Pushing a "peace process" that requires Palestinian Arabs to give up their opposition to a Jewish state, the international community can't figure out why it doesn't work. The answer is that the dispute is not over territory, but ideology -Palestinianism, the basis of their nearly 100-year war against Zionism, the State of Israel as the national historic homeland of the Jewish People.
For Arabs, Palestinians, and most Muslims, it is part of a Jihad, permanent revolution against the infidel.
More than 100 years ago, Leon Trotsky, brilliant strategist of the Russian Revolution, wrote a seminal work that has guided Marxist revolutionaries ever since: Permanent Revolution. Adapted from Marx and Engels' Address to the General Council of the Communist League in 1850, Trotsky's theory outlined the principles by which a local, national revolution could expand to become a worldwide revolution.
The idea of Permanent Revolution is based on the belief that revolutionary leaders must not only heed local conditions, but must carry the principles and goals of the revolution beyond local struggles, until the entire world is transformed. The revolution cannot end with achievements in one country, but must be exported and become the basis for international upheaval, overturning decadent regimes and establishing a new order.
The danger of compromise was that it diminished the revolution itself, weakened its ethos, and, in the end, abandoned the principles which gave it strength and purpose. The idea of Permanent Revolution, therefore, was a guarantee of integrity, protector of the grand vision, a guiding light; it has been adopted by most national revolutionary movements since.
Without understanding this concept, it is impossible to understand Palestinianism, its historic mission and its leaders. It explains not only why "the peace process" will fail, but why it must fail.
Efforts to impose a Palestinian state (the "two-state" proposal) are doomed, therefore, for one simple reason: Palestinians don't want such a state. The primary goal of Palestinian nationalism is to wipe out the State of Israel, not permit its existence. Any form of Palestinian statehood that accepts Israeli sovereignty in what they believe is Muslim land stolen by Jews is, by their definition, heretical. That is clearly evident in the PLO Covenant and Hamas Charter.
Metaphor for defeat
Palestinianism is not a national identity, but a political construct developed as part of a terrorist agenda when the PLO was formed in 1964. It was a way of distinguishing between Arabs and Jews, and between Arabs who lived in Israel before 1948 and other Arabs. The terms "Palestinian Arabs" or "Arab Palestinians" are not foreign or colonial descriptions; they appear in their own official documents.
Palestinian identity means the struggle to "liberate Palestine from the Zionists;" it became an international cause that bound Muslims together, as part of Jihad, with much broader implications - a Permanent Islamic Revolution.
Palestinianism was an excuse and explanation for this Jihad. But historically, Arabs who lived in Palestine considered themselves part of the "greater Arab nation," as reflected in PLO documents. They rallied to the pro-Nazi Palestinian Mufti, Haj Amin Hussein, not because of a national identity, but because of Jew-hatred. Their struggle today is not to achieve statehood alongside Israel, but to replace Israel with an Arab Muslim state.
"Two-state" proposals, therefore, with Palestinian statehood as a territorial goal, in fact contradict Palestinianism, as that means an end to their struggle to eradicate Israel.
This explains why no Palestinian leader will agree to surrender to Western and Zionist interests, and why making compromises is anathema. Statehood means a denial of the Nakba (catastrophe,) the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948; it means admitting that everything for which they fought and sacrificed was in vain.
Statehood means abandoning five million Arabs who live in 58 UNRWA-sponsored "refugee camps" in Judea, Samaria, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, and hundreds of thousands living throughout the world; they will no longer be considered "refugees." That means a loss of over a billion dollars per year that UNRWA receives.
Statehood means giving up "the armed struggle," the crux of Palestinian identity. It means that the concept of Palestinianism created by the PLO, accepted by the UN and the media, and even by Israeli politicians is a hoax, a fake identity with a false purpose. It means that their suffering was for naught.
Statehood involves taking responsibility and ending incitement and violence, confronting the myths of "Palestinian archeology," and "Palestinian society and culture;" it requires building authentic nationalism, with just and transparent institutions.
It also means, of course, ending the conflict, ending terrorism and incitement, ending the civil war between Islamists and secularists, between tribes and clans, ending corruption and lawlessness, and the establishment of a truly democratic government. Accepting Israel means an end to the Palestinian Revolution, a national betrayal, and an Islamic heresy.
In this context, for Palestinians and most Muslims, the "Peace Process" is a metaphor for defeat.
The author is a PhD historian, writer and journalist living in Jerusalem