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The Intifada: A Main Title in the National Program
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
October 7, 2019

The situation in the occupied Palestinian territories flared up after Ariel Sharon stormed the courtyard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the fall of 2000.

This act of rudeness, aggression and provocation represented the spark that ignited the gunpowder reservoir and exploded Palestinian popular and political tensions seven years after the signing of the Oslo Accords and more than a year after the end of the so-called transitional period.

The Intifada, which erupted after Sharon's move, was essentially a reaction on an equation that the Oslo Accords sought to consolidate, based on imposing eternal coexistence between the occupation and the Palestinian people, according to a settlement based on an Israeli principle that says, "What is mine is mine, and what is yours is mine… and yours".

For this reason, the main slogan of the Intifada was the effective independence based on defeating the occupation from all the occupied Palestinian territories. On the way to that, first, Oslo should have been dropped from the official Palestinian agenda.

In the first few years after the signing of the Accords, the media of the Palestinian Authority was busy in spreading optimism for the end of the hard years of Palestinians and the inauguration of the state of prosperity , by what will be achieved by the "Oslo" hands of growth and prosperity in the areas of the PA, which will be transformed into an independent Palestinian state, that will be a “good conclusion”, with the end of decades of occupation that began by the aggression of June 1967.

It is noteworthy, then, that the points of spreading optimism towards the Palestinians were multiple, especially Washington, which maintained in its official rhetoric the slogan of the establishment of a Palestinian state until the Trump administration came to power in early 2017. Even Tel Aviv’s officials did not declare at the beginning what contradicts this goal. Rabin's statements at that time were limited to the timetable contained in the text of the Accords when he stated that there were no sacred dates in the Accords. The announcement of the reality of the Israeli objectives of signing the Accords was postponed until after the signing of security and economic Accords with the Palestinian negotiating side.

Although the texts of the Accords and the basis of the settlement according to them clearly indicate that they will go against the path which leading to the achievement of the slogans that the Palestinians want, but the parties who established them, manipulated the expression of their essence and the planned end of them, and pressed hard for very long efforts of negotiations that the basic architects of the Accords wanted to hint that they are between two parties, then, to be clear in “Camp David summit” in the summer of 2000 that the Palestinian negotiator was negotiating in vain for the past seven years.

Although the Palestinian negotiator and its political reference discovered this after all this period, this discovery could have been a prelude to end Oslo, on condition that it brings a policy contrary to the policy that paved the way towards them.

On the 19th anniversary of the outbreak of the Intifada, there is an urgent question arises: How can this collective popular and political struggle, which lasted for years with all the momentum that accompanied it through the years of the Intifada, stop without at least being able to force a final exit from the Oslo Accords? Perhaps one of the reasons for this failure is that the owners of the mentioned discovery dealt with it as a correctable reality, if the other parties of Oslo realized that the Palestinians have the ability to start a path other than the path of a political settlement.

Within this approach of political thinking, the Intifada, with all its sacrifices, becomes mere a message to Washington and Tel Aviv to correct the existing political process according to Oslo.

Strangely enough, the correction required by the owners of the discovery did not come close to the political and legal basis on which this process was based, although it is the compass that determines the direction of the political solution and accurately indicates how close it is or away from meeting the national rights of the Palestinian people.

The problem is that the mentioned discovery did not affect the essence and foundations of the Accords, but the position of other parties that are "reluctant" to implement them, and this assessment still governs mainly the official Palestinian policy, which in many of its positions and initiatives believes that the main dilemma is the failure of the occupation to abide by the agreements signed with it.

Therefore, it is arguable that dropping the Oslo Accords from the Palestinian agenda, requires a Palestinian consensus (in practice), which is not yet available, despite the unanimous positions in several stations on the bad Accords and that they must be revoked, as happened when launching the Palestinian endeavor towards the United Nations. The Palestinian official leadership then worked with remarkable political and diplomatic activity to make this effort successful. This reflected positively on gathering the international and regional support for the Palestinian endeavor which succeeded in achieving the recognition of Palestine as a State under occupation on the borders before June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital. But what happened with the "discovery" in 2000 was repeated with the Palestinian endeavor in 2012, after it also was turned into a message aimed at attracting better negotiating offers.

After the arrival of the Trump administration, the Palestinian consensus has widened to include the position on the Oslo Accords and the “Trump deal” at the same time. This is supposed to lead to practical results that terminate the stage of sending messages that have lost their valid titles, following the American positions and actions against Palestinian rights and the aggression of the Zionist project in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

This time, what is required goes beyond the limits of taking political positions towards a different strategy where there is no way to bet on a political settlement for two big reasons: First, there is no qualified partner to engage in a political settlement. Second, talking about a settlement without ensuring the presence of resolutions of international legitimacy and the sponsorship of the United Nations within an international conference will bring us back to square one.

So, the only way open to the Palestinians begins with the re-consideration of the Palestinian national project and its main title, is to resist the occupation through the available means, including the popular resistance, which must be supported and developed towards a comprehensive Intifada that cannot be turned into messages for any title.

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: Rasha Abo Allan
Revised by: Ibrahim Motlaq

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