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Farewell 2018!
By: Moatasem Hamadeh
January 2, 2019

The Palestinian situation started the year 2018 with the pressure of the decision of the Trump administration to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel, and to transfer its embassy to it, choosing the Nakba anniversary as a date for that, challenging the Palestinian, Arab and Muslim situation without exception. This was followed by the announcement that Jerusalem would be removed from the file of the negotiations, then encircling the issue of refugees and cancelling the right of return, in the context of besieging the UNRWA as well as closing the PLO office in Washington and stopping the financing of PA (except the security services for their role in cooperation with the occupation authorities and the CIA) and urging other capitals to follow him by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel and terminating the right of the Palestinian people of it.

Returning to what was said and written in the official Arab media and the media of the Palestinian Authority about Jerusalem, Trump's measures were expected to lead to noisy reactions. But these responses were limited to conferences and statements, without any practical steps, which would constitute a practical and effective response to the American steps, which showed the seriousness of the stage and its major challenges facing the Palestinian people. At the same time, it suggested that the year 2018 would undoubtedly be a distinctly Palestinian year that its issue would be on the agenda, but in a different way this time.

As instead of calling for negotiations, to restore what was before, the United States, in alliance with the Netanyahu government, overstepped the Oslo Accords and the Paris Economic Protocol, and began to implement field steps, which in effect are an application to what Washington and Netanyahu see as a solution to the so-called "permanent solution issues", but unilaterally, with the power of iron and fire, through the political and financial pressure and political encirclement of the Palestinian situation, where the EU and Arab and Middle Eastern capitals, gave their "advice" to the official Palestinian leadership not to go too far in challenging the United States. They also warned it of any step that would flip the table in the face of Washington or Tel Aviv, or reshuffle the cards in the region. They also said that the Palestinian side would get a "quota" in the Trump deal, which Greenblatt talked about it at length, when he promised the Palestinians, in his statement, with an economic paradise that would raise their standard of living and provide them with the opportunity to build a prosperous economy, without mentioning the political formula that will be reached by the Palestinian situation in the "deal of the century," although Netanyahu, took this, when he stressed more than once, that “no third state” between Jordan and Israel, and that the roof of the Palestinian political solution is, as proposed by Netanyahu, an "extended self-rule", over the population, whose reference is the occupying state, or at best, to be annexed to the East Bank of Jordan, in a certain political formula.

Under the pressure of the American shock, and in the fall of its bet on the US role in resolving the conflict with Israel, the official leadership stood paralyzed, while the field has launched into a wide public uprising, extending where the Palestinian people is, throughout Palestine (occupied territories since 1948 and 1967) and the Diaspora. The decisions of the Palestinian Central Council (15/1/2018) and the National Council (30/4/2018) reflect this situation, through the attacking role taken by the democratic, leftist and national forces (including the Democratic Front which participated in the two sessions) A series of decisions, which rose to the challenge when they reaffirmed the end of Oslo page and their annexes, the return to the national program in the field (popular resistance) and the international forums, the shift from the verbal rejection of the Trump deal to practical steps, and to respond to Israeli-American field moves, to build the facts of the permanent solution, unilaterally, with opposite field facts, that safeguard the Palestinian land from plundering, expropriation and encroachment of settlement, strengthen the steadfastness of Jerusalem in the face of the Israeli siege and reinforce all elements of power on the ground in a popular confrontation, that ends the stage of an "occupation without cost" and "service authority" and puts an end to a situation in which officials and leaders of the PA become «employees for the occupation», i.e. the reorganization of the national situation, in accordance with decisions and steps adopted by the Central and National Councils.

These decisions prepared for a new stage, which would end the division, restore internal unity, and put Arab and Islamic attitudes and policies at stake. But the result is that these decisions and directions revealed the limits of the official leadership position and the "political kitchen", and its inability to pass the verbal opposition to the deal of the century and the policies of the Netanyahu government, its adherence to the existing reality, its refusal to leave it to a new reality and its adherence to its class interests at the expense of the supreme national interests. This was expressed when it overturned the decisions of the Central and National Councils (15/1/2018; 30/4/2018) by sticking to the remains of Oslo, through what became known as the "vision of the president" presented by the President of the PA to the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations , in which he called for the resumption of bilateral negotiations, ready, as he said, to return immediately to negotiations, public or secret.

After a while, the year 2018 packs its bags and goes away to give way to a new year, in which the Palestinian scene looks like this:

• Ending the split between Fatah and Hamas has become more complicated, especially in the light of the recent developments in the Gaza Strip, and the words of the PA leader in the "leading meeting" (22/12/2018) of the zero option, which means that the repercussions of the division will continue, and will not cease to constitute a permanent headache for the Palestinian situation and a gateway to the multi-external intervention in the Palestinian issue.

• (But) this does not close the way to the implementation of the Oslo, as the Central and National Councils, when taking this decision, they did not stipulate to end the division first. Which means that the implementation of these decisions does not require waiting until the issue of division is resolved. But their implementation would hasten the treatment of the divisive situation.

• The Palestinian official leadership is working to "rehabilitate" the situation, to receive the entitlements of the "deal of the century", from the Oslo gate, in search of possible intersections between the two projects. The Foreign Minister's speech was not free in Moscow, when he said that the Palestinian leadership was waiting for the deal to be announced and that if it "guarantees us the rights we will accept it", but "if not, we will refuse it", ignoring the fact that the deal entered into the implementation phase, chapter by chapter, leaving only the last chapter, when the presence of the Palestinian "representative" is required, to participate in the closing scene. This saying, by the PA Foreign Minister, is in fact a bet on the deal, and not something else.

• Within the process of rehabilitation, more dismantling of the PA and the PLO, expanding the circle of exclusivity, unilateralism, marginalization and exclusion of the other parties. The most dangerous thing is the impudence of the PA president and his aides to describe the mass scene in the hot week in mid-December as "chaos" by Hamas, in preparation, from now, for a role for the PA in suppressing the popular movement and all forms of popular resistance, under the pretext itself: “chaos exported by Hamas to the Palestinian West Bank”.

Last but not least, no matter what files are on the surface, the first file, which is not competed by others, will be that the leftist, democratic and national forces and the popular situation with its broadest categories, to bear their duty in resisting the occupation and settlement, terminating the Oslo era , pressuring to implement the decisions on redefining the relationship with Israel, politically, security, and economically, and committing the national program, as an alternative to any other options.

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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