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Confederation as a Substitute for the Two-State Solution
By: Moatasem Hamadeh
September 28, 2017

Why did the Palestinian president remain silent, when the American envoy asked him about his opinion on the "confederation" with Jordan, as an alternative to the two-state solution?

The media which are loyal to President Abbas, anticipated his speech at the United Nations, with a series of positions and statements, which all tried to justify the absence of any new in the speech, also some of them stressed that it will be limited to address three issues, the issue of the Balfour Declaration, the British Mandate and Al Nakba, considering Britain as responsible for what happen to the Palestinian situation. If this is true, this means that the speech is avoiding what the international community is supposed to do.

The Executive Committee of the (PLO), at its meeting on 12 August 2017, addressed the headlines of Palestinian situation, and stressed the need to take a series of steps forward, in order to bring the situation out of inaction and move it away from the constraints that are imposed on the Oslo Group. In the forefront of these steps, is the request for the active membership of the State of Palestine in the United Nations, even if it leads to a clash with the American veto. Also, calling on the international organization to convene an international conference, to resolve the Palestinian issue, under the sponsorship of Security Council and other countries. As well as, calling for an international protection for the people and the land, in the face of occupation and settlement, and activating the complaints against the Israeli crimes before the International Criminal Court.

These issues, in addition to the issue of Jerusalem, Judaization and annexation, which are contraventions to the international resolutions, were supposed to constitute the main section of the Palestinian discourse in the UN General Assembly.

Also, the speech was supposed to address the issues of: settlement, refugees, the right of return and supporting The UNRWA and developing its services.

A key indication, however, suggested that the Palestinian position in the United Nations would be dull this time, and that it would be free of the "bombs", in which the pro-President Abbas media, promised us at all United Nations' sessions. This indication is, when the representative of Palestine in the International Tourism Agency asked to withdraw the application to accept the membership of the State of Palestine, on the advice of "friends". Informed sources also said that the "friends" advised not to interfere with the American move, and not to anger the US administration, with moves that go beyond the limits of the negotiating process (which may come or may not) whether in the international organizations, such as the International Tourism Agency, or in the President Abbas' speech before the UN General Assembly of the United Nations.

This quiet Palestinian behavior, which is keen on not to cause problems in the face of the American and Israeli administrations, is a result of the Ramallah meeting, with the American delegation, led by Jared Kouchner, who confirmed the same previous positions, that called for a tougher cooperation with the occupation authorities against terrorism. In addition speeding up the suspension of salaries of prisoners and martyrs’ families.

Moreover, to control the media, to review the educational programs, and to stop the "incitement" against Israel, in order to create the psychological conditions, to accept the settlement. He also stressed the need not to "disturb" the American move, including not toraise the issue of settlement, as one of the negotiating issues. As for the ceiling of the solution, the US delegation ignored the "two-state solution" again, and the "one-state solution", but at the same time, it drew the attention of Palestinian side, by asking it about the "confederation solution" with Jordan. But it received no reply.

The "confederation solution" is the return to the "United Arab Kingdom" project, which was announced by the late Jordanian King Hussein in 1972, in consultation with then-Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, which was about returning the West Bank and "any other territories" from which the occupation would withdraw, to Jordan, to reformulate its system, as a confederation between the two banks, under the name of the United Arab Kingdom, which is the project, that the Jordanian regime offered as an alternative to the PLO (which had not yet been recognized by the Arab and the world, as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people) ,this project was obstructed by the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine through issuing the Palestinian national program (the interim program) as a substitution for all the scenarios and solutions that aim at cancelling the Palestinian National identity and rights, the program that carried the slogan of "Return, Self-Determination and the Independent State", which under its banner the PLO paved its way, towards the United Nations, and towards the recognition, as a legitimate and sole representative of the Palestinian people, which is the program that turned into the national program for the whole Palestinian people, and its political forces.

The return to the "confederation solution" is a new coup against the national program, after the previous coup, represented by the Oslo Accords in September 13th 1993, which is now entering its twenty-fifth year, without bearing in its horizon a sign of reaching the so-called "permanent solution".

Some observers explain the silence of the Palestinian side, about the American proposal, that it falls within the framework of an Arab "advice", that asked it not to collide with the American side, if it turns out that its package is empty of any suggestions, or if it makes new suggestions. Perhaps all this explains why President Abbas's speech is devoid of any positions that the Executive Committee has decided upon, and of any "bombs", that the Palestinian public was promised about them last year, and is still waiting to blow up.

At the beginning of this year, President Abbas promised the Palestinian people that 2017 would be the year of the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. We assume that the General Assembly of the United Nations is the best and appropriate place for such a declaration, especially since it was the General Assembly that embraced the decision to recognize the State of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital, and the right of return for refugees.

Even in the framework of preparations for the Palestinian National Council (whose elements of convention are still subject to wide differences) they did not highlight the issue of declaring the establishment of a Palestinian state, in fulfillment of the promise of President Abbas.

Also, searching in the folds of the Palestinian positions, and the official statements, confirms that they are devoid of any reference to such a promise, as well as the deliberations of the Executive Committee in the PLO, are devoid of any reference to this promise, either by President Abbas or by the members of his political kitchen.

To put it more clearly, there is a total disregard for this promise, and a complete blackout, in a case of an official Palestinian state, with a very complex political crisis:

* The occupation authority is working to expand the powers of the civil administration, and to "settle" the Jewish settlers in the West Bank, through a series of decisions, decrees and procedures, which has turned this administration into another "government", in the West Bank, which is the real reference to the Palestinian Authority government.

* The American side has not yet submitted its project or vision to launch the negotiating process, and there are no indications, that this year will be the year to resume the negotiations. This means more stalemate and political rot while the Netanyahu government does not hesitate, to impose its field actions, which would lead to the failure of establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank, even with scattered parts.

* The Arab situation does not hesitate to put pressure on the official leadership, asking for "calmness ", and not to interfere with the American role, and it is required to wait for its role, until the hot regional issues, which are many, are over, and many (Gulf crisis, Yemen, Libya)

* The Quartet has been transformed into a monument, that lacks to minimal artistic beauty, having for quite some time been a cover for suspicious moves, by its representative in the region, the former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

Therefore, the Palestinian situation stands before options under the current situation:

* The option of de facto acceptance pending the "maturation" of the American position, in addition to an Arab state without concerns and is ready to turn to the Palestinian issue. This option means, a return to an unilateral policy of waiting, that provides the Israeli side the appropriate atmosphere, to continue its unilateral steps by emptying the Oslo Accords from many of their elements, or by imposing facts on the ground, to impose the unilateral solution.

* The option of returning to the national program, which its consideration has been revived by Al Quds and Al Aqsa Intifada, when it emphasized that the broader confrontation with the occupation and settlement, under the roof of national unity and under the framework of national program, is the alternative to all policies and scenarios, from Oslo to betting on Trump's administration.

Finally, we do not believe, that the Palestinian situation, has the luxury of waiting for a long time to decide its next option.

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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