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Two Opposite Paths
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
September 4, 2017

Washington does not let the Palestinian negotiator to choose between the negotiations or the United Nations, but it warns him: either settlement on my terms or sanctions.

In the declared discourse of the PA, there are two opposite options: the option of heading to the United Nations and resorting to its decision and the option of negotiations with the occupation by the exclusive American patronage.

By experience, it became clear that the second option has been the main aspect of the Palestinian official politics, prior forming the PA by negotiation, and it is still ongoing till this day, while it was resorted to the United Nations a few times, it was proved then, that the revitalization of the settlement process was behind the PA resorting to this option; this was proved, by its reluctance to profit from the achievements, that were gained by the Palestinians in the international forum, to be used as a means of pressure, in the hope of seeking better negotiating proposals.

As a result, the UN resolutions have frozen what the Palestinians gained, and the ceiling of negotiating offers has continued to decline, beginning from the banner of an independent Palestinian state, to the "century deal" that has marginalized this state, for the sake of "the regional peace" and the Arab official normalization with the occupation.

Because heading to the United Nations is not a real option in the Palestinian official policy, so the PA calls for a speedy convening of the National Assembly meeting, linking to the entitlement of the next session of the General Council 's next month, is an issue that needs to be investigated.

The Preparatory Committee gathered for the meeting of the National Council in the beginning of the current year, with presence of all factions and parties inside and outside the PLO; and they stressed the need of convening a meeting of the National Council by the participation of everyone and through the elections, and called President Abbas to start immediately the consultations with all political forces to agree on the formation of a National Unity government.

This means that the participants agreed to hold a unifying national council, therefore the supposed consultations to hold it, should include everyone without exception, to ensure that convening it at the time and place, will be with the presence of all. Since the convening of the National Council, till today the time was enough to take the necessary procedures for the success of the National Council meeting and achieve the aims of its convening, but this meeting still single, and was not repeated as it was supposed to be, until the meeting of the Executive Committee which was held recently, and confirmed the decisions of the Preparatory Committee and the importance of holding the meeting of the Council.

In the context of preparation for the meeting, it is necessary to examine the major tasks that it is supposed to accomplish, starting from reviewing the policies that have bet on the settlement with its unjust conditions and the security and economic constraints resulting by the agreements, signed with the occupation. Thus, to elaborate a new policy that responds to the titles of national liberation program, and aborts the previous stage and what it has produced. The elected council has the task of renewing the bodies of PLO and its institutions and correcting the national relations on the basis of political partnership, within the framework of PLO coalition, to ensure the collective decision and its implementation linking to the tasks of national liberation and ending the occupation.

Needless to say, that the Palestinian political system has deteriorated in structures, programs and policies, and needs to be reconstructed on democratic foundations, on this basis, the convening of the unifying National Council is a broad and effective gateway to reach this aim.

Through that in particular, it is possible to correct the internal Palestinian situation and move it from hesitation and weakness to action and initiative.

Therefore, the Council's meeting in principle is not linked to any agenda at the regional and international levels, including the United Nations, because it is a national entitlement. At the same time, its successful meeting will strengthen the Palestinian factor within the near and far environments and enhance the ability of Palestinian situation to confront the repercussions of the current initiatives and projects, including the "regional peace" that is proposed by the Trump administration, and supported by the Netanyahu government.

The talk about the entitlements of holding a new session of the General Assembly of the United Nations is correct, in case of implementing the decisions of national consensus in this regard, especially the decisions of Central Council in 2015. The Palestinian negotiator has repeatedly threatened to submit to the International Criminal Court, a package of complaints, about the crimes of the occupation, but he didn’t, because of the pressure from the Trump's administration and the US former administration.

Washington and Tel Aviv have always read the "threats" of PA to head to the United Nations, as mere voice messages, therefore, there is no embarrassment in continuing to reduce the political ceiling of successive initiatives regarding the settlement, and recently to limit the Palestinian rights by economic initiatives to raise the standard of Palestinian living without paying attention to establishment of a Palestinian state.

In the new American approach to the settlement process, the Netanyahu government finds an opportunity to advance with its expansionist policies through spreading settlements and Judaization campaigns and moving to the subject of transferring in Jerusalem and in the territories of the 48 without hesitation.

The problem is that the Palestinian negotiator's "frustration" toward the US policy regarding the settlement, does not produce practical political conclusions that push toward aborting these policies. Ironically, the weakest party in the settlement equation (PA) is who volunteering to give opportunities to US policy to prove its effectiveness and save it from the field exclusivity, exercised by the occupation.

There is a wide congruence between the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government, towards the key issues in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; so, it is not expected that the Trump administration would make any pressure on the occupation, as it is a partner in the vision of the future solution to this conflict. It is clear that the exerted efforts by Washington and Tel Aviv are focused on pushing towards the normalization with the Arab countries without any serious progress on the settlement path.

From here, it can be said that betting on making any breakthrough in American policy, is a mere illusion, in which the Palestinian official policy has long sunk, and if this illusion earlier found promises that revived it whenever it was faded, but, it is in the light of the Trump administration and it’s approach to settlement, is just a political suicide, that the Palestinian people and its national cause will pay for it.

The only option that has been proven right, is to head towards the Palestinian situation, through the implementation of decisions of the national consensus, regarding the end of division, and accepting only the settlement by its adherence to the relevant resolutions of international legitimacy, and the initiation of procedures to rebuild the Palestinian political system and the reconsideration of the national liberation program.

The Trump administration has proposed a lot of Israeli conditions on the Palestinians and exerted pressures for implementing them; so, it is supposed now to hear from the Palestinian official leadership something different from what it has been used to hear.

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
Revised by: Ibrahim Motlaq

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