Often Western officials and academics explain the enrollment of the young in militant organizations to social and economical reasons. They believe that since the heads of the family are busy trying to put food on the table, that causes many young to develop psychological and social problems, which explains why many turn to violence and seek revenge from others, or turn to drug dealing and becoming members of criminal gangs that steal and kill. Therefore, they often concluded that improving the economic situation is the key to solving the problems of resorting to violence
As the Palestinian suffering has continued for decades, it has become increasingly difficult for Western politicians to address Palestinians rights, and often they focus on finding a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict without addressing the core issues (such as right of return, ethnic cleansing, dispossession, ..etc.).
Sometimes we hear Western officials talk about the suffering of the Palestinian people, and about the bad living conditions in the refugee camps, even sometimes we hear them talk about Palestinian human rights for those who live under Israeli occupation. However, you will rarely hear any of them talk about Palestinian national rights.
Since Palestinians are exhibiting this "violent" phenomena, the West have focused its energy on solving this conflict by improving the economic or living conditions for Palestinians in the occupied territories.
From the beginning, Israel decided to confront Palestinian resistance with an overwhelmingly violent reprisal, however, it did not succeed despite its destructive power. Resistance has increased in quantity and quality to a degree that it is currently scaring many Israelis.
Besides confronting Palestinian resistance, Israel and the Western Governments found it necessary to work also on the economic and financial fronts as well.
Taming The Palestinian People
The enemies of the Palestinian people resorted to two policies to defeat them: The first aimed to frustrate and depress them by physically defeating their will to resist, and the second policy aimed to entice them with financial gains, and leadership positions within their community.
I am not going to explain these policies in details, the reader
- can link defeating the Palestinian resistance in Lebanon 1982,
- the policies that ruined the first Intifada,
- how Israel allowed the flow of money from outside, and
- how alternate Palestinian leadership was created that does not advocate armed resistance.
The first phase aimed to find a financial solution to the Palestinian cause by encouraging Palestinian academics to open centers and organizations that believe in the economic solution to the Palestinian cause, and to show the "civilized" face of the Palestinian people.
In the early 1980s, silently and carefully there was a search for Palestinian academics who could support such a policy. At the beginning, the environment in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip was not yet suitable for such activities.
Some educated Palestinians surfaced who called for talking to the West in a language that they can understand, which was focused mainly on exposing the suffering of the Palestinian people and exposing Israeli atrocities against them.
In the 1980s, they did not speak against resistance, and they did not disclose their intention to recognize Israel, but they focused on
improving the economic conditions as the tool to help the occupied Palestinians, and
they focused their attention on establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
I was one of those who were approached to support this policy; even the American consul in Jerusalem offered his cooperation in this regards in 1983, and the Israelis offered to make me a Palestinian leader in 1989.
At the time, American and Israeli policies aimed to refocus the attention of the Palestinian people away from their Right of Return and from their right to self-determination, to establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian suffering in the occupied territories was used as the tool to
- shrink Palestinian demands, and to
- shrink the Palestinian people to a people who live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In return, these Palestinian academics received many benefits from the Israeli occupation, such as traveling abroad, freedom of movement, lecturing abroad, attending conferences, and even financial support in some cases.
To be specific, I mention the Palestinian Media Center, which enjoyed a wide range of activities including financial support from the PLO without any objections or restrictions from the Israeli occupiers. The people who headed this media center were exposed as Palestinian leaders, and the occupiers even harassed them to enhance their political legitimacy among the Palestinian people.
Slowly since 1988, Palestinians started to accept what used to be forbidden, and they even crossed the red lines which they imposed upon themselves earlier. They
- recognized the State of Israel,
- recognized UN resolutions 242 & 338,
- collaborated with the Israeli occupation on many security related issues, and even
- they arrested many Palestinians for their resistance to the Israeli occupation.
The Policy of buying Palestinian Rights
After executing the policies of frustrating and financially enticing the Palestinian people, America and Israel turned to restricting Palestinians even more by controlling their sources of income directly or through the Western donor governments.
The goal was, and still is to make the Palestinian people a hostage to the loaf of bread they need to survive; which will turn them away from demanding their national rights and from resisting the Israeli occupation. In other words, the goal is to keep them busy just to survive from day to day, and not even think of their right of return or liberating Jerusalem.
These policies intensified after signing the Oslo Agreement and after the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). These policies are rooted on three primary principles:
- America and Israel linked Palestinian financing to the Western donor
countries. It should be noted that this financial assistance was linked to
how much Palestinians implemented the signed agreements with Israel,
especially regarding the security issues.
America and Israel were determined to exclude Arab countries from financing Palestinians directly (such as financing from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and UAE), and made sure this financial support comes from the Western donor countries in way that they totally control. It should be noted that some Arab countries provided some financial support, however, this support was provided as a donor country, and not from a sister country who has no security and normalization pre-conditions with Israel.
Therefore, PNA resorted to inflating the number of its employees, where it employed tens of thousands who provided no qualitative services to the Palestinian people.
Tens of thousands received official jobs, especially in PNA's security services, who had no real job but receiving their monthly salary at the end of the month.
The donor countries did not object to this unwise policy, and continued financing these salaries for years. It was clear that the real purpose behind this assistance was not to serve the Palestinian people, but rather to create a dependency relationship between the Palestinian employee and his salary, which comes from the donor Western countries at the end of the month.
Since the salaries were conditional on PNA's security cooperation with Israel, salaries were paid so long as resistance to Israeli ceased, and so long as negotiation with it continued.
It should be noted that salaries were not paid to PNA in a lump sum, but rather they were paid on a monthly basis and was conditional on PNA cracking down on groups linked to resisting the Israeli occupation.
The whole world saw how Palestinians allowed themselves to fall into this trap soon after Hamas won the election early 2006, especially when the donor countries cut paying the monthly salaries. Overnight, the Palestinian cause was converted to a cause for paying the salaries of employees who did not work to begin with!
For the salaries to return, Palestinian leaderships found themselves accepting American-Israeli dictation. Consequently, Americans and Israelis effectively control PNA's public policy.
- Palestinian Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs) mostly receive their
funding from Western donor countries such as Italy, USA, Holland, Norway,
France, ... etc. with the exception of a few who receive their funding
locally or from Arab sources.
Some of these NGOs have normalized the relationship with Israel, and some did not and some even refused to denounce what the Americans calls "terror". Despite the discrepancies between these NGOs, the employees of these NGOs (who number in the tens of thousands) received their salaries from the Western donor countries, and they have no choice but to think about receiving that salary.
Stability for these people was critical to continuing the social and human projects they are working on, and any resistance to the Israeli occupation may jeopardize their projects.
In other words, these employees worked in an environment that is under the influence of the Western countries that aims to abolish any resistance to the Israeli occupation. It should be noted that some of those NGOs spoke against resisting the Israeli occupation, and their leaders openly normalized relationships with the Zionist enemy.
The employees in these NGOs found themselves in a difficult situation trying to balance between their Palestinian national rights and putting food on the table. Just by having the average Palestinian think in such a way, America and Israel have achieved one of their biggest objectives.
- Paris Economical Conference in 1994 placed the Palestinian economy
completely under Israeli control, which as a result made the Palestinian
economy completely dependent on the Israeli economy. For example, no goods
may enter the occupied territories without passing first through an Israeli
businessman On top of that, Israel has the right to withhold and determine
the levied taxes on all goods entering the occupied territories.
At will, Israel controls the Palestinian economy. Similarly, Israel withholds Palestinian taxes. All of this became clear to the whole world when Israel refused to give back the withheld taxes once Palestinians elected Hamas for office.
Moreover, the Paris Economical Conference connected the Palestinian economy to the world economy especially when it comes to the freedom of movement of goods, and to monitoring all financial transactions.
Consequently, Palestinians imported more at the expense of locally produced goods and services, and as a result Palestinian farmers, carpenters, craftsmen,... etc. became unemployed, and Israelis and Americans controlled the entry of all funds.
In the past, the average Palestinian used to manage his financial situation, however, all that changed after the Paris Economical Conference which controlled the flow of funds, and connected the Palestinian economy with the world's economic and financial systems.
Nowadays,, if anybody visits the West Bank, he will hear how the cost of living has sky rocketed, however, he hears little about the Israeli colonization policies, usurpation of Palestinian lands, arrests, and assassinations.
It is not fair to blame the average Palestinian.. Israeli and American policies were accepted by many in the Palestinian elite (especially among the academic class), which forced the average Palestinian to care about feeding his family at the expense of Palestinian national rights.
If the economical pressure on Palestinians continues, and the daily life in the West Bank continues to be connected with Western financial sources, then priorities for the average Palestinian will switch from national to personal. Instead of holding on to the right of return, the average Palestinian will become obsessed with holding on to his salary.
In a nutshell, the real goal is to buy Palestinian national rights at a fixed price, set according to Israeli and American dictation. Therefore, any talk about any "peaceful solutions" is meant only to gain time until they completely convert the Palestinian cause into a monthly salary cause. Ironically, this is exactly what Za'ev Jabotinsky advocated as early as 1923 in his famous Iron Wall article, he said:
".... Settlement can thus develop under the protection of a force that is not dependent on the local population, behind an IRON WALL which they will be powerless to break down. ....a voluntary agreement is just not possible. As long as the Arabs preserve a gleam of hope that they will succeed in getting rid of us, nothing in the world can cause them to relinquish this hope, precisely because they are not a rubble but a living people. And a living people will be ready to yield on such fateful issues only when they give up all hope of getting rid of the Alien Settlers. Only then will extremist groups with their slogan 'No, never' lose their influence, and only then their influence be transferred to more moderate groups. And only then will the moderates offer suggestions for compromise. Then only will they begin bargaining with us on practical matters, such as guarantees against PUSHING THEM OUT, and equality of civil, and national rights."
Could this policy work at the end? There is no doubt about it that it is working now, however, not all the Palestinian people earn salaries, and not all the Palestinian people are willing to give up their national rights in return for the salary.
- Middle East Report: Ramallah Government Pays Gaza؟s Civil Servants؟If They Promise Not to Work