The cat's out of the bag: Tawfiq Tirawi, a former terrorist collaborator who manned the Palestinian intelligence apparatus during the Second Intifada and today serves as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' security adviser, reinvented the concept of peace negotiations over the weekend, calling them a "form of resistance." Tirawi stressed that negotiations or, as he called it, "resistance," must be accompanied by an armed front, whether through popular resistance or otherwise.
If the sentiment had been Tirawi's alone -- so be it. During the siege against the Muqataa government compound in Ramallah, Tirawi was Israel's most wanted man. Later, he was absolved of his crimes in return for collaborating with Israel on security. Former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin diagnosed the man as a "psychopath," saying he was "cruel, dangerous and prone to dramatic mood swings" (according to the WikiLeaks website, which obtained a document detailing a June 2007 meeting between Diskin and then-U.S. Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones).
But Tirawi is not alone. There are plenty of officials in Tirawi's Fatah and Hamas who see terrorism and "armed resistance" as legitimate tools that, when combined with diplomacy, produce powerful results. Senior Israeli intelligence officials have given this method a name: "Reaping and Sowing" -- sowing the seeds of terror, reaping the fruit of negotiations, and so on and so forth.
There are plenty of examples to back this method, spread out over the past quarter century since the outbreak of the First Intifada. Abbas himself has spoken about "the timing and benefits of different forms of resistance." A minister of Abbas' explained once how Oslo was merely the greenhouse in which to cultivate the strongest, most potent Palestinian resistance, adding that "without Oslo, there would have been no resistance" (according to Palestinian Media Watch).
Diab al-Luh, a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, was the bluntest in his depiction: "We have learned through this struggle that there's a time to plant and to cultivate. The rifle plants the seed and the diplomatic struggle harvests the crop."
Statements such as these lacing the Palestinian mask of struggle are as numerous as the sands on Gaza's shore. While Tirawi has offered us the chance to prepare for the next round of reaping and sowing, he is unnecessary for Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's understanding of the developments currently underway. Ya'alon has his own sources from which to glean information and analysis, and perhaps now's the time to share them with the secretaries of state and foreign ministers of the U.S. and Europe.
Even today, throughout our country, the sophomoric argument over why the Second Intifada erupted is ongoing. People ask, was the uprising the result of an organized effort, as we have proved, or was it a spontaneous, popular protest, practiced by a nation under occupation and distress, which eventually sparked the conflagration?
Regardless, it would behoove us to take note of Tirawi's statements so that we may remain vigilant, eyes open, and moving forward without any delusions.