Members of the Palestine Liberation Organisation have agreed that Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas should abandon the current negotiations with Israel and work instead through the international institutions at the UN to hold the occupation accountable for its crimes. They have also stressed that the occupation is using the negotiations as a cover to expand settlements, Judaise Palestine, and buy more time to continue committing these crimes.
The members urged President Abbas to end the Palestinian division and to restore national unity in order to strongly confront Israel. They also noted the need to formulate an approved national strategy that expands the resistance against the occupation, and which puts Israel in a position of accountability for all the crimes it has committed against the land, sanctities, and prisoners.
Most of the factions in the PLO are refusing the PA and President Abbas's continuation of negotiations with the Israeli occupation because of the lack of tangible results on the ground.
Talal Abu Zarifa, a leading member of the political bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, stated that there is a national consensus amongst the factions in the PLO regarding putting an end to the negotiations with the occupation. This decision is informed by the failed 20 year course of negotiations and the fact that they have now reached an impasse. They consider it to be a waste of time, with the only party benefiting from the negotiations being the occupation.
In an interview with Al-Estqlal, Abu Zarifa explained that any serious political process that could result in a comprehensive and balanced peace must meet the following minimum requirements: completely stopping settlement activity, the international legal resolutions must be the foundation for any solution, Israel must acknowledge all the 1967 borders, there must be an international reference that is not biased towards Israel, and a timeframe for negotiations must be set.
Abu Zarifa also noted that the current negotiations are being held at the moment without meeting any of the aforementioned requirements, which conflicts with the position of the national Palestinian consensus expressed by the executive committee during its last meeting. Indeed, these negotiations were rejected by the vast majority.
Abu Zarifa also stated that most of the promises made by Israel to the PA president regarding halting the settlement activities have been proven false. There are 25,000 settlement units that have been built since the resumption of the negotiations. Moreover, the wall continues to be built and Jerusalem continues to be Judaised, all of which benefits the occupation, especially as Israel uses the negotiations as a cover-up for these crimes during a time when it is suffering from isolation as a result of its foreign policies. However, it is able to save face through these negotiations, which have stopped the European Union from calling for a boycott of the settlements.
He also called on Abbas to adhere to the national Palestinian consensus and abandon the negotiations in order to work on unifying his people, ending the division, and formulating an approved national strategy based on expanding the resistance against the occupation and taking matters to the international institutions at the UN in order hold Israel accountable for all its crimes against the land, sanctities, and prisoners.
For his part, Talat Al-Safadi, a member of the Political Bureau of the People's Party, also explained that the PLO factions have agreed on not resuming negotiations on Israeli and American terms unless the requirements set by the central committee are met, most importantly, Israel's recognition of the PLO's demands and the right of the Palestinians to determine their own fate, as well as an end to the settlement activity and the need to adhere to the Palestinian national consensus.
In his interview with Al-Estqlal, Al-Safadi added that the diplomatic developments on the Iranian nuclear issue reflect the beginning of a real step towards resolving Middle Eastern issues, including the Arab-Israeli conflict.
A resistance reference
He also pointed out that those in the PLO who reject the negotiations are not merely voices or a means of pressuring Abbas, but the truth. He added that the American position is not neutral because it supports Israel in order to protect its own interests in the Middle East as well as defend its security. Therefore, we must change the playing cards and resort to the UN, as well as enhance our relations with Russia and China, which have now formed a new axis in the region, especially after the failure of the American raid against Syria.
Al-Safadi also noted that there is no one form of resistance against the occupation, rather there are a number of options and tools that we must employ to serve the Palestinian cause. Moreover, we must combine negotiations and resistance, a matter that requires a popular aspect in order for these tools not to be used just for show. He also called for the need for everyone to adhere to the national reconciliation document which stresses the need for a unified reference for resistance in every form, including armed struggle, diplomacy and resorting to the UN.
A sterile approach
As for the senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Jamil Mazhar, he said that "the position of his leadership was expressed through its complete rejection of the negotiations after they had reached an impasse with the occupation." He added that, "the reasons for this rejection are related to national matters, because the occupation will continue to expand its settlements and its process of Judaisation, so it is not right for us to continue with the same approach that hasn't achieved anything new on the ground."
During his interview with Al-Estqlal, Mazhar called on the PA, led by President Abbas, to end the division, restore national unity, and set a plan that can be agreed upon by everyone. He also called for taking action on an international level and using all forms of resistance in order for the Palestinian people to realise their rights.
Report by Enas Al-Zard