Many books and studies have been published in recent decades highlighting the "one-state reality" in Palestine.
The bleak situation cannot solely be attributed to Israeli colonial policies, US support, or Arab inaction. The Palestinians have also played their part in perpetuating the situation.
I argue that fragmentation and political divisions in Palestinian society has allowed Israel to dominate and carry out its colonial project that began with the Nakba in 1948.
Palestinians have failed to come up with a cohesive plan for Palestine and garner support for it — even from those who advocate for a democratic one-State solution with equal rights for all.
Organisational failure hindered resistance
The Palestinian National Movement has been plagued by failure after the Arab State in Damascus led by Faisal I was dismantled after the defeat of Yusuf Al-Azama's Arab army by the French army in the Battle of Meselson and the Nakba.
This resulted in the displacement of most Palestinians.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the mass displacement of Palestinians known as “Nakba” or “the Catastrophe”. For the first time in the UN history, this anniversary will be commemorated by @UNISPAL pursuant to the UNGAmandate (A/RES/77/23).April 17, 2023
These failures were primarily caused by external factors such as British colonial policies, the deportation policies of Jewish gangs, and later, the Israeli army, and the inaction of Arab regimes.
However, research has shown that one of the most significant reasons for these failures was due to the disorganisation of Palestinians.
The Palestinians' inability to organise themselves as a national movement crippled their ability to fight the Zionist project in the years leading up to 1948.
Israel’s violence in Gaza since its unilateral withdrawal in 2004, or earlier during the attack on the Jenin camp in 2002 did not lead to exodus — not even in the targeted Jenin camp itself. On the contrary, it boosted Palestinian resilience.
So, what caused the widespread panic and mass exodus of Palestinians from the Galilee, coastal cities, the Triangle, and the Negev to Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, and Gaza?
We know that the exodus was prompted after panic spread over atrocities committed by Jewish gangs against Palestinians. But it’s important to remember that the Palestinians themselves failed to organise and form a national movement under the British mandate.
This is easier to understand if we compare them to the relatively well-organised Jewish community in Palestine, or the region's well-organised Arab movements throughout colonial times — especially in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon.
Despite the rise of Zionism during the British Mandate or even after the catastrophic Nakba (1948), Palestinian elites and leaders failed to form a cohesive Palestinian movement to confront their enemy.
It’s been 75 years since the Nakba and despite significant accomplishments, such as the establishment of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and key efforts in the struggle against Israel and its policies, none of the Palestinians’ goals — or even some of them — have been accomplished.
This includes the right of return, liberation, and independence.