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A Tri-Aspects Predicament
By: Moatasem Hamadeh
July 13, 2017

The Palestinian leadership is standing in a national tri-aspects predicament, that can be ended only by the reconsideration to the PLO and its national program.

The official Palestinian leadership is standing in a complex plight, and the more it tries to move outside it, without reconsidering its failed and destructive political strategy, the more it becomes complicated, and the Palestinian situation is closer to a national catastrophe.

One of the components of this plight, is the negotiating project with Israel, which its way and thorny ground has been paved by a US delegation composed of the son-in-law of President Trump, Jared Kouchner, and his Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, who are carrying a case that is full of US conditions which are made in Israel and exercising a policy of pressure on one side, which is the Palestinian side to drag it into a series of positions that would constitute a new political coup, on the whole of the Palestinian national situation, in order to complement the coup that was made by the Palestinian leadership, on the national program when it fell towards the signing of the Oslo Accords, and it was satisfied with the security cooperation with the occupation authorities, and the economic dependence on Israel.

If we review the American-Israeli conditions, we will face a situation that assumes not only the renunciation of the Palestinian power, but also stripping the Palestinian situation from all the elements of national dignity and making a reversal in values and concepts, a reversal against our martyrs and prisoners, so, we will be moving from a people that is struggling for its freedom, independence and national dignity to a people who is practicing terrorism. And our martyrs will be turned into terrorists and our prisoners into criminals (according to the words of Nabil Shaath at the Herzliya Conference), who Israel arrests them for committing crimes of violence and crimes of terrorism. Also, the President of the State of Palestine will be the head of a terrorist people, who is required to take on the task of combating terrorism, preparing the Palestinian stage for all forms of political extortion and accepting solutions that have nothing new.

But they only write off the legitimate national rights of Palestinian people and close the Palestinian file once and for ever , and set it aside, to open the way to Arab-Israeli normalization, in the context of the regional solution, and in the context of the "deal of the century" which is being preached by Trump.

The plight of the official Palestinian leadership, that it does not have the political will to go back, in favor of an alternative political strategy (in order to achieve class and social gains for large segments that are wrapped around this leadership through the current political situation under self-management). On the other hand, it is trying to escape from the popular pressure, and the pressure of the national progressive and democratic forces, to respond to a number of American and Israeli conditions (in order to stay within the Arab-Israeli regional equation which was designed in Riyadh). But its clash with the Palestinian national pressure, and the greed of the American and Israeli sides and their insistence on imposing all their conditions, make this escape a miserable, free and useless step that will deepen the political stalemate of the official Palestinian leadership more and more.

Another aspect of the crisis that is facing the Palestinian leadership, is its feeling that the PLO institutions (or the rest of these institutions) are a constraint on its policy, which prevents it from maneuvering in its policy towards the Arab states (especially the Arab Quartet) and American and Israeli sides, therefore, it is resorting to the policy of going far in the marginalization of these institutions or neglecting them.

The Central Council of the PLO has been disabled since its last session on 5/3/2015, and the Executive Committee is holding its meetings at intervals that are far apart (for about four months completely disabled, followed by a sole meeting, then a return to coma and negligence).

The atmosphere of the relationship with the Executive Committee confirms that the Palestinian leadership recently has adopted a personal conflict policy with the Executive Committee members for their criticism of the official policy, and that the official leadership is unable to accept even "advice", if we can say, in a behavior that reflects its insistence on exclusivity in taking decisions and its insistence that it is only who is going on the right way.

It is also noted that its insistence on the marginalization of the Executive Committee departments (the last was the attempt to marginalize the Expatriate Department, in favor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian Authority, which has become by a «presidential decree» as «the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriate») in an attempt to siege the total Palestinian situation, especially that the PA has become interested in its government (through the semi-permanent participation in its meetings), and the transformation of this government into a national political affairs commission as an alternative to the Executive Committee, in a situation in which the government is a tool in the hands of the official leadership (the one-color government), while the Executive Committee which forms the national framework for political pluralism, has become fatiguing factor to the leading style that is adopted by the leadership of Ramallah.

It seems to us that one of the reasons for ignoring the Executive Committee, is the evasion of political leadership from the "entitlements" of issuing a statement at the end of the meeting, that reflects national positions, which would be described by Washington and Tel Aviv as provocative and disruptive positions, to the preparations for the resumption of negotiations. In short, the Palestinian leadership is before a choice, imposed on it by its sliding in the American project, which is completing the emptying of the PLO from its structures and turning it into a mere title, to hide behind it in going away in the journey of concessions, under the slogan "the Independent national decision", also under the slogan "the Palestinian legitimacy".

A third aspect of the predicament is represented here by the "legitimacy", as after Hamas completed its understandings with Cairo, and with Dahlan (always sponsored by Egypt)! It can be said that the issue of division has entered a new stage, in which the division has become closer to separation. It is a separation that we cannot absolve the Palestinian leadership of its responsibility toward it, in the light of the arbitrary decisions that it has taken against the Gaza Strip, under the pretext of pressuring Hamas to end the division, including dissolving the administrative supervising committee on the official ministries and accepting to form a new government.

What happened in the Gaza Strip is a unique leap in the Palestinian relations, which provided Hamas, after forming its new leadership, with a regional atmosphere, which opened the door toward a new relationship with Cairo, that would provide elements of stability for the Gaza Strip (even if it is partial), and make Hamas one of the main elements equations, that are drawn up in the region. On the other hand, it is a unique leap, when Hamas considered its understandings with Dahlan as an understanding with Fatah faction, which will has its repercussions in the relationship with Ramallah, and the future of the relationship with Fatah leadership in the West Bank.

Moreover, the agreement, even if it looks Palestinian with its both sides, Hamas and Dahlan, however, it is an agreement that has regional dimensions and is sponsored by Egypt, UAE and the Arab quartet. Therefore it is an agreement that goes beyond just a bilateral maneuver, or a short interim step; it is an agreement that will take its course towards implementation.

So, Hamas and Dahlan have begun joint actions in this direction on the security and social sides. In addition, the atmosphere in Israel seemed positive due to its fear of the social explosion in the Gaza Strip and its negative effects on it, and its belief that this step would handle many criminal and social issues in Gaza strip, which will reduce the social and political tension among the population. Also, according to the opinion of Israel, such an agreement would perpetuate and further divide the Palestinian situation.

There is no doubt that all this is a matter of concern to the official leadership, so that it is talking again about its intention to call for a new session for the National Council, to "renew the Palestinian legitimacy", and add adjustments on the status of the Executive Committee, in the frame of marginalizing and neglecting it more and more.

Finally, we must say that the predicament of the Palestinian leadership is, at the same time, a deadlock for the Palestinian situation as a whole, under its declining policy, which emphasizes on the need to neglect this policy and close the Oslo file again, and on the re-consideration of the institutions of PLO, the national comprehensive frame, and the adoption of the national program as an alternative to the disastrous Oslo policy.

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

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