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It should not have been 25
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
September 20, 2018

Many opportunities have been missed to overcome the deterioration in the Palestinian situation, and most of the reasons for this have to do with the lack of will to develop the entitlements of terminating the policies that led to this deterioration. Palestinians have always paid more of their lives and property because of the continuation of these policies far more than they could have paid in the face of the entitlements of leaving them.

This is due to the fact that 25 years after the signing of the Oslo Accords, the "yield" of the Palestinians was the accumulation of net losses, while the harvest of the occupation was plentiful and at least some of it can be counted by observing the settlement map.

The Accords have become for most of their signers from the past, and Israel does not want to officially recognize its death, in order to preserve the security and economic benefits it derives from them, while the continued commitment of the Palestinian official leadership to their obligations until now is the biggest obstacle to the advancement of the Palestinian situation.

Perhaps the greatest injustice to the Palestinians (after the Nakba and the Naksa), is the fact that the Oslo Accords with their bases and titles, are the cornerstones of most of the international community dealing with the Palestinian issue. As the makers of the Accords have removed their liberal character, including the entitlements of the Nakba and the displacement of the Palestinian people from its homeland. Thus, since the signing of the Accords and the start of the negotiations on the settlement, the leaders of the international community have removed the responsibility for the Palestinian cause from their shoulders and referred it to the negotiations outcomes, which have been exclusively left in the custody of the American sponsor.

It has been fixed for a quarter of a century that the signers of the Accords were in need for them except the Palestinians. The problem was that the Palestinian negotiator and its political authority wanted to make it common that the United States could be a real mediator in the settlement, and that there is a "free" distance in the area of the US-Israeli alliance, in which this negotiator can be stationed and announce its demands freely, although the rules of the Accords and their provisions deprived it from the right, and linked the solutions, that can be reached by the bilateral negotiations, with the agreement between the two parties, this in theory, but in the course of things, Tel Aviv was having the “veto” to define the negotiation topics and agenda , and not only on the proposed solutions.

The Israeli governments that accompanied the Oslo settlement were clear. As when the handing over of areas from the West Bank to the nascent Palestinian Authority began, Tel Aviv delivered in the first and second batch of areas under the "less land, more population" rule, reflecting the reality of Oslo Accords, which their provisions and mechanisms of application, push to the handover of responsibility of the “Palestinian population” to the PA, except for the Jerusalemites and their lands. This was clear when Tel Aviv refrained from handing over the third batch and retained its political, security and administrative control over Area C, including Jerusalem and its environs.

Therefore, it is natural to wonder not only about the reason for entering the labyrinth of Oslo, but about why to continue to do so? Especially after the end of the transitional period and Tel Aviv's evasion from negotiating on the permanent status issues. And why the PA didn't consider the "Independence Intifada" as a popular motive to announce its withdrawal from the settlement according to the Accords, especially since the intifada erupted about two months after the failure of the "Camp David 2" Summit in the summer of 2000?

The second misreading by the Palestinian official leadership was about the American sponsorship, from the point of view of having unjustified "confidence" that these Accords (despite their bad effects) are guaranteed to be applied. And that the signing of the US administration, on them, in the White House gives them “ability for implementation" and that Washington will negotiate on them towards the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. Therefore, we all recall the tone of certainty in the statements of the leaders of the Palestinian official leadership on the future of the settlement process, as we recall the same tone when the "balloons of optimism" for the future of Gaza were launched, which will be by the implementation of the Accords as “Singapore of the Middle East”.

First of all, can Oslo be called as accords if negotiation for their signing was held for months and their implementation has failed for a quarter of a century, what then was agreed upon? Tel Aviv has benefited from the "Declaration of Principles" to obtain side agreements that serve its interests in the security, economic and administrative aspects, which it adheres to and demands that the PA to continue to implement them.

Therefore, when the Central Council decided in its two sessions (27 and 28) to disengage from Oslo, it began with these Accords, and this was from the position that the occupation sees them as a service to its policies and interests, at the expense of the interest of the Palestinian people and its national rights. Hence, we consider that the implementation of this decision is as a serious entry point for the alternative policy, which is headed by internationalization of the issue and rights, and engaging in an open battle with the occupation in the United Nations and its institutions in addition to the field confrontation with it.

On the other hand, in the context of the statements of officials from the PA and the PLO on expected serious steps in this regard, it can be said that the time was available and still (albeit little) to implement this, through the immediate call on the Executive Committee, to meet formally, to implement the decisions of the Central and National Councils (the sessions mentioned above). As this, is the criterion of seriousness in trying to promote the Palestinian situation, and an important step in facing the "deal of the century" practically, as all this, opens the way for the Palestinian situation to restore the ability to initiate and get out of the effects of the state of hesitation and waiting, formed by the official Palestinian policy over the long past period, and which has been reflected negatively on Palestinian national action.

There is nothing that anyone can expect from the Trump administration, except for more rounds of war on the rights of the Palestinian people and more pressure on Arab officials to accelerate normalization with the occupation and to convince us of what is contrary to our rights. Therefore, the only way before the Palestinian situation is to pay attention to its internal situation and strive to end the division, restore unity and rebuild the Palestinian political system on a participatory basis, through the holding of general elections in their various stations, in accordance with the law of full proportional representation, together with the adoption of an alternative policy to the failed bets. This policy bases, should be the resistance and the internationalization of the issue, after the disengagement from Oslo, which should not have been lived to be reminded in their twenty-fifth year.

Mohammad Al-Sahli is Editor in Chief of Al-Hourriah newspaper, the official speaker of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by Ibrahim Motlaq

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