Statements by chief negotiator Saeb Erekat have revealed the political blunder in Palestine. The man admitted that since the resumption of negotiations in July 2013, Israel has killed 31 Palestinians in cold blood and announced several tenders for the construction of 5,992 settlement housing units ( three times the natural growth of New York ); the Israelis have demolished 209 houses and other buildings; the terrorist acts committed by illegal Jewish settlers increased by 41 per cent; and the Knesset proposed laws to divide Al-Aqsa Mosque, which has made it impossible to continue the negotiations.
Erekat’s admission is serious and the members of Fatah should be the first to analyse it, in order to discover the extent and magnitude of the crisis facing the Palestinian cause. They may also realise that the resumption of negotiations are an easy way to kill the Palestinians, seize their land and destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque.
What makes matters worse for the Palestinians is the chief negotiator’s conviction, which he stated in an interview on 19 December, that there is a possibility of achieving an agreement with Israel by the end of the negotiations’ time frame in April 2014. He said it was possible on condition that Israel commits to stopping settlement activity and unilateral actions; otherwise, he holds Israel responsible for the failure of peace negotiations.
What harm will come to Israel from the failure of the negotiations? It is willing to take responsibility for the failure as long as the negotiations have enabled it to violate the people’s rights and control the land referred to as Area C. Anyone able to control the land after killing its residents must have foreign, political and media support. Just as the world recognised the state of Israel on the 1948 borders and later acknowledged the settlements as a reality on the ground in the West Bank and Jerusalem, the world will later recognise the absolute influence of the occupation over 60 per cent of the West Bank.
The horizon of the Palestinian political leadership has become narrow and it has trapped itself in the cage of negotiations and limited the Palestinian cause to the people living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. This was reflected in the chief negotiator’s interview with Al Quds Al Arabi on Monday, 23 December, when he said: “In the event that the negotiations fail, we must achieve our national reconciliation very quickly by returning to the will of the people and resorting to the ballot box, as well as strengthening our internal front in the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem and the occupied territories. We must also continue building the institutions of our country.”
We can conclude from Erekat’s words that achieving a Palestinian reconciliation quickly will be the first response to the failure of the negotiations. However, Palestinian reconciliation should be a priority over and above negotiations, rather than becoming a means to apply pressure at the negotiations table.
He suggests that the ballot box in Gaza and the West Bank is the way to reconciliation, and herein lies the danger to the Palestinian cause, because the most basic rules of political awareness indicate that the Palestinian refugees in the diaspora are the core of the conflict with the enemy.
Furthermore, it is clear from what Erekat has said that the victim is not thinking about moving his neck from under the knife, especially now that Mahmoud Abbas insists on taking John Kerry’s latest proposals that preserve the Israeli occupation to the Arab League in order to receive its blessings or for the foreign ministers to make some amendments to it. However, this contradicts with the most basic legal right for those being wronged not to wait for the opinion of others regarding their killers’ actions, but for the victims to defend themselves before asking for help from anyone else.
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