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About the Political Tourism and the Decisions of the Central Council
By: Moatasem Hamadeh
March 1st, 2018

It is a misfortune for the official Palestinian leadership that the incident of downing the Israeli warplane, during its aggression against Syria, was the world's preoccupation during the visit of the Palestinian Authority's president, Mahmoud Abbas, to the Russian capital, Moscow. So, instead of discussing the results of Abbas's visit, Putin and Netanyahu discussed the incident at length and how to extinguish the fire so as not to spill over into space and time.

It is also a misfortune for the Palestinian official leadership, which its political bets are still ongoing, that Moscow's position has not been renewed, as it is a position that has been expressed more than once by Putin, Lavrov and Bogdanov, whether in the press or in the media, or in meetings with the Palestinian leadership, including the meetings with the Secretary-General of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Nayef Hawatmeh. The Russian position believes that Moscow cannot replace the United States in sponsoring the negotiating process between the Israeli and the Palestinian sides. As Moscow is well aware of the international and regional balance of powers and who is the international body that can pressure on Israel to oblige it, in a relative degree, to respect the signed agreements and to act accordingly.

Perhaps what happened in Moscow is the same as in Brussels, when the Europeans assured to the President of PA that all Europe, cannot replace the United States in sponsoring the negotiating process. Not only that, but they also offered "advices" to the Palestinian negotiating side, to "not escalate" against Washington, and Trump's administration, and the need to "save the line of return" to the United States, because the US administration is only who would present its solution to the region, a solution that Europe will not be able to disrupt, but it will try to improve some of its aspects, in order to support the Palestinian leadership. They also "advised" not to break the link with Oslo, and with the US "Two-State Solution" project. It is clear that the official Palestinian leadership, and a number of members of the Executive Committee of PLO, who were inspired by "Ramallah" and its political kitchen, have taken the European "advice". They are not against the United States, but they are against it to be the only sponsor of the negotiating process, therefore, they propose an alternative "international formula," similar to the format of the negotiations on the Iranian nuclear file, i.e. the formula (5 +1). The proposal now is the (4+1), which is the formula of the International Quartet committee, that is now a history, and whose history was always a submission to the American side, and even a concession to it, which served as a cover for Israeli policy; including the criticism against the Palestinian situation in the time of the late President Yasser Arafat. This is the committee that covered the Israeli policies: settlement expansion, Judaization of Jerusalem, aggressive wars on Gaza, mass arrests.

This committee is now nominated by the official Palestinian leadership, in addition to China, for example, to be the "international team" to supervise on negotiating process and patronize it.

All of this would raise two issues:

The first issue is the issue of political tourism, which has become the overriding strategy of the Palestinian official leadership, in the "response" to Trump's decisions on Jerusalem, on December 6, 2017.

One of the negative consequences of this political tourism is that it constitutes an escape from the convening of responsible bodies, to provide national responses to the level and the seriousness of the issue: the issue of Jerusalem, the recognition of it as the capital of Israel and the transfer of the United States Embassy to it; as well as the refugee issue and the elimination of the right of return by drying up the financial resources of UNRWA.

Since Trump's decision, the Executive Committee has covered, so far, once and issued a statement in which the Palestinian leadership has manipulated with the decisions of the PCC and emptied them from their content.

Also, since Trump's decision, the PCC has convened once, issued a statement, referred it to the Executive Committee to act under it, and relinquished its responsibilities in making some of its political decisions, such as the withdrawal from the recognition of Israel and the disengagement from Oslo. However, its decisions have remained a dead letter.

Neither the Executive Committee has been allowed by its chairman to take one executive decision in response to the decisions of the PCC nor has its statement responded to the calls of PCC. As for the "Supreme Committee", which has been formed to "study the decisions of the PCC", it has not yet been given a date for the meeting, nor a time limit for accomplishing its mission.

Moreover, since Trump's decision, the Central Committee of Fatah has met once (it has used to assign itself as a reference to the Executive Committee and the PA's government) has not issued a statement on Jerusalem, and has not taken a single decision in this context.

This means that the Palestinian official leadership is consciously and deliberately working to disrupt the institutions; and the implementation of their resolutions.

This also means that the official Palestinian leadership has so far, hindered the possibility that the National institution take to a practical step in the field, in the face of decisions of Trump and Netanyahu's government.

The American and Israeli sides, are continuing their policy, to make facts on the ground: (Expansion of the settlements, judaization of Jerusalem, arrests, threatening Gaza, which has a lot of social tragedies, the continuation of making the Arab-Israeli regional alliance); while the Palestinian official leadership is only continuing its political tourism strategy. From the occupied Jerusalem, from the office of the Israeli Ministry of War, Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli minister, who is known for his rudeness and "frankness", sent his warm greetings to the PA, because it still commits itself to the "security coordination very deeply". As if Lieberman is ridiculing from the PCC in the session of March 5, 2015, and the session of January 15, 2018.

The second issue, which is raised by the political tourism strategy, is the negotiating process, as re-drafted by the Central Council, and as re-proposed by the official leadership to the international community in its political tourism.

First, we must note that the negotiations are still the only strategic option for the Palestinian official leadership. Also that it ignored all other options, adopted by the Central Council (in its last two sessions) and take the negotiations as the only option. And that all of its political tourism is to search for an entrance to the resumption of negotiations, from the position of its conviction that the negotiations maintain its position in the regional political equation, as drawn by the United States and the European Union. It fears that if it goes to other options, such as the option of the intifada, it will lose this position and the factional gains and interests that it and other class groups have accumulated.

Second: The negotiations, which are called for ,by the PCC, within the framework of a series of options and an integrated strategy, are in the context of a UN-sponsored conference, under the sponsorship of the five permanent members and under the relevant resolutions, related to the Palestinian issue: the Israeli withdrawal, the dismantlement of the settlements, the non-recognition of the Judaization procedures, the demolition of the separation wall, the release of detainees, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with occupied East Jerusalem as its capital on the borders before June 4, 1967, and resolving the refugee issue under resolution 194, which granted them the right to return to their homes and properties from which they have been displaced since 1948. The difference between the wording , called for by the PCC (the wording of the international conference under the sponsorship of the United Nations and its resolutions) and the wording, proposed by the Palestinian leadership ("international" sponsorship), i.e. the sponsorship of a number of countries outside the resolutions of international legitimacy, according to other projects that were adopted by the International Quarter, such as the road map plan, the American "two-state solution", which ignores the resolutions of international legitimacy and the legitimate national rights of Palestinian people, and considers that what is agreed upon between the parties is the practical application of the United Nations resolutions. This is a legal and corrupt heresy that has no value in law, or in the principles of international law, the Charter of the United Nations, or in the resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly.

The formula, adopted by the PCC, considers the United States, as one of the parties, but not the sole and dominant party, and if it comes it will come isolated, as what happened when it was isolated in the Security Council, at the end of 2016,when it voted against the settlement (the resolution 2334) also when the Security Council voted against Trump's decision (14 states against the isolation of United States) and when the most of the United Nations General Assembly members (129) voted against the United States and Israel who remained isolated.

The political tourism will not change the balance of powers or political equations.

Only the field, above every inch of the occupied territory, is the key to change.

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

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