Professor Yusuf al Qaradawi called it ihanaah - humiliation. Dr Edward Said calls it collaboration. Others see the peace deals as just another round in the tragic saga of downturns and defeats for the Palestinian and the Arab people. The events leading up to the historic peace deals were truly remarkable and praiseworthy of a proud Palestinian nation.
The intifada proved the tenacity and the ability of a
nation under such terrible conditions rise up with a leadership that was through real
consensus and so steadfast and flexible such that the revolution and uprising was kept
going even though many had to pay the heavy price of death, torture and incarceration. the
leadership was ingrown not bureaucratic but lead by the shabbab the youths, the
young who were brought up in occupation. Their determination and sincerity showed and
convinced the masses to be with them. They were not intimidated by the ever potent Israeli
intelligence, their elaborate security network or their collaborators. The Palestinians
were facing up to the threats, the beatings, the bullets, the guns of the well equipped
bullet proofed battle trained Israeli soldiers.They were after all the people in the
occupied lands. The demonstrations were noticeably more religious. There were more veils
on the streets and the stone throwers were shouting out Allahu Akbar. They were
not afraid even of dying, The Palestinians were defiant and almost shattered the
confidence of their foes. Many capitals in the West were resounding with concern. Mass
media coverage and information technology brought the news to the waiting Muslim Ummah.
After so many defeats and humiliations in the Camps and in the Diaspora, finally those who
are still clinging on to the treasured and sacred land, waqf they call it are rising up to
face their occupiers.Then the whole scenario was lighted up with the reintroduction of the
armed struggle by the Islamic Resistance. Of all places, the resistance operated inside
the heart of Israel. Suddenly people remembered what they had forgotten about what to do
for liberation and to achieve the noble cause. It was now possible that acts of defiance
would lead to sacrifice and guerrilla war. Jihad was thus in evidence in blood, in tears,
in the sacrifice and not only in idle rhetoric or forgotten speeches.
The events were overturned by the now infamous peace accords. The swiftness of the deals, the very objectives of its deliberations are questionable in the least and utterly disgraceful to any dignified nation. But it resulted in a recedence of the intifada and the transfer of the problem of security to their own. Now, self determination means for the Palestinian that they have their own intelligence agencies and security operatives to deal with.
They now go to their own prisons and have their own kind to
interrogate or even torture them. They do not have to face up to their former occupiers.
They, the fighters the sons and daughters of the intifada now face the same collaborators,
the former occupied territories police who were taken back as the new Palestinian
Authority Police. The prevalent symbol of occupation, the Israeli checkpoints are still
there but you have newly uniformed Palestinian Authority police with them. It was just
like the old days only now its official. Now, who will ever say that the peace accords
were for whom.
On the political level, there were elections but no significant role made for the elected legislators. Again as ever before and every time in the Arab World, no voice in the West nor anywhere were raised to this crucial issue of democratic representation. During the intifada, a joint command was established with acceptance by the majority and it lead the struggle.
After the peace deals, the PLO took over as the authority of
isolated and detached municipalities. It really had no touch with governing but only
staying in power.The PA is really on the opposite sides with the legislators and the
activists. But the fear of another direct occupation and the ability of averting disunity
is keeping the peace albeit an uneasy peace.
What about those in exile, those in the camps, pushed out of Jordan, hammered and cornered in Lebanon, discriminated in Kuwait (due to a serious miscalculation of the PLO) and the very Palestinians in that country called Israel and do not forget Bait al Maqdis. It is hoped that the Palestinian leadership (not only the PLA) really learnt something from the intifada and truly cherish it and are willing to expound its goals. It should not be a passing phase just like the victory of the Battle of Karameh was. It should not be something just to remember by as a commemoration, nothing else. The struggle for the liberation of Palestine should not be like the PLO organised Cheese and Wine parties in yesteryear USA or Europe during those boom times of the PLO. The intifada was not a result of the PLO's richness but on the other hand something born out of neglect. The PA and the PLO should not be the policemen and prison wardens of its own people. They should stay as leaders of the revolution for the Palestinians who are still the most free spirited and strongly willed Arabs and Muslims and the liberation of Palestine is still the biggest opponent and obstacle to the goals of Zionism.
Hamdan Muhammad Hassan
26 March 1998.
[Currently, he is a Senior Civil Engineer at the University Science of Malaysia. He is involved in youth activities with the Muslim Youth Movement in Malaysia. He is also the Secretary for the Muslim Staff Association in his university.]