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A Conflict of Options
By: Moatasem Hamadeh
January 19, 2019

The political communiqué, issued by the session of the "Fiftieth Anniversary of the Establishment of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine" held by its political bureau, was right, when confirmed that what the occupation authority does, in alliance with the Trump administration, is the practical unilateral application of what the Oslo people call “issues of permanent solution”. Therefore, there is no longer anything makes Israel committed to the Accords, while the commitment remains on the Palestinian side, in their political (the recognition of the state of Israel), security (the coordination and cooperation with the occupation forces) and economic aspects (the dependence on the Israeli economy and the adoption of the shekel currency for circulation).

Although the occupying state has overstepped the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian side still confirms its commitment to them, through what has been called the "vision of the president". This leads us to the following conclusion: The Palestinian situation has become in a gray phase. On the Palestinian side, it is governed by the Oslo Accords and their obligations. While on the Israeli side, it is the stage of stabilizing the foundations of the "permanent solution" by turning the administrative autonomy into a "permanent solution" instead of a Palestinian state and a confirmation of Netanyahu's statement, "There is no third country between Jordan and Israel". In light of this situation, we can describe this gray phase as a "conflict of options" between the Palestinian parties, in light of multiple options, projects and programs.

The "political kitchen" no longer expects a new negotiating process. And its conditions on the "deal of the century" constitute, at least in theoretical side, a dilemma that prevents it from positive interaction with the deal, especially demanding the US administration to renounce the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and stop the transfer of the US embassy to it. As "the political kitchen," is well aware that there is no American withdrawal, but that the "deal of the century" was developed, not for advertising, but for application. And it is implemented step by step, not only by the United States, but also by the Netanyahu government. As Trump, who hasn't completed the drafting of his deal, links the issue of its declaration to the reality on the ground and the limits of Israel's applications for the "permanent solution". Therefore, it is expected that the deal will not be announced until the sign is issued by Netanyahu's bureau.

The “political kitchen”, is the best who knows it. This is why we see it opposes the deal, and condemns Netanyahu's actions and his policy even most of the institutions of the PA have become "press offices" whose main task is to issue statements, especially the "Foreign Affairs Ministry", the "Council of Ministers", the "Presidential Office" and others. At the same time, however, the "political kitchen" does not engage in the field conflict, in the face of the ongoing events. Because, and this is what must be emphasized, it has adopted the “vision of the president” as a political project, alternative to the decisions of the Central and National Councils, which called for a redefinition of the relationship with the state of occupation. Thus, the political project of the official leadership is to "defend the Oslo Accords" and to prevent the collapse of the Accords. In other words, the political project of the official leadership is to "defend what is left of the PA" and to link its fate to this authority, which has accumulated, for the highest bureaucratic class in the administrative, political and security services, in the economy and others, class interests, whose preservation require maintaining the status quo and not causing any movement in it, so that this movement does not undermine the interests of the ruling class and its allies and those who join them. Perhaps this explains why President Mahmoud Abbas, in Cairo, told the media that there is no Palestinian state until 15 years; as the independent and sovereign state with East Jerusalem as its capital and into borders before June 4th, 1967 is no longer on the agenda of the "political kitchen"; as the option of the "political Kitchen" is to defend what is left of the PA and Oslo, and to prevent their collapse, as the interests of the "political kitchen" and its allies, are linked with them.

In light of what has become known as the "understandings of the truce" between Hamas and the occupying state, the division has entered a new phase in which Hamas no longer suffers from the financial pressure exercised by the PA in Ramallah, especially after Tel Aviv allowed millions of dollars from Doha, to pass at Lod Airport. There is no doubt that a relief has taken place in the Strip, and that many have begun to receive their salaries, or the remains of them. Services have also been improved, especially electricity, and the situation in Gaza Strip has become more relaxing, so that the pressure tools in Ramallah have lost much of their impact. As well as the political progress made by Hamas, so that it is without any doubt, a party in the political equation in the region, in which the United Nations treats it, through its envoy to the region, as de facto authority. Israel also treats it as a de facto authority, and from a vicious political point of view, in a deep exploitation of the situation of division and pushing it into more dangerous positions.

Therefore, as noted, Hamas option, as confirmed by the facts, is no longer, until further notice, a return to bilateral talks with Fatah, nor to revive the understandings of 12/10/2017. As after the late developments, Hamas believes that these understandings have become obsolete and new "understandings" must be made, taking into consideration the positive development that has been achieved in favor of the Islamic movement.

Therefore, we firmly believe that the option of Hamas, at this stage, is to empower its authority in the Strip, which would serve it in all directions. If the process of ending the division is permanently disrupted, Hamas' presence then, will be established. If talks to end the division resume, Hamas will have new power cards that will improve its negotiating positions.

The third option (the first in national accounts) is the choice of popular resistance in all its forms. It is the option that has never fallen from the accounts of the Palestinian street. Since the fall of 2015, the popular resistance has manifested itself in various forms, in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip, and with unlimited support from the Arab Palestinians within the State of Israel and the Palestinians of the diaspora, which affirms the unity of the people, its cause and struggle.

However, according to the recognition of the majority of political forces, this resistance lacks a process of framing, coordinating and unifying committees, and a "supreme national committee" similar to the National committee for Return and Breaking the Siege, or what seems like it. Thus, this resistance continues in the West Bank, and in the context of this, it offers enormous sacrifices. [Statistics speak about 41 martyrs in the West Bank in 2018, the arrest of more than 6,500 citizens, including women and children, the confiscation of large property, and the construction of some 6,000 settlement units, 83% of which are in the settlement that are called isolated, in order to expand them, in preparation for annexation to the state of occupation; as well as, the detention of more than 350 thousand Palestinian citizens behind the wall of separation and racial annexation]. If the marches of return and breaking the siege have attracted the attention, during the year 2018, then the battle of the national project, and the battle to end the Zionist project, takes place on the land of Jerusalem and the West Bank.

From this point of view, it is possible to say that the "third option" (the first political choice of the Palestinian people) is faced with major obstacles that can be removed if the political will exists, especially since the popular resistance, as the facts have shown, does not stop at the limits of the factions, regardless of their leaders' policies. This will throw the ball at the national leftist, democratic, and liberal forces' court, which present themselves as the owner of the national program and adhere to the decisions of the Central and National Councils, which condemn the division, call for: ending it, stopping the security coordination and rebuilding the national institution on democratic and coalition bases, as well as stopping the political tampering in the national class.

Some observers saw the birth of the "Palestinian Democratic Gathering" as a step in this direction. This means that a majority of public opinion views the gathering as the "third current", which would fill the void created by the "political Kitchen's" connection with Oslo, and Hamas' preoccupation with the issues of de facto authority in Gaza Strip. Without forgetting that many still fear that the "Gathering" would fail to bear the burden of the political slogans that it has been built upon.

Thus, the "Palestinian Democratic Gathering" is at the edge, and its program is the national program of all forces and national institutions that no single political force dares to reject it.

So, does the "third option" make its way in 2019, to provide new examples in the development of popular resistance and all forms of popular movements in various fields?

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

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