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A New Chapter of Free Concessions
By: Moatasem Hamadeh
June 24, 2017

The official leadership has begun a new chapter of free concessions in a futile bet that the solution is coming from Trump's administration.

With the start of Trump's moves to revive the negotiating process, the official Palestinian leadership has opened a new chapter of its free concessions, in the process of pre-paying bills , for promises that may come, or not, repeating the failed experiences that it has conducted for a quarter of a century, with the US administrations and the successive Israeli governments.

With Trump's administration, the official leadership has provided a series of concessions which we will review three of them quickly:

• The first concession ,is its acceptance of dividing the settlement into two (imaginary) parts, the first which is the settlement, that does not create facts, on the ground that impose themselves on the outcome of the negotiating process. The second is the one that creates these facts.

Therefore, there is no problem with the first type, and it is accepted that the first type of settlement to continue in Jerusalem and throughout the West Bank. This type of settlement, which was abandoned by the official leadership to demand a halt to it, is based on the expansion of the existing settlements, especially in the major settlement blocs, as part of the pre-agreement on cross-border land swap, which are candidate for the annexation to Israel. Thus, the objection is only to the construction of new settlements, outside of what exists now.

However, the Israeli government took this into consideration and manipulated it, when the Knesset approved the "Settlements' legalization" Law, which have a population about 200 outposts, which the Mitchell report called in 2002, to dismantle them as they are illegal settlement outposts .Then, Israel stalled committing to this report, and according to this new law, the outposts have become "legitimate" and have become part of the existing settlements, and their expansion and linking to the rest of the settlements, have become as a part of the expansion of settlements that are candidates for annexation. So, In practice, all the settlement projects have become a legitimate act, and there is no practical objection to them, as long as these settlements are eligible for annexation to Israel ,under the pre-agreement on cross-border land exchange, which may be implemented or not. On the basis that what is agreed upon between the two parties, is the practical application of legitimate resolutions. Noting that the resolutions of legitimacy, since 1968, have considered the settlement as illegal, and called for its cessation and dismantling.

• The second concession which was presented by the Palestinian official leadership in this context, to express its emphasizing on the so-called its "good intentions" and its "facilitating" to the launching of the negotiating process, was its agreement to stop its actions to internationalize the Palestinian national cause and rights, and to stop heading o the international institutions which the last of them was UNESCO, which made tough decisions about Jerusalem and its Arab identity.

This concession was presented by the official leadership at the request of the US administration, considering that such moves would disrupt the preparatory processes, obstruct these operations and provide a pretext for the Israeli side to disrupt these preparations. Thus, all the required procedures have been disrupted to the International Criminal Court [regarding the settlement, the prisoners and the siege of the Gaza Strip] and to the rest of the international institutions. Moreover, the processes of affiliation of the "State of Palestine" to international institutions have been disrupted. Therefore, it was noted that in the midst of the battle of captives' movement against the policies of the Israeli prison administrations, the Palestinian Authority and the official leadership departments only issued some statements [cold and less than normal] and ignored the calls and the demands of the people and the factions to internationalize the issue of the prisoners by referring it to the Security Council and the International Criminal Court.

On the other hand, while the official leadership froze its international moves which aimed at isolating the State of Israel as a racist state and delegitimizing the occupation, as an aggression against the Palestinian people and its land, and a violation to the resolutions of international legitimacy and the principles of international law and the international humanitarian law, Israel intends to wage the international diplomatic war against the Palestinian people and its legitimate national rights .So, demands the United States to work to organize a campaign at the United Nations to dismantle the UNRWA and bring the refugee issue, which concerns Israel more than other issues, to the UNHCR. Thus, the solution would be to seek a "permanent place of residence" for the Palestinian refugees, instead of implementing Resolution 194, which guaranteed to the refugees the right to return to their homes and properties ,that they have been displaced from since 1948. Also, Israel is organizing an anti-BDS campaign to not boycott the products of Israeli settlements and in this context it allocated millions of dollars.

Last but not least, Israel has started to incite against the Palestinian NGOs that host the families of prisoners, the martyrs and the wounded, and considered them, as civil organizations that work to embrace and encourage the terrorism and called on the donors to withhold financing. It may not seem strange when we note that at the same time, the Palestinian Authority itself has begun to refrain from paying the salaries of the released prisoners and the families of martyrs in the Gaza Strip, in the framework of the so-called which is based on clear and explicit American demands, as preconditions to prepare for the resumption of negotiations.

The third concession may not be new, but it reveals the falsity of statements made by the official Palestinian leadership, when it speaks in the public press conferences, in the framework of popular consumption, about its adherence to what it calls the two-state solution, including a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, on June 4th, 1967 borders.

The ingenuity of the negotiating circles attached to the official leadership, in order to pass on its inability to deal with the settlements and to retreat from its position of stopping the settlements as a condition for resuming the negotiations, they accepted the devilish Israeli-American idea about "agreed land swap" across the border to provide to Israel the "safe" borders. The issue does not seem to be related to the military security sought by Israel, but it relates to water, food, agricultural security and other.

Therefore, what Israel wants to take over from the occupied land since 1967, is the "best" land in the West Bank (the settlement blocs, the underground wells, the Dead Sea shore and the vast parts of Area C, including the Jordan Valley).

In the context of the self-convolution, the political fraud, lying to public opinion, and deceiving it, the negotiating circles have invented an alternative idea, that says the principle of the return of land ,equal to the area of land, that has been occupied on the fifth of June. As if the matter is measured by square meters or kilometers, with the equality of land and other, knowing that the law of geography confirms the impossibility of equality of land to another piece of land, even in the same area. As there is the fertility, the strategic location, the soil, the structure and so on. As for the application on the ground, this raises questions: Will we give up Jerusalem, in return for an alternative piece of land equal to the size of Jerusalem? Will we abandon from the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea shore, the areas of underground wells, the border areas with Jordan? There could be more and more questions because the equation , which is accepted by the Palestinian negotiator, as an alternative to the Palestinian state on the June 4th borders, is a booby-trapped formula, full of mines, and it is about to explode, in the hands of the Palestinian negotiator himself!

Moatasem Hamadeh is a member of the Political Bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Translated by: Manal Mansour
Revised by: Ibrahim Motlaq

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