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Analysis: What's next for the Palestinians? No deal at the expense of statehood

April 5, 2018 3:40 P.M. (Updated: April 5, 2018 3:40 P.M.)
(File, AFP)
By: Osama Qawasmeh
Osama Qawasmeh is the spokesperson of the Fatah movement, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority (PA). This op-ed was originally published on Newsweek on March 29, 2018. 
 

Palestinians throughout the world continue to suffer from the impact of the tragic events of 'Al-Nakba,' our day of catastrophe in 1948 when Israel's creation forced a mass exodus of our people, and all of the injustices that followed it.

Nearing 12 million Palestinians, in Palestine and all over the world, continue to be resilient in their struggle. They continue to strive for a comprehensive, just and overdue resolution to their legitimate cause. At its core, the Palestinian cause is driven by the urge of the people to enjoy their fundamental human rights. The right to liberty and freedom from tyranny, oppression and abuse.

For decades, Palestinians, generation after generation, sacrificed physically, emotionally, culturally and economically, to maintain their identity as the indigenous people of Palestine. They continue to teach their children limitless love for life and an unwavering determination that their rights are incapable of being alienated, surrendered, or transferred.

Since 'Al-Nakba,' and with faith in humanity, Palestinians have called upon all peace-loving peoples of the world to stand tall, by their side, in their struggle and resistance against the colonization of their land. They continue to engage the international community in their pursuit of justice while defending against numerous violent and unsuccessful attempts to silence and punish their voice.

For the first time in our struggle, Palestinians may appear to some to have lost clarity on what the path forward looks like. Recognizing that we Palestinians are about to enter a new era in our resistance and struggle, the need to reflect and redefine our strategic approach to promoting our cause cannot be more critical. So, where do Palestinians go from here?

This new phase should be direct, simple and one that appeals to all humanity. We should remind the world, and Americans in particular, that Palestinians have and deserve the same rights that they do.

We should remind Americans of what George Washington fought for. What Thomas Jefferson articulated in the Declaration of Independence. That “all men are created equal and there are certain unalienable rights that governments should never violate. These rights include the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This means we cannot now forgo any opportunity to appeal directly to the American people, asking them to give their support to our aspirations and freedom.

Palestinians need to explain, in simple terms, what they are fighting for and how in fact they are following in the footsteps of the American people when they were called upon to repel, fight and sacrifice for their liberty and freedom. Americans need to realize that the difference between the revolutionary and the terrorist lies in the reason for which each of them fights.

For whoever stands with a just cause, and fights for the freedom and liberation of their land from the settlers and colonialists, cannot possibly be called terrorists. Otherwise the American people, in their struggle for liberation from the British colonialists, would have been terrorists; the European resistance against the Nazis would have been terrorism, the struggle of the Asian, African and Latin American peoples would also have been terrorism, and many of the great leaders in history like Washington, Lincoln, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Mandela among others would have been considered terrorists.

The Palestinian cause is a just and a proper struggle consecrated by the United Nations Charter and by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The preamble to the United Nations Charter reads:

"…We the people of the United Nations are determined to…reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom…"

As to those who fight against the just causes, those who wage war to occupy, colonize and oppress other people, those are the terrorists. Those are the people whose actions should be condemned, who should be called war criminals.

The American people and the rest of the world should be reminded of Desmond Tutu’s words:

"Those who turn a blind eye to injustice actually perpetuate injustice. If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. It doesn't matter where we worship or live. We are members of one family, the human family, God's family."

It is vital in this new phase of our struggle, we Palestinians, to be direct and clear with rest of the world that we will never accept any deal at the expense of our national cause, and that we will foil every conspiracy which aims to erase us. Our people proclaim their faith in the future, undeterred by past tragedies or present limitations.

The American people are a living example and an inspiration to all on how resilient the human spirit is. Their humane experience and experiment taught the world that a just cause is worth fighting for and that there is no meaning to life under tyranny, oppression, humiliation and control.

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