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The Return Marches and the Truce Entitlements
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
December 5, 2018

"The marches of return and breaking the siege" in the Gaza Strip have made significant strides, since their launch last March. As with their popular momentum and ongoing activities they have formed a security and political concern that worried the Netanyahu government. Therefore, the cessation of these marches was part of Tel Aviv's conditions for reaching a truce with the resistance factions.

In the past three weeks, the marches continued without witnessing, as the previous period, the launching of balloons and burning kite planes towards the occupied Palestinian territories in 1948. This indicates that the Palestinian side, in the negotiations of the indirect truce (so far) has dealt with the truce entitlements within the formula of “continuing marches with less engagement” and this is normal, because the peaceful aspect is the nature of the marches, without meaning that the enemy will not target the participants. But the basis is its continuation, maintaining the popular momentum that has accompanied them and minimizing the potential losses among the participants.

The Israeli target for the marches is clear, which is to put them out. This was done by premeditated murder, according to orders of leading military levels in advance, to the Israeli soldiers and snipers to fire live bullets at every Palestinian, moving in front of them. The occupation committed one of the biggest crimes when more than 60 participants were killed and hundreds injured on the 70th anniversary of the Nakba. It considers any activity or march demanding the participants to return to their homes and property as a war against the Hebrew state, aims to undermine it, and therefore the Zionist media machine describes the acts by the army of the occupation, against the demonstrators, as "self-defense".

It can be said that the realization of the slogans and objectives raised by the marches (breaking the siege and return) is based on the principle of accumulation of the impact of these marches on many sides, in the forefront is the international public opinion and the political and societal environment. As well as their supposed impact on the Palestinian general situation, from the point of view of endorsing the demand of ending the division and this is the gateway to resolve the Palestinian crises. Especially that the return marches are being conducted under the supervision and guidance of a national body that includes most of the political and societal parties in the Strip.

The marches are not a military engagement project with the occupation, but a project to revive the Palestinian political and popular situation in the Gaza Strip and to direct popular tension due to the repercussions of the aggression and the blockade towards its main cause, especially in light of the occupation's bet on the explosion of congestion in the Palestinian body, after the repercussions of the division have reached to the extent that the Palestinian Authority has taken punitive measures against the Gaza Strip, which have affected the lives of many people and complicated the crises in the Strip .

The conditions of the occupation to reach a truce, started with stopping the launching of balloons and burning kite planes, as well as ending these marches completely, and it with its allies press to achieve this goal, as if reaching the truce means ending the siege. Thus, the marches have achieved half of their goals. But the occupation ignores the fact that even in the case of decreasing the blockade and allowing the entry of essential materials for the lives of the Gazans on the economic and service levels, these facilities are obtained according to the occupation criteria and to temporary decisions without written regional and international guarantees that ensure their continuation and expansion in a way that ends the siege.

It is therefore necessary to point out that the marches have not yielded yet mature fruits to be harvested, which reminds us of what happened with the first Intifada, noting the difference in the context and circumstance between the two sides of the comparison. But such a view turns the marches into a paper to negotiate solutions that do not end the siege, creating a state of frustration that brings us back to square one.

Most importantly, the battle with the occupation is comprehensive and its fronts are integrated against the siege, aggression, settlement, Judaization and detention. This means that the arbitrary separation between the truce and the reconciliation entitlements is a spin in the vacuum. We all recall in 2014 how the unified Palestinian delegation, which negotiated on the truce, put all the parties concerned in front of a position that strongly confronted the claims of the occupation that it is fighting a certain party in the Gaza Strip, trying to incite it as a "terrorist" in the American-Israeli definition.

This means at the same time the need to develop the popular confrontation with the occupation in the West Bank and Jerusalem and to promote the popular resistance, which puts the international community in front of facts in the field cannot be ignored, and puts the occupation also before the end of the free occupation of the Palestinian territories and it begins to pay the political and material costs of this occupation. This affects, with its accumulation, on the Israeli society and relatively disintegrates the status of supporting the extreme racist right-wing policies against the Palestinian people and its national rights.

The occupation and its allies prefer to deal with the Palestinian issue in separate files that belong to multiple and conflicting parties, and this is achieved after the division. So, with the advent of the Trump administration, it has found this situation suitable to make it a pillar in the mechanisms of achieving the “deal of the century” that absorbed Netanyahu's plan in the “economic peace”. Washington and Tel Aviv have sought to separate the issues of Gaza Strip and its future and people from the West Bank, its people and future after Jerusalem is removed from the agenda. And they have two projects, both for Gaza and the West Bank, in which each project has a package of conditions to be dictated on both the Gaza and Ramallah authorities.

Washington and Tel Aviv have no reason to reconsider their calculations towards the Palestinian issue unless the Palestinian situation is able to overcome the causes of its crises in terms of the implementation of national consensus decisions, starting with the decisions to end the division to the implementation of the decisions of the National and Central Councils, especially those connected with the exit from the remnants of the Oslo Accords and their political, security and economic constraints, and the openness to the United Nations and its resolutions related to the Palestinian cause, and to continue the Palestinian international endeavor by submitting the request for full membership of the State of Palestine and to seek protection for the Palestinian people from the crimes of the occupation and its expansionist policies and accelerated Judaization procedures.

The policy of betting on the settlement, on its unjust terms and under the exclusive American sponsorship, has led to Tel Aviv's expansion of settlements without any deterrent. And today, it seeks by allying itself with the Trump administration, to impose a political solution that is contrary to the rights of the Palestinian people. It also seeks to put the suffering of the Gaza Strip and its people within the framework of compromises through which the Palestinian situation in Gaza is extorted in order to pass the projects of occupation through the portal of humanitarian solutions. Among these compromises are the suppression of the marches of return and breaking the siege and the salvation of the security and political concerns created by them and was the title of a conflict between the components of the Israeli government coalition on how to reach this goal.

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

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