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Political Report of Seventh National General Congress 2018 of DFLP
 

Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Seventh National General Congress 2018
Political Report

1- US policy in the region and the Deal of the Century.
2- The Palestinian national situation and the Deal of the Century.
3- Facing the Deal of the Century: The Strategy of Withdrawing from Oslo.
4- The decisions of the National and Central Councils.
5- About the de-activation of the decisions of the National and Central Councils.
6- About reforming the National Mother Institution: The Organization for the Liberation of Palestine (PLO).
7- Political corruption and the policy of repressing the popular movement and public freedoms.
8- The corruption of the socio-economic policies of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).
9- Developing the structures of the mass movement and widening its horizons.
10- Refugees, the right to return and the UNRWA.
11- About the strategy of the movement of refugees.
12- Stopovers.
13- Leadership crisis and system crisis.
14- The Jewish Nation-State Law: The Second Birth of Israel.

(1) US policy in the region and the Deal of the Century

Ever since the inauguration of the mandate of US President Donald Trump in the White House, US policy displays a quantitative turn by forwarding a project destined to reformulate the region’s geostrategic situation. This is intended to consolidate US goals and interests and their Western ramifications. Furthermore, it strengthens Israel’s position and the expense of the national rights of the Palestinian people and of the interests of the peoples and States in the region. All this is included in the framework of the so-called Deal of the Century, and in this context the goals of US policy are:

a) To provide protection and all forms of support to the Zionist entity, to assure its superiority vis-à-vis the States of the region and to normalize its relationships with a considerable number of those countries.
b) To assure control over oil sources, transport and trade routes, an aspect that –in the eyes of Washington— is an integral part of its national security.
c) To control communication lines in the region, to the benefit of US and its allies’ geopolitical, economic and security interests.
d) To keep control over the region as a major market for US products and merchandises in the fields of weaponry and technology as well as in other sectors.

1.1- The new US project searches for a new regional formula on new bases, stemming from Washington’s considerations about the terrorist threats for the countries and peoples of the region. In this context, the US considers a priority to confront the present regional policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran by terming it the main source of regional instability. Confronting this policy, according to Washington’s considerations, requires a “regional alliance” under the aegis of the US. This alliance would be integrated by Arab countries, Israel and Turkey among others, in the framework of an integral political project entitled the “Deal of the Century”. In order to achieve its objectives, the alliance would be launched on two parallel paths that complement each other:

a) Solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict by eliminating every obstacle that prevents the liquidation of the national rights of the Palestinian people, a solution to be imposed as a fait accompli.
b) Normalizing Arab-Israeli relations through sweeping and rolling steps that would interact with the unilateral steps taken by the US. Those rolling steps would run parallel to the progresses achieved in the conditions for the solution on the Palestinian path while at the same time constituting a support to the steps being taken on the Palestinian path.

1.2- In its new strategy, the US adopted and overtly aggressive and savage policy by returning to all the features of the aggressive “Big Stick” policy in its dealings with the issues and conflicts taking place in the region.

• At a regional level

Washington announced its withdrawal from the Nuclear Agreement with Iran, claiming that it is “a bad agreement”. It retook the policy of financial and economic sanctions, and again imposed its blockade on Iran, including oil exports which represent, in the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its main source of hard currency to finance its budget. Furthermore, it instigates international firms against Iran, among other measures. The objective of all this is to force Iran to review its policies under the announced motto of forcing a rectification of its political behavior, with the aim of domesticating the Persian country and incorporating it to a sort of policy that would be complacent towards US regional interests.

The conditions posed by US Secretary of State, Pompeo, to Teheran concerning its nuclear program clearly reveal the intentions of US policy towards that country. Of the 12 conditions, only 3 are related to the nuclear program; the fourth relates to its ballistic plans, the fifth to individuals –North-Americans as well as citizens from allied countries— retained in Iran. The other five points are designed to reduce and hinder the role of Iran in the region (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, the Gulf), apart from putting an end to cyber-attacks.

All this forecasts how difficult and ferocious the impending battle will be, and the critical consequences that it might entail for the regional situation in general. Besides, it would create ideal conditions for points of political convergences between Tel Aviv and a considerable number of Arab capitals in the Gulf countries, while favoring the opportunities for the emergence of the “Regional Pact”. Through such a regional negotiations framework, Washington intends to create a regional strategic order capable of counteracting Iranian influence in the region.

The United States and its regional allies continued on with the policy of imposing financial and political sanctions against Hezbollah and of labeling it as a terrorist organization, on the basis of the idea that Hezbollah is the main arm of Iran in Lebanon and the region. On the other hand, the US interferes increasingly in the internal affairs of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as in the case of Syria, where it increases its military presence on the ground and provides a growing logistical, financial, political and security support to various armed factions, while it stages direct military attacks against Syrian troops and threatens to deliver more blows.

• At a Palestinian-Israeli level

The US turned into a State biased with Israel in its hosting of the peace process, a State that tries to impose by force the US-Israeli solution. It does this through the imposition of faits accomplis on the ground in practice, and pushing for consensus around new concepts and terms alien to those that have been internationally and legally acknowledged. It goes as far as to exert unprecedented pressures on the Palestinian party in the political and financial spheres, in a context of the imposition of conditions considered vital by Washington and aimed at eliminating the obstacles that now prevent or continue to prevent the continuation of talks and even to achieve a solution of the conflict. Among other requisites it demands of the PNA that it would pursue in practice a policy of confronting the actions of the resistance (Washington would not be satisfied with posturing denunciations of such actions); also, that the PNA put a stop to its instigation of the resistance through the various mass media and that it should undertake essential shifts in the school system, change street names that honor martyrs, cease the transfer of funds to the Gaza Strip in order to stop the financial flow to the Hamas budget and suspend payments to the families of martyrs and prisoners, etc.

1.3- In this context, and as a preamble to the imposition of the so-called “Deal of the Century” on the Palestinian party, the Trump administration took a series of unilateral steps that traced premeditated and previous realities on the ground:

• Extracting Jerusalem from the negotiating agenda by recognizing the city as the capital of Israel and moving their diplomatic mission there;

• Acknowledging the legitimacy of colonization, and Israel’s right to annex the colonies in negotiations for a permanent arrangement, after this issue –colonization— was considered by previous administrations –at least in theory— as an obstacle to any arrangement;

• Extracting the issue of refugees and the right to return from the negotiating agenda for the benefit of alternative projects and solutions. Within this context lies the suspension of the contributions by the US to UNRWA’s budget, apart from exerting pressures on host countries for them to take up its functions and services as a first step towards its dissolution and final elimination. At the same time, posing the need to redefine the term “refugee” in a way that it would be solely applicable to those who were expelled in 1948 and excluding their descendants.

• The decision (17/11/2017) and its implementation (10/9/2018), by the US Department of State, to close the PLO representation in Washington, while keeping in suspense the accusations of terrorism based on the 1987 resolution by Congress that labelled the PLO as a terrorist organization.

• Freezing financial assistance to the PNA and exerting pressures for it to renounce its obligations and responsibilities towards the families of prisoners, martyrs and the wounded under the pretext of “combatting terrorism”. The passing by the US congress of the Taylor Force Law (23/3/2018) fits into these intentions.

• Based on the same pretext, Washington exerts pressures on Western countries for them to adopt identical measures with respect to the financing of the PNA, among them measures to the detriment of the families of martyrs, prisoners and the wounded.

• On the other hand, Washington has unfrozen (3/8/2018) credits earmarked for the Palestinian security apparatuses that were destined to reinforce Palestinian-Israeli coordination in the sphere of security. A US Department of State official clarified that the Administration continues to review its programs to assist Palestinians and verifying if they satisfy or not US national security interests.

• Unlimited support to Israel in the UN Security Council and General Assembly, as well as in the Human Rights Council and international specialized agencies and other organizations and agencies. At the same time, it actively confronts every international condemnation of Israel because of its crimes against the Palestinian people.

• Exerting pressures on certain Arab capitals to overcome their objections to certain aspects of the “Deal of the Century”, such as the issues of Jerusalem, refugees and the future of the Palestinian State, and preparing the ground for the normalization of Arab-Israeli relations as a step towards a further dismantling of what remains of the encirclement imposed on the Zionist State.

• Finally, the Trump Administration never overtly declared its support to “the Two-States solution” as the administrations of Bush Jr. and Obama had done. Quite the contrary, it called on negotiations open to various options. One of them was –due to shame, or as a mask— “the Two-State solution”, that is, negotiations outside the framework of the resolutions of international law and the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, independence and return. Those are options that only favor the US-Israeli project that goes beyond “the economic solution” and the increase of faculties and limitations of administrative autonomy, within a framework of full economic and security subordination to Israel. And then, immediately after, the implementation of the last article of the Arab Peace Initiative (Beirut, 2002) having to do with the full recognition of the State of Israel by Arab League countries.

1.4- The “Deal of the Century” is a political-strategic rolling and sweeping plan unlike any of the other plans being proposed, discussed and negotiated. It is a plan elaborated to be implemented and is being implemented step by step. Its details will never be totally revealed and only those that are undertaken according to the availability of its political and practical conditions will be known. In other words, after the elimination of obstacles, objections and oppositions they will be revealed. It is a daily policy applied by the US, on the one hand, and Israel on the other, and in which each party applies its own mediums and methods and to the extent that their capacities would allow them. Nevertheless, the “permanent solution” would be left for the final moments under a big headline that would already be known by everyone everywhere. The US and Israel openly manifest a headline that reads: “The establishment of the independent Palestinian State, endowed with full sovereignty, with East Jerusalem as its capital on the borders before June 4, 1967 is no longer a vital condition to achieve peace, to normalize relations with Israel and to facilitate its regional integration”.

Conditions to start the “Deal of the Century” and to establish a “Regional Alliance” are not only applicable to the Palestinian people, but are rather conditions that span the region and its States and check the interests of those States and their peoples by imposing on them changes of direction that would be convergent with US and Israeli intentions. They do so by imposing those goals on Arab States and successfully making them reconsider and reformulate their priorities so that they would converge or overlap with US and Israeli interests and priorities. Thus, conditions would be created that would force the Palestinians to renounce their legitimate national rights to self-determination, independence and return and at the same time States and peoples of the region would be forced to reconsider their political formulations according to totally new definitions and interpretations with respect to their interests, concepts and values. This would, therefore, open up the path to erase all that is left of the Arab national project and its central axis, the Palestinian cause. In its place, conditions would be created for a policy of coexistence with the Zionist project, feeding confessional and regionalist struggles and frustrating the project to establish the national State in the Arab region, to the benefit of States that live off their rents, the States of political tyrannies and the countercurrent forces, the forces of division, submission and subordination to foreign wills.

All this demands the need to resist and to counteract the “Deal of the Century”. Even though the Palestinian people should be in the first ranks to confront the severe consequences of its implementation, the Palestinian people are not the only ones indicated for so doing. The dangers lurk over the whole region, so that also the Arab liberation movement and all its patriotic, democratic and leftwing sectors, all the strata and sectors endangered by this Project are called upon to incorporate themselves to this battle, not only from a position of solidarity and support for the Palestinian people, but also from a position of contributing their portion in the struggle at a national level, for the defense of the integrity of their territory, the unity of their people and the future of their youth, in defense of their independence, sovereignty and resources, in defense of their national interests, confronting the Zionist and US project, the dangers of which not only concern the Palestinian cause, but rather go well beyond to touch the whole region and all the States and peoples of the area.

(2) The Palestinian national situation and the Deal of the Century

2.1- The "Deal of the Century" arrived to declare that the "Oslo Project" has reached a blind alley. This on the one hand, but also, on the other, to wage war against the resolutions of international law related to the Palestinian national cause, as well as to present a US-Israeli solution imposed by force on Palestinians and at the expense of their legitimate national rights.

At the same time, the hegemonic official leadership continues to clutch to bilateral negotiations as a unique option, in the framework of the spoils of Oslo and under its ceiling. In its political considerations, it dismisses the other available alternatives, placing its partisan and class interests accumulated through the years in the exercise of power, over the supreme and direct national interests of the Palestinian people, as well as their legitimate rights.

Whereas previous US administrations tried to provide “windows” that would allow the Oslo Agreement some breathing space (such as the Conference of Annapolis of 27/11/2007 during the second term of Bush Jr., and the trips of Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, and their failed attempts to arrive at concrete results after the renewal of negotiations in different forms during both terms of Obama –the first on 1/2009-1/2013 and the second on 1/2013-1/2017), Trump’s administration, with its strategic plan represented by the “Deal of the Century”, places the Palestinian official leadership in confrontation with a new reality, depriving it of its options and negotiations, a reality the imposes a solution through faits accomplis and unilateral political practices.

2.2- The Palestinian situation faces the “Deal of the Century” with two different policies:

The policy of the decision-making center within the official leadership (or the hegemonic leadership, or “the political kitchen”), which has perceived the real danger facing the Palestinian cause and national rights, but at the same time, it is aware of the fact that it cannot accompany this policy nor comply to its requirements, because that would turn it into a tool in the hands of the occupying authorities and the US administration, a reason that might cost its national coverage and its position and leadership role recognized at a Palestinian level.

Therefore, the official leadership practically limits itself to a political-media confrontation with the US-Israeli project, and even supports certain forms of popular mobilization against the project. Nevertheless, it does not go forward to a political confrontation on the ground of facts, in the streets and in international fora to resist the procedures and faits accomplis in favor of the instructions and alternative facts that favor the national project.

Therefore, the hegemonic leadership accepts –on the one hand— and agrees with the line of the national entities such as the Central Council and the National Council, with the adoption of political decisions which, if implemented, would put the Palestinian situation on the path of liberating itself from the Oslo Agreements, and stimulate the elements of force to confront the “Deal of the Century”. Nevertheless, it operates –on the other hand– to freeze those resolutions and to weaken the role of the national entity –that is, the PLO— favoring the role of the “political kitchen” to the detriment of the structures and association, weakening the spirit of unity, the Alliance and the national coalition, and it increasingly submerges itself in the policy of exclusivity of the national decision, in a failed bet on the possible access to some formula that would open up the perspectives to renew negotiations within the Oslo framework, but under the auspices and the supervision of a multilateral international mechanism that might be estimated to overcome US pressures and unilateralism. According to what was presented by the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the UN Security Council on February 20 2018, this formula will be successful in “making negotiations committed with international law and the implementation of what was agreed along a specific time span with guarantees for its implementation. This is tantamount to providing a solution that would consider that what was agreed is the practical implementation to solve every matter of permanent status.

The policy defended by many other forces, with wide headlines and which, in spite of their differences, share the main issues, is the policy adopted by the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, under the name “Strategy to Unfasten from Oslo”, that to a large extent intersects with the elements of the documents of national consensus (document of national reconciliation, 2006), the Cairo dialogues (2009-2011-2013, and, finally, 22/11/2017), the Amman, Ramallah and Beirut agreements, and the decisions of the Central Council in its 27th, 28th sessions (2015-2018), and those of the National Council in its 23rd session (30/4/2018), including the withdrawal from the Oslo Agreements, from the Paris Economic Protocol and putting a stop to cooperation in the field of security with the occupation forces, gradually freeing itself from total dependency on the Israeli economy, withdrawing labor force from the colonies after providing dignified alternatives, stopping all deals with shekels, recovering the population and land register from the Civilian Administration of the occupying forces and extending the jurisdiction of Palestinian courts to everyone living in the territories of the State of Palestine, continuing the affiliation to international organs, taking the cause to UN international fora and to the International Criminal Court, putting an end to division and the reestablishment of internal unity, stimulating popular resistance and developing it into a popular global Intifada, until achieving the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the borders before June 4 1967, assuring the right of return for Palestinian refugees that is guaranteed by Resolution 194, and the exit of the occupying forces with its soldiers and settlers, as with the dismantling of the structure of colonial settling.

2.3- The confused policy of the official leadership is one of the signals that express the acute political crisis suffered at the highest leadership level in the Palestinian institution, as a reflex of the social fractions that have material and moral interests and privileges, and the policy of monopoly and exclusion at the helm of power and the bureaucratic apparatuses, and in the alliance with the comprador and certain businessmen.

On the other hand –doubtlessly— popular pressure, through the struggle on the ground against occupation and colonization undertaken by the settlements, and the escalation in the policy of confrontation against it, as well as the struggle in the national institution –that is, the PLO— to defend and uphold its role, against the policy of the “political kitchen” that seeks to push to the margins and to exclude, and to dissolve its institutions within the institutions of the Authority, is the way to exert pressure on the official leadership so that it would accept that the Oslo Agreements have entered into a blind alley, and the failure of continuing to place bets on their remains or the policy to arrive at some kind of “midway solution” with the US administration and the Netanyahu government. This means exerting pressure to provide the necessary conditions for the official leadership (with and for whom it represents) to comply with the decisions of the Central and National Councils, the Program of National Consensus and the development of the alternative national strategy of struggle by materializing the adoption of the “Strategy to Unfasten from Oslo”.

(3) Confronting the “Deal of the Century”: “Strategy to Unfasten from Oslo”

3.1- After the successive Israeli governments have achieved their grand objectives of the Oslo Agreements, mainly to provide a political cover and buying enough time to pursue the Project of colonial occupation and making the West Bank –including Jerusalem— Jewish, and to handcuff the Palestinian situation with a series of political, security and economic restrictions that led to the breaking of the national ranks and to plant weakness into the Palestinian political body, to the paralysis of several elements of force in the Palestinian structure, and to the rehabilitation of the high-level bureaucratic groups in alliance with several categories of businessmen and the Palestinian comprador, they seek to subscribe an agreement in unfavorable conditions for the Palestinian people. After all this, Israel, benefiting from its alliance with the US, dealt a blow on the Oslo Agreements, on the conditions for its implementation and on the mechanism with its time-frames established to attain the matters of permanent status, in favor of the “Deal of the Century”, considering it a global regional solution, in its results as well as in the conditions of its implementation, that would lead to the liquidation of the Palestinian cause and natural rights. In the same way that the Oslo Agreements were not a destiny imposed on the Palestinian people, but are rather something which could be resisted, frustrated or disentitled, the “Deal of the Century” –taking into account the real and deep differences between the two— is equally not an imposed destiny on the Palestinian people and the rest of the peoples and States in the region. Quite the contrary, it must be resisted and aborted in favor of the national program and its objectives.

In this context it must be emphasized that the policy of betting on the remains of the Oslo Agreement cannot combine with the policy of resisting the “Deal of the Century” and preventing its dangers to the cause and to Palestinian national rights. The necessary condition to seriously enter into a battle to deal with the “Deal of the Century” is to take a final decision with respect to the Oslo Agreement and to adopt, instead of betting on it, a new and alternative strategy, the “Strategy to Unfasten from Oslo” as the mandatory path to salve and achieve the national program. This requires taking three intertwined steps which are:

1 – De-linkage from Oslo and giving back to the PLO its position in the leadership;
2 – Stimulating the elements of force in the Palestinian situation and in the first place to re-establish internal unity;
3- Providing impetus for the alternative national strategy.

3.2- The major element of force within the Palestinian national situation is internal unity, which suffered a severe blow due to the coup staged by Hamas on the Gaza Strip on June 14 2007. Since that day, the Palestinian situation has been living under a destructive division that places the Palestinian people under two authorities and two policies. But neither of them has managed to provide impetus to the national cause nor to take a step ahead; rather, division has caused numerous damages: it divided the institutions of the Palestinian Authority, it allowed occupying authorities to justify many of its bloody policies, including the series of wars of aggression against the Gaza Strip, and opening wide the door to all forms of external interference, while submerging the Gaza Strip under a long siege that caused severe damages to the infrastructure, the economy and the conditions of a dignified life for its citizens.

Furthermore, the division weakened the Palestinian Popular Movement due to the uncertainty about the seriousness of both parties and the firmness of the movement to lead the national cause and to drive it in the appropriate direction, and due to the conviction of a wide spectrum of various social sectors and strata in the fatherland and the diaspora of the fact that the strongest and most influential current in the decision-making mechanism on both sides of the division has been dominated by its class interests. It has constructed this trend on both sides during the long years of the division, at the expense of national interests, and fulfills its interests when agreements for re-establishing internal unity abort, including the most recent understandings of 12/10/2017, which were ratified by Palestinian factions in the encompassing national dialogue that took place in Cairo on 22/11/2017.

3.3- The division did not succeed in fracturing the combat-hardened movement of the Palestinian people, and this was expressed in the unity of action on the ground in many occasions –we will refer to this later on— to defend the cause and national and social rights of our people wherever they are, or like the legendary resistance of the Gaza Strip and the wide national support around it to repel the aggression of 2014, and the experience of the unified Palestinian delegation in the indirect talks with Israel in Cairo to impose a ceasefire and a lifting of the blockade.

Unity on the ground constitutes a solid base in the struggle against the phenomena of division and its repercussions and in the struggle to put an end to division, a necessary condition for the transition to the unification of the Palestinian ranks and to pursue an escalation of struggles against occupation, colonization, the “Deal of the Century” and other liquidation projects, under a joint program of national action. Its lines are no longer ambiguous, following the rich rounds of the national dialogue that ended in a consensus on the national alternative to the Oslo Agreement, such as the document of National Agreement (26/6/2006) or the Cairo declaration that was issued at the conclusion of the national dialogue on 15 /03/ 2005, or what was stated after the Cairo dialogues (2009, 2011 and 2013), and dialogues in Amman and Ramallah, and in Beirut, in the framework of the Preparatory Committee for the Palestinian National Council on 01/10/2017.

On the basis of the understandings of Cairo that were sealed on 12/10/2017 between the movements Al-Fatah and Hamas, adopted by the factions of national action with a communiqué dated on 22/11/2017, the process of putting an end to division can be re-launched and internal unity can be re-established in preparation for an integral national dialogue, to exit the Oslo Agreement in the direction of the Alternative National Strategy, a strategy of resistance and Intifada on the ground, and the internationalization of the cause and Palestinian national rights. But an effort is required on two parallel lines:

• The line of popular and mass pressure on both sides of the division to revert any condition that might prevent the process of putting an end to the division or to stop its impetus, as well as eventual interruptions when those efforts are launched;
• Both parties of the division should have enough political will in favor of understandings and agreements, and should confront currents tending to sabotage them inside each party.

What was previously stated, added to support for Cairo, would lead to the opening of a new chapter in national relations based on the following orientations:

a) The government of the Palestinian Authority would fully take up its responsibilities and duties in the Gaza Strip in the various administrations, in cooperation with National Committees, composed of the totality of national forces and independent national figures, and pressurize on both parties for them to eliminate the obstacles and hindrances for a sure and solid implementation;
b) Development plans would be installed for the Gaza Strip, in order to rebuild and rehabilitate its infrastructures, save it from a catastrophic collapse of its premises, activate its industrial, agricultural and commercial sectors and promote investments to reduce unemployment and the creation of labor opportunities, including qualified young university graduates and professionals;
c) A solution would be found to the stale problem of officials, which is traditionally a minefield ready to explode at any moment and prevent agreements and understandings of reconciliation, taking into account the right of said officials to their salaries after over ten years of service. At the same time, account must be taken of the fact that public employment is not a monopoly of the partisans of the two movements (Al-Fatah and Hamas), but the right of all the sons of the Palestinian people, in accordance with an employment system based on administrative, practical, neutral and strict criteria and principles that take efficiency into account;
d) Solutions would be found for the issue of border passes and the measures of siege on the Gaza Strip, with the aim of providing the necessary conditions to make the situation start moving in the direction of social stability, together with the preservation of the natural environment;
e) Clear bases would be established for an agreement on a plan of national security that would furnish the Palestinian Authority the conditions to take up its responsibilities with respect to citizen’s internal security. Concerning resistance, with its various arms, the creation of a Joint Operations Room is required, with a high national political reference, so that it is able to take up its responsibilities in the framework of a strategy of defense that would be well studied and approved at a national level. It should have control of defense decisions and decisions of calmness that would provide a new model on how to build a Palestinian national reference, free from security conditions imposed by the authorities of the occupying forces, in the light of the peculiar situation of the Gaza Strip and its clear contrast with the situation in the West Bank.

(4) The resolutions of the National and Central Councils

4.1- The PLO’s legislative institutions –the Central Council at its 27th and 28th sessions, and the National Council at its 23rd session— have covered a long road to take responsible decisions that might have placed the Palestinian situation –and if said decisions would have been implemented— on the road to freedom from the restrictions imposed by Oslo and by the Paris Economic Protocol and its implications:

The Central Council, at its 27th session (5/3/2015), passed resolutions that would in practice lead to going beyond the Oslo Agreement in several of its components. It declared three essential matters under the title “View of the Central Council about the Relationship with the Occupation Authority."

• "To stop all forms of cooperation on security matters with the authority of the Israeli occupation force…" This undermines the first pillar of Palestinian commitments towards the occupying state according to what is in force in the Oslo Agreement.
• "To boycott Israeli products...", and this places us on the path of a wide-ranging economic boycott, in the context of the gradual withdrawal from the Paris Economic Protocol, as the second most important pillar of the Oslo Agreement.
• To call on a “new resolution by the Security Council that would renew its commitment with the resolutions of international legitimacy on the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, that guarantees the establishment of a deadline to put an end to occupation and allow the State of Palestine to exercise its sovereignty on its territory occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem, and to solve the issue of refugees according to Resolution 194 under the umbrella of an international conference in which permanent members of the Security Council would participate... ", and which would not be limited to an opening session, as was the case of the Madrid (1991) and Annapolis (2007) conferences, nor to an "international multilateral mechanism to assist both parties in negotiations” as was announced in the address of the Chairman of the Executive Council before the Security Council (20/2/2018) ), also referred to as “the Chairman’s vision”, taking into account that the 23rd session of the National Council has developed this call for a fully-empowered international conference.

To this end, the 27th session decided to activate the affiliation of the State of Palestine to international organs, institutions, conventions and protocols, including the International Criminal Court. The 27 session also stated that “popular resistance requires the highest levels of unity on the ground”, after the harmonization of national reconciliation agreements, “as well as inviting the Committee for the Activation and Development of the PLO, and regulating its performance”, in a clear reference to the need for completing the Palestinian national collectivity through the participation of all Palestinian forces, inside as well as outside the PLO, to decide on the main national issues, an invitation that was not repeated in the following Central Council sessions.

4.2- In its 28th session (15/1/2018), the Central Council significantly developed its previous resolutions in terms of a greater coherence and clarity:

• "...that the transition period stipulated by the agreements signed in Oslo, Cairo and Washington, including obligations, no longer exists".
• Asking “the international community to take up its responsibilities on the basis of pertinent UN resolutions to put an end to occupation and allowing the State of Palestine to obtain its Independence and to exercise its full sovereignty over its territory, including East Jerusalem, on the borders of 4/6/1967.
• "The Central Council authorizes the PLO Executive Committee to suspend the recognition of Israel until it recognizes the State of Palestine on the borders of 1967, cancels the decision to annex East Jerusalem and stops colonization".
• The Central Council renews its decision to stop cooperation on security matters in all its forms and to break away from the relationship of economic dependency that was established by the Paris Economic Agreement with a view to achieve Independence for the national economy and to ask the PLO Executive Committee and the institutions of the State of Palestine to begin its implementation.

4.3- The 23rd session of the Palestinian National Council (30/4/2018) took steps forward in the political situation; the National Council reaffirmed the decisions of the Central Council at its two sessions (27 and 28), and declared:

• "It confers on the Executive Committee permission to suspend the recognition of Israel until it recognizes the State of Palestine on the borders of June 4 1967, cancels the decision to annex East Jerusalem and stops colonization”.
• It also declares that “the transition period stipulated in the agreements signed in Oslo, Cairo and Washington, with their commitments, no longer exists, and decided to transfer the Palestinian cause to the UN and the International Criminal Court.

To this end, the National Council affirmed that “the decisions of the Central Council at its last two sessions should be implemented to stop all forms of security coordination and to be free from the relationship of economic dependency established by the Paris protocol, including the economic boycott against the products of the enemy”. Furthermore:

• "To adopt the movement of boycotting Israel and withdrawing investments from the occupying State, and inviting the countries of the world to impose sanctions on Israel to repel its flagrant violations of international law".
• “To ask every country of the world to implement paragraph 5 of Security Council resolution 2334 (2016), which calls on all States to discern between the territory of the State of Israel (the territories occupied in 1948) and the territories occupied in 1967, and this leads to boycott Israeli products originated in the colonies. And we remember that UN Security Council resolution 2334 is the most complete and clear in its opposition and condemnation of Israeli colonialism in the West Bank (including Jerusalem). It is the first resolution condemning colonization passed by the Security Council since 1980 (resolution 478).

4.4- Summarizing, all this clarifies that the decisions taken by the PLO legislative institutions at the above-mentioned sessions turn the page of negotiations and even went beyond the page of the “political process” under the terms of Oslo, which did not mention them, but rather referred to “the solution of the conflict with Israel”, leaving the formula of this solution (as is stated in the resolutions of the National Council 23rd session, which went beyond the decisions of the Central Council 27th session) to follow its course in “an international conference with full powers, with the participation of the 5 permanent member States of the Security Council, under the resolutions of international legitimacy, and within a specific time-frame”. They trace the goal of those negotiations: “an independent and sovereign Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital, on the borders before June 4, 1967" (the “subject of the agreed exchange of lands” goes without mention), and to solve the issue of refugees by virtue of resolution 194 (without linking this resolution with the Arab Peace Initiative that in practice yielded the right to return to their homes and their properties…).

(5) Hindering the decisions of the National and Central Councils

5.1- The major problem in national politics is not the level or the quality of the political decisions taken by PLO institutions, in terms of their clarity to set the bases with a view to transfer to another national action strategy that would respond to the demands of leaving behind the Oslo process in all its negative aspects. It is preferable to go beyond what has been revealed in the “Deal of the Century” that intends to liquidate the cause and the national rights of the people of Palestine.

The major problem continues to be the lack of balance in the correlation of Palestinian internal forces in a decisive and unprecedented manner in the course of the existence of this national institution, an unbalance which goes in favor of the maximum official leadership of the executive decision-making center, or the influential leadership with respect to the decision (the “political kitchen”) that continue to place their bets on the spoils of Oslo.

The decision-making center in the official leadership continues to see the strategy of exiting Oslo as a step that would jeopardize its interests and the interests of the highest groups of the powerful bureaucracy within the Authority and inside the PLO and the sector of businessmen and rich individuals, as well as the comprador strata, because those interests support themselves on the existing reality, and they consider that any attempt to change and to pull the Oslo Agreements out of its general context would lead to damaging their own interests. Furthermore, this contributes to the influence of the political and regional formula traced by the US and Israel and certain Arab capitals that do not cease to exert pressure on the official leadership and the related decision-making circles to avoid abandoning the Oslo strategy, underlining that the leadership has a guaranteed seat in the political arrangement that is being concocted and must seat there at the proper time.

5.2- The lack of balance in the correlation of forces within the national institutions in favor of the position of the decision-making center of the official leadership does not reflect the reality of the balance of forces in the general senses of the Palestinian popular situation in the occupied territories, in the lands of 1948 and in the countries of the diaspora and refuge. Doubtlessly, opinion polls and the positions and opinions of the social media reflect the reality of the posture of the people that faces the policies of the powerful leaders in favor of the policies defended by the national, democratic and leftwing forces, and their consciences have not been distorted by the illusions of the Oslo Agreement and its sterile negotiations with Israel, under the auspices of the US.

The lack of balance in the correlation of forces in the national institution reflects the deficient state of this institution and the corrupt foundations on which it stands, in accordance with the mechanisms that allow those who make decisions in the official leadership (the "political kitchen") resort to policies of dismantling and re-composing the institutions as they wish, and to outline its faculties and obligations to serve their own political project, but nothing would serve the national project as is formulated by the decisions of the Central and National Councils. On the contrary, and in accordance with the organizational results of the National Council 23rd session (30/4/2018), one might say that the "political kitchen" is pushing PLO institutions increasingly towards the margins, in particular the Executive Committee, that leads more and more to a weakening of the PLO and its institutions to absorb their tasks and functions within the institutions of the Palestinian Authority that is under the pressure of the occupation, or in favor of a greater role of the “political kitchen” at the expense of the role of the existing instances founded on the basis of session the true political representation in the framework of the national convergence and national participation.

Therefore, the decisions of the Central Council at its 27th and 28th sessions, as well as the decisions of the National Council in its 23rd session remained in paper and ink, in documents that were forwarded to the committees for their review and more than once to put in motion the mechanism to begin to implement, but in a childish open game (of transfers), to the extent that since the 27th session, the number of times that they were re-sent amounted to 13 times (!!). All this took place in the context of a policy tending to openly deceive the decisions, push them to the margins and exclude the Institution, in favor of upholding the previous strategy: that is, to place their bets on the spoils of Oslo.

(6) Restructuring the national mother institution, the PLO

6.1- The detriment that affected the structure and working mechanisms of the national mother institution, the PLO, allowed the official leadership (that is, the decision-making center) conditions to impose their hegemony on the political decisions, to push to the margins the national institutions, and to turn their back on the national alliances that are supposed to be implemented within the PLO, in its condition as a national front of the Palestinian people with all its diverse groups, social strata and political forces. The policy of absolutism in decision-making, the act of pushing to the margins certain instances (the Executive Committee), the real exclusion from the national politics by ignoring their decisions (those of the Central Council and the National Council) and the monopoly enjoyed by the administration and the decision at the level of the PLO (in the style of absolutism with respect to the Palestinian Fund) have caused damage and deterioration to the Palestinian national interest, and this keeps alive the battle for a reform of the national institution and for its reconstruction on democratic bases, wide openly and in an advanced position of national interests.

6.2- In the same context, this policy –when it reached a certain level of deterioration— weakened the role of leadership and the position occupied by the PLO in the national and political formula, particularly in the light of the transfer of many functions and powers of PLO institutions and of its Executive Committee departments to the ministries of the Palestinian Authority. Since 2009, when the vacancies in the Executive Committee have been compensated in a “Joint Council” (later on it was adopted, but it violated the Basic Rules of the National Council 22nd session) allowing, in case that they could attend, the incorporation of its members to the Executive Committee and to the Bureau of the National Council Chairman (by virtue of Article 14/C of the Basic Rules), the Political Department of the Executive Committee was eliminated by an individual decision, after the “Joint Council” transferred the responsibility of the Political Department to the Executive Committee Chairman, and then transferred its functions and powers to the PNA Ministry of Foreign Affairs (and, in practice, to the Executive Committee Chairman). Thus, the PLO lost a department that played a useful diplomatic role by presenting the Palestinian cause and rights to the international committee and its political and legal institutions, through a formula that is exempt of the obligations of the Oslo Agreements.

The Palestinian National Fund was also deprived of its Independence. In conformity with its statutes, the Fund is directly elected by the National Council and should enjoy a complete autonomy in the management of the affairs of the Fund and the implementation of the decisions of the National Council.

The National Fund turns into an institution the decisions of which are related to the presidency of the Palestinian Authority and the Finance Ministry of the Authority, receives the necessary financing, etc… As a result of the absence of a collective management, the National Fund has become a tool in the hands of the official decision-making center in its political wars and rivalries with individuals, institutions and forces, especially by way of exerting pressure on the democratic forces of the opposition.

Last, but not least, the official leadership (that is, its decision-making center), exerting a clear and hard policy of unilateralism, without returning to any political or legal reference, reformulated the Executive Committee and redistributed it arbitrarily among the members of the Committee. The goal was to subject, assume and control the active departments with a concrete political role, and transferred its responsibilities to the representatives of Al-Fatah in the Executive Committee and to “those who are governed by them”. Furthermore, it eliminated the Military Council, the Department of Expatriate Affairs, the Department of Culture and other departments of similar titles (not similar tasks) in favor of the ministries of the Palestinian Authority, knowing that the PNA is limited to the autonomous areas and does not include all the Palestinian space. All this in the context of a clear and open promotion of the role of the Palestinian Authority, a gradual reduction and a clear pushing to the margins of the PLO role and its institutions, that would quickly transfer the power to the Palestinian Authority institutions. At the same time, the role of the “political kitchen” and the policy of exclusiveness and unilateralism are increasingly reinforced, entailing all their negative consequences in the performance, together with the damage inflicted on national relationships and the united national role.

6.3- These steps are taken in the process of a restriction of the role of PLO institutions and their being pushed to the margins in favor of the institutions and ministries of the Authority, while the Israeli-US aggression against the cause and the Palestinian national rights intensifies. The civilian administration of the authorities of the occupation forces practices a policy of undermining the powers and the role of the Palestinian Authority in the geographic areas they administer by virtue of the system of autonomous government, which means at the same time a decrease of the role that the official leadership might play. All this increases the danger for the Palestinian people, their cause and the national rights, and presents with a greater urgency the need to reform the organization of the PLO, correct the national relations inside this organization, and reconsider it as well as its role in the leadership of the Palestinian national liberation movement on the narrow patches of occupied Palestinian territory.

The control of the faculties of the Palestinian Authority according to its tasks within its mandate to manage internal affairs of the Palestinian society will undermine the interests of the supreme bureaucracy of the Palestinian Authority. On the other hand, the reform of the organization –the PLO— and the reconsideration of its position, taking into account the national program, guarantee the interests of all the people although they would enter into conflict with the interests of the supreme groups of the bureaucracy of the institutions of the Authority. Thus, the Authority would cease to be an autonomous administration for the population and become rather a national authority that administers the public affairs as a priority to provide elements of firmness to the people in its long struggle against occupation and colonialism in the context of the Intifada and resistance.

With the concrete experience, access to this new political, organizational and administrative situation requires the adoption of a strategy of struggle based on the recognition of the fact that the doors of reform within the national institution (the PLO) has become difficult, because of the structure and working mechanisms of said institution, and this determines that the street people and their mass movement would become the perfect terrain to exert pressure on the official leaders and their alliances, for them to acknowledge the need of a reform and for them to work according to what was agreed in the dialogues of Cairo and within the framework of the “instance of activating and developing the PLO”. This is the line of action that allows for the opening of organizational and administrative affairs to reform the PLO and reconsider it, as well as its institutions, as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and their leader in the struggle in the framework of its national movement.

(7) Political corruption and the policy of repression against the popular movement and public freedoms

7.1- The division between Al-Fatah and Hamas, in its diverse ramifications, played a dangerous role in the corruption of political life. At the same time, it provided the best service, free of charge, to the enemy forces, especially to the occupying State, and opened up a series of cracks for external intervention that do not hesitate in manipulating the Palestinian situation and damaging it, making the internal situation more acute, deepening division and providing an environment that would foster greater corruption in Palestinian political life.

Due to the interruption of the Legislative Council (and its subsidiary committees) as tools for the supervision at an executive level, that is, the performance of the Palestinian authority and its institutions, the Palestinian political system became increasingly inclined towards an authoritarian rule in the West Bank, using the security machinery as a tool to intervene in political and civilian affairs, and to restrict public and democratic freedoms, freedom of expression and demonstration, freedom of the press and others. Consequently, the security apparatuses have stopped serving the fatherland and the citizenry in fulfilling its duties and assuming its responsibilities to impose order, provide security and the rule of law, etc., to turn instead into a tool in the hands of the Palestinian Authority to repress the popular movement. Furthermore, the judicial system became –with certain limits— a tool to get even with opponents and opinion makers through indiscriminate arrests, hindering trips beyond the areas of the PNA and other illegal actions or given measures.

This policy has damaged the reputation of the security apparatuses, that are also limited by the dictates of the Oslo Agreements and the conditions of security with the authorities of occupation, and build barriers and walls between those apparatuses and many sectors and strata in the internal situation, something which contributes to stimulate an environment and even to establish a hostile regime, enemy of democracy and human rights. These practices have also corrupted political life in the areas of the Authority, where the official leadership has resorted to “ruling” by decree without supervision or consultation with the chairpersons of the committees of the Legislative Council, or with the Palestinian forces, associated to the PLO, or in a framework metaphorically called “Palestinian leadership”. The unilateralism of the decision-making and in the administration of public affairs has become a dominant feature in the work of the Palestinian Authority and led to a further deepening of the political crisis suffered by the Palestinian situation in general.

7.2- In the Gaza Strip, things were not less bad, especially in the light of the monopoly enjoyed by Hamas in the administration of public affairs and because it resorts to the strictest security control in ruling the situation. Regarding the formula adopted by certain members of the Legislative Council of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, in a general sense of failure and frustration and a constant worsening of block in Gaza to activate said organ, it was only to provide political coverage to division, and the vindication of legislative legitimacy intended solely to establish a totalitarian formula that constituted –that is, the cover and the ostentation— the other side of the policy of unilateralism exerted by the Authority in the West Bank.

This behavior on both sides has debilitated the role of the popular movement that has turned into the main pole against it. This movement is constantly repressed to prevent it from voicing its social demands and democratic rights, as well as its condemnation of division and its combat against corruption on both sides.

7.3- Until the necessary political conditions exist to organize global elections to recover the legislative organ in its well-known functions such as supervision, accounting and the passing of laws, promoting national forces, democracy, institutions of civil society and human rights in particular, and unions, then national and democratic forces and the organizations of civil society, especially the human rights organizations and unions, should confront this policy in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and request security and judicial forces to safeguard their role to assure stability and the security of citizens, and protecting them and not to incur into any act of aggression against the political movement. Furthermore, asking security and judicial sources not to respond to calls asking them to clash with the popular movement, and to remove barriers of distrust that grow between the security forces and apparatuses of the Authority and Hamas, on the one hand, and between society, the people and the mass movement, on the other.

(8) Corruption of socio-economic policies of the Palestinian Authority

8.1- Palestinian citizens in the areas under control of the Palestinian Authority suffer from an economic policy that severely damages the interests of the wide strata of the Palestinian people, regardless of the differences in their social levels:

On the one hand, there are the bonds that tie them to the Paris Economic Protocol, which strangles the Palestinian economy through a series of laws and applications that have turned the Palestinian economy into a portion subordinated and annexed to the Israeli economy. In the first place, there is the question of the circulation of the Israeli shekel, and then the high taxes on imported materials, under the pretext of fighting smuggling in Israel, something that pushed up prices in the areas of the PNA to almost the level of prices in Israel, and in the context of a significant difference between the per capita income in the area of the Authority and in Israel. This dependency has hindered the construction of a national economy and has induced work in Israeli projects, including inside the settlements, which is a wide space to assimilate Palestinian labor force, with all the unfair restrictions and discriminatory norms imposed on Palestinians, apart from the distortions of many concepts and values, which renders the opening to the enemy as a mandatory step to reduce unemployment on the Palestinian labor market.

On the other hand, (this is the other side of the coin), the adoption by the Palestinian Authority of a rightwing and economically neoliberal political agenda that leads to an increase of impoverishment among Palestinians, who pay a very high price under a crushing economic crisis, with a heavy subordination to the Israeli economy, besides the policy of a neo-liberal economy under pressure and conditions imposed by the donor countries and parties and the International Monetary Fund. This provoked an important unbalance in the distribution of financial resources available for the Palestinian people and the downfall of Palestinian citizens to the crisis of their lives. Therefore, it enters into conflict with the unfair laws of the Palestinian Authority, which as a general tendency is biased in favor of the higher strata, those of the rich, businessmen and higher segments of the administrative bureaucracy, which controls the public decisions and money. Eventually, this undermines the spirit of firmness and resistance of citizens, and weakens the confidence in the leading role played by the Palestinian Authority to free them from subordination and dependency with respect to the Israeli economy, as well as in the level of seriousness of the Palestinian institution to build the basis of the independent State and the foundations of the construction of the Palestinian national economy.

8.2- All this implies that the political forces, unions, labor and professional associations and the institutions of civil society should play a concrete role in the defense of the rights of the working classes and in the development of the means of struggle to transform the questions of democracy and social justice into pillars for the Palestinian national struggle for freedom, justice and equality, besides imposing these issues on the agenda of the national institution and its political program, in defense of the popular classes and the widest groups of workers, who pay a high price for their freedom and their right to a dignified life, under the weight of the crushing crisis suffered by Palestinian citizens.

Suffering in the areas of the Palestinian Authority, especially in the countryside, the camps and the Gaza Strip under the blockade, require efforts to redistribute the financial resources available for the Palestinian people and to direct expenditures towards decreasing the negative effects of the subordination to the Israeli economy, the neo-liberal economic policies and to launch a national plan that would lead to a de-linkage from subjection to the Israeli economy, from the restrictions of the Paris Protocol and to implement the decisions of the National Council 23rd session and the 27th and 28th sessions of the Central Council.

(9) Developing the structures of the mass movement and widening its horizon

9.1- In the course of the past few years, the Palestinian mass movement witnessed a remarkable upheaval and a significant progress in its incorporation of diverse forms in the battles for the liberation of the occupied land, to expel occupation, to resist colonization and to confront the diverse projects and scenarios to liquidate the Palestinian cause and national rights. This is particularly so because this movement intensifies the struggle for its destiny each time that it perceives danger, apart from enjoying the clarity of objectives and being endowed with the elements of national firmness and cohesion, well removed from high-sounding slogans, ready-made structural phrases and the implantation of ghost objectives.

Ever since the youth upheaval of the Autumn of 2015 that began spontaneously, choosing its own mechanisms and instruments and creating confusion among the occupying forces and the security apparatuses of the Palestinian Authority; passing by the prisoners’ strike in the jails of the occupying forces who have resisted, even in the shadow of the attempt by some to create confusion and, in spite of this, they achieved a large portion of their objectives, because the jail administration was forced to comply to their demands; passing by the strike of public sector teachers in the West Bank, for the defense of their union interests and sustenance for their children vis-à-vis the oppressive policies of the Palestinian Authority; passing by the massive manifestations of all those affected by the amendments to the Social Security Law, that forced the Palestinian Authority to back down and withdraw the bill to re-study it; and up to the Intifada of Al-Quds and the Doors of Al-Aqsa, that forced the authorities of occupation to withdraw their arbitrary measures tending to make everything Jewish and which aimed at preparing the Al-Aqsa Mosque to share time and space, and the mobilization in defense of the properties of the church in occupied Jerusalem to confront the risk of confiscation of church properties with the pretext of collecting overdue taxes. This goes without forgetting the revolt of the anger of the Jerusalem masses vis-à-vis the Trump Administration and Israeli occupation after the decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the occupying State. Last but not least, the “March of Return and the Breaking of the Siege” in the Gaza Strip, which, having been launched on 30/3/2018, with great success and enormous sacrifices, went beyond its fifth month. In the same direction, in the West Bank there were marches and strikes in Ramallah and Nablus to demand the lifting of the unfair sanctions imposed by the Palestinian Authority on the Gaza Strip.

9.2- Furthermore, the mass movement, led by the national and democratic forces, played an important role in exerting pressure on the Palestinian official leadership in more than one situation, such as on 20/7/2017 and on 12/8/2017, when the PLO Executive Committee, yielding before the demands of the popular movement in Jerusalem, announced the cessation of security coordination and stopped communications with the authorities of occupation. There are also the decisions of the Central Council 28th session and the National Council 23rd session, stages on which the fruits of the sacrifices made by the mass movement were reaped, as was evident in a series of advances decisions, taken by the previously mentioned PLO institutions.

The popular movement achieves an additional weight in the political battle on the ground against occupation and colonization, in defense of the interests of popular groups and other strata of society, against the neo-liberal economic policy of the Palestinian Authority that remains subjected to the instructions and pressures from various parties, the donor countries and the International Monetary Fund. The weight of the popular moment is increasingly important in the national struggle, if we take into account the state of deterioration in the conditions of the national institution and in its capacity to act and to exert influence, especially vis-à-vis the way it is pushed towards the margins and excluded by the official leadership in favor of the “political kitchen” and at the service of class interests of the supreme bureaucracy in the Authority, the comprador strata and certain businessmen and rich people, whose interests overlap and coincide in keeping the status quo, in spite of the damage that it causes to the general national interest and to the interests of the wide popular strata and their living standards.

This forces the national and democratic forces –in order to assure the national program and the implementation of the objectives and legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people— to increasingly place their bets on the mass movement in the national battle and on the pressure being exerted on the Palestinian official leadership for it to represent the national will and the principles of the National Coalition, the implementation of decisions of the Central and National Councils, and for it to turn the Oslo page, in favor of adopting a new strategy, the “Strategy to exit Oslo”.

9.3- An increase of the output of the mass movement requires a series of important organizational and political steps, the most important of which are:

• To organize and mobilize the ranks of the mass movement in order to take it out of its state that is more akin to spontaneity and to make it turn into an organized state, in accordance with the objectives established to confront national problems and issues (support for the Prisoners’ Movement, confronting colonialist expansion, protection for the homes threatened with destruction, resisting normalization and boycotting Israeli institutions, improving the services of the UNRWA, upholding the right to return, confronting the push to turn Jerusalem and Hebron Jewish and resisting the invasion of the hordes of settlers...).

• To pull the national and democratic forces, popular and professional federations, unions and other State institutions out of their frozen state, to free them from the bureaucratic monopoly over their situations and to guarantee the mechanisms for them to be incorporated on the ground with the aim of strengthening their cohesion and their capacity to resist and to take part in the national battle against occupation and colonialism.

• National and democratic forces must advance in the national and social battles and provide enough certainty and confidence in their capacity to lead the national task on the ground, to make sacrifices and to fulfill the role demanded of them in the different aspects, filling the gap that separates the masses of the popular movement from those forces and their leaders, as well as to correct the lack of trust in them, and their disposition to continue the struggle, outside of the logic related to the preference of the narrow partisan interests to the detriment of the supreme national interest.

• The battle to put an end to division, the fulfillment of internal unity and the recovery of national unity on programmatic and organizational bases, agreed on many stages of the national dialogue, will continue to be an important factor to provide a more healthy environment for a greater popular progress and to mobilize more forces and strata of society in the struggle to attain the national objectives of all the sons of the Palestinian people.

(10) Refugees, the right to return and the Agency (UNRWA)

The cause of refugees and UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees), and their focus on the right to return to their homes and properties, have made progress in the agendas of Palestinian interests, as well as at the Arab and international levels, when the Trump administration included them in the “Deal of the Century” and requested their cancellation from the agenda of the forthcoming negotiations between the two parties, the Palestinian and the Israeli parties, announcing its position of eliminating the right to return in favor of alternative solutions and scenarios. Afterwards, he went on to cut financing to UNRWA (31/8/2018) and to request to let its resources be exhausted, on the path to its dismantling, followed by the transfer of its services to host countries.

No one could deny that the positions of the Trump Administration emerged in the context of the US and Israeli policies that call on the abolition of the right to return and the solution of the refugee problem through the motto that reads: “guarantee them permanent residence”. Although these positions are in a concrete way removed from the official Palestinian postures, they do not represent a strong contrast, since the Palestinian official positions are based on the Arab Peace Initiative (2002), which establishes “reaching a fair solution of the Palestinian refugee problem agreed by virtue of Resolution 194", something that allows Israel the right to veto and thus to eliminate everything referred to a serious return of refugees to their homes and properties, something that, for Israel, in the best of cases, is no more than a symbolic return.

In every case, many Palestinian officials, and occasionally at the highest levels, were not shy to forward statements that showed their disposition to a maximum flexibility, if not to the point of letting go altogether, sometimes to the extent of a renunciation, when dealing with the issue of the right to return, insisting on the view that “demanding of Israel to absorb 5 million refugees is illogical. No even one million” (!!), or on reducing the right to return only to the so-called “two wings of the fatherland” (the West Bank and Gaza), something that has nothing to do with the right of return guaranteed buy Resolution 194, since this other right (to return to the West Bank and Gaza) is included in the natural practice of the State of Palestine and constitutes one of its sovereign rights, being as it is a State of “Palestinians wherever they might be”, according to the Declaration of Independence (1988).

Many Palestinian officials have become involved in formal and semi-official conversations that led to a clear declaration of flexibility, or laxity, or even to taking back, by the official Palestinian leadership, of the position of strictly adhering to the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties occupied since 1948, in favor of alternative solutions. One of the most outstanding was the Geneva Conference –held on the Dead Sea in late 2003, and attended by an official Palestinian delegation with a mandate from the President of the Executive Committee at that time— where a plan was supported that asked for the substitution of the right to return by a solution that would state “guaranteeing a permanent place of residence for refugees”.

In this context, we cannot but remember what was offered by the Palestinian negotiator at the Annapolis Negotiations (2007-2008) – that bore no results— when he accepted the fragmentation of the cause of refugees, with the return of symbolic numbers (a figure that the Israeli negotiator did not accept, reducing it to one fourth of the amount) to the territories of 1948, an amount that does not exceed 100.000, distributing the large blocks of refugees (around five million) between naturalization and the transfer of certain numbers of them to the areas of the Palestinian Authority in the framework of the “Permanent Solution” of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, also underlining that this agreement would be something like the final agreement that puts an end to any subsequent demand (that is, no more claims). In other words, the issue of refugees would be closed once and for all, after this agreement.

This time, Trump’s call is more dangerous than those of his predecessors, because it entails practical steps to be imposed on everyone and to create facts in a unilateral way, something that will reflect on any future negotiation. Among those steps are:

• Preparing for the death certificate of the UNRWA, stopping its financing, exerting pressures on donors to let its resources dry up, pushing it to a composite financial deficit that would lead to its paralysis, and then throwing the ball back to the host countries with a deep knowledge of the US Administration and of those who follow them in the same direction of the important role of the Agency in providing services for the refugees in diverse camps. One must also bear in mind the position occupied by that agency in politics and legality, due to its condition as an international witness of the crime of Al-Nakba and the racist dispersion. UN Resolution 302 (linked to Resolution 194) adopted by the UN (18/12/1949), which created the Agency, as well as the international mandate that the UN General Assembly has endowed on it periodically represent a recognition of its international responsibility towards refugees and their rights, up to the implementation of Resolution 194, that guarantees them the right to return to their homes and properties from where they were expelled since 1948.

• On the basis of the spoliation of the cause of refugees and its axis (the right to return) of its international coverage, the question is passed on to the host Arab States. This results in the coverage of a portion of the UNRWA’s financial deficit by several oil-producing Arab countries, so the agency is threatened by its transformation from an international organization, with the political and legal meaning that it entails and represents, into a mere Arab organization, turning the issue of refugees –a fundamental question in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict— into an Arab-Arab question, exempting the international community of its responsibilities.

• working with a view to re-define the Palestinian refugee through the introduction of studies that would do the job, so that the condition only be applied to those who were born in Palestine before the Al-Nakba and the disappearance of their descendants, something that automatically leads to the liquidation of the issue of refugees, transforming it from a cause of five million refugees into a marginal cause of a few hundreds of thousands of peoples of a very advanced age, a problem that time is called on to solve in the next few years with a natural solution: their deaths. With respect to the rest of them, their case is passed on to other solutions, with the condition that they recognize the abolition of the right to return.

(11) The strategy of the refugee movement

With the “Deal of the Century” and the practical steps that the Trump Administration has taken, the question of refugees turned into an explosive issue permanently placed on the working agenda of the Palestinian national movement and occupying from a strategic viewpoint the first place, together with the issue of Jerusalem and colonization. Therefore, in this sense, the axes of struggle of the refugee movement were widened, in such a way that it pushes national forces and the PLO to have a clear political strategy to confront the “Deal of the Century”, in which the issue of refugees and the right to return occupy a place according to their importance, and taking into account the variety of political and living conditions of refugees, according to their distribution inside the fatherland (territories occupied in 1948 and territories occupied in 1967) and its diaspora.

Within the territories occupied in 1948

Almost 300 thousand Palestinian refugees remain, living outside their villages and towns, from which they were expelled since 1948. They are considered as being a portion of the refugee movement inside the fatherland and the diaspora, linked to the struggles for the right to return and to uphold resolution 194. In spite of the decrease of the Palestinian national interest in this sector of the Palestinians who lived in the occupied zones in 1948 and whose struggles have not stopped, supported by Jewish Israeli groups who try to compensate their small dimensions and their weakness in Jewish sectors inside Israel, by their activism, relatively advanced. These are groups that are well convinced (something we greatly appreciate) of the fact that there will be no solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict without solving the issue of Palestinian refugees and allowing them to return to their homes in a democratic State.

On this basis, we must affirm that the refugee movement in the areas occupied in 1948 is an inseparable portion of the whole movement of Palestinian refugees. That is why the necessary resources must be guaranteed to assure their communication with the rest of the concentrations of refugees, particularly in the West Bank, where communication and coordination –and even the unification of efforts in the different pertinent national holidays— are easier.

In the West Bank

Palestinian refugees –particularly those in camps— take up composite tasks. Apart from being involved in the resistance against occupation, from the advanced place the camps occupy on this matter, and from being involved in the national mobilizations of a clear social nature in defense of the vital interests of the various social classes and democratic freedoms against the increasingly repressive and tyrant-like policies that characterize the security apparatuses when dealing with camps. Besides all this, they wage a struggle that occupies a primordial place, which is the struggle to improve the services provided by the UNRWA, a struggle to put a stop to the policy of squandering and corruption in its departments, as well as the struggle in defense of the right to return and against alternative projects that attempt against this right. This requires the strengthening of the role of the national and democratic forces with respect to organizing the ranks of refugees and to reinforce the working structures and mechanisms of the refugee movement and its civilian associations, popular committees, union institutions and research centers, etc…

In the Gaza Strip

The Palestinian national movement has presented an outstanding model by organizing the “Marches of Return and of Breaking the Blockade” under the leadership of the Supreme United National Committee, which is composed of a wide group of national and democratic forces. Over 60% of those who inhabit Gaza are refugees. Furthermore, the UNRWA plays a fundamental role due to the conditions of the blockade suffered by the Strip, because it does not only assist refugees, but also wide social strata of Palestinians. This reaffirms in a concrete way the role of UNRWA, from a social viewpoint and also from a political viewpoint, since its presence in the Gaza Strip constitutes a political coverage vis-à-vis the blockade and aggression. It is a representation of the international community, and this amounts to recognition of its political and legal responsibility in the light of the Palestinian people, who suffered a catastrophe against their national rights, especially because the Gaza Strip is the central see of UNRWA and its decision-making center.

Furthermore, the Strip is also the home of the Department of Refugee Affairs of the PLO Executive Committee, and thus the refugee movement is an important player with respect to the pressures exerted on the Department and its head, for action mechanisms to be developed and its responsibilities be increased so that it would cover all the Palestinian refugees wherever they are. Thus, the national and democratic forces in the Gaza Strip take up special responsibilities to encompass the refugee movement and to develop their structures and action methods, as well as improving its program while assuming special responsibilities to exert pressure on the Department of Refugee Affairs and the Chair of the UNRWA.

In Lebanon

The struggle for social and human rights, to guarantee the security and stability of the camps, heads the list of tasks of the refugee movement, besides the important and advanced role of the refugee movement with respect to confronting the attempts to cut back on UNRWA’s services, as well as pursuing the struggle and mobilizations to conclude the reconstruction of the Naher Al-bared camp.

In Syria

The central task in the forthcoming stage is based on providing conditions for the return of refugees to their camps in the whole country, especially to the Al-Yarmouk camp, due to its central position and its fundamental importance, but this does not go to the detriment of the rest of the camps. This issue places the refugee movement and the Palestinian national facing a series of difficult obligations, particularly what is related to the reconstruction and restoration of what was destroyed in the camps such as Al-Yarmouk, Daraa, Handarat, Sbena, Khan Al-sheh and the other residential concentrations of Palestinian refugees, forcing them to address the PLO because of its responsibilities and the Department of Refugee Affairs to activate its functions in cooperation with UNRWA and the different donors, and the host country (Syria), and even the General Institute for Refugee Affairs of Syria, in a way that would reduce and relieve the suffering of homeless people, a suffering that affects tens of thousands Palestinian refugees in Syria since 2011 and limits the phenomenon of migrations abroad.

Last, but not least, are refugee affairs and the right to return, which occupy a central position in the program of national action in response to the “Deal of the Century”. These affairs impose on the refugee movement and on all the national forces and on the Department of Refugee Affairs of the PLO the need to affirm that the struggle to confront the projects of redefinition of the refugee with a view to abolish their political-legal status, to liquidate UNRWA or to reformulate its mandate and to correct it will continue to be the key of the struggle to resist the projects to revoke the right to return. Said duties require unified frameworks at a national level as well as the development of the frameworks of the struggle of the refugee movement wherever they are.

(12) Stations

12.1- By the year 2016, the last year of the Obama Administration in the White House, the political process, hosted by the United States, entered into a blind alley due to the intransigence of the Israeli party and its negative to renew the political process (to stop colonization) and also due to the weak US pressure on the Tel Aviv government to force it to comply to the requirements for the renewal of negotiations. The rounds of Secretary of State John Kerry, and, previously, those of Hillary Clinton, did not succeed in eliminating Israel’s obstacles, and the diverse methods of negotiation adopted (from negotiations to approach positions, to exploratory conversations, and to direct negotiations) did not suffice to overcome Israeli intransigence.

In an attempt to fill the vacuum of the US failure in the region, France presented a draft project for an international conference, which would be attended by representatives of certain European and Arab countries, together with the US and Canada and the Palestinian and Israeli parties, reiterating the experience of the Annapolis Conference to start a new process of bilateral negotiations, without a true international sponsorship or follow-up. That is, to repeat the failed experience, and this led the Democratic Front to consider the call for this conference as an attempt to distract the Palestinian situation and to furnish an excuse for the Palestinian official leadership to continue to disturb the decisions of the Central Council (5/3/2015) with respect to redefining the relationship with Israel, and to making a commitment with the new political leadership based on turning the page of Oslo.

Successive developments confirmed the validity of our expectations. The mechanisms of the Paris Conference were linked to the agenda of the United States, including the programming of its preparatory meetings. The call for the conference met a strict rejection on the part of Israel, forcing Paris to abandon the issuing of invitations to the parties involved, Palestinians as well as Israelis. In conclusion, the conference was held in Paris in late 2016, with a second-rank international presence, and this led to a great decrease in the number of resolutions, which quickly faded away, to the extent that they are not even included any longer in the context of the political process.

The results of the Paris Conference proved once again the failure of betting on the possibility of reactivating the process of negotiation and on the conditions and with the mechanisms formulated by the Oslo Agreements and its annexes. They also demonstrated that the policy of continuing to place bets on the Oslo Agreements has reached its end. Neither the US nor the European States have the parallel alternative, so the only alternative is to go back to a new national policy, outlined in the decisions of the Central Council in its 27th and 28th sessions and reaffirmed by the Preparatory Committee of the National Council in January 2017.

12.2- The meeting of the Preparatory Committee of the Palestinian National Council, headed by the Council Chairman, Salim Zanoun, constituted an advanced political signal in internal relationships. Representatives of every Palestinian faction attended, inside as well as outside the PLO. The meeting attained an advanced and important consensus, with the heading of working with a view to put an end to division and to create a national unity government that would prepare general, presidential and legislative elections for the Legislative and National Councils under the system of full proportional representation, taking into account the fact that the forthcoming National Council will be composed of 350 members (150 from the occupied territories and 200 from abroad) and that it be held at a venue that would be agreed by consensus.

The movement Hamas, on the other hand, attended the call of the Preparatory Committee for the meeting after practically acknowledging the failure of its experience in power on an authoritarian basis in the framework of division since 14/6/2007. It can no longer mask this failure, especially with the generalized evaluation that the situation in the Gaza Strip is approaching a higher degree of deterioration if vital affairs are not solved.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian democratic and leftwing forces saw the results of this meeting as a response to their programs, requests, and suggestions to restore the National Institution (PLO) and to develop its action, as well as to awaken the elements of force in the Palestinian bosom and inside the popular movement.

Nevertheless, the official leadership, under pressure from certain Arab capitals, and with a new bet placed on some solution concocted by the new US Administration, dealt a blow to the results of the meeting of the Preparatory Committee and renewed its bets on Washington’s role for the renewal of the negotiating process.

The official Palestinian bias at a regional level appeared clear and insolent, due to the participation of the President of the Palestinian Authority in the Riyadh Summit, together with over 50 Arab and Muslim countries. At the end of this conference, Trump announced the launching of his project for a regional solution through the “Deal of the Century” in order to solve the Palestinian issue and to establish an Arab-Israeli alliance with a view to confront Teheran and its expansion in the region, because he considers the Islamic Republic of Iran as the danger to US interests in the region and its people, and not Israel. However, the US President did not reveal the contents of this “agreement”. He limited himself to only stating the title, without mentioning the foundation, in an overt attempt to obtain support and envelope this title in a positive atmosphere of ambiguity that would facilitate its commercialization later on.

Since that date (May 2017) and until Trump announced his decision about Jerusalem (12/6/2017), the Palestinian official leadership expressed its positive position –before knowing the contents— with respect to the “Historical Agreement” that Trump was to announce, and would be (according to the official leadership) the path that should lead to what has been termed the “Two-States solution”. The bet on the new role of the United States and Riyadh’s promises to the official leadership continued, until Trump revealed his plan for the “Deal of the Century”, beginning with the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and transferring the US embassy to Jerusalem This surprised the Palestinian official leadership and aborted its failed bets, because then it recognized that what it thought was an “Agreement” was in reality a “slap in the face”.

The response of the official leadership to Trump’s statement was a disappointment, since it lacked every practical perspective and avoided frictions and political confrontation on the field against it, in spite of the fact that the official leadership had a package of decisions that had been taken by the Central Council (5/3/2015) and the Executive Committee after the Doors of Al-Aqsa battle (on 14/7 and 12/8/2017), that could have been implemented to respond to Trump’s decision on Jerusalem, after having confirmed the downfall of the bet on Washington’s role as a sponsor of the renewal of the negotiating process, a sponsorship that –if not honest— is at least not totally unbalanced (!!).

The Executive Committee remained absent in the light of those facts, and was replaced by the “Meeting of the Leadership”, a vaguely defined formula of over 60 individuals. The meeting ended without a statement being issued, and this revealed that the official leadership evades commitment vis-à-vis public opinion with a specific reply to Trump’s decision.

The postponement of decision-making to confront the behavior of the US Administration continued, and the quagmire also continued in the same spot, accompanied by some political disorder and also disorder in the media. All this revealed the depth of the crisis of the political system and the degree of confusion of the hegemonic leadership, as well as the size of its political impasse, until the Central Council met on 15/1/2018, without a previous preparatory meeting of the Executive Council. The Central Council session was preceded by days of anger in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, where the Palestinian movement expressed its discontent with US policy and the decease to a minimum level of confidence in the capacity of the official leadership and the National Institution in its present structure to be able to withstand the commitments of the next stage.

On the other hand, the Executive Committee, did not meet after Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli capital on 6/12/2017, but only on 7/3/2018 (that is, three months after Trump’s nefarious decision) (!!). And then, it only abstained from tasking a practical decision to confront that President’s determination. The Committee limited itself to two steps: it convened the Palestinian National Council 23rd session on 30/4 and formed a committee among its members and other personalities to present a document including working mechanisms to implement the Central Council’s decisions with respect to putting an end to the Oslo page, to breaking bonds with the occupation and with the Israeli economy and to adopting a new political strategy.

Nevertheless, the shocking event that surprised the Palestinian National situation was the address of the President of the Executive Committee before the UN Security Council on 20/2/2018, when for the first time he pointed out the fact that the Palestinian Authority under occupation had turned into a mere “Services Authority” and that the Palestinian official leadership had turned into “Employees of Occupation”. But instead of pulling out of this situation, through a practical step that would be appropriate to developments, it reiterated its commitment with the Oslo Agreements, completely ignored the decisions of the Central Council at its last session and launched what has come to be known as the “President’s viewpoint” when he called for a renewal of bilateral negotiations with Israel about “matters of permanent statutes” in conformity with the Oslo Agreements, and demanded “the creation of a multilateral international organ that would assist both parties in negotiations…” as an alternative to the full powers of an international conference, considering not to request the membership of the State of Palestine in international organizations. This is equivalent to abstaining from staging unilateral actions, "to stop colonization and the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel" (!!).

The address of 20/2 was considered a flagrant backpedaling from the decisions of the Central Council, and constituted an indication of the insistence of the official leadership in obstructing and evading the decisions of the institution in favor of the monopoly, and in being authoritarian when making decisions related to fundamental national matters and on important political positions.

(13) Crisis of leadership and crisis of the political system

13.1- The President’s Viewpoint once again revealed the depth of the crisis of the Palestinian political system and the crisis of its official leadership. This leadership has become an expression of the class interests of higher bureaucratic groups within the Palestinian Authority, in alliance with certain businessmen, wealthy individuals and comprador groups that have constructed class, social, economic, political and moral interests during their years at the helm of the Palestinian Authority and linking their economic interests to the prevailing reality. At the same time, in spite of the political pressures exerted by the mass movement, its organized forces and the discovery of the bankruptcy of the Oslo Agreements, the official leadership and those who represent it remain unprepared to withdraw from Oslo and to suffer the consequences, but at the same time they cannot reply to the US and Israeli conditions for the arrangement and all that the “Deal of the Century” entails with its contents leading to the liquidation of national rights.

The resolutions of the Palestinian national Council in the 23rd session managed to evade the “President’s viewpoint” in favor of the alternative international conference, but did not manage to make crumble the “permanent negotiations” completely. Thus, this issue is in fact a crack to pursue the bet on Oslo and on a “given solution” under the threshold of the “Deal of the Century”. This was clearly demonstrated in the way in which the official leadership pursued the results of the works of the Council:

• It hindered the decision to lift the unjust measures in the Gaza Strip, in spite of the fact that the President of the Authority promised the Council that this would be achieved within the following 24 hours.

• The Works of the Executive Committee were also interrupted and limited to a protocol meeting in which the Chairman and the Secretary-General of the Executive Committee were reelected. Then the so-called “consultative” meetings returned, chaired by the Committee’s Secretary-General, receiving decisions from the Chairman without previous consultations among the Committee members, so that the “proposals” of the Committee Chairman were “implemented decisions” related to the redistribution of departments among the Committee members and other matters.

• The decisions of the National Council with respect to the redefinition of the relationship with Israel were also affected. The decisions of the Central Council on January 15 2018 were transferred to a committee to be studied and for the presentation of proposals and the decisions of the National Council were again transferred to a similar committee. What was clear was that the official political leadership continues to be determined to block the transition to a new political strategy that might recover the national program, while insisting on its commitments with the Oslo Agreements and its bet on a “given solution” Coming from the United States.

It is no longer possible to separate the continuous adherence to Oslo and its commitments, the bet on a “given solution” through the US mediator, and the successive steps of the official leadership to reformulate the Palestinian political system, to change from a system based on the national coalition, democratic consensus and principles of participation to a presidential system that would replace democratic consensus among the different forces of the PLO in favor of the policy of super-decrees, even in the administration of public affairs within the PLO. What remained crystal clear was that the individual decisions and decrees of this official leadership would gradually dissolve the PLO institutions, reduce its powers, diminish its role and weaken it, to the benefit of the institutions of the Palestinian Authority, at a time when this Authority is experiencing a period of decline with respect to the authorities of occupation and its civilian administration.

13.2- In the light of the quagmire of the negotiating process, its impasse and the negative of Israel to respond to minimum demands, including the Oslo Agreements, the civilian administration of the occupation authorities implemented practical measures that confirm the failure of the Project initiated by the government of the Palestinian Authority, even since the times of Salam Fayad (former Palestinian Prime Minister) in the construction of a State under the “skin of occupation”. Furthermore, among the Israeli policies are a series of steps that have reduced to a minimum the faculties and the reach of power of the Palestinian Authority, to the point that the latter has turned into –and the very Palestinian institution acknowledges it— a mere “services authority”, which, playing a role totally alien to a Project, creates and foments the conditions for the creation of a State. In this context:

• The occupation authorities abolished differences between areas (a), (b) and (c), and they all remained open to the whims of the occupation forces to arrest, kill and exploit, without taking into account the Agreement and its protocols, that differentiated between those areas and the distribution of roles to be played between the Palestinian Authority, on the one hand, and the occupation authorities on the other.

• Furthermore, they violated the “Compensation Agreement”. The very occupation authorities, with various pretexts, attribute themselves faculties to confiscate the fiscal income at the crossroads, which belong to the Palestinian Authority. The latest example was the confiscation of the equivalent of salaries, compensations, assistance to prisoners and their families and the families of martyrs, under the pretext that this money would be channeled to the benefit of terrorism.

• The Israeli civilian administration, exceeding the powers of the Palestinian Authority, has built bridges of direct contact with businessmen, men of the area of finances and other citizens to pursue their transactions (import and export permits and other transactions and procedures related to the interests of the people), irrespective of any function of the Palestinian Authority, in a new emphasis on the possibility of railroading the Authority administrations and pushing them to the margins, taking in their hand in an absolute way all public affairs in the West Bank.

• It also exerted pressures on the US and certain countries that are friendly to the Israeli entity, to block financial assistance to the Authority with the pretext of combatting terrorism and making sure its sources go dry.

13.3- Such developments with respect to PLO institutions, on the one hand, and the institutions of the Palestinian Authority on the other, throw light on the critical changes in the Palestinian political system. After the coup staged by the movement Hamas on June 14, 2007 and the interruption of the works of the Legislative Council, the system in power transformed itself from a mixed presidential-parliamentarian system into a merely presidential system of government by decree, outside any legislative control that might restrict the dominion of the executive power over public affairs. It even takes upon itself the right to decree economic and financial laws that attempt against the interests of the poor and the low and middle classes, to the benefit of the upper wealthy class and individuals with good economic possibilities, or to silence protests and repress individual and collective freedoms, apart from involving the security apparatuses in contentions in order to block the national, democratic and leftwing forces and the general popular movement in any activity that opposes the performance of the Authority, its laws and its policies.

The continuation of this policy will lead to the reduction and the weakening of the social base of the Palestinian authority, especially in the light of its adoption of a neoliberal economic system, in conformity with the directives and instructions of the international Monetary Fund, at the expense of the interests of the popular strata and the low strata of the middle classes. This policy will weaken the capacity of the Palestinian people to resist occupation and colonialism, affecting it in its battles to defend national rights, and will weaken the conviction with respect to the seriousness of its political leaders and the Palestinian Authority in the confrontation of the policies of the Israeli occupation and its work in the construction of the project of an independent Palestinian State.

13.4- In the framework of the PLO, that witnessed backward steps to dissolve its institutions within the institutions of the Authority, and put in motion a political system in the shadow of the absolutism of the “political kitchen” (the group that manages the PNA policy), transforming itself from a parliamentarian system, based on democratic consensus, the national coalition and political and struggling participation, into a presidential system led by the decrees issued by the Executive Committee President.

Persistence in this policy will lead –through the accumulation of facts as times goes by—to put the Palestinian political system on the road of erosion, and to disassemble it in its capacity as a national liberation movement of a people under occupation, in order to transform it into a unique and authoritarian system. It will remain questioned in its representative position, since experience has proven its failure in directing the political process and the national cause and leading it through a safe path.

This alarming context requires a warning in the light of the dangers posed by these transformations and the call to open and transparent national dialogues at high levels, to review the general situation of Palestinians and to make sure things go back on their tracks. This must include the reconstruction of the Palestinian national institution with the participation of all the political and social forces without exception, through the election of a new National Council of 350 members, on the basis of the principle of the total proportional representation, that should lead to the widening of the base and the strengthening of the representative legitimacy of the coalitionist PLO. Furthermore, the Executive Committee should be reconsidered as the day-to-day political leadership of the Palestinian people, through the reconstruction of its diverse departments, including the Administrative Board of the Palestinian National Fund. Besides, the Executive Committee will have to be considered as a reference for the Palestinian Authority. The PNA is called upon to reform its political and social program to turn into a Palestinian national authority that would guarantee the interests of the widest strata of the Palestinian people and provide them with the elements of firmness in its prolonged national struggle.

(14) The Jewish Nation-State Law: the second birth of Israel

14.1- On 18/7/2018, the Israeli Knesset passed, on its third reading, the Basic Law: "Israel, the national State of the Jewish people", which was added to the basic laws of Israel with a constitutional effect and that still today represents an alternative to the Constitution in its basic, legal and legislative structure of the political system in Israel.

The idea of the above-mentioned law was born on 22/7/2013. It was debated, deliberated and amended by the political and legal circles of Israel until it was agreed that it should be issued by the present Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, with the leader of Bait Yehudi (Jewish Home) Naftali Bennett, and supported by the Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked.

What has just been stated, poses the question of the importance of the moment of the issuing of the law that was put aside during five whole years. We might find an explanation to this when considering the transformations towards the rightwing in its tendency, orientated towards a racist chauvinism that is being produced at an accelerated rhythm inside Israeli society, with its direct repercussions on the map of the parties and their coming into the ranks of the coalition, something that is being replicated in the representation of the political forces within the Knesset.

Perhaps the following three demonstrations of the texts of the bill would throw a very clear light on the degree to which those changes have become dangerous, since they put the Zionist project, with its old-new doctrine in a position of complete contradiction with national rights of the people of Palestine, making it impossible to reach any solution, even with a content of “historical arrangement” with such an entity, founded on an ideological base and which produces basic laws such as the following:

1- “The State of Israel is the national State of the Jewish people … (and) the exercise of the right to self-determination in the State of Israel is exclusive of the Jewish people” (Article I);
2- “The State is open to the arrival of Jews from the diaspora” (Article 5);
3- "The State considers the development of Jewish colonialism as a national value, and will act to foment it, support its foundation and strengthen it" (Article 7).

These rightwing changes in the depth of the political structures, inside the political structures inside Israeli society as well as in the political system are fed –on the one hand— by the growing fear of the impact of the Palestinian national advances in the territories of 1948, and, on the other, they are practically being fostered by the policy of official Arab submission in the light of the issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the struggle for national liberation of the people of Palestine. All this under the umbrella of the present policy of the US administration, characterized by an unprecedented degree of bias and support in several aspects of the policies of the Israeli government with its maximum extremist, rightwing and racist expression in the light of colonial affairs, turning everything Jewish, annexation, exclusion, isolation, etc.

Perhaps what is least needed for the official Palestinian leadership to take position about this law –which is a maximum expression of racism— is the official declaration of withdrawing the recognition of the State of Israel, especially after the Israeli government clarified in a document presented to the Zionist Supreme Court, which states that the seventh article of said law about Jewish colonialism is above any constitutional law passed or to be passed by the Knesset. Nevertheless, none of this has materialized, thus confirming once again the weakness of the political will at the level of the Palestinian official decision-making center in the light of the flagrant racist and aggressive policies adopted by the Israeli government.

14.2- Although the Jewish Nation-State Law did not contribute anything new, it constituted a legal threshold, that is, an umbrella for Israeli racist policies that are already being implemented and, at the same time, presented the Palestinian national movement with an important issue that can no longer be ignored nor evaded. If the Oslo Agreement has exploded on the topic referring to the unity of destiny between the Palestinian people in the territories of 1948 on the one hand, and in the territories occupied in 1967 on the other, the arrival of this agreement into a blind alley linked to the decree of the Jewish Nation-State Law in Israel reformulated the conditions for the Palestinian people in all the areas of its existence (those occupied in 1948, those occupied in 1967 and in the diaspora), then it is no longer possible to separate the three circles in the battles of the Palestinian national struggle. Therefore, the cause of self-determination, the struggle against colonialism, the right to return, nationalist equality, the independent sovereign State and Jerusalem, among other matters, remain as important issues that directly affect the Palestinian people in all the places where they live, so their interdependencies cannot be eliminated as specific causes with specific characteristics, with truths that are interrelated and real mutual influences among them in the movement of daily struggle.

This reality, that now imposes itself on the field of Palestinian national action places the Palestinian political mind, the Palestinian national leadership, the Arab parties in the territories of 1948 and in the factions of national action within the PLO vis-à-vis programmatic and practical questions that require clear answers, so that the program can unite the Palestinian people, reunify its national rights and develop its political slogans to elevate itself to the present level of confrontation and the level of the new challenges imposed by the Jewish Nation-State Law and other racist laws, with the aim of underlining what is required: the concept and program of the achievement of self-determination, that in turn requires a struggle in three directions (the State, the return and national equality). This determines that “the progress and the success of the struggle of our people in any one of them would be a strengthening and a support to the national liberation struggle in the other two contexts”. That is how it is confirmed by the political program of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (Chapter I, 2 – The Palestinian Revolution: its tasks and objectives, paragraph 2).

Early September, 2018

 
 

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