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The Martyrs are not for Bargaining
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
July 6, 2017

"The American envoy wants to know the positions of the Palestinian and Israeli sides, toward the key issues of the negotiations."

With these sentences, the American Administration paved the way for the visit of Jason Greenblatt last week, where he met President Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

This attempt to know might be real, on the basis that this current administration has begun its term just since a few months, but this talk after about a quarter of a century of negotiation, and Washington was its exclusive sponsor, means that Greenblatt came for different reasons, even if they were related to the settlement, especially, that Trump's administration, over the last two months has studied the experience of the previous administration, regarding the negotiations and reviewed the documents and ideas that it submitted in 2014 to both sides.

However, Hebrew press says that the "new" American administration with its "lack of knowledge" of positions, is examining the possibility of developing a "document of principles" to resolve the main issues in the conflict.

Since the first visit of US envoy Greenblatt to Ramallah it has been clear that the Trump administration has primarily sought to "rehabilitate" the Palestinian situation in accordance with Israeli conditions, and at the forefront is halting the incitement to occupation.

From this particular angle, Greenblatt proposed on the PA leadership the importance of "developing" the role of the security services and raising the level of security coordination with Israel to reach a level of full cooperation. This means; moving from the intention of these services to prevent any Palestinian operations against the occupation, to carry out pre- raids that aim the structure of the resistance regardless of its forms.

But the most dangerous of the American-Israeli attempts is the seek for doing a comprehensive "brainwashing" for the Palestinians ,so that, they forget their sons heroic sacrifices in their long battles against the occupation. This was clear in Greenblatt's request, to remove the names of the martyrs from the streets of Palestinian cities and towns, and to press to stop the salaries of families of martyrs and prisoners; this is done at the time that the Hebrew state is naming on the airports, squares and streets, on its most criminals, but Washington did not ask it to change that or to stop the salaries of its killed soldiers from the Israeli army, who were killed during their aggression against the Palestinian people.

It is clear by the time that the agenda of the Palestinian-American team, which has been recently formed to discuss the "controversial issues", is limited to monitor the implementation of the nine American conditions that Greenblatt carried, on his first visit to Ramallah.

The US Secretary of State did not hide this, and he publicly stated that he told the Palestinians in this team that Trump wants a quick solution to the issue of the salaries of martyrs and prisoners, and he warned them that the US president would stop paying attention to the "peace process", if the salaries are not stopped and that would affect the US aid to the Palestinian Authority.

Unfortunately, this is not faced by the Palestinian negotiator and his political references firmly, but even there are those who are "volunteering" to find compromises like stopping the salaries of martyrs who made operations against the occupation.

The intentions of Americans and Israelis recently have focused on the Palestinian National Fund in the PLO and the association of Prisoners' Affairs in the PA, which was a ministry then it has been turned into an association. And informed sources said that President Abbas is intending to cancel it and merge it in the Ministry of Interior. When we talk about the Palestinian martyrs and prisoners, this talk represents almost half of the Palestinian families.

The American administration understands that the readiness of the Palestinian negotiator is going towards perfection, as he approaches the Israeli conditions, and all this before beginning the negotiations. So If Israel guarantees the silence of the Palestinians and to be confronted by them word or deed, and if they become good and punish their martyrs and families for what they have committed, what will the Palestinian negotiator get if he go back to the negotiation table? after the processing and preparing for them cost all the above mentioned.

While Trump's administration is talking about its intention to prepare a document of principles on key issues, it is proposing the idea of sending Palestinian and Israeli delegations to Washington in preparation for the launch of negotiations, this means that we are facing a scenario which is similar to the approaching negotiations in 2010 in which no progress was made. It is possible that the agenda of negotiations would have one schedule for the Palestinian delegation to follow up the implementation of the nine American conditions.

Tel Aviv is Following up the implementation of these conditions through the direct measures, as evidenced by the Knesset's approval by the first reading on the deduction of salaries which are paid to the families of martyrs and prisoners from the tax revenues that are collected by Israel in favor of the PA.

Through the negotiating experience of the PA it was clear that the PA has bargained with proved to have met with much of the power of Palestinians in exchange for nothing, in particular adhering to the right of resisting the occupation by all available means as declared by the United Nations; and it has accepted to enter the negotiations since the start of the settlement process without a halt to settlement and in light of the continued aggression and arrests. A quarter of a century later, the scene of the settlement activity seems to be viable and expandable, while the opportunities for the possibility of establishing an independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem are practically decreasing.

The Palestinian negotiator previously has accepted the separation of important issues in the conflict from other tracks, the most important is the issue of refugees, with all its risks on their right of return to their homes and properties.

In this period, Trump's administration clearly is proposing to launch a negotiation mechanism, in which each of issue conflict will be discussed in a separate course; without the connection of any path to the other. Thus, Israel will begin to limit the negotiations through the security track according to its terms, and this was completely the case in the approaching negotiations in 2010. As long as Trump's administration prefers two separate delegations in Washington, with the mechanism of separating the tracks, the same scenario will be repeated and the Palestinian negotiator will only gain the protocol of the political process, while the Netanyahu government is continuing to escalate its settlement projects with a green light from the US administration.

Therefore, it is strange that the PA and its negotiator are looking positively at the repeated American declarations about their intended efforts towards the settlement, while it is clear that the titles and mechanisms of Trump's administration are serving what Tel Aviv wants from the entire settlement process. In addition, it proposes a "regional settlement" in which the Palestinian side is presented as a shadow in the context of the "big" issues that concern the Trump's administration in the region according to its vision of the political map that it wants.

Notes:Mohammad Al-Sahli is an Editor in Chief of Al-Hourriah newspaper, the official speaker of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by: Rawda Abo Zarqa & Manal Mansour
Revised by: Ibrahim Motlaq

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