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When Abbas refuses to be another Antoine Lahad

May 4, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has stressed in discussions on the sidelines of reconciliation talks in Cairo that he refuses to let the Palestinian Authority become a security apparatus protecting Israel like the militias led by Antoine Lahad and his ilk in southern Lebanon. His position is one which we hope will deepen, because the PA has actually played such a role since day one of its foundation in the hope that it will grow into an independent Palestinian state. This has still not been achieved; in fact, the situation has worsened. Witness the fact that the Palestinian President no longer has power or responsibilities on the ground following the Israeli civil administration return to work in the occupied territories.

President Abbas was right to refuse to allocate US financial aid to the PA solely for security purposes, a condition imposed by Washington in response to Abbas’s approach to the UN Security Council for membership of an independent State of Palestine. In doing so he defied the US administration, which wants him to return to negotiations in line with Israeli demands. Because the Oslo Accords, which resulted in the formation of PA, were an US-Israel ploy designed to protect the security of Israel in the first place, this is what has been happening for the past eighteen years.

However, the refusal to turn the Authority into another “Lahad force” in the West Bank is not enough, especially in the light of ongoing Israeli settlement building and the collapse of the entire peace process. US-Israeli intentions towards the Palestinian people and their legitimate demands for independence are clear. The Authority should not provide security services to the Israelis and their illegal settlers; it must act in the national interests, providing all due services for the Palestinian people as they struggle under Israeli occupation.

Achieving national reconciliation, the reconstruction of the PLO, including its expansion to include resistance groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, are encouraging steps, provided that they are followed by moves to restore the dignity of the Palestinian people and their just cause.

This requires a return to resistance in all forms against the Israeli occupation, removing the fear of the occupation under the pretext of the imbalance in power. It is wrong for Arabs to rise against the repressive regime in Syria, and those in Egypt and Tunisia before it, while there is apparent calm in the occupied West Bank. We have not seen a single “Tahrir Square” demonstration against the occupation in Ramallah.

President Abbas wants the presidential elections to be held in May so that he can retire and leave public office. That is his right, but it may be better for him and others who have relied on the negotiation process for more than twenty years to end his political career on a high leading an uprising of the Palestinian people against the Israeli occupation. This would carry even more symbolic importance given that Fatah, of which he was one of the historic founders, is soon to commemorate the first shot fired against the Israeli occupation at a time when the West Bank and Gaza Strip were under Arab sovereignty. Why should everything be quiet under Israeli occupation?

Source: Al-Quds Opinion