een jaar geleden hadden we het nog niet voor mogelijk gehouden, maar het ziet er nu echt naar uit dat de Palestijnse droom eindigt in een golf van terreur, burgerloorlog en interne strijd. De nationalisten van de PLO vechten al weken tegen de islamisten van de Hamas. Intussen heeft Israël er genoeg van steeds beschietingen vanuit Gaza te moeten dulden en pakt de Hamas kopstukken op. De Palestijnse droom is verder weg dan ooit. Een Palestijnse staat zal er niet komen.
Hoe is de Palestijnse droom eigenlijk ontstaan? Eigenlijk bestaat die pas sinds 1967. In het volgende artikel legt Saul Singer uit, welke politieke stromingen er zijn ontstaan door de Zesdaagse Oorlog in 1967:
The Six Day War created the two movements that defined Israeli politics for decades: Peace Now and Gush Emunim. The former believed that land-for-peace was ours for the asking; the latter that absorbing the ancient Jewish heartland would secure our future. These ideologies, driven and burdened by messianic overtones, lie in tatters, exhausted from battling each other and the stream of events.
But the war fought 40 years ago created something else: the Palestinians. Though the Palestinians try to trace their history back thousands of years, they did not exist in their own minds as a people until after 1967.
Before 1948, the name "Palestinians" often referred to Jews living in mandatory Palestine. This newspaper, founded 75 years ago to report to Jews living here, called itself The Palestine Post. During this period, there was a debate between local Arab nationalists and pan-Arabists, but it began with the advent of nationalism itself.
"Palestine" was a region, not a religious, cultural or national identity. The Palestine Liberation Organization was founded in 1964, but was considered a tool of Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser, who put himself in charge of "liberating Palestine."
THE STUNNING Arab defeat in 1967 changed all this. "The war proved to be the great opportunity of the Palestinian people," writes Michael Oren, preeminent historian of the Six Day War. "Beforehand, the Palestinians were very dispersed, in both the geographical and the organizational senses of the word." Afterwards, Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank lived under Israel, not Egypt and Jordan, and "it suddenly became clear to the Palestinians that they could no longer look forward to salvation from an Arab state or an Arab leader."
Now, Palestinian nationalism seems as real as can be. But the four decades during which twin Israeli ideologies rose and fell may have also spelled the demise of their Palestinian counterpart. On the streets of Gaza we are not only seeing a struggle between Palestinian factions, but the revival of the great battle between nationalism and Islamism that has stretched over the last century.
Oren argues that Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1929 and then vigorously suppressed, returned to life following 1967. Further, "the appearance of the many offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood, including Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Hizbullah and al-Qaida, also started in June 1967."
IT WAS NOT inevitable that Islamism would slowly come to fill the vacuum left by Israel's humiliation of pan-Arabism. Had the West, in 1967, taken something akin to America's post-9/11 stance and pressed for democratization and ending the Arab war against Israel, Islamism might not have had the fertile ground of rotten dictatorships in which to grow. Nor was it inevitable, particularly in the decade following the end of the Cold War, that the West would allow Islamist groups to organize and attack with relative impunity.
But there we have it. Even now, almost six years after 9/11, most of the West does not accept that its goal is a world free of rogue regimes that support terrorism and seek nuclear weapons; or it does not see this goal as achievable.
The Islamists see opportunities for "rollback" - to borrow what was considered a hawkish Cold War term for reclaiming nations that had gone communist - in Iraq, Lebanon and even Egypt and Israel. By contrast, in the West, a parallel rollback effort - regime change in Iran, Syria and North Korea - is considered fringy.