“Whoever writes his story will inherit the land of words, and possess meaning, entirely!” (Darwish, Why Did you Leave the Horse Alone?)
It is obviously necessary to be extremely critically aware of who narrates history for what ends and what is left unsaid. Nothing illustrates this more clearly than the fact that while Israel celebrates the declaration of its establishment as its Day of Independence, Palestinians commit it in their collective memory it the day of their Nakba (catastrophe) when their homeland was plundered, their society shattered and Palestine was subjected to ethnic cleansing, and most Palestinians were forced into Diaspora. Palestinians - displaced, scattered, oppressed, colonized, remain a people denied self-determination and denied basic human and natural rights.
The issue that I would like to highlight here concerns the current dominant discourse that narrates the Palestinian question.
To do this is necessary to point out that Palestinians who still live in Palestine (as it existed prior to 1948) are either treated as a third class citizens in terms of rights as citizens (Palestinians living in Israel), or are placed under a settler-colonial occupation with an enforced Apartheid regime (Palestinians in the West Bank), or are forced to endure a suffocating siege (Palestinians in Gaza Strip), Those in Diaspora (who were evicted  became refugees outside Palestine) live as a stateless people without social and political rights in refugee camps or as individuals denied the right to return to their homeland (as the United Nations resolution 194 stipulates). In a report released in February 2007, Dugard ”announced that Israel's policies resemble those of apartheid” and added that it “is difficult to resist the conclusion that many of Israel's laws and practices violate the 1966 Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination". 
What in fact happened, and is happening, to the Palestinian people is what is needed to be narrated. This is extremely necessary now because the Palestinian story and condition is under systematic and concerted efforts and from different political quarters to preempt it from significance and to normalize the historic injustice that has been done to the Palestinians.
The most pernicious and damaging effort concentrates on collapsing (shrinking) historic or mandated Palestine to the fifth of its original size, that is to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, that is the part of Palestine that was occupied by Israel in 1967 and has since been (West Bank) subjected to colonial settlements, land confiscation, the construction of a segregation wall, military checkpoints, bypass roads (for Israelis only), house demolition , imprisonment without trial (nearly a quarter of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has been imprisoned by Israel since 1967, including Palestinian political leaders. elected legislative council members, ministers, and activists, etc), and to daily violence and destruction by Israeli settlers.
The West Bank has now (2012) more than 620 thousand Jewish colonial settlers on land expropriated by force by Israel. These settlers in 144 colonies form a about a fifth of the Palestinians living in the West Bank. The number of these settlers continues to grow as well as their daily violence against Palestinians.
Vandalizing popular Palestinian national narrative
The dominant political literature on the Palestinian question has become plagued with misrepresentations of the history, geography and condition of the Palestinian people. These misrepresentations are taken for granted in the current language of international organizations (including those of the United Nations), political leaders, international mass media (including in some of the official Arab media), and have crept in the discourse of the Palestinian Authority and the major political organizations. Hence the need to highlight the major constituents of these misrepresentations: Reduce
Shrinking Palestine to the area of the West Bank and Gaza
1. The first major misrepresentation which has become prevalent to reduce Palestine with the West Bank and Gaza Strip (i.e. to 22% of its size). Palestine is the area that came under British Mandate following the First World War. In 1948 Palestine was fragmented into three areas: The area (78% of Palestine) on which Israel established itself by force; the area that has become to be known as the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) which was annexed by Jordan in 1950; and the area known as the Gaza Strip was fell under Egyptian control. In June 1967 the last two were occupied by Israel and are very frequently referred to as the occupied Palestinian territories, thus collapsing Palestine to a fragment of its original territory. Israel is seeking to reduce Palestine to a areas left over after it finishes its settlements building and land annexation in the West Bank.
Evicting Palestinians from history
2. Palestinian history is also, in much of the international media, starts in 1967. This has the function (intentionally or unwittingly) of thus removing from under discussion the responsibility for the historic injustice that has been (and still is) inflicted on the Palestinian people. It also removes the record of the long history of Palestinian resistance to settler colonialism, and for self-determination that started long before that.
Palestinian history begins long before the Nakba of 1948 (when Palestinian society was forcefully shattered and Palestinians were subjected to ethnic cleansing, discrimination and forced to live in Diasporas). In fact Palestinians spent most the first half of the 20th century fighting for self-determination against British military occupation and Zionist colonization of their land. Before that they fought for greater autonomy from Ottoman rule.
Marketing the myth of development under occupation
3. The idea that development can take place under occupation was taken for granted by the Palestinian Authority soon after its establishment in 1994, partly because it hoped that the transition for limited self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to and independent statehood is attainable. 20 years since the Oslo accords have demonstrated the impossibility of development under settler-colonial occupation; development cannot with military occupation and settlement-building, the control of natural resources (including land and water), and border crossings (and trade), internal movements (of commodities and individuals) between the West Bank areas (including East Jerusalem) and between Gaza and West Bank, and the building of the Separation Wall and bypass roads, and arbitrary arrest and imprisonment without trial. What has happened is the gradual transformation of the Palestinian Authority into a venerable political entity (an “Authority without authority” as the president of that Authority declared) depending on foreign aid and Israeli decisions, and in effect facilitating the continued occupation (the “cheapest in history” to quote Mahmood Abbas again). But the most damaging result of Oslo and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority on parts of the West Bank and Gaza, has been the marginalizing of the PLO as the comprehensive representative Palestinian institution for all Palestinians inside historic Palestine and outside it.
The collapse of the myth of state-building under occupation
The same applies to the myth that was propagated by the Fayad government recently that building efficient and transparent state-like institutions, under occupation, will facilitate international recognition of the legitimacy of the Palestinian demand for statehood, and will pressurize Israel to accept the formation of a Palestinian state. That myth collapsed with the threat of USA thread to use the veto if Palestinian leadership applies for full state-status in the Security Council, and more so following the mass demonstrations against the prevailing economic conditions prevailing in the West bank during the Summer of 2012 and the dire financial situation of the Palestinian Authority.
Propagating the myth of the two-state solution
4. The establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 was not stated in the Oslo accords of 1993, but was assumed to be the end result of negotiations with Israel. After nearly 20 years of negotiations it became clear that Israel (with connivance of USA and EU) is far from agreeing to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on 22% of historic Palestine) and that it has full rights (as a colonial settler state urged by a religious mythology) to colonize the West Bank but avoid annexing its Palestinian population for fear of undermining the “Jewish” nature of the state and promoting the prospect of a unified democratic state covering all of historic Palestine. However, Israel by destroying the possibility of an independent Palestinian state on 22% of historic Palestine is, in effect, strengthening the support for the one Palestine alternative to that of fragmenting Palestine.
The Israel leadership continue to advocate the idea that Palestinians can have their own “state” but only on what remains of their land in the West Bank once it has completed appropriating as much as it can of it through colonization and annexation (leaving out the populated Palestinian centers as Israel seeks the maximum colonization of land while ensuring leaving out the great majority of its Palestinian inhabitance to ensure the “purity” of Israel as a Jewish state. This policy is fast leading to a self-governing entity devoid of any prospects of geo-economic and political sustainability in the West Bank (after Israel instituting a unilateral withdrawal leaving itself in control of 60% of the area), and another self-governing entity in Gaza with warning from United Nations that the Gaza Strip cannot sustain itself after few years given its extremely high population density and it very limited resources and the restrictions imposed on its Palestinian population . All this is happening while the discourse of the two-state solution continues to be promoted internationally, regionally and, ironically, by the Palestinian leadership (although recently they have been showing doubts about it attainability, but without putting an alternative strategy and vision).
No solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without acknowledging the right of Palestinians to return to their homeland
5. Palestinians, as it is sometimes are portrayed, are not simply those residing in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinians also exit in Israel (over 1.2 million) and in Jordan (over half the Jordanian population) and in Diasporas (in 60 refugee camps and outside camps). No solution to the Palestinian-Israel conflict can stand without the acknowledgment of the right of return for Palestinians who are in diasporas (shatat) (estimated to be about five millions) to their original homeland (i.e., to Palestine, and not solely to any “state” that might be established on parts of West Bank and Gaza Strip). Israel (and indeed the West) has to acknowledge the historic injustice it inflicted on the Palestinians through ethnic cleansing, and to accept historic and legal responsibility that injustice if genuine reconciliation is to be accomplished. This is not likely to happen in the near future, but can be envisaged if the direction of changes in the region and internationally continues.
There is a real danger that if a Palestinian “state” is established on the West Bank and Gaza Strip (or or parts of these), that demands from right-wing Israeli forces (which dominates the Israeli political field) to transfer (i.e., expel) Palestinians who are Israeli citizens to this new Palestinian state. There are over 1.2 million Palestinians in Israel forming not less than 18% of its total population in Israel. This is likely because there is more or less an Israeli political consensus that Israel is and should be a pure Jewish state, and that this feature should be given priority over its formal democratic commitments. This means that Palestinians in Israel (as Arab Moslems, Christians, and other dominations and who have become a minority in their homeland) are seen as an impediment to the securing of Israel as a pure Jewish state. Any acceptance, by Palestinians and internationally, of Israel as a Jewish state would seek to legitimize the transfer of Palestinians living in Israel.
Some political implications
The above facts and considerations suggest the following conclusions:
First, the Nakba (the Palestinian calamity) will remain one of the major focal points of the Palestinian narrative. Attempts to suppress, or gloss over it, count as a denial of historic injustice dwelt to the Palestinian, and can only perpetuate the conflict. The right of return is central component of the right to self-determination.
Second, the establishment of a sovereign, independent and viable Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital free of Israeli colonies, settlers and Israeli military, economic and security control has proved to be illusory. But even if it materializes it can only be a step towards redressing the historic injustice inflicted on the Palestinians, if it is not conditioned on the denial of the right of all the Palestinian self-determination, including the right to return to their homeland).
Third, the move to enhance the Palestinian presence in the UN through attaining a "statehood" status over the territory of the West Bank and Gaza Strip has been promoted by the breakdown of bilateral Israel-Palestinian negotiations as Israel continued its colonial settlement building and refuse to acknowledge the right of Palestinians to establish a sovereign state on all the Palestinian territories it occupied in 1967 (including East Jerusalem). The United Nations bid for statehood has been the subject of intense discussion among Palestinians as some feared that acquiring state status (as full a member or as an observer) will not change the situation on the ground as Israel will continue with colonial and repressive policies, but more importantly, the move could jeopardize the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and could weaken the regional and international standing of the PLO as the umbrella organization representing Palestinian communities, thus facilitating the fragmentation of Palestinian representation. The move has brought Israeli and American (and from some European centers) financial and political pressure on the Palestinian Authority that could lead, to its collapse before an alternative Palestinian strategy is prepared. The financial crisis of the Palestinian Authority coupled with high prices has brought demonstration in the Streets of West Bank and Gaza.
There is a need to ensure that recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders can in no way compromises the right of refugees to return to historic Palestine, or the standing of the PLO or the fragmentation of the Palestinian representation. In other words the move in United Nations can only make sense if it is part of a comprehensive strategy in the struggle of Palestinians for freedom and self-determination that includes reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, the organization of popular resistance on a wide scale, rebuilding of the PLO on democratic basis and defining the exact role of the Palestinian Authority and its relation to PLO institutions. It may also necessary to make it understood that the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state on part of historic Palestine does not end the Palestinian quest, for an inclusive democratic state.
Israel’s and United States’ irritation with the Palestinian bid for statehood is not based on the fear that such a state (in the West Bank and Gaza) will pose a threat to Israel (or to anybody else for that matter as it will nor posses or will be allowed to posses any threatening military capabilities), but because Israel considers the West Bank as a territory, to which it is entitled (albeit with the Palestinians living there). In addition Israel fears that the internalization of the dispute over the future of the West Bank is likely to make Israel more accountable to international law as it will be considered occupying the land of another United Nations’ member state. The move could also loosen the grip of the United States as the sole broker in the management of the conflict.
Israel with tacit support from the United States  is continuing its colonization project under various pretexts, including that the Palestinian leadership is not interested in negotiations and peace. It is ironic that a Palestinian state, if formally acknowledged in the United Nations, will be the Organization’s 194th member state, and resolution numbered 194 was passed by the same body in December 1948 affirming the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland (i.e., historic Palestine). There is a sense in saying that failure to support Palestinian statehood can only facilitate transforming the struggle from one over sovereignty (statehood) to one for equal rights (in one democratic state) .
Fourth, Palestinians would be prepared to make the historic compromise of sharing – on democratic and equal basis - Palestine with Israeli Jews, if Israel acknowledges the right of return for Palestinians, and if the political elite in Israel relinquish their colonialist and racist policies and ideology.
Fifth, Palestinians need to re-unify their national movement as a national liberation movement, and to work out a unified strategy that weaves together the aspiration of the three major components of the Palestinian people: 1. Palestinians in Israel in their struggle for equal rights with Jewish Israeli citizens, and to be acknowledged as a national minority with rights; 2. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in their struggle to end the settler-colonial and military occupation, security repression, apartheid system and siege. Hence the need internationally to support the global movement for the campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel to force it to comply with international law and Palestinian rights; 3. Palestinians in the diasporas (shatat) in their struggle for the implementation of their to return to their homeland, and to acquire civic rights in the countries of refuge, and for the lifting of security control over refugee camps. The three components will be united in the struggle for self- determination.
The popular democratic revolutions in the Arab world are paving the way for a new Middle East that is significantly different from the disappearing one: a Middle East that is more prepared to reject United States and European domination, and double standards. The new emerging Arab states are likely, once the turmoil subsides, to be more assertive of their political and economic independence, more democratically attentive to public opinion, and more supportive of the right of Palestinian for self-determination.
A new balance of power is emerging those points to a relative decline of the supremacy of USA, the intensification of the regional and international isolation of Israel, and a decline in the tolerance of its habitual violations of international law, United Nations’ resolutions, and basic human rights.
A new Arab region is being ushered in following the popular democratic uprisings in the Arab world that are promising to diminish the prospect of dictatorship, repression and corruption and the need to respect public opinion, civil rights and democratic procedures. AS yet these ongoing changes democratic uprisings have not inspired, as yet, changes have not initiated in Israel (apart from the Palestinian minority) a movement against racism, militarism, and colonial policies, nor a realization of the need to acknowledge the historic injustice that has been brought against the Palestinian people, and their right to self-determination.
Jamil Hilal (Milan September 2012)
 Some Israeli Historians have documented evidence supporting the oral testimonies of Palestinians that ethnic cleansing as a result of a deliberate policy by Zionist leaders in 1948. See; Ilan Pappe’. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Oneworld, 2007.
 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, John Dugard, 2007.
 Since the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip began in 1967, Israel has demolished about 27,000 Palestinian homes and other structures crucial for a family’s livelihood, according to Israeli government statistics (Compiled by the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions). Almost half of these were carried out in just the last twelve years (see; Michelle Woodward, “Demolishing Palestine”, Jadaliyya, 19, September, 2012.
 The report states that the “substantial population growth rate will thus add some 500,000 people to a living area which is restricted and already heavily urbanized. Fundamental infrastructure in electricity, water and sanitation, municipal and social services, is struggling to keep pace with the needs of the growing population,” it adds: “By 2020, electricity provision will need to double to meet demand, damage to the coastal aquifer will be irreversible without immediate remedial action, and hundreds of new schools and expanded health services will be needed for an overwhelmingly young population,” the report adds. “Tens of thousands of housing units are needed today.” (See; United nations News Centre, 27 August 2012: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=42751
 In February 2011 the US vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that reflected US declared policy. This was the fortieth occasion since the June 1967 war on which the United States cast the sole negative vote on a Security Council resolution critical of Israel, thus protecting its ally from international condemnation. In September of 2011 USA stood in the Security Council, against a bid the Palestinian Authority to grant Palestine the status of a state.
 Ehud Olmert, former Israeli Prime Minister, considered that the failure to create a Palestinian state would create a situation where Israel would face "face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights, and as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished." Israel’s Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, was clearer when he commented: “If, and as long as between the Jordan and the sea, there is only one political entity, named Israel, it will end up being either non-Jewish or non-democratic... If the Palestinians vote in elections, it is a bi-national state, and if they don't, it is an apartheid state.” (Quoted by Noura Erakat, “Equality struggle Ahead”, Jadaliyya, Aug 27 2011.