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What after the visit?
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
May 24, 2017

Several Arab parties are ready for formal normalization with Israel once the negotiations are resumed.

The Palestinian Authority does not hide its optimism about the results of President Abbas's visit to Washington. So, in just two months, these official circles have moved from a state of pessimism and marginalization by the hands of the new US president and his administration to a completely different situation since the telephone call between the White House and Ramallah.

These circles read the meetings of Greenblatt, the US president's envoy with the PA officials, on its way, and came out with a conclusion that this "tramp's" concern confirms the re-consideration to the Palestinian cause and the impossibility of ignoring it, in connection with the recognition of legitimacy of the leadership of the PA and PLO.

As for the conditions that Greenblatt asked the PA to implement them, the mentioned circles wanted to say that they were just an exchange of views, as if the equivalence was the path that governed the Palestinian-American relations over the past decades.

The American team that received the Palestinian delegation in preparation for the visit of President Abbas was clear when it expressed its dissatisfaction with the performance of the PA and its institutions. Therefore, if it spoke about the corruption that is obvious in a number of these institutions, it is essentially a request to rehabilitate the security institution of the PA to meet the role that satisfies the occupation, through the transition from security coordination to cooperation.

What was proposed by the US team , Greenblatt had asked it directly, when he visited Ramallah. Even the Palestinian delegation, found itself in front of wide crossroads between what the American team proposed and what Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, repeatedly said about the security conditions that must be met in order for the Palestinian negotiator, to regain his "eligibility" to be a partner in the settlement process and between the Obama and Trump administrations, the American dictionary hasn’t changed in the definition of «terrorism».

As Kerry emphasized that the Palestinian youth intifada is terrorist, the Trump administration, since the beginning of its meetings with the PA has stressed the need to denounce incitement against the occupation, not just resisting it.

If the Obama administration and its predecessors were interfering directly in directing the institutions of PA by controlling the way of spending the international aids, so the Trump administration entered on the line of PLO institutions, when it intervened in the terms of the Palestinian National Fund agreement and requested a halt to the disbursement of aid to the families of martyrs and prisoners.

Also when it entered on the division line according to the Israeli way, from the point of view of not working only to support it, but also to exacerbate it by the demand of Greenblatt to cut funding for institutions in the Gaza Strip.

On the political path, the Trump administration did not give any satisfactory answers to the questions that the PA asked about this administration's vision about the settlement process and its fate, the Trump team as well deliberately uttered definitive statements about the non-adoption of the "two-state solution" to be clear later that the goal is to launch a new "tender", to release this solution, in exchange for Palestinian practical steps and procedures within the security rehabilitation circle, but the most dangerous, is the status of the settlement of Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the regional context within the so-called Trump's deal.

When the Arab Summit was held in Amman and it repeated its relevant resolutions regarding the Palestinian issue, it was clear, that the course that will guide the Arab action concerning this issue, is the compass of the American determinants, that were proposed that by Greenblatt with more than one Arab party, on the sidelines of the opening of the summit. As Trump, all the region's issues are in a single basket, and are prioritized by agenda and concerns of the mentioned administration.

Trump's administration, by benefiting from the events in the region, has overstepped the lines of previous US administrations that adopted the banner of compromise, on the Israeli-Palestinian, as an entrance to gather Arab parties to serve its agenda in the region. But now priorities are being reversed through "normalization before settlement", even that several Arab parties are ready for the proclaimed formal normalization with Israel, once the resumption of negotiations with Israel is announced.

Washington and Tel Aviv are benefiting from the growing of "existential anxiety" for a number of Arab countries to press for the marginalization of the Palestinian cause in order to calm their concerns, Thus, any bets on "Trump's" administration, are an adventure in the maze of wishes, and a reviving to the illusion of their «own» capability to convince Washington about the justice of the Palestinian national rights, the same illusion that was manifested by the preludes of settlement after it is Oslo Accord and the expectation of the near-independence and the promise of the economic prosperity.

Therefore, in our opinion, it would not be feasible to bet on a fair American role, especially as Washington will not make promises before the Palestinian Authority implements the American conditions. Even then, the launch of promises will not mean any horizon for their realization.

The only worthwhile path is which the Palestinian state has its basic lines, provided that political will should be existed. We mean by that, the turning to the internal Palestinian situation and correcting it. The priority is to put the decisions of the national consensus into direct practical implementation, these decisions ensure the handling of the accumulated Palestinian crises, beginning with the division and commitment to the decisions of the comprehensive national dialogues in this regard.

It is important to emphasize on the failure of using the policy of national consensus decisions, especially the recent Central Council decisions, as a betting chip and to call for "more appropriate" negotiating proposals. Both Washington and Tel Aviv have understood that the hesitation to implement these decisions is because the Palestinian negotiator has ruled himself with a single choice; the negotiation, and linking its future with this option. Therefore, the waiting policy which is practiced by the official Palestinian leadership is the widest space, in which Israeli expansionist and security policies were extended.

In the context of paying attention to the internal situation, there are many major tasks that are expected to be implemented effectively, starting with supporting the prisoners and reinforcing their cause in international institutions, also supporting the popular resistance and mobilizing the economic and security boycott of the occupation.

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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