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The occupation conditions through the American perspective
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
March 25, 2017

The American administration moves from interfering in the structure of the Palestinian Authority to interference in conditions of PLO and its function and institutions.

The observers did not find a convincing basis for the optimism that number of officials of Fatah and the PA sought to circulate in the Palestinian situation after the meeting between President Abbas and the envoy of US President Trump Greenblatt, recently.

If the optimists considered the meeting as a dissipation to the American marginalization, which the official Palestinian leadership was worried about a renewal to the recognition of it, so, many indicators confirm that what was considered as, an US openness on the PA and its leadership maybe is more dangerous on the Palestinian national rights than the repercussions of neglecting it; linking with the determinants of American position regarding the settlement and the steps that Greenblatt has stipulated for the PA to implement in order to be "qualified" to engage in the political process and within the regional framework that the US envoy has emphasized on it.

Those who read the vast overlaps between the positions of Tel Aviv and Washington towards conditions of resuming the negotiations, will be sure that the flow of the American pressure will go towards the Palestinian negotiator in case the negotiating table is set up again.

What Jibril Rajoub, a member of Fatah's central committee, said that "President Trump will not risk the American interests for Netanyahu's eyes", is absolutely correct. No former US president has done so to Netanyahu or anyone else. The reason for this is clear and it relates to the nature of the relations between Washington and Tel Aviv and their common interests, which provide a wide range of common positions towards the ways of resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in particular.

So, when the former US President Obama, stood at the edge of this space, and asked for a temporary freeze for settlement, the facts that followed this declaration, confirmed that it was just a trap of promises. What confirms that, is the magnitude of pressure, which was practiced by the Obama administration on the Palestinian negotiator in 2010 to join the "approximate" negotiations, and then the "direct" ones without stopping the settlement or determine the reference and purpose of the negotiations.

who observes the course of the US-Israeli relations since the start of settlement process, after Oslo, notices clearly that the areas of intersection between the two sides are steadily expanding towards the Palestinian issue. And it will be clarified to him that these intersections are identical in many related issues, particularly about the settlement, within the nine conditions that the American envoy proposed to the PA in order to win the approval of the new US administration and to motivate it to launch the political process again. Therefore, what Rajoub said does not create any optimism about the future of the settlement process within its proposed framework.

Firstly, the American envoy reiterates the Israeli position on resuming the negotiations unconditionally, and this is clearly meant not to request a settlement freeze and not to determine the reference of negotiations in order to guarantee the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on June 4th, 1967 with Jerusalem as its capital.

Secondly, he puts these negotiations in an Arab regional framework, from the position of participation, not follow-up and coordination, as what was previously done in the framework of the Arab follow-up committee.

This means that the Palestinian factor in negotiations will be marginal, and the previous equation will be turned into normalization first. This will necessarily put additional pressure on the Palestinian negotiator to accept what he has previously rejected, in the light of Israeli relaxation after Tel Aviv gets what it wants in its Arab relations without paying the price for this, through the withdrawal of the occupation and the establishment of the Palestinian state.

Thirdly, there will be no settlement freeze and it will be unleashed in the existing settlements, and the talk about Washington's refusal to create new settlements, will not affect as long as existing settlements are allowed to expand freely.

Also, what Obama administration was not able to do to push the PA to move from security coordination to confront the Palestinian resistance structure, the Trump's administration is now trying to ignite, it is trying to ignite the fight and conflict within the Palestinian national fabric.

Trump's administration wants to carry out reforms in the Palestinian security services in connection with the function which it wants, and these services should not only arrest the resistants, but to reach the detection of the structure of the resistance to get rid of it easily.

The American demands reach to the educational system in the occupied Palestinian territories to ensure the avoiding of any incitement to occupation, that is to spread the culture of acceptance and coexistence with the occupation simply and to reject the spirit and culture of resistance.

The American conditions that Greenblatt has brought to Ramallah, extend to the structure of the PLO and its mechanisms of action to demand the suspension of the salaries of families of martyrs, prisoners and wounded, and thus moving from the intervention in the structure of the PA and the functions of its institutions to the intervention in the conditions of PLO and its institutions.

Therefore, it is not accurate to say that " the international movement" reinforces the PLO's position, also it is not true that what Greenblatt put forward opens a space for political engagement with the US administration, as what the American envoy put forward was not a matter for dialogue with Ramallah, but conditions that should be implemented according to the American perspective.

In the context of conditions, the US administration requests that no funds to be transferred from the PA to Gaza Strip, on the pretext that Hamas benefits from them.

This request means, in short, that Gaza Strip is a separate entity, and Ramallah's government has no relation to the people's issues there. Therefore, the division will be perpetuated and any national endeavor to end it and restore unity will be aborted. This is exactly the Netanyahu government's position on this issue.

The above-mentioned, lead us to talk again about the Palestinian national liberation project, and to emphasize that committing to it, is the only way to ensure the Palestinian national action progress on the path of obtaining the national rights. The policy of betting on the American role has been tried in many stations, all of which confirmed that it is a dead end and leads the Palestinian situation only to a vicious circle.

Noting that dealing with Trump's administration will be dangerous for two reasons: the first is that Netanyahu's government extends too much in expanding the settlement and legalizing it.

The second is the approach of the Trump's administration to adopt the policies of the Netanyahu's government, and not only to ignore them, as the American previous administration was doing.

Mohamad Al-Sahli is Editor in Chief of Alhourriah newspaper, the official speaker of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by Rawda Abo Zarqa and Ibrahim Motlaq

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