By Marion Kawas
On January 28, 2020, US President Donald Trump unveiled the details of his ‘Deal of the Century’ in Washington D.C. with Benjamin Netanyahu by his side.
Many of these details had been leaked before, but this press conference put it all together in one package, replete with maps. For many Palestinians, this exercise simply acknowledged what is already the reality on the ground.
But for those still clinging to the façade of “international order”, Trump’s apartheid plan is the final nail in the coffin of the much-touted “two-state” solution. The “two-state” solution that has dragged on for over 25 years, and only resulted in more theft of Palestinian land, more illegal Israeli settlements and more oppression for Palestinians.
It is time to realize that the “state-building” exercise, initiated by the Oslo accords, has failed and failed in a way that has crippled the Palestinian struggle for decades. It is also time to acknowledge that Trump’s Steal/Scam/Theft of the Century is regrettably the logical outcome of those same Oslo Accords.
In the 1970s, the Palestine Liberation Organization PLO was widely recognized as the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. One of the main planks in its platform was the creation of an independent, secular, democratic state in Palestine. Western governments of the day went out of their way to attempt to vilify and exclude the PLO from international forums and other events.
How did we possibly come from that to what we are witnessing today? How and when did the PLO change its focus and what were the repercussions on the Palestinian struggle? Why did the Palestine National Council PNC vote in 1998, under the guns of the occupier, to amend and nullify crucial articles in the PLO charter? A vote that ultimately neutered and marginalized both the PNC and the PLO as effective representative bodies for Palestinians, a vote that was boycotted at the time by many PNC members and leading visionary Palestinian intellectuals, such as Edward Said.
The Oslo Accords dramatically re-framed the parameters of the Palestinian movement and what was considered “acceptable”; but did they also succeed in laying the foundation and granting legitimacy for greater normalization with Israel?
If you want a favor from the U.S. government, it seems normalization with Israel is the road to take, as happened recently with Sudan’s leader al-Burhan. These are all important questions that need serious discussion in the entire Palestinian movement, including those in diaspora and in refugee camps. The fight for Palestinian liberation cannot move forward until the setbacks of the past are addressed, and the disgraced Palestinian Authority, and its job as a security contractor for Israel, held to account.
It’s immaterial now if the Oslo Accords could have worked if they had been honored and implemented as promised – they weren’t. In fact, it is now apparent that the whole intent of the Oslo Accords (or at least its backers) was to contain, control and censor the militant spirit and legacy of the Palestinian struggle. History has brought us to another pivotal moment for the Palestinian national collective. This moment can either be met with a recognition of these realities and give birth to bold ways for new leadership to move forward, or be squandered and add more unnecessary years to the arduous path for liberation.
Palestinians around the world demonstrated and protested in the last week to show their total rejection of this latest attempt on their national dignity and existence. And no, it’s not because they insist to “miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”! It’s because they refuse these “opportunities” to surrender, to commit national suicide, and to sell-out their and their children’s birthright.
As in the darkest periods that have come before, the Palestinian people will prevail and foil all conspiracies against their legitimate national and human rights. The right of return, the right to genuine self-determination, the right to live in dignity and freedom – the new generation of Palestinians are as committed as any before them that these rights are sacred and will NOT be sacrificed.
– Marion Kawas is a member of the Canada Palestine Association and co-host of Voice of Palestine. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Visit: www.cpavancouver.org.