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The Palestine National Council: More of the same thing

August 24, 2015 at 3:23 pm

Holding a session for the Palestine National Council (PNC) should have been the “culmination” of a comprehensive national reconciliation process and a substantial reconstruction of the tattered Palestinian political system. It should also be a new launch of the Palestinian national movement following a new strategic path after the failure of the attempts to strip the Palestinians of their national rights through the choice of the “negotiations life”.  However, the current preparations taking place now to hastily hold a special or extraordinary session suggests something different. It suggests that the old division will remain the same and that a new division will expand to include new forces, factions and figures. It suggests that the old disastrous policies based on stalling and remaining committed to losing bets will remain the same and that those responsible for the miserable failure admitted by Yasser Abed Rabbo will be rewarded for their failure by moving up in the PA and decision-making ranks. As for those who are leaving the tight decision-making circle, after being at the tip of the PA for many unjustified years and decades, they have done nothing wrong except that the “circle of those brought together by their hearts and pockets” has gotten too tight for them.

We expect no changes based on the preparations being made hurriedly that aim to re-organise the Palestinian internal affairs according to the standards of one individual or only one trend. We have no hope in the measures that are being taken for no other reason than to eliminate opponents, reinforce the iron grip and ensure a safe transition to retirement, which is not at all considered early retirement. More importantly, we will be facing a process of re-stacking a layer of political officials responsible for the failure and stalling, as well as the recycled policies that have been tried time and time again in vain.

This is not the PNC we aspired for and hoped would be re-formed based on democracy by means of free and honest elections whenever possible. There are many places that can host transparent and democratic elections. This is not the council that includes all the national Palestinian components, organisations, figures and generations both inside Palestine and in the Diaspora that we looked forward to as a step on the path of revision and a second start. This is not the council that will carry the burden of advancing the national movement and its progress on its shoulders after over 25 years of disappointments, defeats and setbacks.

This is not the Palestinian legitimacy we had hoped for and dreamt about that would be democratically renewed. Instead, we are facing a coup by the legitimacy against legitimacy; we are facing an attempt to use “legitimate” structures that I will say have grown old instead of saying have lost their legitimacy, in order to gain false legitimacy. I know, they know, and even the entire Palestinian nation knows that these structures have no meaning or value unless they stem from the free and independent will of the Palestinian people, who are the source of all authorities, legitimacies and powers. It is a coup of the close rooms against one another. What will come after the next PNC session will not differ from the one before it except that it will have “more of the same thing”, i.e. bigger privileges given to the president after eliminating the opponents, competitors, complainers and “conspirers”. There will be deeper divisions, both vertically and horizontally, and a bitter divorce between the people, wherever they are, and the “sole legitimate representative”. We will witness more political displacement and struggle brought about by the geographic and demographic diaspora suffered by the Palestinians.

If the “distraction” of renewing the leadership and legitimacy in Ramallah coincides with the “disaster” of a continued truce or Oslo 2 in Gaza, then the result will be the ultimate disaster for the Palestinian people and their national cause, which have fallen victim of the power struggle and division between the authorities on the occupied and besieged ends of the country. The national Palestinian movement will enter a long bitter dark tunnel unless the Palestinian people play their traditional role of becoming involved in matters and turning the tables on the players and putting all the sides in their places. This matter has not been ruled out.

Only a heated confrontation against the occupation and settlements will stop the Palestinian cause and its national movement in the West Bank and Gaza Strip from slipping into the lowest circle of hell. This confrontation may come about through the free and conscious will of the Palestinian people and by means of an initiative on their part without waiting for their factions or forces (whichever ones are still alive at the time). It may come about as a reaction to the tyranny of the occupation and its discrimination, which has happened many times in the past. However, if the factional elites are left to their own devices then the Palestinian horizon will thicken with more black clouds and unknown fates. Haven’t I said on several occasions that the factions that were once assets to the Palestinian people have now become burdens on them?


Translated from Addustour on 24 August 2015.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.