How should Palestinians respond to “israeli” threats of annexation?

The fact that Israeli political leaders across the political spectrum are pursuing annexation is hardly surprising.

Expansionism into Palestinian land is the raison d’etre of the Israeli regime and has been since its foundation.

Israeli settlement building has never ceased since 1948 when the ethnic cleansing of historic Palestine began.

And it was a so-called left-wing Israeli government that spearheaded the settlement enterprise in the West Bank and Gaza following their occupation in 1967.

The Palestinian leadership reacted to these latest developments with more of the same fiery rhetoric and empty threats.

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas once again threatened to “completely cancel” agreements with Israel and the US if Israel proceeded with annexation and warned that Palestinians would “not stand hand-cuffed”.

With the PA highly dependent on the international donor community and the Israeli government for its survival, it is unlikely it will ever be able to present a real challenge to annexation.

Decades of capitulation discussions dressed up as “peace negotiations” have left Palestinians in this historically vulnerable situation.

2 June 2015 – Israeli soldiers kick and beat an elderly Palestinian man as they evict his family and demolish their home in East Jerusalem

Indeed, despite the PA president’s bravado, Palestinians are already “hand-cuffed” and caged in an open-air prison where even Abbas himself has to request permission from the Israelis to leave Ramallah.

Further, the COVID-19 pandemic has put Palestinians under lockdown, living in acute fear of infection and unable to put up a significant challenge to the Israeli takeover of their land.

This, however, does not mean the Palestinian people have given in. The struggle against the Israeli regime continues, as do attempts to hold it accountable and make it pay the economic and legal cost of oppression, through the BDS Movement and the International Criminal Court investigation into its war crimes.

This is all important but it is not enough. Now is the time for a refocusing of efforts and a change in political strategy.

Palestinians have to clean up their own house and demand new representative and legitimate leadership which no longer bows down to an international community enabling Israeli expansionism.

While elections are an important democratic practice, in the West Bank and Gaza they would only serve to prop up the current authorities.

What is required is a complete overhaul of the current political system which, for over the last two decades, has been focusing solely on keeping Palestinians subdued and contained.

Such an overhaul requires a return to a revolutionary consensus achieved through plurality and reconciliation of political groups, geographic fragments, and collectives and a popular mobilization around a political agenda of liberation. Only then will we stand a chance to stop the theft of Palestinian land.

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