May 20, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8760

Palestinian Journalist: Through Their Internal Schisms, The Palestinians Have Brought Upon Themselves More Catastrophes Instead Of Realizing The Right Of Return and Establishing A State

May 20, 2020
Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 8760

On the occasion of Nakba Day (literally "Catastrophe Day," commemorating the displacement of Palestinians that attended the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948), Gazan journalist Akram 'Atallah published an article in the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam titled "The Nakba and Its Sisters," in which he accused the Palestinians of compounding the original Nakba with further catastrophes of their own making. He wrote that, 72 years after the first Nakba, the goal of establishing a state has not only failed to come nearer, but has actually receded due to the intra-Palestinians schisms and power-struggles. The various Palestinian parties and factions, he said, are more interested in gaining power than in realizing the dream of establishing a state. The result is ongoing schism and a failure to establish proper government and judicial institutions that safeguard freedom, pluralism and the rule of law.

Akram 'Atallah (source:, May 12, 2020)

The following are translated excerpts from his article:[1] 

"The Palestinians have marked, for the 72nd time, the sorrowful memory of their expulsion from their cities and villages. None of the members of the [1948] generation, who kept the keys to their homes, imagined that they would not be returning even after so many years…

"The journey has not ended that the Nakba is not yet over. More than 70 years later, we are no closer [to realizing] the dream. On the contrary, we are [even] more frustrated and bereft of hope. Much water has flowed down the river of the [Palestinian] enterprise and many stones have fallen on the Palestinians' heads, hitting them one after the other. Every time they lift their heads, another [catastrophe] strikes. The dream of return is more distant than ever…

"The Palestinian schism has grown deeper as well: [The Palestinians] have tried to unite into a single national movement in order to [realize their] dream, but [instead] they are fighting one another, when they have not yet arrived and [the dream] is not yet fulfilled.

"Along the way, the Israelis threw them a little bribe that distracted them [from the goal] and halted their progress [towards it]. This caused the brothers to fall out and [become] mortal enemies, and the dispute, it turns out, is not temporary. It is part of an old Eastern tradition of quarreling over who will rule over this wretched [Palestinian] people that has not yet realized its dream, [namely] who will govern it under the occupation. We discovered that our political genes are part of the Arab tradition [when it comes to] government and exclusion [of the other] to the point of killing [him].

"[Our] catastrophe [Nakba] is that we are divided [even] under occupation. The catastrophe is that we have discovered that the parties' lust for power is greater than [the dream of attaining] the homeland, and that we are unable to establish [proper] institutions, hold elections or maintain the rule of law. The catastrophe is that our impoverished people compare the national [Palestinian] government to the occupation [and wonder which is better]. The catastrophe is that the Palestinian knows that his compatriots will settle scores with him for [holding a dissenting] opinion, and that [the Palestinian] factions and forces in power suppress any opposition, even the slightest one, and send people to jail for a single word…

"Some 25 years ago, the Palestinians founded their [Palestinian] Authority. They seemed to be getting over the Nakba and embarking on [the right] path. They embarked on another in a series of journeys that never came to an end. They held elections… and established their [Palestinian] Authority. At first [this authority was somewhat] rickety, but they ignored this, since its founder, [Yasser Arafat], was the father of all Palestinians. But [the problems] piled up and suddenly exploded in our faces. When the father departed [i.e., when Arafat died], we discovered that the sons were unable to share the power that had not even been consolidated [yet]…

"[The consequences] of the fighting [between Hamas and Fatah] in Gaza 13 years ago are now becoming clear: It took us even farther away from our dream and exposed our shame. Palestinians took up arms against Palestinians, in order to rule a nation of indigents and increase their poverty, their troubles and their sorrow to the point of bankruptcy.

"The Nakba spawned sisters and reproduced itself after the first attempt at Palestinian [self-] rule. The moment they gained some power, the Palestinians used it ruthlessly against themselves. The catastrophe, and its sister, is that the Palestinian [citizen] discovered that the Palestinians [who rule him] will never agree among themselves and will keep quarrelling until Judgement Day. He discovered that the Palestinians do not understand the language of dialogue and do not excel at reaching understandings and building mutual rapport. On the contrary, division is the hallmark of their being, their policy and their culture. [It turns out that] all the slogans were just empty words, out of touch with reality -- [a reality] that put an end to all the [Palestinian] achievements that were gained over the decades. The cost [of the achievements] was worth it in order to attain freedom, but not in order to  satisfy the urges of the [Palestinian] Authority and of the Arab region and its disputes.

"The dispute among the [Palestinian] brothers has trampled everything: the freedoms and human rights of those who sacrificed so much to establish this [Palestinian] government, [as well as] the rule of law, the judiciary, the [value of] transparency and the ethics of [political] rivalry. [The situation] deteriorated to a level that does not befit politics and politicians but rather beasts [fighting over] their prey. The greed that emerged does not befit people striving to build a homeland but people who want to destroy it…

"The Nakba begot further Nakbas, of our own making. Look what has become of us!!!"





[1] Al-Ayyam (PA), May 17, 2020.

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