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What about the Mistakes of 1993 and after?
By: Moatasem Hamadeh
January 24, 2018

In his lengthy speech to the Palestinian Central Council, on January 14, 2018, which could have been shortened, to gain time, without affecting its meaning and messages, the Chairman of the Executive Committee, Mahmoud Abbas, said that "we will not repeat the mistakes of the past". He clearly referred to "the mistakes of 1948" and "the mistakes of 1967", but unfortunately he ignored the mistakes of 1993 and after, which until now we still have, their poisonous fruits.

We, as a Palestinian people, and as active political forces in its ranks, have overcome these mistakes by reconstructing the Palestinian national identity and entity and launching the contemporary Palestinian revolution in its various forms by armed, popular, political, diplomatic and cultural resistance and other. We have armed this revolution with a revolutionary political program that has restored the Palestinian national cause to the international equations through the United Nations' recognition of the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the people of Palestine, and the recognition of the right of this people to self-determination and the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital on borders before June 4th, 1967, and the right of refugees to return under resolution 194, to their homes and properties, which they have been displaced from since 1948.

Under the banner of this program, the Great National Intifada was launched, and the National Council, on November 15, 1988, issued the Declaration of Independence, to affirm that the goal of our national march is the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

But what happened later, was that the influential leadership, through its political kitchen, which had devoted itself as an alternative to the PLO's coalition leadership, took the coup against: the national program, the declaration of independence, the popular uprising and the popular will, and went unilaterally, and behind the backs of everyone, to the disastrous Oslo Accords. With these Accords, the tragic journey of suffering of the Palestinian people, under occupation, has begun, in Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, the diaspora and exile camps, and in the 1948 territories as well. Day after day, the falsity of the promises, made by these Accords and the validity of the warnings, launched by the Palestinian national and democratic parties about the risks of this slider have been revealed, until we have reached to the point of betting on the «deal of the century», by the Palestinian official leadership, which welcomed, and supported it, claiming that it will bring us a solution. Then, it has been revealed, as the national and democratic forces have warned, that this deal is at the expense of the people of Palestine and its legitimate national rights, as when the opening of the "deal" is to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, its conclusion will be the cancellation of the Palestinian entity, and a final solution according to the Israeli conditions only.

Prior to the Nakba, the Palestinian traditional leadership realized the dangers of the Balfour Declaration and the British mandate. It also realized the seriousness of the British role in building the foundations of the Zionist entity in Palestine, but it did not disengage its ties from Britain, and remained keen to build the bridges of relations with the mandate, to preserve its class gains, at the expense of the interests of people; peasants and farmers in the Palestinian countryside , who their land and water were the direct target for the Zionist invasions, and the workers in the Palestinian cities, which were competed on their source of livelihood , by the Jewish labor force, which was quickly organized in the Israeli Histadrut in developing its attacks on the Palestinian national interests, until the "Nakba of the century" in 1948, when the Palestinian homeland was disintegrated.

The current Palestinian official leadership is well aware of the American role in supporting Israel and providing it with all the requirements of excellence in the region, and it realizes the American role, which is always biased towards the Israeli side in drawing scenarios for solutions to the conflict. Perhaps the experience of the late Yasser Arafat at Camp David (July 2, 2000) was the culmination of the failed attempt to bet on the American role, however, it continued until the last, to go behind the American role and bet on the American “sponsor” and its ability to pressure on Israel, and the firm belief that 99%, and even 100% of solution and pressure cards are in the hands of Washington.

Then, the "slap of the times" on the face of the Palestinian official leadership (as the Chairman of the Executive Committee himself admitted) happened, to end the illusion about the "negotiations of the permanent solution" and the bet on these negotiations, and to confirm conclusively, that all that was going on under the Oslo framework, was to arrange the situation on the ground to reach this point, whether by colonization, Judaization, destroying the Palestinian economy, merging it with the Israeli economy, or by turning the Palestinian Authority into a burden that relies on Israeli clearing and on donor funds under very complicated conditions and restrictions.

Prior to the Nakba, the traditional national leadership was keen to stick to "peaceful" resistance, such as strikes, demonstrations, issuing statements and others. It was careful not to be dragged into violence, neither with the British occupation, nor with the Zionist invasion, even when Sheikh Izz Id-Din Al-Qassam was martyred, this leadership was absent from the funeral procession (perhaps out of fear of the masses and certainly making account to the British occupation), and it stopped in its protest at the limits of a "long strike" and did not engage in the armed revolution that broke out in 1936.

Then, the Zionist armed gangs built their military and armed formations, leaving the Palestinian villages, towns and cities isolated, so, when the situation exploded, the Palestinian people found itself in front of a Zionist army with regular formations and weapons, including warplanes, tanks and armored vehicles.

Therefore, it was normal to defeat the Palestinian resistance, spread in the countryside and cities, because of organization and the absence of strategies, under the influence of the leadership which drew the limits of the popular movement, in which it wanted it, not to overstep the traditional factional and class interests of leaders which led to the Nakba.

The experience of peaceful resistance is repeating itself, and the problem is not that we are ashamed of this resistance or not. This is a forgery for discussion. Who among us is ashamed if the young men carry their stones in the face of the occupation, or even waved the flag of Palestine?!

The shame is to repudiate of the armed resistance, consider it as terrorism, and to declare the act of repentance and the affirmation, that we are against and will resist terrorism, to show that the PA's security services do not resist the "organized terrorism" of the occupation, but rather cooperate with it in the pursuit of activists, young militants and activists of the resistance factions by summoning them to interrogation centers or imprisoning them.

The result of this "cooperation", which is called "coordination", has damaged the structure of the resistance in the West Bank, restricted it, limited its ability and undermined it to grow.

• We will not talk about the settlements that have been escalated under Oslo.

• We will not talk about the extremist policy of murder and mass arrests.

• We will not talk about the policy of Judaizing Jerusalem, destroying its institutions and burdening the infrastructure of Palestinian presence there.

•We will not talk about the political separation that has affected the relationship between the people in the 1948 territories and the people outside it.

• We will not talk about weakening the right of return, and hinting about the willingness to abandon.

• We will not talk about the marginalization of the PLO and its institutions, and the marginalization of the Palestinian people "outside", and its population is at least five million.

• We will not talk about lost time, wasted life, and the blood shed under the futile and absurd policies.

Rather, we are talking about a policy of "futility and absurdity" which, until now, has been reluctant to recognize its responsibility for the disasters of the last quarter of-century of the national cause.

Has the official leadership really learned the lessons of the 1948 Nakba?

Has the official leadership really learned the lessons of the 1967 setback?

Do you really think so?

Moatasem Hamadeh is a member of the Political Bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by: Manal Mansour and Rasha Abo Allan
Revised by: Ibrahim Motlaq

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