By Abdul Bari Atwan
On October 20, the Palestinian-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following opinion piece by Chief Editor Abdul-Bari Atwan:
"It is difficult for us to understand this free concessions "surge" launched by the Palestinian Authority, its officials and president, and directly affecting the national principles. It is also difficult for us to understand this icy and confusing silence in the ranks of the Palestinian people toward these concessions.
"Indeed, following the condemnable statements issued by the secretary general of the "expired" Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee, Mr. Yasser Abed Rabbo, in which he recognized the acceptance of the Jewish character of the Israeli state in exchange for a clearly demarcated map, his president, Mahmud Abbas, shocked us once again with another more dangerous fatwa in which he expressed his willingness to end the conflict with Israel and relinquish all the Palestinian historical demands once a peace settlement is reached between the two sides over the establishment of a Palestinian state on the June 4, 1967 border.
"These statements are not mere test balloons. They are part of a carefully studied plan to prepare the Palestinian public opinion for a settlement based on the full submission to Israeli demands, including the annulment of the right of return, the recognition of the Jewish character of Israel and the acceptance of the population exchange and not just the exchange of territories. Mr. Salam Fayyad's confirmation of his determination to proclaim the Palestinian state before next September and President Obama's one-year ceiling for the current negotiations are not a coincidence…, recognizing that Abbas and Abed Rabbo were the main concocters of the negotiations in Oslo and that they supervised their labyrinths in the operations room they established and overlooked in the office of the first in Tunisia.
"Mr. Abed Rabbo has always been "a fan" of free concessions and was always happy to cooperate with the Israeli demands to show the extent of his moderation. He entered history as the first Palestinian official to relinquish the right of return of the refugees in the Geneva document which he signed as a member of the PLO Executive Committee, and now wants to repeat this "ground-breaking" step by recognizing the Jewish character of the state in order to enhance his position among his American and Israeli friends. We are currently facing a series of concessions bringing back to mind their counterparts that were made by the PLO in 1974 when it recognized the ten points, implicitly accepted the existence of Israel and relinquished the secular state…, before falling in the ditch of the Oslo Accord. The paradox is that Mr. Abbas was among the promoters of this inclination.
"Now, the same scenario is repeated but in a more extreme way, firstly seen when President Abbas surprised his hosts among the leaders of the Jewish lobby with whom he met in Washington last August, by recognizing the Jews' rights in Palestine and their deeply-rooted historical presence in it. When he was reassured by the absence of any Palestinian popular or factional reaction, he went even further when he did not oppose the naming of Israel as a Jewish state during another meeting with the Jewish leaders in New York, on the sidelines of the last UN General Assembly session held last month. Also in the absence of any Palestinian reaction, he violated all the red lines and expressed – in statements to an Israeli paper – his willingness to end the state of war and annul all the historical rights of the Palestinian people in exchange for the establishment of a state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
"We do not know where President Abbas got all this strength and self confidence to make all these dangerous concessions, although he does not carry any assignments and does not enjoy any national and constitutional legitimacy since his term ended two years ago … The side we blame the most is the Hamas movement. We say it with a lot of regret, because as the leader of the resistance movements and the Palestinian rejectionist camp, it "facilitated" these concessions when it showed tolerance toward some officials in it or affiliated with it, who played a role similar to that of Mr. Abed Rabbo and presented settlement proposals without being asked to do so. These proposals were closer to the authority's proposals, considering they featured the acceptance of a state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in exchange for truce or the reengagement in reconciliation talks with an authority whose legitimacy they are questioning…
"I personally do not know what happened to the Palestinian people and how they became for the most part an idle body in the face of the attempts to liquidate their cause and their rights in a gradual way by those claiming to speak on their behalf. These people who were numbed by salaries, being misled and deceit need to be awakened from their deep sleep before it is too late."
Source: Al Quds
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.