, too, a complex situation was developed that added (primarily) the tasks required due to the defeat, to the entitlements of the Nakba, which the newly formed factions of the Revolution, working for uniting their powers, were seeking to fulfill.

After the Nakba, the prevailing trend among the forces that launched the Palestinian revolution was to focus on the goal of the return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes and properties from which they were expelled. This means, in practical terms, the liberation of Palestine from the Zionist invasion, and whoever disagreed with this (if it existed) was outside the framework of the revolution and its ranks in the field and politics. However, it differed after the defeat of the 67. So, there were calls (regardless of their size and status) that emerged to create a separation between the entitlements of the 48 and 67. And in their view, the return of refugees is no longer existed under the new aggression, and the focus should be on “removing the effects of aggression” by the implementation of resolution 242, i.e. the Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian and Arab territories occupied in 1967 and the return of displaced persons. At that time, there was not any discussion in the international and Arab official corridors on the (independent) national future of the Palestinian territories occupied by the June aggression.

Perhaps the most important of what the National Interim Program proposed, was to link the two entitlements together, calling for the realization of the rights of the Palestinian people in self-determination and to build an independent Palestinian state on its land and the return of the displaced under UN Resolution 237 as a decisive national answer to the question of the future of the occupied territories in 1967. It also ensured the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their homes and properties, which they have been expelled from in 1948 according to resolution 194. In addition, the program considered the interdependence of national objectives based on the interconnection of the rights of the Palestinian people with their main titles.

It also considered that Palestinian national action in the pursuit of these goals, must necessarily constitute a series of consecutive and interrelated stations, that no one of them should be separated from the others (as the goal of the establishment of the State), principally the entitlements of the Nakba to guarantee the right of return, and others, required for achieving this great national goal.

If the Palestinian situation at the political and popular levels at that time prevented the expansion of calls for separation between the two great entitlements, the supporters of these calls found the American demand for dialogue with the PLO as a shift in Washington's policy towards the rights of the Palestinian people under the influence of the Intifada, which occupied the forefront of regional and international attention. It can be said that the bet on the American role began before the first session of the dialogue, in which the US delegation, was headed by, the Washington ambassador in Tunisia. From the point of view of those who welcomed the dialogue at the time (1988), the fruits of the intifada had been matured and should be picked up and what they called the shift in the American position was a tempting offer, for a limited time, and it may fade if it is not captured.

In light of the disagreement within the PLO on this crucial issue, it was clear that the welcoming approach to the US opportunity began to turn its influence on the Organization and its institutions into effective policies in the name of the Organization, even if they were contradicted with the titles of the national coalition program. This may was the beginning of the launching of the political coup against this program, which was actually legalized by the signing of the Oslo Accords, and their successive disasters.

Thus, Washington succeeded in manipulating the intifada and its goals of freedom and independence by seducing the powerful leadership in the organization by purporting that it could act as a real mediator to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in response to the request for a Palestinian state, with the lack of interest of the Palestinian side, involved in the settlement in linking the establishment of the state with the guarantee of the right of return of the refugees.

The national entitlements that have been created by the defeat of the 67 on the Palestinian front are known and recognized in international and official Arab bodies, stemming from the principle of endorsement of the right of self-determination and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. This assumes the withdrawal of the Israeli occupation from all the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, and the dismantling of settlements and the deportation of settlers, in connection to the principle of inadmissibility of changing the features of the territories occupied by a foreign force and the return of the displaced Palestinians, who, like the refugees, have been followed up by a special committee(according to Oslo) that met several times without any possibility of implementing the mentioned resolution.

Realistically, the researcher in the Palestinian affairs can find a direct straight line between the legalization of the calls for separation between the entitlements of 48 and 67 and the current picture today, not only regarding the future of the Palestinian refugee issue, but also the future of the occupied Palestinian territories by the 1967 aggression, as the owners of these calls tried to justify their vision that it aims to establish an independent state and cut before the continuation of the way before the continuation of settlement. At that time, they added that linking the goal of the establishment of a Palestinian state with the right of return of refugees, negates the achievement of both objectives.

However, those who view the map of settlement in the West Bank, the Judaization projects in Jerusalem and the political discourse of the Netanyahu government today, will be sure that the mentioned proposal is not valid, and that can lead to the deletion of both entitlements together, is isolating them from each other, for a simple and known reason, as to drop and ignore the right of return of the refugees, means the exclusion of the stakeholders (two thirds of the Palestinian people) from the arena of confrontation, i.e. the owners of this call are emptying the Palestinian national work from its social and political holder, i.e. the people.

Mohammad Al-Sahli is the Editor in Chief of Al-Hourriah newspaper, the official speaker of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by Rawda Abo Zarqa
Revised by Ibrahim Motlaq

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