What the Palestinians really want

As part of its vicious efforts to dismantle the Palestinian Authority- because it is one product of the peace process that this Israeli government is working to undo – the Israeli propaganda machine has been active in raising doubts about the control of the Palestinian Authority and its possible disintegration. The irony of this is that many of the Israeli reports, including official ones, are reaching such conclusions on the assumption that the Palestinian Authority is unable to prevent its militants and activists from pursuing their resistance and the Intifada. What these conclusions fail to point out is that the Palestinian Authority is not trying to do this at all. 

The Authority, which has been the main victim of Sharon’s offensive, militarily and politically, has been trying, though not with great success, to allow for the continuity of the Intifada and at the same time, to keep the door open for any potential success in the political process. That is why the Palestinian Authority positively responded to every political initiative put forth, including those of Mitchell, Tenet and Burns. 

This duel role created some confusion outside because many people felt that the continuity of the Intifada contradicts with the continuity of peace efforts. In fact, it does not, simply because the continuity of the Intifada and resistance is a natural outcome of the Israeli occupation’s treatment of the Palestinian people, whether it is the ongoing killing or the cage-like closure it has imposed on them. 

In all cases, the fading of any political prospect is only strengthening the option of resistance among the Palestinian people. Palestinian rhetoric is gradually becoming more and more coherent and unified because those in the Authority and outside it who have been gambling on the possibilities of a peaceful initiative have been losing the argument. Gradually more and more Palestinians are uniting behind the Intifada rhetoric, which was successfully presented by Marwan Barghouti in his press conference on August 6. 

He said that the only way to understand the current situation is to view it within the context of natural and legitimate resistance of the illegal Israeli occupation. He added that the criteria for measuring the success or failure of any political initiative is based on the extent to which it is efficient in ending this Israeli occupation. He also said that while the Palestinians do not accept anything less than a complete end to the occupation, they also do not want anything more than this and that ending the occupation would allow for an end to the conflict. He went even further by inviting the peace camp in Israel to join hands with the Palestinians in order to end the occupation, which, he said, would be a short cut to achieving peace and security for the Israelis. 

While the Palestinians understand where these Israeli campaigns and reports, which aim at contributing to the dismantling and discrediting of the Palestinian Authority, are coming from, they find it difficult to understand why some of the foreign media have chosen to sing the same tune. It would be more professional for the international media to pursue original ideas and stories when it comes to the Palestinian internal situation by digging a little bit deeper than the shallow level of analysis that the Israeli media and officials are offering.

Mr. Ghassan Khatib is the publisher of the Palestine Report.

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