How should the Palestinians have fought?

In response to the above question, Bruno Mota left a comment on the Stopper Split thread below that brought the response: “The sanest and most far-sighted words I have ever read on this subject, on this blog. One of the posters here should copy and paste this as a post in its own right”. We at HP are nothing if not lazy, so I’m happy to do so. Here it is:

I don’t pretend this is an easy question. Any list is bound to be simplistic; certainly none of the things I suggest would be easy. But, considering that the accomplishments of the Palestinian national movement these past 60 years have been non-existent, if not negative, they were at least worth a try.

First, historically a Palestinian state could have been created if
a) The 1947 partition plan had been accepted, or even if the principle of partition had been accepted.
b) A Palestinian state could have been created at any time between 48 and 67.

This is history now, a history HP threads have dissected in nanoscopic details multiple times.

Under the present context of being under occupation, Palestinians, or their leaders, might try to:

1) Have a realistic, non genocidal goal. Wiping Israel off the map is neither. Establishing an independent state in the occupied territories is. Work exclusively towards the goal. Ignore revenge, getting even, paying back or pointless venting of anger. Focus on the goal.

2) Act together. Having multiple groups with fractal splintering, often fighting each other, dissipates energy, and makes negotiating with the nominal head of the movement kind of pointless. Having a democratic, or at least consultive, decision-making process helps in this regard.

3) Be credible. When you say you will do or refraing from doing something, follow through. See 1.

4) Act state-like even before you become a country. Begin building solid national institutions, competent and non-corrupt, from the begining. Strive to make such institutions a viable alternative to the occupation.

5) Stop terrorism.. Please don’t make me explain why.

6) Understand the occupiers. Not as a racist cartoon, but as a bunch of fallible human beings. Most of which have probably more profitable things to da than make your life miserable. Forge alliances with those without any vested interest in the occupation, to undercut its support in the home front.

7) Keep talking. Put forward tangible proposals, and create a national consensus behind them. Follow the letter of any agreement you do sign, and then demand the other side do the same. Acknowledge the other side also has legitimate core demands, and learn how to diferentiate them from tactical negotiating positions. In the whole process, the more trusted you are the more concessions you are likely to get.

8) Resist occupation. Collectively, unceasingly. And non-violently. Ignore provocation and distractions, and keep focused on the goal. One of the least noticed side effects of suicide bombings is that they excuse the non-suicidal majority from doing anything against occupation.

Really, if the Palestinian violence and genocidal rhetoric were to stop, the conflict would be quite straightforward for most people, including Israelis: A people under occupation whose land is slowly taken away. Statehood would still be a long walk, but at least the Palestinians would be moving in the right direction.

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