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What is behind Abbas’s decision to negotiate?

The socio-economic formation of trickle-down and normalization with Zionism

20. September 2010
Adel Samara

Over the years of occupation, normalization with the Zionist regime had strengthened and became deeply rooted to dominate all aspects of life in the occupied West Bank and Gaza (WBG) to the extent that it is possible to call it the Socio-economic formation of normalization or Trickle-down.

During the first era of the occupation 1967-1993, the Zionist occupation imposed a plan of shattering and terminating the productive structure of WBG economy, confiscating land for its colonies, closing large farming areas for its military training, dumping the local market with its products and cutting all export import links with other countries, a policy that made the local economy captive to the occupation economy. The occupation destructive policy continued during the second stage of the occupation (1993 until today) under the Palestinian Authority (PA) regime which contributes to the deepening of the crisis but in a different manner.

Israeli terminating policy of the first era which continued through the second era is essentially a de-development policy that has made the social formation fragile enough to become dependent on the foreign donations, a dependency that infiltrated most of Palestinian social classes, each according to its necessity and expected role in the “peace process” plan designed by western capitalist regimes. The plan is a transformation of the Palestinian society from a people of resistance to a people busy in managing their daily life, consuming more than producing and depending on ‘donors’ to bridge the gap through a suspicious “political generosity”. The donors’ donations are an economic/financial rent for political compromise that all Palestinians who “enjoy” it must deliver to the ZAR (Zionist Ashkenazi Regime), i.e. to ignore the RoR (Right of Return of the Palestinian people).[1]

The internal integration of the policies of those two eras is crystallized in two main phenomena:

The hunting and termination of military resistance cells by PA police;

The decline of local economy production for both use and exchange value.

Dragging the society into this black hole, political money is necessary to bribe and corrupt as much as possible of the society. The sources of that money were the donor regimes of the capitalist center, the western NGOs, consulates, cultural centers, and “second class” western regimes of the center, i.e. Norway, Sweden and Denmark (non-governmental governments)[2] which fill a space in the western capitalist division of labor which in our case devoted to terminate Palestinian resistance. The western capitalist hegemony in the region was and still is strong enough to compel Arab ruling classes to channel their assistance through the western donors’ channels in a form of manipulation designed to confirm to Palestinians that their fate is in the hands of the west.

We can’t ignore that there are pockets of political, intellectual and military resistance in the WBG and some productive nests as well, but all are still targeted (in the West bank) by all means of destruction and termination including military means. The main feature of the moment in the WBG is that normalization is in a race with time to terminate all forms of struggle through political, financial, cultural, academic and police campaigns.[3] The de-development policy of the PA concentrates on the service sector, encourages banks to release loans for people to buy brand new cars and homes, a mechanism that made the people trapped into repaying the banks and are never able to think of the family needs.

This deformation became obvious through the nature of the Social Structure of Accumulation (SSoA) in the WBG, but the SSoA in WBG is very much different from normal and productive societies. Surplus and finally accumulation in the WBG are not extracted from a productive economy neither agricultural nor industrial. Its foundation is remittances of money liquidity from the donors, NGOs. It is worth noting that the money liquidity that was spoiled in the WBG was never devoted for development because it is always oriented and conditioned for certain goals all of which are not productive.

This SSoA is the mechanism that feeds and breeds social elites for being ready to accept “peace for capital” with the colonizer, one of its products is establishing the Israeli-Palestinian business council. This council is a typical application of Trickle-down economy that has laid the basis for an eternal economic dependency to that of the occupation, i.e. fits into Netanyahu offer for final settlement “economic peace”. It is ironic that the Palestinian partners of those council capitalists, mainly comprador, were leading the opposition’s shy and grey protest against direct negotiations favoring indirect negotiations. It must be noted that Palestinians who embark for direct negotiations and those who argue for indirect negotiations are two faces of the same coin, i.e. Oslo Accords which is the recognition of the ZAR, normalizing with it and finally, either directly or indirectly compromise and ignoring the RoR. But it is ironic enough that despite of all this compromise they are still not rejected by the masses!

The decline of PLO organizations is due to their adoption of Oslo Accords to establish a Self -Rule regime under the settler colonial occupation, a Self-Rule which is not viable without donors’ money to pay salaries for a huge bureaucratic apparatus.[4] According to the occupation’s policy on one hand and the de-development policy of the PA on the other a lot of passive social change took place in the WBG.

Most of the peasants had either lost or neglected their land and the new rural generation fled looking for work in cities which suffer from a high rate of unemployment between its population on one hand and the inhabitants of refugee camps around them on the other.

As a result of, agriculture’s share in feeding the population steadily declined. Cities failed to provide jobs as long as no development policy has been drawn or applied. The only available sector for employment is that of the government bureaucratic apparatus whose budget has been provided from the donors.

This deformed political, economic and social structure became more and more dependent on the PA regime as the sole source of income.

Other deformed aspects like guerilla fighters who came from abroad with PLO (1993) deteriorated to members in repressive police, militants who were released from Zionist jails turned to retirement waiting for a monthly salary doing nothing productive in the political, economic, cultural and military struggle. A large segment of PLO intellectuals whose role was to praise its policies during resistance era before 1993, follow the leadership compromise of Oslo and wrote rosy articles praising “peace”.[5] Those intellectuals were encouraged and supported through being granted jobs in the bureaucratic apparatus of the regime, management jobs in NGOs, and writing reports for the leading donors and their clientele states.

Political and social deformity infiltrates grassroots organizations a reason that terminates their genuine struggle. The student movement declined after it was the spearhead against the occupation, the same is for trade unions whose leadership appointed by the regime. Leftist organizations compete for jobs for their cadres in the PA and NGOs, Women and feminist movements NGO ized and even subjugated to ideological dictate from western feminist who preach them to stand far from participation in national struggle.

So long as the social structure in WBG turned to depend on the regime and NGOs which are dependent on donors, those donors were steadily supporting and currently declare that they insist that the ZAR must stay the strongest military base in the region. As this is the case considering the analysis above, no wonder that Abbas went to negotiate never giving lip service to those who argue for indirect negotiations.

The most obvious evident to that is when Abbas decided to go for direct negotiations, he declared that he is going even if the success chance is one percent, he was quite sure that all those who protest against direct negotiations are in support of Oslo and their protest is false, not a principle one. That is why the following day all of them went smoothly to their offices waiting the end of month despite the fact that a minimum tactic of a genuine opposition would have been to call for a strike and civil disobedience.

[1] The economic and financial rent is not limited to the circles of PA regime, it is used/applied by NGOs, foreign cultural centers, consulates, universities which use this money to train and prepare new intellectual and academic elite for normalization with the ZAR and westernization liberalization in general. Moreover, this is not a new orientation. It began as far as the writer knows in 1978 when the United States and Britain started inviting intellectuals, academicians and artists from the WBG under the cover of friendship and exchanging experiences. When Madrid/Oslo negotiations and process was declared, we found those intellectuals and academicians in the forefront of negotiations and finally normalization with the ZAR. Who knows how many new trainees are being prepared by the same western regimes and local normalizers?

[2] A term coined by the writer to describe the regimes of Norway, Sweden and Denmark who facilitate the US and EU policies and plans to encourage normalization among Palestinians and to support the ZAR. The means that are used to achieve these goals are cultural and academic. Those client states (the non Governmental Governments) did benefit from the fact that they never have a black history with the Arab Homeland including Palestine. Those regimes are not used but deliberately and consciously doing the job and the Palestinians who cooperate with them are not naive as well.

[3] This campaign is part of the US, ZAR and comprador Arab classes whose main goal of the New Middle East is to terminate the new resistance forces in Lebanon, Iraq, Gaza and the regimes which did not compromise their Homeland and dignity i.e. in Iran and Syria.

[4] The donors do not negate the fact that the PA is highly corrupt, and even official reports of the PA government confirm that corruption is wide spread in PA areas. But the PA regime never tried to open the files of those corrupt people.

[5] When Oslo Accords were signed in September 1993, I wrote an article asking the intellectuals, poets and academicians who inspire their works from their “love” to Palestine, what is the new source of their inspiration? I was really mistaken since I failed to understand that even poets and intellectuals are able in the era of defeat to make a u-tern towards intellectual comprador.

Reproduced (shortened) from