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The Democratic Reform to Achieve the Decisions of PCC
By: Moatasem Hamadeh
February 18, 2018

The Palestinian public opinion has the right to be concerned, as it has been almost two months since December 6, 2017, the date of the Declaration of Trump on Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the transfer of his embassy to it, without any practical step from the official Palestinian situation, which could limit the effects of the decision, whether on the conditions of the Holy City, under the Israeli occupation, the siege and the colonial settlement, or on the general Palestinian political situation and the national rights. Perhaps the only station, which was convened, was the Palestinian Central Council station, in known circumstances and weak results, which lacked to the full national consensus due to the ambiguity of the positions of the Palestinian official leadership, and its reluctance to leave the Oslo strategy in the political solution, and move to an alternative strategy, that was nationally drawn in more than one station, including the National Accord document in 2006, and the latest is the November 22, 2017 statement in Cairo.

Even these weak results, are still to this moment, as a dead letter, and the statements of the official leadership still continue its denunciation, issuing promises in the political space and warning of subsequent steps at the political and diplomatic level, without turning any of these promises or warnings into a practical step, with a big note:

That all statements are about complaining to the United Nations, without hearing a single statement about the intention to stop the security coordination, or "suspend" the recognition of Israel, or the disengagement from the Israeli economy. On the contrary, we have heard statements by the President of PA, confirming his commitment to the agreements, signed with the occupation authorities, and his commitment to the security coordination with them. Which call us, as others, to ask about the fate of the decisions of the PCC on January 15, 2018, and whether their fate will be as the decisions of March 5, 2015.

The PCC has referred its decisions (and not recommendations as some try to claim) to the Executive Committee, and mandated it to work on their implementation. Therefore, they are binding decisions to the Executive Committee and its chairman, and the mandating is also binding to them together.

But we are in a situation of leadership that is not satisfactory, as the Executive Committee does not meet periodically, with binding dates for all its members, including its chairman.

They say that this "committee" is the government of the state of Palestine in exile. The governments are known to have a regular clear and defined agenda, and make valid and binding decisions for those below it. But the reality is that the Executive Committee is a body, that its fate is controlled by the will of its chairman. He is the one who calls it to meet whenever he wishes. He sets out its agenda. He ends the work of the meeting whenever he wishes. Even he sometimes leaves the meeting angry if he finds that the debate does not satisfy him. So, he "punishes" the Executive Committee, leaving it alone. If the chairman of the Committee is absent, the Committee is absent, and if he is present, the Committee is present. Trump made his decision on December 6, 2017, while the Executive Committee held its first meeting to discuss this decision, on January 13, 2018, and did not complete its agenda, because its chairman did not like to be asked why the meeting was delayed until this date, despite the seriousness of the situation.

As a conclusion, depending on the Executive Committee, in the context of its meetings that are separately held and emptied of its content, to implement the decisions of the PCC, may lead us to a similar outcome to the decisions of 2015 session, that is to say, the decisions remain as a dead letter. Therefore, we cannot talk about a guarantee that the decisions of the PCC will make its way, and to formulate a national program in the face of the policies of Israel and Trump, without talking about the need for a democratic reform for the conditions of the Palestinian national institution. This case was the first case that was included in the note of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine to the PCC at its last session. As without a genuine democratic reform for the national institution, that rebuilds the national relations on programmatic , organizational, participatory, and democratic bases, everything will remain influenced by the will of the political kitchen, as all previous decisions, from the National Dialogue Conference in Cairo in March 2005, to the National Accord Document (2006) to the outputs of the Preparatory Committee of the National Council in Beirut (January 2017), ending with the statement of November 22, 2017 in Cairo and the decisions of the Central Council in its sessions in 2015 and 2018.

The democratic reform, as we understand it, is through the re-establishment of the national unity on democratic and new bases.

This assumes:

• To end the division, complete the reconciliation agreement and get out of the circle of inaction towards bold steps to save the Gaza Strip, and move the national situation to a new stage. So, if the President of PA has considered that the achievement of reconciliation requires a national will and good intention, it means that the disruption of reconciliation indicates to the absence of national will and good intention. The reconciliation can succeed only with the will of both parties. And the ball in the playground of the parties, and they must stop their play about the transition from division to sharing powers. Together, they must reverse their mistakes and not insist on them. Together, they must apologize to the Palestinian people and its political parties for time, and blood that have been lost in the wars of division, and in conflicts to end the division. The achievement of reconciliation, is the gateway to the restoration of a comprehensive national unity, and is the way to save the Gaza Strip. Therefore, we consider that the battle to achieve the reconciliation is as the national battle for all of us, and we all have to exert the necessary pressure, through the street to push the two parties before remove the obstacles before resolving the existing crisis.

• To call on the «Committee for the Activation and Development of the PLO» to the immediate meeting (which includes the Executive Committee and its chairman, the Secretaries-General of 14 factions, the President of the Palestinian National Council and independent personalities) to consolidate the reconciliation and rebuild the national unity, depending on the national consensus documents, and to determine the necessary steps to move the Palestinian situation towards the new phase, which requires consensus on the national program ( we have referred to its documents) and the re-establishment of national institution through the inclusive elections according to the system of full proportional representation, i.e. completing the municipal elections in the Gaza Strip, holding presidential elections in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, electing a new Legislative Council and a new Palestinian National Council, in the areas of PA, according to the system of full proportional representation. Which requires the calling on the Preparatory Committee to resume its work, under the chairmanship of the Council by President Salim Zaanoun, and calling on the new council to meet in a nationally agreed upon place, attended by all, to elect: its executive committee (which in turn elects its chairman and secretary and forms its own committees) and the new PCC (away from quota and factional hegemony policies), as well as the parliamentary committees, concerned with the accountability of the work of Executive Committee, in a working mechanism that would put an end to the policy of disrupting the bodies and the accountability on national and democratic foundations.

Until all this is achieved, the battle for the re-consideration of the Executive Committee and the PCC will remain open; in the context of the open battle for the democratic reform for the Palestinian institution.

The rich experience of struggle in the PLO institutions has taught us that the national battle against the occupation and the settlement cannot be separated from the battle to develop reform and strengthen the situations of the national institution.

By this, we strengthen the bases of true national unity that is based on programmatic and democratic foundations, away from the policy of unilateralism and exclusivity in decision, and away from the policy of replacing the "political kitchen" with the national institutions.

By this also, we enhance our ability to address the entitlements and move from the policy of "failure", inaction and losing bets, to the policy of national achievement.

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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