Descending to a New Low: Fatah’s Manipulation of Starvation and Resistance

PLO Central Council meeting in Ramallah. (Photo: Osama Falah, Wafa)

By Ramona Wadi

For Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the visit to Israel by US envoys Jason Greenblatt and Jared Kushner provided additional bolstering of the sniper massacre against the Palestinians involved in the Great Return March on the Gaza borders. During a weekly cabinet meeting Netanyahu declared that “there was complete support for our positions and actions to ensure the security of the State of Israel and its citizens”.

As with other aggression on Gaza, Israel always seeks to exploit the humanitarian façade. However, Gaza’s increasing isolation has rendered the enclave an experimentation zone on all fronts, with Israel, the US and the PA all seeking to alter Gaza’s existence in terms of the ultimate political agenda.

In an interview with Palestine TV as reported by Wafa news agency, Fatah’s deputy chairman Mahmoud Aloul criticized US attempts to divest Gaza of its political identity, stating : “We are ready to starve but will not be ready that in return for resolving our humanitarian situation to give up Jerusalem and our basic rights.”

Who is “we” in Aloul’s vocabulary? There are various definitions which, however, will always set Fatah apart to embody a collective that is completely detached from Palestinian aspirations. Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly clarified this distinction, particularly since his sanctions assault on Gaza which also triggered protests in the occupied West Bank.

Aloul’s statement is imbued with illusory grandeur. It is beyond cruel to attempt to adapt a figure of speech about Gaza’s humanitarian context where Israel’s illegal blockade and PA sanctions have forced Palestinians to the brink of starvation. Furthermore, Palestinian basic rights and Jerusalem have been squandered by the PA – to place the burden of such capitulation to Israel upon the Palestinians is to absolve the PA of all culpability.

Clearly, the PA is not ready to starve to define a humanitarian situation as political, or to assert and uphold its claims to Jerusalem, or the Palestinian right of return. Rather, it is imposing starvation as a form of punishment for Palestinian resistance but has no qualms about exploiting the consequences of collaborative violence to attempt to score a diplomatic point that is forgotten after it makes news headlines in a few media outlets.

To safeguard its hierarchy, the PA is now creating crude metaphors out of the absence of basic human rights to attempt unification between an unwanted leadership and the people. Just as there is no correlation between the leadership and the people, there is also no correlation between contributing towards starving a population and associating the oppressive action with resistance.

Starvation of the Palestinian population in Gaza is a collaborative effort between Israel, the US and the PA – it is therefore imperative to repudiate Aloul’s statement and reject the new game of association and dissociation that is being played against the Palestinian people. For clarity, unless the PA changes its politics, it should be associated with the starvation that is imposed upon Palestinians in Gaza, and dissociated completely from the Palestinian people and their anti-colonial resistance.

– Ramona Wadi is a staff writer for Middle East Monitor, where this article was originally published. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

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