By: Prof. Dr. Mohsen Mohammad Saleh.
Frankly, the author of these lines does not feel reassured by the announcement of President ‘Abbas, who declared on 19/5/2020 that the “Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the state of Palestine have become absolved of all the agreements and understandings with the US and Israeli governments.” He added that, as of today, the “Israeli occupation authority has to shoulder all responsibilities and obligations in front of the international community as an occupying power.”
This announcement about dealing with the occupation, the catastrophic consequences of the Oslo Accords, the peace process, and their entitlements, is in the right direction. However, regardless of that, experience with ‘Abbas, over the past years, indicates that his political speech concerning occupation lacks credibility, and that everyone, including Palestinian forces and people, and even the Arabs, Americans and Israelis, no longer take him seriously.
In the past five years, the Palestinian “official” legislative institutions (the Palestinian Central Council (PCC) and the Palestinian National Council (PNC)), which are dominated by ‘Abbas and the Fatah movement, have issued decisions to stop security coordination, suspend the recognition of Israel, and suspend the implementation of agreements signed with it. These decisions were referred to the organization’s leadership, headed by ‘Abbas, who would put them in the “freezer.” Even when he made a decision on 25/7/2019 to form a committee to implement it, this committee did nothing.
As for security coordination, it has been repeatedly announced that it has been suspended, according to some researchers about sixty times. Thus, such news when declared by the Palestinian Authority (PA) is not taken seriously. According to Walla!News, the Israeli security forces stated that even after ‘Abbas’s last announcement, security coordination witnessed no change, and that it is too early to judge how this announcement would be implemented on the ground.
Any party that wants to face seriously a land occupation, gives the highest priority to gathering its power cards and all its potentials required for the confrontation and the liberation battle. How, then, would the case be, if this force is the Zionist project backed by major powers, the Israel lobbies and their great tools of influence in the Western world?
Therefore, when ‘Abbas and the PLO and the PA leadership take a number of measures and adopt policies that would only weaken the Palestinian situation, this leadership is not only described as lacking seriousness, but rather as having failed to take responsibility, and that it is a root cause of the miserable state that the Palestinian situation has reached.
How does ‘Abbas explain his and Fatah’s insistence on dominating the PLO? On emptying it of its struggle and institutional content, turning it into one of the PA departments? In addition to emptying it of its true representative role of the Palestinian people and their active forces on the ground?
How does he explain his insistence on continuing the sanctions on Gaza Strip (GS)?
How does he explain his insistence on not inviting the unified leadership framework of the Palestinian people, and obstructing his ability to convene and act?
How does he explain his dissolution of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC)? and his forming of a Fatah government to lead the PA?
How does he explain his use of political money in trying to subdue the Palestinian factions, while depriving major factions of their allocations from the Palestine National Fund?
How does ‘Abbas want the others to take his move seriously, and to consider it a change in the course of his political career, while his mental and psychological conduct is based on excluding the others and dominating the Palestinian scene. His behavior actually only prolongs and expands the occupation. In his latest announcement, he reaffirmed his commitment to the two-state solution and to what he called “fighting terrorism,” as if he is reassuring Israel, the US and the Western powers that he will not leave the position in which he has first placed himself; particularly that the US Western notion of terrorism applies to the armed resistance.
For Abbas’ statements to be taken seriously and gain some credibility, the minimum is for him to immediately implement some steps, such as inviting the unified leadership framework to convene and exercise its powers, the actual and decisive cessation of security coordination with Israel, and lifting the GS sanctions. Then, to begin immediately the practical steps of rebuilding the PLO, forming new PNC and PCC that would include all Palestinian forces and reflect their political weight, and to agree on a national program based on Palestinian fundamentals.
In this context, the PA would be redefined on the basis of eliminating the occupation, rather than just managing life under occupation, and a transitional PA government would be formed that reflects unity against the occupation.
Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations, 1/6/2020