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The Battle of the Second Chapter of PCC
By: Moatasem Hamadeh
February 17, 2018

The implementation of decisions of the Central Council calls for a new political strategy, and putting an end to the policy of exclusivity, unilateralism and the negligence and marginalization of the national bodies.

Was the Palestinian national situation only aspiring to hold a new session of the Palestinian Central Council (after a three-year suspension by a superior decision of the Chairman of the Executive Committee)? Was the ambition of the Palestinian national situation merely, a statement issued by the PCC, some of its resolutions reaffirmed on the results of the 2015 session, and the others were vague, and did not cut all their threads, neither with the Oslo Accords nor with the Trump's administration.

The talk about "suspending the recognition of Israel", is conditioned upon its recognition of the Palestinian state, keeps maneuvering and negotiation in the old contexts open.

The diplomatic talk about that the United States has removed itself from the patronage of the peace process until the retreat from the decision of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; also keeps the door of possibilities, hope, bets and dialogues open.

The talk about the negotiations of the issues of permanent solution as the appropriate place to reach to a political settlement, has kept the door open widely to return to Chapter II of the Oslo Accords. It also kept the door widely open to emphasize that the option of negotiations, is still the only option, adopted as a political strategy of the Palestinian official leadership. This strategy has been bolstered by adhering to the "peaceful" popular resistance and the condemnation of violence as terrorism in pre-bias to the Israeli and American sides, against the Palestinian calls to go to all forms of resistance and stigmatize these calls with terrorism. This strategy also has been consolidated by the emphasis on communication with the United States, whether through the American consul in Jerusalem (the lines between him and Ramallah are open on both lines), or with the PLO commission in Washington, which has been kept by the United States for one mission: following up the consultations on negotiations.

In the same context, strengthening the relationship with the European Union, as a moderator with the United States, although the pretext for communicating with Brussels and Paris, is an attempt to persuade the Europeans to recognize the Palestinian state, without forgetting that this order was asked to the French President Macron, who responded to the President of the PA that the recognition will come at its time, pointing at the same time that the recognition of the Palestinian state will be only after the birth of the «two-state solution» in the «negotiations of the permanent solution».

It seems that Israeli political analysts, who are close to the Prime Minister Netanyahu, preceded us in reading the limits of the position of PA's President PA and the ceiling of this position and how to respond to it.

The Israelis say cynically that the reaction of the Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians (and this means their political leaderships) was much weaker than what Tel Aviv expected. Some said that the sky did not fall, the earth did not shake, and the seas did not swallow the earth. Everything we have seen - Israelis say- statements, conferences and decisions which were quickly put in the drawers and not implemented. Therefore, if this is their reaction to the loss of Jerusalem, it means that we can move forward in imposing the fait accompli on the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, and arrive with Trump to the right moment to reveal the details of the "deal of the century", which will not come to the negotiating table at once, but they will be as serving a dish after dish starting with: the most difficult to digest, to the most disgusting, the least exciting dishes down to the last dish, after the sensation becomes subsided, and the body is able to accept all what is with bad taste and composition. Therefore, the beginning was the endorsement of settlements, as an act that does not violate the international law, does not disrupt the negotiations, and accepting negotiations under the burden of settlement and its projects. The next step is Jerusalem, as a negotiating problem, which has been removed by Trump from the way by "giving" it to the Israelis. Thirdly, the preparation for draining the UNRWA funding resources to cancel its projects and turning it into an empty structure on the way to a solution to the refugee issue, either like what happened at Camp David 2 (July 2, 2000) or in "Geneva - the Dead Sea" document (from a solution based on the right of return to homes and properties to a solution limited to the search for a permanent place of residence (refuge) for the Palestinian refugees).

As for the last chapter it is no longer unknown, and it is confirmed that the Palestinian official leadership has acquainted all its details, through its contacts with Riyadh, Cairo and Amman. And what has been recently leaked by the head of the PA in his speech to the PCC was a part of this chapter. As well as , Majid Faraj, the head of the PA intelligence service, visited Washington, (before the PCC meeting) and returned with the US proposals in which the PA president depended on them in his speech. We do not believe that US vice President, Mike Pence is visiting the region for fun, but he is carrying more than one issue in his pouch, and as for the Palestinians, there are two things: to reveal the features and outlines of the "deal of the century" and to emphasize that the American solution is coming for sure. The second thing is to ask the Arab countries to continue to exert pressure on the Palestinian side, so as not to overstep its required political limits.

In light of this, we can say that what has been achieved, on the Palestinian official level, since December 6, 2017, the date of Trump's decision on Jerusalem, until this moment, is the meeting of the Palestinian Central Council and the issuance of its final statement, which is a too late move and less than required politically. (This move was preceded by the Palestinian street in its uprising against the occupation and the settlement). Thus, we can say that the official institution has completed its first required step (incomplete), and this is the least to do. The important thing now is to move these decisions from paper to the field, i.e. moving from the stage of saying to the stage of action.

The bet basically depends on two institutions: the Executive Committee and the PA. The Executive Committee, under its working mechanisms, and the scales that control it, has lost a lot of consideration in the eyes of the people, and it is no longer a public interest, as it has been unable, due to the policy of exclusivity by its President, to implement the March 5, 2015 decisions, and they have remained a dead letter. However, the battle of the Executive Committee must remain open, too, for the sake of conflict within it, to regain its role, and perhaps the best way to follow in this context, is to expose the reality behind the walls of positions and opinions to the public opinion , and to clearly disclose about the manner in which their meetings are conducted, so that each member of the Committee will be accountable to the public opinion, and the battle of the Executive Committee to a be political battle of the first –rate , managed in the meetings and at the street, so as not to reach to a situation, in which the fate of decisions of PCC in its last session is the same fate of the decisions of session on March 5, 2015. Without this the process of resolving solutions continues on the ground, at the hands of Israel and the United States, and the Palestinian situation remains with its political and popular forces as a captive to: the politics of waiting, and the policy of exclusivity in the decision, and the domination of the institution, by marginalizing and disrupting it in favor of the "political kitchen".

As for the PA's government, its duties in this regard, are no less important than those of the Executive Committee. It is enough to put on the agenda, the file of the disengagement from the Israeli economy, the withdrawal of Palestinian labor from the Israeli settlement projects, and the referral of Israeli war crimes to the International Criminal Court.

We have come out from the battle of the Central Council, to move to the battle for the implementation of its decisions, which needs to rethink about the miserable strategies that have brought the national cause, in a quarter of a century, to the bottom.

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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