How do we tackle the alternative homeland conspiracy?
By Ahmad Obaidat
MEMO, May 10, 2010 Has the Palestinian cause been turned into a project to protect the Palestinian Authority, no matter what the cost? I only ask because it is hard to conceal both shock and fury at the reactions of the Arab states, including the Palestinian Authority, to the Israeli military order through which up to 70,000 Palestinians stand to be expelled from the West Bank – their own country. It is as if the subject is of little or no concern to their spokesmen and yet this ethnic cleansing threatens the very existence of Jordan, turning it into the "alternative homeland" for the Palestinians. With the refugee camps in Lebanon taking on the appearance of concentration camps for Palestinians and the so-called "Palestinian political opposition" in Syria becoming an Aunt Sally to be knocked down according to the degree of pressure placed on the Syrian government; and Egypt’s ongoing role in the siege of Gaza at the behest of the USA and Israel, it appears increasingly that the Palestinian case has faded from the priority list of the Arab states. Their commitment to the concept of the Arab nation has waned. Even so, we must ask ourselves how Israel has been able to occupy all of Palestine and territories in neighbouring Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, all the while threatening the national security of every Arab state directly and twisting reality to make the Palestinian cause appear to be a security threat to each of those states. Don’t the Arab states and the Palestinian Authority realise that the alternative homeland plot of the Israelis is paving the way to create the "right" conditions for inter-Arab conflict fuelled by Israel and its supporters (including collaborators from the Arab countries and ruling bodies)? The victims of this will be all Arabs, not just Palestinians. This does not require a stretch of the imagination to get the picture; it is a rational reading of what is happening before our eyes because we, the Arabs, have abandoned our future to be decided by the Zionists. We can and must learn lessons from what is going on, with Arab on Arab conflicts already in place: Sudan, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine itself, with the Fatah-Hamas split. The influence of Israel and its supporters can be found in all of these places. Divide and rule is an age-old tactic of colonialists and the Arab states are playing their part with shameful enthusiasm. The people of Jordan and Palestine must put aside petty differences to protect national unity and shape our future before others shape it for us. If we are to defeat the alternative homeland conspiracy we must struggle for the land of our forefathers, build state institutions that work for the benefit of the people as a priority, not the benefit of the occupying forces. A united Palestinian opposition to the illegal military occupation is essential if the oppression is to cease. Decisions taken at the economic summit in Kuwait and the Doha Conference must be implemented, and the siege of Gaza must be ended. The Zionists' ambitions in Jordan are not new and the Israelis continue to target national unity therein. When Jordanians met two decades ago at the Commission of the National Charter including diverse political, social and cultural groups they addressed the questions of identity and relations between Jordan and Palestine, and the topic of the alternative homeland. The Charter stresses in Chapter VII the need for "the continuation of this relationship and strengthening it in the face of racist colonial Zionist danger, which threatens the existence of the Arab nation, its culture and its institutions and targets Jordan as it targeted Palestine". In the face of the attempts to create this "alternative country", the Charter emphasised that Palestinian Arab identity is a political identity and struggle which is not in conflict with the Jordanian Arab identity; its only struggle is against the Zionist colonial project to which it is opposed. From this perspective, Jordanian national identity also opposes the Zionist project and aims to protect Jordan from Zionist interference and aggression. As such, Jordan and Palestine become one in their common struggle to address an ever-expanding Zionist state of Israel and in their firm rejection of the plot to designate Jordan as the alternative Palestinian homeland. Relations between Jordan and Palestine must be neither misunderstood nor taken advantage of to weaken the Jordanian state and the rights and responsibilities of its citizens for the benefit of Israel. Commitment to Jordan’s national security becomes a duty of all of its citizens along with the state’s struggle connected to the liberation of Palestine. Jordanian national unity was agreed by the Charter twenty years ago and provides the foundation for the close relationship between all of its citizens, regardless of their origins. Equality of opportunity and safeguarding legitimate interests and rights guaranteed by the Constitution remain the achievable aims of all citizens. Nobody should allow outside interests and conspiracies to divert them from this task. This is what the Palestinian Authority, as it prepares to meet the Israeli occupiers yet again, should keep in mind. The long-term interests of its own people should not be sacrificed for its own short-term survival and the security of the Israeli occupation.