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A Vice President crisis or a crisis of a political program?
By: Moatasem Hamadeh
October 27, 2016

The battle of vice president is another title for the conflict on the power, while the required is pushing the Palestinian situation to get rid of its programming and political crisis.

Some observers like to link between the crisis experienced by the Palestinian Authority (and the Fatah movement was behind it) in the summer of 2004, weeks before the departure of President Arafat, and between the crisis now, in the time of President Abbas. But they did not notice that there is a period of 12 years, separates the two crises, a period which has seen many dramatic political developments, notably that the PA project (Fatah) has come to a dead end, and the PA has become more fragile, and unable to manage its regions’ affairs with the required efficiency, tired by the weakness and corruption, and sneered by nepotism and clientelism, its elites in the administrative and security institutions are governed by the avaricious status to further gains, spoils and privileges, in a semi-rentier economic system that subsists on aids, grants, loans and taxation, its abilities to secure the health, educational and social interests of the citizens in general. That contradict with the public interest in politics brightly through malicious and nervous actions.

The crisis may seem in appearance like a conflict on the post of Vice-President, (its first multiple responsibilities), but in essence it is a suffocating political crisis, it fears of a state of collapse, if the current president left the political scene for one reason or another, in light of the rumors about his desire to resign.

The crisis exacerbates with the approach of the seventh conference of the Fatah movement, which is supposed to reorganize the ranks of the movement, on the first leading level, including the discussion of creating the post of deputy head of the movement, in the light of fears that lead to a deepening of conflicts within the movement, which their signs on the surface, from the comments here and there, the most important is the attitude of Dahlan and his brothers, and the future of the relationship with them, despite the talking that it has become a determined matter. But what makes this a lie is that Fatah fabricated a new committee specialized in stranding cases as it described, which means that the issue of Dahlan and his brothers are still simmering in the ranks of Fatah, the leading and basal levels.

It seems that Hamas has read the Fatah crisis, and the crisis of PA and realized that any development will happen, it will be interested in it, especially when it comes to the talking about a vice president for the PA. Because Hamas believes that the basic law of the PA does not include a position of vice president, and who deputize him in the event of his sudden absence is the president of the Legislative Council, for a period of sixty days, during it, there will be the election of the new president.

Hamas believes that Aziz Dweik is still the president of the Legislative Council, and he is, by law, meant to assume the transitional authority, and that any change in this system is a violation of the Basic Law, which cannot be amended except by a resolution of the Legislative Council itself and according to certain legal mechanism.

Thus, Hamas' entry on the line, though it seems on the face, as a punctuality on the «constitution», as they say, but it is in reality, a fight for power, which falls under the division between it and Fatah, and perhaps this explains why, for example, why Hamas «recommended » its parliamentary bloc to « revive » the dissolved Haniyeh's government in 2014, on the pretext that Alhamdallah’s government does not exercise its role in the caring of the affairs of Gaza strip. Perhaps this, too, explains what is being said among Hamas, even in regional countries, about the possibility of Khaled Meshaal’s nomination for the presidency of the Palestinian Authority, as a successor to Abbas.

What supports this, is the assertion that Abbas is the last one who occupies the four responsibilities at once [Fatah, the PA, the executive committee, the presidency of the State of Palestine] and that these positions will be distributed to many persons.

Also, it is supported by some Hamas officials return to the tone of delegitimizing Abbas and the government, what justifies the return of «Haniyeh’s government», to fill the alleged vacuum, and paves to talk about Meshaal as a head of the PA.

So now, we are before another form of fight for influence and power, which contradicts with all the talk about the need to end the division, and the need to resort to the democratic process (the elections) to restore the internal unity.

This was reinforced by the PA’s failure in the organization of the municipal and local elections, after Hamas burgled on the results, while it committed a massacre against Fatah movement’s lists, which led to the blasting of the operation and then the delaying of it, it seems, until a further notice.

Fatah has the right to discuss its internal conditions, and to look for a deputy head of the movement. But anything except that, it belongs to the general Palestinian situation, whether it is about the convening of the National Council, or the election of a vice president for the PA, or a vice president for the Executive Committee, or a vice president for the State of Palestine. But we believe in this context that the Palestinian dilemma does not lie in this case. The facts of the disputes in 1979 about the appointment of a vice president for the Executive Committee are still fresh in memory, when Fatah dismantled this matter, so the deputies of the president of the Committee do not turn into a restriction on his uniqueness and moving.

The Palestinian problem goes beyond the issue of the vice president, for the first official positions, and stretches to affect the first and the foremost, the political program of the PLO. The vice president also will not save the Oslo program which has come to its impasse.

Vice president will not constitute a solution to the absurd process of negotiation, which the PA is still calling for its resuming, albeit under other names, like the French initiative, for example.

The post of vice president will not be the way to form an economic system free from dependence on the Israeli economy. The vice president will not fix the conditions of PLO and give back the consideration for the Executive Committee, and the Central Council.

He will not guarantee the re-election of a new Palestinian National Council in accordance with the full proportional representation system, and he will not organize its successive sessions in accordance with its rules of procedure, and will not adopt its resolutions and orientations as they are binding for the whole political situation, including the re-consideration for the national unified political program of the national, and ending the division and the construction of the road in front of new and alternative political strategy of the policies that have died, and now, under their pressure, the Palestinian Authority is like a lost ship, and now the institutions of PA and the PLO, in a case of paralysis substituted by the solo presidential decrees and decisions, which completely contradict with the principles of the National Coalition, and which transfer the PLO, from a national united front for the whole Palestinian people, to mere employing utilitarian institutions, and which turn the legislative and executive bodies to mere skeletons that have paralysis of wills and movements.

Perhaps the most dangerous thing is taking place in the Palestinian case is, that the conflicts within Fatah -a movement in crisis- are trying to present itself to the public opinion, as a battle to defend the Palestinian national decision, at a time when these conflicts, are just battles in defense of sectarian and individual interests, at the expense of the national interests.

Moatasem Hamadeh is a member of the Political bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by: Ibrahim Motlaq

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