In a July 12, 2014 article in the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat, Saudi writer and intellectual 'Abdallah Hamid Al-Din presented an uncommon position, stressing that the only viable solution to the Palestinians' conflict with Israel is peace. He criticized the Palestinians' handling of the conflict – for instance their demand to realize the right of return, which he called unrealistic, or their call to boycott Israel, which he called hypocritical – describing all this as part of an ongoing policy of self-destruction and missed opportunities that has characterized the Palestinians' action since the establishment of the state of Israel. He also condemned the policy of perpetuating the refugees' suffering, calling it immoral conduct that sabotages the Palestinians' lives and future.
He concluded that striving for peace is the Palestinians' only way to defeat Israel, and that real resistance is rejecting illusions and false hopes that steadily erode the Palestinian cause.
He noted that many of his claims are based on arguments by American intellectual Noam Chomsky.
The following are excerpts from Hamid Al-Din's article.
'Abdallah Hamid Al-Din (image: Youtube.com)
Precisely At This Difficult Time, It Is Important To Be Realistic Rather Than Utter Empty Slogans Of Resistance
"I write [these words] in a difficult and tragic climate. There are dead and injured in Gaza. [Its] infrastructures are in ruins. Israel has unprecedented domestic and foreign consensus [for its attack]. Some might say: This isn't the time to write these kinds of words. But I believe it is unavoidable. In these times there is only one dominant voice: [the one that says] 'yes to the resistance; resistance is necessary; resistance will end the occupation; those who seek peace are traitors and Zionists.' But there is no choice but to give voice to [a different position], which says 'enough,' and calls for wisdom, for calm, for life. Therefore, precisely at this time, I insist on saying the following.
"How should we act today, 66 years after the establishment of the Jewish state, a state that enjoys international support and has a vast arsenal at its disposal?... If one wants to act in the world, one must accept reality even if one does not like it. Israel is part of this reality, and has been since 1948. I do not like [this] world order, but it is a fact. We must believe that every state is entitled to the same rights as any other. Every state has the right to afford its citizens a livable life. It's possible to utter many slogans, but if we want to realize goals, we must also clarify how they can be achieved.
"I support the refugees' right of return... Do the refugees and their descendents have the right to return [to their homes]? Yes! Do the Native Americans in the U.S. have the right to return to the regions that were theirs? Yes! Is that going to happen? No! Had I said to the Native Americans, 'I will uphold your right to return and I will expel the people of America – so [in the meantime, you must] remain in your wretched condition' – that would be patently immoral. The [Palestinian] refugees will never return [to their homes]. That's a fact. There is no international support for it, and even if there was, Israel would have used its nuclear weapons [to prevent it from happening]. So it won't happen.
"If the issue of the refugees worries you, [I say that] recognizing the Palestinian refugees' right of return is imperative, just as it is imperative to recognize the right of return of the Native American refugees and of many others. But the important thing is to invest efforts in improving the dire situation of the [Palestinian] refugees. [The problem is that] all I ever hear [is slogans] that follow the same reasoning as slogans [calling for] the Native Americans' right of return. I want to head a real proposal... one that takes into consideration the refugees and their suffering."
The U.S. Also Oppresses; Why Doesn't Anyone Call To Boycott It?
"The hypocrisy of those calling to boycott Israel reeks to the heavens, because all their reasons for imposing the boycott are a hundred times more applicable to the U.S. or Britain. So why don't they boycott the U.S.? The call for a boycott does not come from the Palestinians, but from groups that call themselves 'the Palestinian people.' The Palestinians never agreed [among themselves] even on boycotting the settlements, let along boycotting Israel [as a whole]... The demand to boycott Tel Aviv University, [for example], or to boycott Israel until it ends the oppression [of the Palestinians], seems ridiculous to any reasonable person. Is there no oppression in the U.S.? Does anyone boycott Harvard [because of it]? This is hypocrisy. They demand [to boycott Israel] because it is easy. They compare it to [the boycott of] South Africa, without considering that the boycott [of that country] succeeded because the conditions for it were right. Whoever wants to recreate that model must work to recreate those conditions. Much of the Palestinians' actions are self-destructive. They have caused themselves harm, and today they have only two options: the two-state [solution] or a continuation of their plight.
"The statements above are not my own. They were made by Noam Chomsky, who has been fighting [for our cause] for 70 years, and is one of the most prominent intellectuals to endorse the Palestinian cause. He experienced it from the start, analyzed it, addressed it, supported it, worked and debated for it, and met with people connected to it. Chomsky says that there is [a form of] resistance that is immoral, illogical and harmful to the Palestinians. He claims that it is hypocrisy to demand boycotting Israel and not demand boycotting the U.S. Chomsky invokes the logic of [choosing between] limited and realistic options and ridicules those who invoke the logic of meaningless slogans. Is he treacherous, feeble or naive? Is he ignorant [in his] political analysis? Is he a Zionist?
"Ever since the 1947 [UN] partition resolution, the Palestinians' situation has steadily deteriorated, while Israel's situation is steadily improving. One does not need a vast amount of historical knowledge to understand that [the Arabs and Palestinians] missed one opportunity after another. Had the Arabs accepted the partition resolution, Israel's territory would have been considerably smaller than it is today, and had they agreed [to make] peace after the defeat of 1967, their situation would have [also] been better. Every opportunity missed by the Palestinians yielded huge profits for Israel."
"True Resistance Is Resistance To Illusions And False Hopes"
"Israel does not want a just peace. It really doesn't. It wants to take and not give. And we, for our part, have given it the opportunities to expand and to take. We often [study] the maps of Palestine from 1947 until after the year 2000 and say: 'Just look at all that aggression.' But we ignore the fact that the maps tell a different story, namely: 'Look at our obstinacy, our escapades and our trading in the [Palestinian] cause'. The Israelis took the land and banished the [Palestinian] people, but we took the Palestinians' future and wrapped it in false hopes... It is we who denied [the Palestinians] life. We and not Israel. Israel has banished 750,000 people, but for 66 years we have banished the lives and futures of millions...
"Genuine resistance is what will prevent Israel's future expansion and coerce Israel into restoring to the Palestinians some of their rights, if not all of them. We must acknowledge that Israel cannot be defeated by force today, and for the foreseeable future. Those who think otherwise are welcome to present a roadmap, as opposed to mere empty slogans. Slogans will not defend the Palestinians from bullets or prevent Israeli missiles from falling.
"The only way to stop Israel is peace. There are some people who don't understand that peace, too, is something you must struggle for with all your might. Israel does not want peace, because it does not need it. But the Palestinians do. Therefore it is necessary to persist with efforts to impose peace. No other option exists. True resistance is resistance to illusions and false hopes, and no longer leaning on the past in building the future. Real resistance is to silently endure the handshake of your enemy so as to enable your people to learn and to live..."