Khaled Barakat*

The following article was original published in Arabic in Al-Akhbar:

After its success in organizing the Week of Return and Liberation in a number of areas among Palestinians in exile and diaspora, conducting mass demonstrations in the streets of Brussels and elsewhere. Thousands participated, raising images of the martyrs of the resistance and leaders of the prisoners’ movement, chanting for the Jenin Brigade, the Lion’s Den and the Palestinian resistance. The march was endorsed by over 100 organizations. After the Zionist ambassador failed to cancel the march through repression, intimidation and distortion, it must be said that the Masar Badil took an important step forward in terms of strengthening the role of the Palestinian diaspora and the position of the international popular incubator for Palestine and the Resistance. It did so in an organized revolutionary fashion, in a movement led by a new generation transcending the concept of solidarity to reach full participation, declaring a clear position against the liquidationist so-called “two-state solution,” restoring consideration to the key slogan and goal: the liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea.

The Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement realizes that confronting the Zionist entity and its allies in the world, in an effective manner, is not possible without the Palestinian people in exile and diaspora reclaiming their confiscated role and liberating their voice, with real participation in building institutions and organizations that respond to the needs of the struggle for national and social liberation. The close connection between the role of the diaspora and the task of revolutionizing the international incubator of popular support is clear and requires no explanation. After the 1991 Madrid conference and the treacherous Oslo accords of 1993, the marginalization of the role of Palestinians in exile aimed to liquidate Palestinian rights and separate Palestinians in exile from their brothers and sisters in occupied Palestine and from their Arab and international environments, and to dissipate all of the elements of their strength.

With the PLO leadership entering the catastrophic tunnel of Madrid and Oslo, desecrating the sacrifices of the Palestinian people and tightening the control of the Oslo sector over Palestinian political decision-making, the relationship between Palestine and its Arab and international surroundings has been restricted to governments and regimes, rather than with peoples. The official voice of Palestine became the Palestinian Authority. 80 countries recognized the Zionist entity after the official Palestinian leadership recognized “Israel.” In this poisonous environment, new forms appeared under the framework of “non-governmental organizations,” displacing the Palestinian national movement, eroding left and revolutionary forces, and weakening the ability of Palestinian society to reject and resist. In this context, some factions and parties turned into institutions of subordination, with “national work” meaning only a job in a union or a human rights organization.

The expansion of international popular support for the Arab resistance and the consolidation of that support requires a clear position on the puppet self-rule “Palestinian Authority,” including the necessity of its overthrow, as well as the adoption of a clear revolutionary vision that defines the camp of the enemy and the camp of allies without faltering or confusion. Within the framework of common struggle, this also means accumulating “small” victories in the interests of the Palestinian people and movements for revolutionary change and liberation. It is difficult for the Arab resistance to play an influential role at the global level without a close association with the liberation movements, the anti-imperialist, anti-Zionist, and anti-fascist forces and those confronting the predatory capitalist system.

The international popular incubator that the people of Palestine want goes beyond the meaning of “solidarity,” “the role of the international community,” and “human rights institutions.” The Palestinian popular memory is replete with different revolutionary images, and the Palestinian masses know that the world is wider than America and Europe. Under the leadership of the pioneers of the new generation, the Palestinian people in exile and diaspora can develop the international popular incubator in Asia, Africa and Latin America. And we note, at the same time, the importance of the international popular dimension within the major settler colonial entities and the imperialist center in Europe, in particular given their role in creating the Palestinian tragedy and the crime of establishing the Zionist entity in the heart of the Arab world. It is useful in this regard for some Palestinians and Arabs to abandon the saying “Palestine is the last occupation in history,” because half of the globe is occupied and colonized.

Accordingly, the Arab resistance must seek a closer relationship with the Indigenous movements that are struggling in the United States, New Zealand, Canada, Australia and others. The issue of common struggle acquires double importance in the face of settler colonialism. Here lies the central and decisive leadership role of the vigilant Palestinian revolutionary youth, and the importance of renewing the political thought of parties and factions and launching new popular initiatives everywhere, in line with the key issues of struggle in our time and our historic principles of struggle.

It is important to read the Palestinian experience in the years of the revolution between 1967 and 1973, and how Palestinian forces at that time provided comprehensive support to Arab, African, Iranian, Turkish and Kurdish liberation movements against the regimes and sultans of reaction and monarchy. Confronting the Shah of Iran, the Palestinian people provided the Iranian people with training, weapons, money, and political support. The Palestinian movement established alliances with left-wing forces in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and in the heart of Europe and the United States, and contributed to the transmission of the Black Liberation struggle and the Indigenous peoples’ movement to the world. Phrases of the type “We must stop Palestinian interference in our internal affairs” were a common accusation launched by the reactionary Zionist imperialist camp, just as the same forces claim today when targeting Hezbollah.

Women’s, youth and student organizations and associations constitute the solid core and key allies of the Masar Badil movement, such as the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, the Collectif Palestine Vaincra, the Alkarama Palestinian Women’s Mobilization, Secours Rouge, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle and the forces of the boycott movement. These radical voices depend on their own ability to organize and are linked with occupied Palestine through the prisoners’ movement in the Zionist jails, while the resistance in the Gaza Strip encourages the growth of support for Palestine everywhere. Therefore, these organizations are targeted and placed on Zionist “terror lists,” or they face attempts to “dissolve” them, as the Macron regime in France has attempted to do with the Collectif Palestine Vaincra. The goal is to weaken this growing movement, disrupt its role and prevent it from establishing a clear current of popular international support for the resistance in Palestine.

It is worth noting here the importance of the role played by the international boycott movement against Zionist colonialism and its institutions and supporters. However, this experience, which started since 2005, must be evaluated amid the need to develop and revolutionize the discourse of the boycott movement. This is a Palestinian, Arab and international mission at the same time, which goes beyond an elite committee here or an office there in Ramallah. The time has come for the boycott movement’s goals to be linked to the right of return, the struggle of Palestinian refugees and prisoners, and the resistance in Palestine and the region. The boycott constitutes one cornerstone in a large, multinational popular incubator that exists throughout the world, and boycott, in and of itself, cannot be an alternative project to the movement for revolutionary change and the project of return and liberation.

On the first anniversary launch, the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement presents a realistic and revolutionary model for the role of the Palestinians in the diaspora, as it transfers the meaning of “formal/international solidarity” from the space of a broad public slogan to advanced levels of actual participation and clarity. This trend has become concerning to the circles of the Zionist enemy, its allies and agents. The Netherlands is mobilized and the ambassador of the Zionist entity in Brussels, and the Zionist organizations in Canada, France and Germany speak of “those who want to bring us back to square one,” and this phrase refers to the same side that the writer Ghassan Kanafani referred to: the Palestinian revolutionary youth who are refugees and will not learn “calm.”

To the extent that the armed resistance in Palestine and Lebanon needs a popular international incubator, the latter needs from the resistance a greater clarity in its vision of the strategic relationship with the liberation movements. The Arab resistance in our region can constitute a strong support for the struggle of the peoples in the heart of the imperialist center by promoting the development of struggle relations with the Black liberation movement in the United States, the Indigenous peoples, the popular and radical labour movements that defend the rights of the poor, refugees and immigrants and fight from the center and the “periphery.” These are forces that have an interest in the process of change and liberation in their countries as well, and the relationship with them cannot be achieved by a passing meeting at a conference, nor is it made manifest on Facebook and satellite channels.

The national and Islamic forces in the Gaza Strip have participated in this process, as they organized a mass rally in conjunction with the Marches of Return and Liberation in the diaspora. This position strengthens the unity of the Palestinian people and unites its slogans and messages to the world. Let us remember how our people in the besieged Gaza Strip made huge sacrifices over the course of 18 months of the valiant intifada that bore the name “Marches of Return and Breaking the Siege.” The people fought over the barbed wire, confronted with live ammunition at the hands of the occupier. This historical lesson, newly baptized with blood, must be studied and learned from, especially for those of us who live in the diaspora and participate in demonstrations in which we do not shed a single drop of blood.

No matter how great the international factor supporting our people, it will remain secondary to that which has the utmost importance. The Palestinian subjective factor remains the decisive factor in the process of change and liberation, in the face of a puppet Palestinian Authority class, Arab regimes divided between helplessness and complicity, and in a world whose international system is being reproduced by the United States, NATO and their fellow imperialist powers with blood, war and hunger. Accordingly, the immediate initiation of a united Palestinian national front, in order to serve as a reliable bridge between the Palestinian people and the forces of revolutionary change at the Arab and international levels,  is an urgent task of struggle that cannot be postponed.

* Palestinian writer


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