Intellectual Nostalgia for Liberalism
On 28 Feb 2012, a workshop was held in the Ibrahim Abu- Lughud Institute of International Studies in Birzeit University, where three papers were presented.
The workshop was entitled “International Aid: A”Necessary Evil” for Development in Palestine?” The three speakers and the commentators “relatively” accepted the topic and criticized neo-liberal policies while each tackled the issue from a different angle.
It is not the purpose of this article to discuss the papers in details, but rather discuss two related issues contained in most of the papers and other writings by Palestinian liberals:
First: The neo-liberal policies adopted by the Palestinian Authority (PA) are bitter fruit of PLO liberal policies.
Second: PA itself is a “donation” from the donors and it is the largest NGO.
In response to all who thought that the first Intifada will breed a Palestinian state, I wrote in its first months, Feb 1988, that it will not, but I explained that one of its great contributions is the struggle transformation from a struggle limited to the militant elite to the struggle of the masses. While I never exaggerated the military struggle, but I never accept the defeated mentalities that hated it and minimized its importance who were and still are motivated by the compromise policies aiming to satisfy the Zionist and western powers . Unfortunately, the main concern of PLO leadership, since the beginning of Intifada, was how to use Intifada to achieve a political solution with the Zionist Ashkenazi regime – Israel (ZAR) at any price, while what should have been done at that time was HOW to contribute to advance the Intifada to the economic, development, political and cultural levels as levers for continuous struggle for liberation. Since then I have realized that PLO leadership is changing itself to an alternative to what it started as a movement of resistance and liberation to satisfy the demands and conditions of imperialism and the ZAR.
Early in 1988, the PLO declared a virtual Palestinian independence and a real and catastrophic recognition of the ZAR over 78 percent of Palestine! In other words, the PLO donated Palestine to the settlers and put its signature on Balfour Declaration and finally indulged in secret negotiations with the US and ZAR rulers which resulted in an exchange of a PLO leadership recognition by ZAR for a ZAR recognition by the PLO as a political organization representing only the Palestinians in the 1967- Occupied Territories, the West Bank and Gaza Strip (WBG) without any real ZAR withdrawal from WBG on the one hand, and a return of the PLO leadership to the WBG but not the return of the Palestinian people to Palestine. Later, in1993 PLO confirmed the abovementioned compromise whose implication on the short run crystallized in:
· Normalization with the enemy
· Ending Intifada and all boycotting of the ZAR
· Peace for capital
· And paving the way for a ZAR integration by domination into the Arab Homeland, which I call it “Internalization of Defeat”.
So, it is clear that the PA has been brought to the 1967- Occupied Territories by an agreement (Oslo Accords) designed by the US and ZAR, i.e. it did not return by or through a liberation process. The PA is an authority donated to PLO. The Palestinian social “classes” and factions which welcomed this agreement are:
· PLO leadership which was transformed to bureaucratic capitalism after decades of cashing money from reactionary Arab rulers, especially those from the renters Gulf rulers and the taxation of Palestinians who were working in the same Gulf.
· Palestinian financial and contractor capitalism, especially those who emerged and integrated with the Gulf and international capital as a trickle-down partner and became a tool for intrusion the Palestinian social fabric in the 1967- Occupied Territories and finally established joint ventures with the Zionist capital.
· Palestinian capitalists who were entangled into joint ventures with the Zionist capital through investments inside WBG.
This in addition to three other groups of Palestinian intellectuals who played the role of organic intellectuals for the bourgeois:
15- The renegade Communists/Marxists
15- the liberals
15- And the PLO intellectuals who were justifying its policies before Oslo.
The deal between the bureaucratic and financial/contract “classes” is that the first will give the second a free hand to dominate and exploit the WBG economy.
Some Remarks on the Papers
The contents of the workshop papers, discussions and critique argued against neo-liberal policies of Prime Minister Fayyad to the extent as if Fayyad and his policies came from the space. The PA is a mere extension of PLO, and the neo-liberal policies are the new version of liberal ideology of PLO since its inception 1965. History never started with or by Oslo-Accords or Paris Protocol or by Salam Fayyad. It is the PLO which never thought of a development policy, the PA inherited a right wing policies and liberal economic understanding from PLO and except Fayyad himself, all ministers, and people in power are from PLO. Fayyadism is a continuity of PLOism.
Many Palestinian writings by economists, sociologists, and other intellectuals limit their criticism to Fayyad. Raja Khalidi and Sobhi Samour in their paper in Palestinian Studies Fall 2011 limit their critique against Fayyad’s neo-liberalism. They did not offer a new paradigm “development”. Their suggestion of “economic resistance” is fluid and can’t be understood out of liberal suggestions.
The same is for Adam Hania’s paper (Development as Resistance). His heavy critique was against Fayyad without referring to the era before him since 1993 and to the long PLO era since the 1960s! He adopts Jamil Hilal’s suggestions of empowerment, application of laws, respect to women, not women liberation. He adopts the liberal discourse of rights.
All of these issues, he argues, are expected to be respected by the regime!. Omar Bargouthi’s article “Resistance as a basic condition for Development” was devoted to passive resistance like academic boycotting, he stops on the borders of UN discourse of rights in a liberal manner.“
Niythua Najerjan tries to transcend the limits which others failed to. She argues against normalization and touches the class issue, but she fails to provide or adopt a “development” paradigm, and finally she falls in repeating the ideas which were mentioned by Hanifin, Tabard and Hilal. This entire thesis fluctuates as a petition to the PA to make some reform. Laila Farsakh heavily depends on the reformist idea of Hilal which totally neglects the fact that PLO is the “mother” of the PA and the Palestinian partner who sign both, the Oslo Accords and Paris Protocol before importing the neo-liberal Fayyad from the World Bank “devil team” and offering him the assistance he needs. Farsakh goes further motivated by her liberal ideology to pretend that Oslo process terminates the democratic institutions of PLO and creates new bodies: the so- called Palestinian Authority, Palestinian Legislative Council, which has no delegation and lacks for representing perspective of PLO. Farsakh’s compulsory divorce between PA and PLO is groundless. In fact, PLO changes its content to be either the PA or to be swallowed by the same PA.
Unfortunately, this campaign against neo-liberalism was never orientated towards radical change and paradigm but it is some form of re-inviting liberalism! These writings failed to stand against the process of Peace for Capital like to call for:
· Dissolve the PA or to argue to tighten its mandate in social and administrative issues, not political representation and negotiations with the ZAR
· And in economic terms, i.e. to adopt de-linking policy.
Is the PA a Mere Donation?
After conquering Palestine, the British colonialism donated Palestine to the Zionist movement to create a Jewish state there, i.e. to gather Jews who were citizens of tens of nations to build an artificial state which later in 1948 evicted people of Palestine in a destructive and continuous manner that extends until today. The cultural structure of the ZAR is to a large extent similar to the United Nations, i.e. no common one. In 1993 the US president Bill Clinton and the Prime Minister of the ZAR Mena hem Begin donated to the PLO an Autonomy “Self –Rule” in part of Palestine, the 1967- Occupied Territories to build a dependent entity I call it Oslo-Stan.
What Palestinians got following the Oslo Accords is an administrative entity under the weapons of the ZAR army. Accordingly, I am reminding the reader with the following:
1- Why did the PLO sign an agreement that did not condition the withdrawal of the Zionist army and a Palestinian state?
2- Why did the capitalist west decide to support the PA with $25 billion from 1994 until today through a division of labor: the US pays for security needs, EU pays for administrative and technical needs, Japan for infrastructure…etc, while Arab regimes pay through western channels or under their supervision.
3- Why was not the PA allowed to export and import freely?
4- Why the PA never allowed to adopt development policy but to stay fluctuating between modernization, growth and developmentalism, and even many of its intellectuals and economists are colluding with these false policies and call it development?
5- Why did PA accept the division of the 1967- Occupied Territories into A, B and C areas and left area C which is 60% of the land under full occupation and B nearly the same?
6- Why did the PA accept to conduct elections under colonial rule? The main result of this colonized democracy is the massacre between Fath and Hamas caused by a fight for a colonized power.
7- Why the donated billions of dollars have been spent for police forces, huge bureaucratic apparatus, and creating a governmental not public sector or a productive base in addition to the well known corruption? Why the Donors, who pretend transparency and proud of Protestant Ethic accepted that corruption?
8- Why does the PA encourage consumption, private sector, and import at the cost of productive sectors, considering that the 1967- Occupied Territories money circle end in the economy of the ZAR?
9- Why the PLO and later PA never criticized or discussed the dangerous and anti-national sub-contract projects which enable Zionist capital to own places, buildings and machines of these projects inside the 1967- Occupied Territories and exploit the local cheap labor?
10- Why the PA never prohibited Palestinian investment activities for those Palestinians who favor investment inside the ZAR?
11- Why do the donors prohibit the PA from controlling NGOs budgets and activities?
12- Why did the US oblige Arafat to create the position of Prime Minister and impose Salam Fayyad as a permanent prime Minister?
13- Why the PA never tried to de-link from the ZAR economy?
14- What is the meaning of what George Tenet wrote about a discussion between Dennis Ross and Mohamad Dahlan about Palestinians role in protecting Israeli security?
15- Last but not least why the PA was never able to bring any spy to court?
For these reasons and many others the structure and mandate of PA will never develop into an independent regime. As a donation, the PA is a mixture of money, administrative and security-police power. By money it creates a lot of unproductive jobs which made nearly one third of the society dependent on it as if it is creating its own ‘society”, and by police it uprooted the military resistance cells and practices on one hand, and encouraged and protected normalization with the Zionist enemy, on the other. All these policies are paving the road towards a smooth liquidation of the Palestinian Right of return.
Finally, the position of the PA and PLO towards the destruction of Libya, and its organic intellectuals and media against Syrian people and regime, include the collusion of PA representative in the Arab League who donated his presidency to Qatar tells more and confirm what I wrote above.
* * *
The Bloody Road to Damascus:
The Triple Alliance’s War on a Sovereign State
by James Petras
In this inside look into the destabilization process of Syria, Professor James Petras, maintains ’there is clear and overwhelming evidence that the uprising to overthrow President Assad is a violent power grab led by foreign-supported fighters who have killed and wounded thousands of Syrian soldiers, police and civilians, partisans of the government and its peaceful opposition.’
The outrage expressed by politicians in the West and Gulf State and in the mass media, about the ‘killing of peaceful Syrian citizens protesting injustice’ is cynically designed to cover up the documented reports of violent seizure of neighborhoods, villages and towns by armed bands, brandishing machine guns and planting road-side bombs.
The assault on Syria is backed by foreign funds, arms and training.Due to a lack of domestic support, however, to be successful, direct foreign military intervention will be necessary. For this reason a huge propaganda and diplomatic campaign has been mounted to demonize the legitimate Syrian government. The goal is to impose a puppet regime and strengthen Western imperial control in the Middle East. In the short run, this will further isolate Iran in preparation for a military attack by Israel and the US and, in the long run, it eliminates another independent secular regime friendly to China and Russia.
In order to mobilize world support behind this Western, Israeli and Gulf State-funded power grab, several propaganda ploys have been used to justify another blatant violation of a country’s sovereignty after their successful destruction of the secular governments of Iraq and Libya.
The Larger Context: Serial Aggression
The current Western campaign against the independent Assad regime in Syria is part of a series of attacks against pro-democracy movements and independent regimes from North Africa to the Persian Gulf. The imperial-militarist response to the Egyptian democracy movement that overthrew the Mubarak dictatorship was to back the military junta’s seizure of power and murderous campaign to jail, torture and assassinate over 10,000 pro-democracy protestors.
Faced with similar mass democratic movements in the Arab world, the Western-backed Gulf autocratic dictators crushed their respective uprisings in Bahrain, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. The assaults extended to the secular government in Libya where NATO powers launched a massive air and sea bombardment in support of armed bands of mercenaries thereby destroying Libya’s economy and civil society. The unleashing of armed gangster-mercenaries led to the savaging of urban life in Libya and devastation in the countryside. The NATO powers eliminated the secular regime of Colonel Gadhafi and along with having him murdered and mutilated by its mercenaries. Nato oversaw the wounding, imprisonment, torture and elimination of tens of thousands of civilian Gadhafi supporters and government workers.NATO backed the puppet regime as it embarked on a bloody pogrom against Libyan citizens of sub-Saharan African ancestry as well a sub-Sahara African immigrant workers – groups who had benefited from Gadhafi’s generous social programs. The imperial policy of ruin and rule in Libya serves as “the model” for Syria: Creating the conditions for a mass uprising led by Muslim fundamentalists, funded and trained by Western and Gulf State mercenaries.
The Bloody Road From Damascus to Teheran
According to the State Department ‘The road to Teheran passes through Damascus’: The strategic goal of NATO is to destroy Iran’s principal ally in the Middle East; for the Gulf absolutist monarchies the purpose is to replace a secular republic with a vassal theocratic dictatorship; for the Turkish government the purpose is to foster a regime amenable to the dictates of Ankara’s version of Islamic capitalism; for Al Qaeda and allied Salafi and Wahabi fundamentalists a theocratic Sunni regime, cleansed of secular Syrians, Alevis and Christians, will serve as a trampoline for projecting power in the Islamic world; and for Israel a blood-drenched divided Syria will further ensure its regional hegemony. It was not without prophetic foresight that the uber-Zionist US Senator Joseph Lieberman demanded days after the ‘Al Queda’ attack of September 11, 2001: “First we must go after Iran, Iraq and Syria” before considering the actual authors of the deed.
The armed anti-Syrian forces reflect a variety of conflicting political perspectives united only by their common hatred of the independent secular, nationalist regime which has governed the complex, multi-ethnic Syrian society for decades. The war against Syria is the principle launching pad for a further resurgence of Western militarism extending from North Africa to the Persian Gulf, buttressed by a systematic propaganda campaign proclaiming NATO’s democratic, humanitarian and ‘civilizing’ mission on behalf of the Syrian people.
The Road to Damascus is Paved with Lies
An objective analysis of the political and social composition of the principle armed combatants in Syria refutes any claim that the uprising is in pursuit of democracy for the people of that country. Authoritarian fundamentalist fighters form the backbone of the uprising. The Gulf States financing these brutal thugs are themselves absolutist monarchies. The West, after having foisted a brutal gangster regime on the people of Libya, can make no claim of ‘humanitarian intervention’.
The armed groups infiltrate towns and use population centers as shields from which they launch their attacks on government forces. In the process they force thousands of citizens from their homes, stores and offices which they use as military outposts. The destruction of the neighborhood of Baba Amr in Homs is a classic case of armed gangs using civilians as shields and as propaganda fodder in demonizing the government.
These armed mercenaries have no national credibility with the mass of Syrian people. One of their main propaganda mills is located in the heart of London, the so-called “Syrian Human Rights Observatory” where it coordinates closely with British intelligence turning out lurid atrocity stories to whip up sentiment in favor of a NATO intervention. The kings and emirs of the Gulf States bankroll these fighters. Turkey provides military bases and controls the cross-border flow of arms and the movement of the leaders of the so-called “Free Syrian Army”. The US, France and England provide the arms, training and diplomatic cover. Foreign jihadist-fundamentalists, including Al Qaeda fighters from Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, have entered the conflict. This is no “civil war”. This is an international conflict pitting an unholy triple alliance of NATO imperialists, Gulf State despots and Muslim fundamentalists against an independent secular nationalist regime. The foreign origin of the weapons, propaganda machinery and mercenary fighters reveals the sinister imperial, ‘multi-national’ character of the conflict. Ultimately the violent uprising against the Syrian state represents a systematic imperialist campaign to overthrow an ally of Iran, Russia and China, even at the cost of destroying Syria’s economy and civil society, fragmenting the country and unleashing enduring sectarian wars of extermination against the Alevi and Christian minorities, as well as secular government supporters.
The killings and mass flight of refugees is not the result of gratuitous violence committed by a blood thirsty Syrian state. The Western backed militias have seized neighborhoods by force of arms, destroyed oil pipelines, sabotaged transportation and bombed government buildings. In the course of their attacks they have disrupted basic services critical to the Syrian people including education, access to medical care, security, water, electricity and transportation. As such, they bear most of the responsibility for this “humanitarian disaster”, (which their imperial allies and UN officials blame on Syrian security and armed forces). The Syrian security forces are fighting to preserve the national independence of a secular state, while the armed opposition commits violence on behalf of their foreign pay-masters – in Washington, Riyadh, Tel Aviv, Ankara and London.
The Assad regime’s referendum last month drew millions of Syrian voters in defiance of Western imperialist threats and terrorist calls for a boycott. This clearly indicated that a majority of Syrians prefer a peaceful, negotiated settlement and reject mercenary violence. The Western-backed Syrian National Council and the Turkish and Gulf States-armed “Free Syrian Army” flatly rejected Russian and Chinese calls for an open dialogue and negotiations which the Assad regime has accepted. NATO and Gulf State dictatorships are pushing their proxies to pursue violent “regime change”, a policy which already has caused the death of thousands of Syrians. US and European economic sanctions are designed to wreck the Syrian economy, in the expectation that acute deprivation will drive an impoverished population into the arms of their violent proxies. In a repeat of the Libya scenario, NATO proposes to “liberate” the Syrian people by destroying their economy, civil society and secular state.
A Western military victory in Syria will merely feed the rising frenzy of militarism. It will encourage the West, Riyadh and Israel to provoke a new civil war in Lebanon. After demolishing Syria, the Washington-EU-Riyadh-Tel Aviv axes will move on to a far bloodier confrontation with Iran.
The horrific destruction of Iraq, followed by Libya’s post-war collapse provides a terrifying template of what is in store for the people of Syria: A precipitous collapse of their living standards, the fragmentation of their country, ethnic cleansing, rule by sectarian and fundamentalist gangs, and total insecurity of life and property.
Just as the “left” and “progressives” declared the brutal savaging of Libya to be the “revolutionary struggle of insurgent democrats” and then walked away, washing their hands of the bloody aftermath of ethnic violence against black Libyans, they repeat the same calls for military intervention against Syria. The same liberals, progressives, socialists and Marxists who are calling on the West to intervene in Syria’s “humanitarian crises” from their cafes and offices in Manhattan and Paris, will lose all interest in the bloody orgy of their victorious mercenaries after Damascus, Aleppo and other Syrian cities have been bombed by NATO into submission.
James Petras latest book, The Arab Revolt and the Imperialist Counterattack (Clarity Press: Atlanta2012) 2ND EDITION
The source: James Petras Website: http://petras.lahaine.org/?p=1891
Also appeared in Voltaire Network | 11 March 2012 located at:
 Adel Samara, Development by Popular Protection, Al-aswar publication Akko 1988 and Kana’an Publication, Damascus 1988. I argued since that time that Development by popular protection is the sole possible form of development under settler colonial regime.
 The Palestinian liberals, neo-liberals, NGOized, right wing exploit the difficulties of military struggle to preach against it as if it is useless as Raja Khaldi and Sobhi Samour wrote in Journal of Palestinian Studies Fall 2011. The PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad mentioned in an interview in al-Quds daily in Jerusalem that the military struggle is the most harmful factor to the Palestinian struggle. These liberal and neo-liberal defeatists failed to realize that the conflict with imperialism and Zionism is antagonistic on the one hand, and failed to see the victory of Hizbullah 2006 and Gaza 2008 on the other. Military struggle is a legitimate one like all forms of struggle, but what is illegitimate is any compromise of the cause.
 It is irony that the same Raja Khalidi who suggest in 2007 a unity between ZAR, WBG and Palestinians inside the ZAR! (See Palestinian Economy: Forty Years of Occupation, Forty Years of Arrested Development, MAS publications 2007 pp 1-33. Ibrahim Dakak is the economic ancestor of Khalidi who suggested a unity between Bilad al-Sham (Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the WBG), while Sari Nusseibah is his Khalidi’s political ancestor who suggest in 1985 that Palestinians must demand an Israeli citizenship. It is still unclear why and how Khalidi change his mind from unity with the “Nice” ZAR to economic resistance.
 Hilal, A paper on Palestinian Civil Society, 2010.
 Democracy Promotion in Palestine: Aid and the “De-Democratization” of the West Bank and Gaza.
 See Adel Samara, The Political Economy of the West Bank: From Peripheralization to Development, Khamsin publications, London 1988:171
 George Tennet, At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA, Harper Collins, 2007:57
“…The Palestinians had to be ready to make concessions to the Israelis on the security front. They needed to accommodate Israel’s concerns in unprecedented ways. Then he went to list what those were going to be. Dahlan response was predictable. No, he could never agree to that. He would look like quisling ….Fine, Dennis Ross told him, we’ll change the words, but we cannot alter the substance. Dahlan said yes to that-he really didn’t have a choice- ”,