Why Palestinians are willing to embrace Netanyahu rather than fight for their rights
When it comes to politics and fighting for their rights, Palestinians seem to loose their enthusiasm quickly and resort to the tragic normalcy of being victims and demanding 100 percent, rather than pursuing a strategic and continuing effort to fight for their rights. They are divided, unable of unifying and driven by anger and emotion. They won’t have a Palestine State until they can overcome those shortcomings, roll up their sleeves, set aside their internal divisions, push aside their emotions and pursue a winning strategy that recognizes compromise, consensus and real solutions
By Ray Hanania
The surprising return of Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel’s prime minister is a reflection of the inability of Palestinian Arab voters in Israel to sustain a workable forward moving strategy.
It’s almost as if Israel’s Arabs can’t live in a world in which they can push forward towards an acceptable resolution of their endless trauma and lost identity.
Maybe, even more, it is reflection of the inevitable truth, that the Arabs of Israel are like Palestinians in the occupied territories and throughout the diaspora. That truth may be something Palestinians need to do a better job of understanding. What is that truth? That Palestinians can’t live in an environment in which they are not under siege, not victims and not in a euphoric state of hope.
Palestinians are driven by their emotions and they can’t survive outside of a world in which they are not the victims, a status that creates an automatic empathy among much of the world and where they don’t have to be leaders.
Being a victim makes life easier for Palestinians, although that life is paid for at a great price of suffering. Being a victim is an excuse for failure.
As victims, Palestinians don’t need to explain away their failures. The failure of their leadership. The failure of their inability to build coalitions within their own community to forge a strong voice. The failure to bridge the internal divisions that are fundamental to existence.
In its 105 year struggle of uncertainty from the 1917 Balfour Declaration until today, Palestinians have only seen one true leader, Yasser Arafat, a man who had one goal that he achieved but that his people could not sustain. Arafat, through cunning leadership, forced the world to finally recognize the Palestinians as a people, giving them a place from which they could design their own future.
But instead of defining a future, they tore themselves apart, incapable of restoring the movement that Arafat had built and then set aside in the hopes of pursuing a peace that was easily dashed by Israeli extremism.
Instead of learning how to negotiate, Palestinians taught themselves the art of rejection, to preserve their inalienable essence materialized in an uncanny ability to always say No. They learned how to codify a system in which they pushed themselves to greater extremism and rejection and a mindset in which they believed that the solution to their problems was an impossible dream, 100 percent. They wanted everything, and would surrender nothing. They want all or nothing. And instead, they have ended up with nothing.
Because the truth is that even though they live on the land of historic Palestine, their existence is non-existent and they have no real lives. They are subjugated by their own inability to coalesce their inherent strength.
They can’t come together behind one movement. Instead, they have ripped themselves apart, first by secular divisions — Fatah versus the Popular Front, in its many sub-formations, and later by the larger intractable division of the Palestine National Authority and Hamas, the movement midwifed and fueled by an Israeli desire to undermine Arafat in the 1970s.
Their politics is really a synonym of decrepitude and decay.
Why else would Arab Israelis not go to the voting polls en masse, like a voter tsunami to achieve their rights? They stayed home, knowing full well that they had the power to make a difference in Israel’s politics. But they just couldn’t sustain anything because they can’t accept the outcome of not achieving 100 percent. They wanted everything, but always settle for nothing.
It’s true that in a coalition government with outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Benny Gantz, they did not get what they truly wanted. They were ridiculed by their own people as the Arab-Jewish coalition government gave the Arabs short-shrift, few real powers and little advancement towards their rights.
The Gantz government certainly did not offer any substantial hope for the Two-State Solution, other than empty words.
The Arabs of Israel couldn’t live with that. So, they took the alternative, a worse reality in which they will be made to suffer more. Staying at home in a pouting emotional unhappiness and opening the door to Netanyahu and the far Right Zionists who will be far more destructive to their dignity and their honor than anything that Gantz could have achieved.
The failure of Gantz to deliver for them they could not accept. But the anticipated anti-Palestinian era that awaits them under Netanyahu, who has already announced efforts to expand the illegal Jewish only settlements, they could live with.
If this wasn’t a tragic reality of human existence, it would be a classic Shakespearean tragedy. And yet the Palestinian Shakespearean tragedy has not outcome but is an endless syndrome of catastrophe, or, Nakba-ism.
Palestinians need a new Yasser Arafat, someone with the clear vision that inspired the coalescence of a successful struggle, even though it was brief. The empty rhetoric and excuses of today’s Palestinian leaders should be unacceptable and embarrassing to the Palestinians whether they live in Israel as second-class citizens, as occupied victims of the occupation, or screaming whirling dervishes in the diaspora who take bread crumbs and claim they are bread.
Rather than to lift themselves out from the mire of their failures, Palestinians, no matter where they are, seem to prefer to wallow in their own suffering. They are used to it. And its discomfort is comfortable.
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