by Khalid Amayreh
The fact that Israel, which continues to murder Palestinians nearly on a daily basis, narrows Palestinian horizons and steals Palestinian land is hastening to rescue the Palestinian Authority (PA) from its crushing financial-economic crisis may raise a lot of eyebrows both among Palestinians themselves and others around the world.
After all, millions of people around the world grew up thinking that Palestinian and Israeli interest are inherently paradoxical and contradictory. So the last thing a casual observer would expect with regard to the Palestinian-Israeli strife is a concordance of Palestinian and Israeli interests in the form of a "positive" Israeli intervention to help the PA overcome the current crisis.
The truth of the matter, however, is that Israelis are not being charitable, generous, magnanimous or good neighbors.
In fact, Israel has always been a racist murderer and thief; it continues to be murderer and thief and is not expected to change her skin in the foreseeable future.
To begin with, Israel is the root-cause of all problems and troubles, economic and otherwise, facing the Palestinians. Indeed, one would have to be totally gullible to believe that a real, prosperous economy can be maintained under a sinister foreign military occupation.
This is undoubtedly one of the stupidest blunders committed by the PA leadership which still must go back to Grammar Schools to learn the meanings of such words as freedom, independence and sovereignty.
In the final analysis, Israel tightly and completely controls all Palestinian infrastructures, including water resources, electricity, roads, skies and border crossings. In fact, not a single matchbox or a small sewing needle can get into or out of the occupied territories without Israeli consent.
So, one could imagine the extent to which the Palestinian economy is subservient to the Israeli occupation.
It is also important to keep in mind that whatever money Israel transfers to the PA coffers is actually Palestinian money the occupying power collects on behalf of the PA in accordance with the scandalous Paris protocol which effectively put the entire Palestinian economy under Israel's mercy.
Israel levies an estimated $100 million per month on commodities imported by Palestinians through Israeli ports. Normally, Israel devours bloated commissions and hefty salaries for Israeli operatives handling clearance operations at border crossings.
Speaking hours after ordering the transfer of some $63 million to the PA last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said helping the PA overcome the current economic crisis in the West Bank was an Israeli interest.
He described those Israeli officials objecting to aiding the PA in this regard as "politically myopic and not understanding what they are talking about."
"We are working on several fronts in order to help the Palestinian Authority cope with its economic problems. We have made several agreements in the taxation agreements. We are advancing several transfers. We have also helped with Palestinian workers and with a series of other steps in order to make things easier for them.
"Of course, there is a global reality and it is also related to the internal management of every economy, but for our part we are making efforts to help the Palestinian Authority survive this crisis. I hope they will succeed in doing so, this is in our common interest."
Interestingly, the PA leadership doesn't deny that the survival of the Ramallah regime is a paramount Israeli interest.
Last week, a high-ranking PA official told reporters in Hebron that Israel was interested in weakening the PA regime, but never in destroying it.
"Israel wants to weaken the Palestinian Authority to a certain point which would enable the Jewish state to impose its will and conditions on the Palestinians."
The official added that Israel wants to see the PA perpetually busy and occupied with its internal political and economic problems which would give Israel a sort of carte blanche to pursue its settlement scheme.
He disclosed that at least some of the protesters who assaulted and vandalized the main police station at al-Haras in Hebron last week were saboteurs and provocateurs working for the Israeli intelligence.
If indeed the survival and "prosperity" of the PA is a mutual Palestinian-Israeli interest, then there must be a huge flaw in the relations between the Palestinian victims and their Israeli victimizers.
It is lamentable that the PA leadership is oblivious of this flaw. It is also a real calamity that the PA is willing to function and operate under crippling Israeli constraints. In this case, the PA behaves and acts as a collaborator and colluder with the occupying power, rather than a national authority aspiring to become an independent state.
PA leaders had argued ad nauseam that the creation of the autonomous authority was a step toward the creation of a fully-independent and completely sovereign Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Now, almost everyone, including some PA officials, realizes that the PA is probably the biggest obstacle impeding the establishment of a viable Palestinian state worthy of the name, after the Israeli occupation.
There is no doubt that the scandalous Oslo Accords put the Palestinians, including the PLO itself, the so-called sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, in a lose-lose situation whereby they will have to choose between two unattractive choices: Direct Israeli occupation on the one hand or indirect but equally sinister Israeli domination on the other.
The PA regime has given Israel unconditional recognition without receiving a reciprocal Israeli recognition of a putative Palestinian state.
The Palestinian harrowing toward the political and moral abyss reasserted itself earlier this month when Chairman Abbas told a visiting Israeli delegation, which included some rabbis, in Ramallah that "Israel was created to last forever."
Unfortunately, virtually all Fatah leaders were mum, fearing Abbas's fury and reprisals.
There is no doubt that the Palestinian cause is being gradually and quietly liquidated while PA leaders keep babbling about a state that seems ever more unlikely to see the light of the day with the passage of everyday.
Is there an exit out of this political labyrinth? Of course there is, provided we put our national interests before the immediate and precarious interests of maintaining the status quo.
This necessarily requires the liquidation of the Oslo Accords. I realize that exiting the Oslo Accords, or more correctly delivering our people from its clutches, wouldn't be easy or safe. But it can be done and it must be done.
Otherwise, we sacrifice Palestine for the sake of maintaining an authority that has no future if only because that authority is inherently subservient to and dependent upon Israel.
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|Timothy V. Gatto|
|William A. Cook|