The new situation with its new objective and subjective conditions, leads, naturally, to essential changes in the plans of all the forces involved. Consequently this applies to the nature of the political battles facing the resistance movement. In this it finds itself confronted by a number of interlinked and varying battles, where it no longer has the initiative.
The first political consequence of this new situation is an increase in the opportunities for peaceful settlement in the area. Such a “solution” – because of the inequality in the balance of forces and the domination of the reactionary forces – gives the Israeli and imperialist enemies more than at any time before, new opportunities to double their conditions for a total official Arab surrender.
All the effective political forces in the area – imperialism, Zionism, reaction, Israel, nationalist regimes – are oriented towards preventing fighting and towards political settlement. This is so despite the existing partial contradictions within this camp.
The resistance movement was the main obstacle against the settlement plans. It put forward the necessity for continuing the fight and it was against capitulation. It possessed, besides its correct political line which enjoyed the support of the Arab masses, an effectiveness which made it an obstacle to the realization of the aim sought by all other effective forces in the area.
These new objective conditions coupled with the blows received by the resistance, and its third subjective situation lead us to force an important political battle. That is, the serious intention of all these forces to impose a political settlement, i.e. total political surrender.
We are aware of all the obstacles which still stand in the way of a settlement. These are represented first of all by the Israeli position. We are also aware of all the contradictions existing among the parties of the peaceful settlement camp. Similarly we are aware that the period for imposing a peaceful settlement is not over. It is in fact very clear that opportunities for a settlement have increased enormously and that the tendency to follow such a line is more serious than at any other time. The plans of all the forces are now devoted to working seriously for its new conditions, which might counteract the possibility of finally demolishing the revolutionary situation which developed after June.
Connected intimately with all this is another political battle confronting the resistance movement, and which is a more serious problem now than it was before September, that is the “Palestinian State.”
The new situation and the weak state of the resistance have created conditions which are congenial to thoughts about a solution to the cause of the Palestinian people. Such a solution will erect a Palestinian political structure to put an end – historically speaking – to the whole Palestine problem and all that it created and continues to create in the way of difficulties for imperialism and its interests.
Because of its complexity and he number of parties involved and the contradiction between these, the “Palestinian battle” is bound to take various and complex forms. It is a mistake, therefore, to assume that it will take a simple form with a direct formula.
The victories of the reactionary regime in the September and Jerash battles have renewed the regard that imperialist circles have of the role that this regime can play in serving imperialism and Zionism. Nevertheless, a new reality has been created which imperialism could not totally ignore. Thus, and after a long period of hesitation, Nixon was obliged at the beginning of 1972 to admit that “stability” in the Middle East would not be achieved without providing a solution to the problem of the Palestinian people: not as a refugee problem – as America used to say – but as a “people searching for a homeland.”
This new American formulation was immediately linked with an appropriate explanation: the American interest in this problem is the result, as Nixon said in the same address, of fear that “extreme elements” may exploit the feelings of the Palestinian people with regard to the search for a homeland.
American policy acknowledged, then, the Palestinian people, not in order to solve their problem, but to abort their cause. It chose this time precisely not only because some of the traditional Palestinian leadership has begun to move openly towards suspect solutions but also because the political indecisiveness and conciliatory mode of large sectors of the leadership of the resistance movement helps, in one way or another, towards the realization of the plans.
The United States, as the leader of the imperialist attack on the area is careful not to have the suspect Palestinian entity at the expense of the existence of the stooge regime in Jordan and the part it plays in its plans. Hence we have King Hussein’s plan which speaks about a “United Arab Kingdom.” This represents a middle solution which agrees with imperialism and coordinates between its need to liquidate the cause of the Palestinian people and its need to maintain the Jordanian revolutionary regime.
The following events constitute links in one chain: the municipal election which Israel staged in the West Bank and for which it made sure in advance of winning King Hussein’s support; the “United Arab Kingdom” project; the Allon Plan; Nixon’s address on the necessity of solving the problem of the Palestinian people; and also the major role played by the United States in the conspiracy against the resistance, and in conducting its propaganda campaign to split Jordan down the middle. All these then constitute links in the chain of liquidating the Palestinian cause. This is to be carried out by creating a suspect entity to be dominated at the same time by Israel, reaction and imperialism. It is intended to form an instrument for enforcing foreign exploitative domination over the Arab area.
There are still difficulties and contradictions facing the realization of this conspiracy against the revolution of the people. Nevertheless, this battle has become after September 1970, one of the real political battles of the people and the resistance movement.
For the political settlement to be implemented, and for the scheme for the “Palestinian State” to be accepted, a final adaptation of the resistance movement is required. The resistance will then be faced with specific battles aimed at either annihilating it or rendering it void of its revolutionary content and potential development, so that it will merely have a formal existence presenting no obstacles.
As for the reactionary-Zionist-imperialism camp, this final solution means the indubitable and utter destruction of the whole resistance movement. The camp of imperialism, reaction and Israel realizes that the new conditions may be the last big favourable opportunity for the implementation of the complete and decisive destruction of the resistance’s revolutionary existence (and its manifestations of violence), which previously threatened imperialist interests and came near to demolishing all its schemes in the area. It is natural then, for this camp, after regaining the initiative, to continue its attempts to finish off the resistance completely. This is designed to uproot the whole phenomenon of violence from the minds of the masses, and to convince them of the futility of this path, so as to block any return to it in the foreseeable future.
This should lead us to expect new and continuous campaigns of elimination wherever the resistance has a military presence. This means new Israeli attempts to destroy any presence of the resistance in the West Bank and in Gaza, especially in view of the encouragement it received after the September events. It also means serious attempts by various powers – Arab and international – to remove the political revolutionary presence of the movement, so as to force it into complete submission to the will of the Arab right which has itself completely accepted capitulation.
All the partners of the counter-revolutionary camp, together with all the interested reactionary forces, will be in a state of battle against the resistance, up to its final destruction. The continuation of the ceasefire on all fronts is favourable to the implementation of these schemes.
Some tactical considerations will, no doubt, decide the nature and timing of confrontation in any given Arab country, as the reactionaries will be careful not to rock their economy and not to make a great display which might expose them to isolation on the Arab and international level. But that should not make us forget for a moment that the counter-revolutionary camp is bent on rooting out the resistance and the revolutionary violence it represents.
As for the petit-bourgeois military Arab regimes, their conceptualization of the limits within which the resistance should stay might differ from that of the reactionary regimes. But in the final analysis it does not go beyond the drive for political settlement. These regimes want a settlement which frees them from all their declared commitments to the Palestinian people. Therefore, they realize the necessity for the resistance to participate in the settlement as a representative of the Palestinian people, in alliance with the regimes and tied to their leaders and programmes.
These regimes are anxious to domesticate the resistance and subordinate it to their tactical needs; their behaviour towards the resistance stems always from their class nature, hence their fear of the organized masses, and of guiding the masses along the path of revolutionary violence.
As the class contradiction grows within these regimes, their actions become increasingly reactionary, and the methods and the extent of their oppression of the rising class forces escalate. Inevitably this leads to the widening of the gap between them and the resistance.
These regimes support the idea of a Palestinian entity, regarding it as fitting in with their schemes for a peaceful solution. In spite of partial differences between their conception of such an entity and the reactionary imperialist conception, the former is continually evolving towards coinciding with the latter; this is because their pursuit of peaceful settlement requires that they constantly give way which increasingly brings them nearer to the imperialist conception of this entity.
The pursuit of peaceful settlement requires time, many changes and diversions which are not possible to forecast easily. Moreover, the conditions of the resistance have not crystallized yet in accordance with this conception. We should prepare ourselves for attempts in the direction of settlement. It is clear that these attempts will be aimed at weakening the left-wing forces inside the resistance and strengthening those forces which are able to fit in with the required picture. Consequently, the pressure will be directed towards national unity under the hegemony of these forces which support such schemes. Some anti-imperialist regimes will, in varying degrees, play roles in this direction by creating an alliance between the various forces which accept the scheme, thus minimizing their internal contradictions, and strengthening them militarily; their fighting forces will be transformed into a semi-classical army under whose banner all other organizations will unite.
Such is the picture of the new situation. We see the new objective conditions, the subjective state of the resistance movement, and the initiative taken by the counter-revolutionary camp. We have seen the transformation of the resistance into a position of defence and weakness and the new political battles it will have to face and which are sharper and more difficult than at any time before. In addition, we can predict the agreement between the Zionist-imperialist-reactionary camp and the “nationalist” Arab regimes under the banner of “peaceful solution” and “Palestinian state,” even though at the same time they have conflicting interpretations of these slogans.
The question now is: How is the resistance going to face this new situation?