The road to peace does not go through Annapolis

Jonathan Steele presents a very interesting argument in today's issue of The Guardian:

The central requirement for any new Palestinian initiative is Palestinian unity. Don't let opponents divide you. Resist international flattery. Ignore the instinct for revenge. The jury of international public opinion is still on the side of the Palestinians' demand for justice. It may not have achieved as much as it could have, but it matters, and needs to be preserved.

He starts by presenting the first Intifada as one of the most impressive popular activism experiences of the twentieth century. To a large extent, it really was! Unfortunately, we now lack the unity of goal we had back in the late 80's. Oslo and the creation of the PA, the restrictions that followed have created new facts for us. People became disenchanted, the engine behind such activism has burnt out.
In the 70's and 80's the existing parties constituted a real opportunity for people, they combined political activism with development, cultural and charity activities. Each party was responsible for a group of non-profits which provided support to agriculture, health, cultural activities etc... Now all of this is gone. The parties have died and no one is paying attention to the needs of the people.
We know for sure that military action against Israel is futile. It is like trying to escape from quicksand but pushing yourself down in the process. Let alone that we lose our moral and ethical higher grounds by engaging in such activity. We should abandon the idea of 'liberating Palestine' with our guns, because guns are dangerous, they don't succumb to laws and they end up hurting us more than they hurt the enemy. What happened in Nablus and still happens in Gaza are clear examples to that.
What we need is a popular movement with a vision. A vision only for how to end the conflict, but also how to develop the society and improve the way people are living. We need a vision for creating opportunities for people, for getting them to understand and believe that they are part of a larger collective called the Palestinians, all of whose members are exposed to the same treatment, and aspire to the same goals.
Such a movement cannot start in Ramallah, like the notorious Palestine Forum, a group of economic, religious and political elites, who believe can emerge as a strong power in the Palestinian scene because they have the money and authority. This movement cannot also start in Ramallah as a group of youths who cannot bear the current situation and continue to act in isolation of the community, as Another Voice is doing.
For this movement to emerge, it needs to go to every village and every refugee camp, to speak to people, to present a vision that people can identify with, to present alternatives to what people are facing, to prove to them that by working together, we will not only liberate Palestine, we will develop it, and create better opportunities for us and future generations. With this, we can show those who resort to guns that guns don't work. We will show those who resort to religion, that God is not there to help us. We will show those who resort to America and Israel, that they will not do us any good. We will show the rest of our people, and the world, that the only thing that works is us, and us alone. We will show them that we can do it!

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