Jenin – As always in analyzing events it always helps to get the view of someone on the inside especially if they had been in a leadership position. In this case Zakariya Zubeidi, former commander of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Jenin, West Bank. The Al-Aqsa are the armed wing of Fatah the organization of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas.
In this telling interview to Haaretz Zubeidi gives his reasons for leaving the Al-Aqsa and the Intifada, the uprising against Israel, due to the enormous corruption among Palestinian leadership and the serious divisions which prevent Palestinian unity and therefore any chance of achieving a Palestinian State.
The following are excerpts from the interview in which Zubeidi explodes the international-regional myth of possible statehood that still determines the policy making of governments and international organizations. As to why he left it, “In part because of the conflict between Fatah and Hamas. Look, its perfectly clear to me that we won’t be able to defeat Israel. We failed entirely in the Intifada. We haven’t seen any benefit or positive result from it. We achieved nothing. It is a crushing failure. Died with Abu Amar (Yasser Arafat).” [HAARETZ]
This confirms my comparing the Palestinian community with a fragmentation grenade in observing not only Arafat’s own chaotic sense of direction and leadership, he once tried to overthrow Jordan’s King Hussein in 1970, but in the enormous corruption and divisions that followed Arafat’s death as Zubeidi states the reasons for the death of cause for Palestinian statehood.
“Why? Because our politicians are whores. Our leadership is garbage. Look at Rhui Fatouh, who was President of the PA for sixty days, as Yasser Arafat’s replacement. He smuggled mobile phones. Do you understand? We have been defeated. The political splits and schisms have destroyed us not only politically – they have destroyed our national identity.
There is no Palestinian identity. Go up to anyone in the streets and ask him, ‘Who are you?’ He’ll answer you, ‘I’m a Fatah activist, I’m a Hamas activist or an activist of some other organization, but he won’t say to you I am a Palestinian.” Concerning the organization he left, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Zubeidi commented, “They have left us behind and forgotten us. We are marching in the direction of nowhere, toward total ruin. The Palestinian people is finished. Done for.”
Of course no one is more aware of this than the governments that finance and arm the Palestinian militant organizations, Tehran-Damascus-Riyadh. It reminds me of the cold observation made several years ago, during the Intifada, by Iran’s then President Mohammad Khatami, that “Iran won’t be more Palestinian than the Palestinian.”
Tehran knew of the Palestinian explosive, unstable, divided tradition that Iran can use as another front to exploit in causing regional crisis and chaos to generate more Islamic radicalism and from the Palestinian community there are a lot of willing martyrs.
What Zubeidi has sadly failed to realize, in his tragic disillusionment, it was Yasser Arafat who established the Palestinian tradition of availablilty for extremism in the early 1960s, radicals for hire by either the West or Islamic governments. It made Arafat a fortune and killed any chance for stability and statehood. Tehran-Damacus have armed the organizations they can use like Hamas-Islamic Jihad-Al-Aqsa, as they leave Palestinian people behind marching toward martyrdom inspired by the chaotic cult of the gun.