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The Executive Committee… From Marginalization to Negligence
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
September 14, 2018

The Palestinian cause is witnessing unprecedented developments since the Trump administration has begun implementing its steps in the context of the "deal of century" regarding Jerusalem and the issue of Palestinian refugees. So, with the convergence of the American and Israeli visions toward the Palestinian issue, it is needless to say that confronting the repercussions of this convergence, requires exceptional efforts from the Palestinian situation to confront the existing and future dangers.

The Central and National Councils discussed the ways to address these risks (March, 2015- January, 2018), and issued decisions in this regard, which means that the Executive Committee is in the forefront of those involved in the implementation of these decisions through clear and direct mechanisms in terms of the responsible estimation for the magnitude of these risks and their seriousness on the entire Palestinian cause.

What happened, however, is that the taken decisions have been in a labyrinth of referrals between the formed committees, in a way that showed that their fate is no better than their predecessors that have been put in the waiting list.

The Executive Committee method of work has always been characterized by the absence of the collective decision and resorting to the numerical majority at the expense of the political one, in connection with the coalition nature, on which the PLO was formed. In several stations this matter has played a negative role, especially with the passing of many wrong decisions. However, the issue has changed later, as the meetings of the Committee were rare, especially in the stages that witnessed stormy developments related to the Palestinian cause.

This is linked to a planned policy has that put the PLO’s institutions, especially the Executive Committee on the sidelines of the event, and it has been replaced as other national institutions with a narrow circle, that has monopolized the decision-making. It is noteworthy that after the meeting of the twenty-ninth session of the Central Council, the meetings of the Committee witnessed a turning point when the consultative meetings of the Committee have been adopted weekly, under the chairmanship of the "Executive Committee" secretary and the absence of the president.

This turning point clearly means that the official Palestinian leadership orientation goes towards more negligence and marginalization for the role of Committee, because the rule of its meeting is the presence of its president and the availability of a quorum of at least two-thirds.

Prior to this, and as a preparation for it, was the transfer of many of the tasks of the Committee to consultative meetings, where the discussions are without a compass towards taking a clear decision, which is closer to chatting than to serious research on the issues raised. So, the Executive Committee is deliberately excluded from its role in managing the Palestinian public affairs, as the “government of the Palestinian people”, and many of its tasks have been transferred to the institutions and departments of the Palestinian Authority, as well as several departments, in the framework of the Committee have been written off, despite the vitality of their role and the necessity of their existence.

But the most important of all, is the fate of the decisions taken by the Central Council at its twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth sessions, as well as the National Council. So, if the Committee is on the sidelines of the serious discussion on issues related to the departments and bodies that are concerned in it, so how can it by the emerging consultative mechanism do something about the implementation of those fateful decisions? And if the Committee itself does not follow this matter, who is the other authority concerned?

What the Executive Committee has witnessed recently affirms the fact that the official effort is being exerted in excluding and marginalizing institutions related to the correction of the policies, adopted since the eve of the signing of Oslo up to date, and that the decisions taken in the presence of the leadership itself, are intended to be used as letters to various parties, related to the settlement process which the failure of the bet on it has been proved, which means that the bet on the negotiations with their previous bases still exists, but ironically, the official statement speaks in two different directions.

As on the one hand, it attacks the deal of the century and Trump's decisions about Jerusalem and the refugees, and this is fine. On the other hand, it re-presenting its old vision on the settlement and negotiations, as if there are two American administrations control the United States, one that seeks to eliminate the Palestinian rights sequentially and another that it asks to help to save the "two-state solution", which Trump declared its death.

Since the first position does not exceed its media limits and suffices with a war of statements that need no more than a media outlet, the continuation of the discourse on the "two-state solution" according to the previous rules, is the true framework for the official Palestinian policies. This means that the decisions of the Central and National Councils in one hand, and the official policy on the other.

Therefore, when the conflict between them intensified, and the political calls to implement those decisions increased and moved to the street in mass demonstrations and sit-ins, the PA security services suppressed them, and the official leadership then turned to the institutions that issued those decisions to freeze them within the institution that issued them. Then, at the twenty-ninth session of the Central Council, the resulted decisions didn’t meet the ceiling of the last National Council decisions. So this leadership tried to make the decisions of the last session of the Central Council and the mechanisms of implementation, as the main pillar, when talking about the need to implement the decisions of the coalition national institutions.

Has the official leadership moved from the stage of approving the passage of policies that it does not want to soothe the Palestinian situation, to the stage of closing the door that “brings trouble” and pushing for national decisions to be issued and tied with mechanisms of “non- implementation” in case it isn't able to prevent their issuance? Is it so easy for it to re-dismantle and establish the coalition institutions and marginalizing their decisions? Is the interest of the PA institutions themselves to overstep the role of the institutions of the PLO, at a time when these institutions are failing in their supposed role in activating the Palestinian role in the corridors of the United Nations?

The problem is that, this is taking place under a fierce attack against the PLO in the context of the aggression against the rights of the Palestinian people by the owners of the “deal of the century”, who has begun their deal with a set of conditions aimed at rehabilitating the Palestinian situation, including the PLO and its various institutions and departments. The pressure of these has been concentrated on cutting the salaries of prisoners and the families of martyrs, and the cancelation of all the departments and institutions that relate to the heritage of Palestinian struggle socially, culturally and politically.

The danger about that, is that the attempts to empty the PLO and its bodies of their coalition-based nature, will be disastrously reflected on the Palestinian popular and union movement within and outside the Palestinian territories, affect the national frameworks and bodies, active in campaigns of boycotting and isolating the occupation, and weaken the role of Palestinian communities that have been active and accumulated achievements under the banner of the PLO and its program.

Notes: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 Rawda Abo Zarqa

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