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October 04, 2018

*-- The Vichy Syndrome in Palestine --*

10dollarsBy Concerned Palestinian
"Information Clearing House"

History repeats itself flagrantly or in disguise over time and space. This truism is clearly manifested in the Vichy Syndrome that has been tormenting the "Occupied Territories of Palestine" under Israeli occupation, particularly since the Oslo Accords (1993, 1995).

To avoid total defeat by the Nazi German army in 1940, France, through its legitimate representatives, called on the 85 years Marshal Philippe Pétain, the prestigious hero of WWl (the Battle of Verdun). To negotiate an Armatice agreement, France was divided into two main zones. An independent French state was established on 20% of its territories with Vichy (360km south of Paris) as its capital. The rest remained under direct German occupation. Germany also managed to install Marshal Pétain as the new Chief of the state. He agreed, probably with good will and patriotic energy, as the country was on the brink of total capitulation. But both were quickly diluted and complete collaboration with the enemy overwhelmed the Vichy Régime.

Pétain went much further and assumed all powers under a new constitution that was never disseminated. He enlisted other power-hungry collaborators to serve the occupying forces covertly as well as overtly. Patriots were killed, the French Resistance was crushed, restrictive laws and regulations curtailing freedom were introduced and executed by a vicious authoritarian police force. A locally oppressive régime became as bad as the foreign oppressor, if not worse. Consequently, the subjects under the Vichy Régime were conveniently tamed.

The apparent pretext of the collaborators was simple: Save the country from further agonies and devastation even if they lick the boots of the occupiers, since there were no other alternatives. Instead of clinging to the French motto of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, the Vichy Régime imposed the German motto of Work, Family and Fatherland. The Vichy State was effectively transformed into a corporation per se.

As the fate of Germany started to fade due to the burden of war with Russia and the USA, it occupied all of France in 1942 and tore up the Armistice Agreement. However, loyalty to the cult of Pétain in the Vichy State survived for a few more years. By 1944, through unwavering persistence, steadfast sacrifice, and intelligent international diplomacy conducted by loyal French leadership in exile, which resulted in the liberation of France, the Vichy State disappeared and its leadership escaped to other countries. After the end of WWII Pétain voluntarily returned to France, was court marshalled for treason, and imprisoned in a fortress on an island, Île d'Yeu, off the Atlantic coast, where he died in 1951. Many other collaborators were convicted of treason, and either executed or imprisoned.

The Vichy Syndrome re-appeared in 1993 in Palestine. In August of that year the first Oslo Accord (Oslo l) negotiated in secret by a few prominent Palestinian leaders, was signed in Washington D.C. This was followed by a second Accord (Oslo ll) signed in Taba, Egypt in September, 1995, with all the associated contrived fanfare. Jointly they are known as the Oslo Accords.

While the French parliament and government gave Marshal Pétain the clear mandate to negotiate an Armistice with the enemy under difficult circumstances, no such mandate existed from the Palestinians.

Moreover, contrary to the prevailing weak situation of France which was on the brink of total defeat, the Palestinian Resistance Movement was growing in strength in historical Palestine and the Diaspora, as well as enjoying regional and international acceptance.

Regardless of the real motives of the negotiators, the Oslo Accord were craftily drafted with deliberate loopholes, unnoticed by the naive Palestinian political negotiators, thus leaving any interpretation and execution effectively in the hands of the occupiers. Israel capitalized on the weakness of Mr. Yasser Arafat (Chairman of the Palestine liberation Organization) after the Gulf Crisis which damaged his creditability as well as the financial support. From then on the new régime in Palestine became an efficient security arm of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as well as its government, especially after the death of Mr. Yasser Arafat in 2004. To date, one quarter of a century has elapsed during which the signatories of the Oslo Accords who are still in power have developed into a pseudo, corporate sleeping partner of the enemy, with all the benefits associated with that relationship.

Like the performance of the Vichy Régime in France, it is easy to identify the comparable means employed by the signatories of the Oslo Accords in Palestine to achieve the required security of the enemy and push towards complete capitulation. What German occupation attained in four years during the Vichy Régime, Israel did craftily over a period of almost a quarter of a century. The difference probably lies in the main paradigms that each adopted. While Nazi Germany followed a transient attitude in France, the Zionist Israeli paradigm rested on the concept of permanent presence by evicting the Christian and Muslim Palestinian population, usurping their properties and culture, and effectively forcing them to disburse worldwide. This had partially happened in the 1948-1967 period after which all of historical Palestine was occupied by the Israeli army. However, Palestinian resistance and the support of the majority of the international community developed as a major obstacle against the quick achievement of the foreign colonial Zionist objectives. It is worth noting that 80% of Israelis who adhere to the Jewish faith are Ashkenazis (i.e. from Europe) as opposed to Sephardim, most of whom lived in Islamic and Arab regions.

The Oslo Accords, secretly negotiated with a few selected Palestinian leaders (1993), had similar consequences to Nazi Germany's Armistice Agreement with Pétain (1940). Judging by results the following are but a few of the many features that contribute to the colonization of the rest of Palestine, discriminate against and impoverish its lawful population. Though the Oslo Accords have been null and void for many years, yet the Vichy Régime in Palestine still acts as if it is alive and well, to the detriment of the present and future of Palestinian aspirations and rights.

1. The total area of historical Palestine is comprised of 26,990km². By 1948 Israel was established on 20,770 km² (77%). In 1967 Israel conquered the rest of Palestine. By 1993 Israel managed to establish a Vichy style state on 6,220 km² (23%) to be, in principal, under the civil jurisdiction of a client Palestinian Authority.

2. Furthermore, the Accords stipulates that the Palestinian territories (West Bank) are divided into three Areas, A (18%), B (22%) and C (60%) with the provision that Area B which is jointly administered will be transferred to the jurisdiction of the new Palestine Authority (PA) in the first phase of redeployment by the end of 1995. It was also agreed that the PA will ensure access of Israelis to a list of religious sites in these two areas. Area C is fully under Israeli civil and military control to be reduced to about 60% of the West Bank through gradual transference to Area B by the end of 1999, also in the first phase but without sovereignty to the Palestinians.

3. Jerusalem was left out for the final settlement.

4. The Palestinian Authority was established and its leadership selected from the signatories; this was approved by the occupying Israeli forces and its government. Major policies, laws and regulations, including expensive civic obligations such as education, health, water and environment, are pre-approved by the occupying counterparts.

5. The appointed leadership is obliged to suppress the freedom of mobility, speech and even religious expressions that are construed to be disturbing to the Israeli entity.

Accountability by results

As expected, consecutive Israeli governments have defaulted on the spirit and most of the clauses stipulated in the Oslo Accords causing them to be effectively null and void. None of the operative clauses that would lead to expanding the jurisdiction of the PA has been fully adhered to. To date, only 2% of the transference of jurisdiction regarding Area B has been effected, and repossessed later by the IDF.

Area C which is strictly under the control of the IDF contains the majority of the natural resources, such as water and agricultural land, oil and gas deposits and, potentially, uranium. Approximately 99% is off limits to the Palestinians who are deprived of the benefits derived therefrom, thus retarding the economic and social development and progress of at least 4 million Palestinians (rising at least by 3-4% annually) who are living within only 20% of their historical land. No building permits were issued to Palestinians but continuous destruction of their property has been the norm. The entire Area C seems to be reserved for settlements of Israelis to the detriment of Palestinian welfare that exceeds to date 20 billion dollars and rising.

Notwithstanding the additional psychological, social and generational impact resulting from the killing and murdering of Palestinian children in the name of national security or contrived pretexts by the IDF and more, the Vichy Régime in Palestine directly and indirectly condones such atrocities. The genocidal war launched on Gaza in 2006 followed by the PA's formal withdrawal of the related Goldstein Report to the UN is a blatant case in reference. Recent public speeches delivered by the Vichy Régime in Palestine over the global multimedia systems, condoning and collaborating in crushing any sign of physical or intellectual resistance is well documented and stands as a clear confession of sleeping publicly with the enemy.

Recently, the PA has under various pretexts suspiciously been treating the Gaza Strip as an independent entity. Whether it is political naiveté or worse, enhancing Gaza's potential cessation from Palestine will result in it being a buffer client state (probably with parts of Sinai) against a much weakened Egypt. Encouraged by the discoveries of the onshore gas fields, and to the chagrin of the Israeli government, an independent client state in Gaza may become a fait accompli sooner than later.

Furthermore, the insistence of the PA on a two state solution is another concern that may be satisfying to the representative of the Vichy Régime in Palestine since it prolongs the final settlement, if any, for decades to come, sustaining it as the local security arm of the IDF.

Simultaneously, and equally damaging to a sustainable peace in Palestine, Israel vehemently rejects a one state solution, claiming this will frustrate their declared objective of establishing an exclusively Jewish religious state on account of the Christian and Muslim populations and their properties. Together with the Gaza schism, Israel will be much closer to achieving its Zionist objectives. If Gaza becomes an independent emirate, it will act as a convenient buffer with Egypt as well as a prelude for a similar move in Sinai to buttress Israel's future security

The appointees of the Oslo Accords have since then deliberately maintained a very weak non-institutional relationship with the Diaspora, which comprises at least 6 million people and stands as a potent contributor to the aspirations of Palestinians worldwide. The Vichy Régime in Palestine realized its incapability of subduing the Diaspora. Both Israel and the PA eliminated any potential opportunity for the establishment of any institutional organization with the Palestinians in exile, lest they ferment another ‘Free France' type of movement in Europe such as that which ultimately defeated the Vichy State. Pre the Oslo Accords the Palestinian people, as manifested in their successful support of the resistance movements, were adamant in the pursual of their right of return as well as their peaceful coexistence with the people of Israel.

Under the Accords the social, economic, political and security institutions established by the PA turned to become, in reality, the depressive means to diminish the pre-Oslo ethos and managed during these twenty-five years to dilute the national consciousness of the Palestinian people worldwide. As a consequence, the issue of Palestine reached its nadir, while the objectives of Israel within the region were, by default, further enhanced. It appears that governance under the Vichy Régime in Palestine (as well as in a perceived Arab World), started to conveniently veer away from the pursuit of Freedom, Justice and Progress in Palestine to the more restrictive and technical German motto imposed on the Vichy State, namely Work, Family and Fatherland in their most restrictive sense. The contrived reversal of an all-embracing Arab Nationalism paradigm that had spread among the Palestinians since the second quarter of the twentieth century has now deviated towards constrictive tribalism in economics, politics and most aspects of social relations.

The gradual transformation of the PA from complacency to forced collaboration is probably rooted in the economic and social benefits that were abundantly provided by the foreign occupiers to selective strata of interested groups in the Palestinian public and private sectors while the rest of the population succumbs to the pressure of unemployment, inflation, immobility and loss of liberty. The trap into which the PA fell was exacerbated by a long list of issues that overwhelmed the world and the region including but not limited to intra Arab wars, international belligerent coalitions, creation of an atmosphere of creative anarchy, establishment and financing of terror groups, ethnicity and sectarianism, development of media misinformation campaigns, utilization of international organizations' political and financial powers, and resorting to blackmail and probably murder as well.

Secret negotiations held with the enemy, without mandate, exclusively by unqualified ageing Palestinian ex-resistance activists, was merely a disguised capitulation agreement to Israel. Irrespective of the declared or ulterior motives, the PA succeeded in handing the occupiers a potent means by which Israel has steadily gained by negotiations what it failed to gain by sheer force.

By accepting the Oslo Accords and adhering religiously to all their clauses it would appear that the Palestinian signatories, under a resurrected Vichy syndrome, have simply sold to Israel the rights of the present and future Palestinian population for a mere “bowl of lentils”. (Old Testament account of Esau and Jacob)

A consolidated action plan therefore must be initiated due to the frequent Israeli violations which pass without comment from the sponsors of the Accords. By Israel's own admission it is colonizing Palestine whilst letting the world believe that such usurpation has the approval of the P.A. whose inaction is deemed as tacit agreement. If Israel continues to behave as a rogue state, and there is no indication that it will do otherwise,* then it is far more efficient for the PA to take courageous action, exonerate itself and call for such a plan.

(*7/9/2017. In a letter dated September 6th from the Secretary General of the PLO, Dr. Saeb Erekat, addressed to the Diplomatic Community in Palestine)
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Recommendations

Given all the prevailing geo-economic, geo-political and other adverse circumstances to which the Palestinian issue is currently subjected it is strongly suggested that a programme to include the following precepts should be formulated by a committee that includes representatives from Gaza, the West Bank, the Diaspora and any other international supporters, including Israeli individuals or organizations. This committee should call for a congress of representatives the majority of whom should be elected by all Palestinians worldwide specifically to discuss the way forward. At face value this may appear to be impossible to achieve but with firm resolve, loyalty, and perseverance it is certainly attainable.

1. Dismantle the PA establishments within Palestine, but the entity to be retained and transfer it into a more hospitable environment.

2. Untarnished Palestinian Leadership of all strata to leave Palestine and regroup in a neighbouring host country with the responsibility of reviving Palestinian consciousness worldwide based on international land.

3. Form a government in exile without jeopardizing the PA's position as recognized by the UN, other international organizations where the PA has been recognized, as well as other world governments

4. Consolidate human and non-human resources of Palestinians within Palestine and across the Diaspora including a legal, financial, technical, media and academic disciplines.

5. Accumulate financial resources fundamentally from Palestinians as well as others who support the cause including international religious organizations

6. A one democratic state solution is the only option that the new Palestinian leadership will pursue

7. The Oslo Accords (1993,1995) to be re-assessed and renegotiated with all of the above points in mind. The Right of Return and compensation to the Palestinian people should be included as part and parcel of the negotiations

Nothing should deter the successive Palestinian Leadership and the population from spending time and money for their final objective of regaining their homeland and build a progressive future. It is perceived that the path is long, difficult and full of challenges, but the greater the challenges the greater is the success or failure.

Original Article: The Vichy Syndrome in Palestine
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