[Marxism] Is Palestine next?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jul 13 12:39:08 MDT 2011

Is Palestine Next?
Adam Shatz

No one in the Arab world was watching the news more closely than 
the Palestinians during the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. The 
first emotion they experienced was disbelief; the second – 
particularly when they saw Palestinian flags being raised in 
Tahrir Square – was relief that they were no longer alone. Arab 
lethargy has been a virtual article of faith among Palestinians, 
who felt that their neighbours had betrayed them in 1948 and had 
done nothing to help them since. The Palestinian national 
movement, which rose to prominence under Yasir Arafat’s leadership 
in the late 1960s, was defined in large part by its belief that 
Palestinians had to rely on themselves. Mahmoud Darwish was not 
the only one to note that during the siege of Beirut in 1982, when 
Israel invaded Lebanon in an attempt to crush the PLO, tens of 
thousands of Israelis protested in Tel Aviv but the Arabs were too 
busy watching the World Cup Final to take to the streets.

The old Arab order was buried in Tahrir Square. Young 
revolutionaries rose up against a regime which for three decades 
had stood in the way of Palestinian aspirations. It seemed too 
good to be true and some pundits in Palestine wondered whether it 
wasn’t an American conspiracy. But it wasn’t, and Palestinians 
began to re-examine what had been one of their most disabling 
convictions: the belief that the US controls the Middle Eastern 
chessboard, and that the Arab world is powerless against America 
and Israel. ‘There has been a kind of epistemic break,’ a young 
Palestinian said to me. The excitement among Palestinians 
sometimes seems to be mixed with unease, even envy: the spotlight 
has been stolen from them. As a Hamas councilwoman in Nablus put 
it, ‘For 60 years they were watching us. Now we are watching 
them.’ But Palestinians have prided themselves on being the 
vanguard of protest in the Arab world and they will not be content 
to remain spectators for long.

full: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n14/adam-shatz/is-palestine-next

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