Palestine and Palestinianism: the West Bank and Gaza merely the after-dinner coffee and mints

The next ‘Palestinian’ general election is supposed to happen in 2013. It should have occurred in 2010. The reason for the delay is said to be the intra-Palestinian disputes between Fatah and Hamas, but more likely it is because it is difficult to know what ‘Palestine’ actually is. Is it the West Bank plus Gaza, or just the West Bank? Do we now have the quite separate entities of Hamas-Gaza, and Fatah-West Bank, each with their own agendas? Quite apart from intra-Palestinian disagreement that has delayed the election for three years, any dispute will do little for the ‘Palestinian’ cause when Mahmoud Abbas stages his bit of theatre at the UN at the end of November when he starts pleading (again) for a formal Palestinian seat there. So, these days, we don’t really know over which territory the state concept of ‘Palestine’ is going to apply, and we are witnessing the evolution of two quite separate Arab micro-states alongside Israel west of the River Jordan – a three state solution rather than a two-state solution.

While ‘Palestine’ has suddenly become a rather vague concept, ‘Palestinianism’ as a political-military concept is still pretty clear. It is a counter-proposition to Zionism. Today, the latter promotes the rightful existence of a Jewish State between the Mediterranean and the River Jordan, and it is a term coined by Nathan Birnbaum (1864-1937) and later expanded upon by Theodor Herzl (1860-1904). Modern Zionism is the self-determination of the Jewish people. Palestinianism is the vehement opposition to any such Jewish state – to modern Zionism – and is the expression of the wish to supplant the modern State of Israel with an Arab Islamic country.  The origins of Palestinianism lie not in a positive self-definition of a state of Palestine, but rather to a negative opposition to Zionism.

Palestinianism was defined in 1964 in the original racist and fascist Covenant of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), three years before the Six Day War of 1967, and three years before Israel found itself administering the West Bank and Gaza. In 1964, Jordan was in possession of the west bank of the Jordan (it had annexed the area), and Egypt held the Gaza Strip. In its original Covenant, the PLO declared the goal of liberating ‘Palestine’ – or rather, the goal of destroying Israel. As part of ‘Palestine’, no mention had been made of the Arabs living on the west bank of the Jordan or of Arabs living in the Gaza Strip as that would have threatened and upset Egyptian and Jordanian leaderships of the time (Gamal Abdul Nasser, President of Egypt, and King Hussein of Jordan). The ‘Palestine’ of the Covenant was, to all intents and purposes, Israel. Palestinianism was a call to arms against the existence of Israel, and it remains so regardless of covenant or constitution rewrites. Israel was always the real meal, and after 1967 the West Bank and Gaza became merely the complementary coffee and mints.

Led today by Hamas and Fatah, Palestinianism has less to do with the establishment of a Palestine state and rather more to do with the destruction of Israel (the posturing of Abbas at the UN is a side-show meant to lull us all into believing that ‘Palestine’, in seeking recognition, will be a benign state living in harmony with its Jewish neighbour and intending to live up to UN ideals). Having been unable to defeat Israel militarily, the strategy has instead been one of seeking to demonise and delegitimise Israel and to concoct a narrative, an identity and an ethos to compete with Zionism and with Jewish history. In addition to the promotion of the destruction of Israel and the denial of Hebrew biblical history, Palestinianism carries within it Islamic replacement theology and the arabisation and islamisation of biblical archaeology.

The cause of Palestinianism (eradication of Israel) is backed by countries of the Arab League, and other Moslem and non-aligned countries and has been ably assisted by some groups on the European liberal-left and on numerous campuses across Europe and North America. Attraction towards ‘Palestinianism’ sees many on the Scottish liberal-left reaching so far to the left that they touch the grubby fascist fingertips of those in Gaza and the West Bank who oppress gay youth, condone the honour-killing of girls and women, torture and kill political opponents, and of those terrorist groups that have failed to erase anti-semism and racism from their founding constitutions.


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