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What Links the President's Vision to the Deal of the Century?
By: Moatasem Hamadeh
May 8, 2018
 

The President of the Palestinian Authority concluded his lengthy speech at the opening session of the Palestinian National Council (30/4/2018), by bringing us back to his address at the UN Security Council on February 20/2018, which was called the "president's vision" by the PLO Executive Committee and was promoted by the official media of the Palestinian Authority, as a Palestinian peace initiative. The speech, very clearly, brings us back to the Oslo Accords, reiterates the commitment to them, and calls for the resumption of negotiations to complete what has become known as the "permanent solution issues" in bilateral negotiations opened by a group of countries under the name of an international conference, like Annapolis and Paris conferences.

It is natural to say that this return to Oslo, from the platform of the National Council, has provoked negative reactions in a wide range of political forces for several reasons, the most important of which:

1) That the matter was discussed in the last hours, before the National Council's convention, and all parties, under the chairmanship of the President of the Council, Salim Al-Zanoun, have agreed to adopt the decisions of the Central Council in its last two sessions as a basis for the political action in the next phase. Namely, the disengagement from the Oslo Accords and the Paris Protocol, and the adoption of a new and alternative political strategy, namely, the popular resistance strategy in the field, and the strategy of transferring the issue to the United Nations through an international conference under the auspices of the United Nations and its relevant resolutions, that guarantee to the Palestinian people an independent state with full sovereignty with East Jerusalem as its capital on the June 4, 1967 borders, and resolving the refugee issue under Resolution 194, which guaranteed them the right to return to the homes and properties they have displaced from since 1948. This is what was stated literally in the opening speech of the Council's President, Salim Zaanoun, and he called the Council to adopt in its resolutions.

2) The return to Oslo (under any name) is a flagrant and open political coup against the decisions of the Palestinian Central Council, disregard for these decisions and the national institution, and this return would raise serious questions about: the seriousness of the national institution, the seriousness of its cohesion, and how can the National Council adopt decisions constituting a coup against the decisions of the Central Council, knowing that the Chairman of the two bodies is one, and that the parties attending the meetings of these two bodies are the same. Without forgetting that Abu Mazen's speech was delivered at the Security Council on 20/2/2018, while the Central Council adopted its decisions on 15/1/2018. Which means that the president of the PA is the one who turned against the decisions of the Central Council and took his position unilaterally in the Security Council and therefore, his speech has neither legal nor political basis and if the National Council is moved to adopt the position of 20/2/2018, this will drag the Palestinian issue and relations into a field of mines, and in the face of wide risks and repercussions.

The "vision of the president" carries with it wide contradictions:

• On the one hand, it calls for negotiations under the framework of the resolutions of international legitimacy. At the same time, it commits to Oslo Accords as a basis for resuming these negotiations. Among the issues signed between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, in the context of the long futile negotiations that what the parties agree upon is the practical application of legitimacy resolutions. In other words, the reference of the negotiations are the negotiations themselves, not the resolutions of international legitimacy, and even more clearly, the reference of the negotiations is what the Israeli side imposes on the Palestinian side. Proof of this is that the Israeli interpretation of the signed agreements is the prevailing one, and that the implementation of these agreements is always in accordance with the Israeli interpretation.

• On the other hand, it calls for the adoption of the June 4, 1967 borders as the basis for the solution, while agreeing, at the same time, on an agreed exchange of territory.

One does not need to be a genius to realize that the meaning is to annex Israeli settlements in the West Bank to the state of Israel, in return for the annexation of "lands" - which are always Palestinian - from the borders of the state of Israel to the borders of the Palestinian entity. Thus, if this change would legalize something, it would legalize two things together: First, the settlement, which would be recognized as part of Israel. Second, the mass displacement of the Palestinians inside Israel, towards the Palestinian entity (so that Israel will strike two birds with one stone): plundering as much as possible from the Palestinian West Bank and from the city of Jerusalem, and dispossess as much as possible of the Palestinian Arab presence, as part of the completion of the project of building the Jewish state.

• On the third hand, it calls for legitimacy resolutions, whereas on the refugee issue it calls for a "just and agreed solution" under Resolution 194 and the Arab Peace Initiative. The "agreed" solution will not be fair at all. Because it needs the approval of Israel, which continues to inflict injustice on Palestinian refugees by preventing them from returning to their homeland, homes and property. Also, the solution under resolution 194 clashes with the Arab peace initiative. Here we must note that the president of the PA recalls the Arab initiative only he mentions the refugee issue, because he is well aware that this initiative dropped the right of return and presented it on the altar of official Arab concessions to Israel in the "Arab peace" project. In other words, a return to the Oslo is an invitation to bring down the right of return. And contradicts with the decisions of the national institution (the Central Council) and the decisions of the national consensus (the National Accord Document / 2006 / Cairo dialogues, and others) and is in stark contrast to the opening speech of the National Council's president, Salim Zanoun.

Why this insistence on the Oslo Accords, the violation of Palestinian legitimacy resolutions, the challenge of the national institution and the insistence on its marginalization, the adoption of the policy of exclusivity and unilateralism in making the political decision, and the endorsement of the "political kitchen" as an alternative to the national institution?

We think the answer is simple:

• We are in front of an authoritarian leadership that still believes: that the solution lies in the hands of the United States and that Washington is the only international party capable of pressuring Tel Aviv to enter into a settlement, and that the ceiling of any settlement will never exceed what Israel can "concede".

• We have an authoritarian leadership that does not believe in the street or the ability of the street to make results. Even when it calls for a role for the street, it draws narrow limits for it. When it feels that the street is beginning to slip out of its hands, it tries to besiege and restrict it, similar to its position on the march of return in the Gaza Strip. On the other hand, it believes that "deals" are the way to solution, such as the Oslo deal, which the Palestinian situation continues to suffer its disasters.

• We are before an authoritarian leadership, which is the first to welcome the "deal of the century", called by Trump. It was the most enthusiastic to announce about this "deal" until it was found that this "deal" was less than what was needed and instead of rejecting it altogether, and adopting the national alternatives, it still bets on intersections and routes to lead it to this "deal", in a bet on some role for the Arab countries, adopted in the region by the United States.

In short, the "vision of the president" in the Security Council, is but a declaration of readiness to meet the "deal of the century" halfway. The media fuss against the American role and others, is nothing but smoke bombs, beneath which there is an infiltration into negotiations that will not be outside the "deal of the century".

 
Notes:
Moatasem Hamadeh is a member of the Political Bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by Ibrahim Motlaq
 

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