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The consequences of a corrupt Palestinian leadership

December 16, 2016 at 12:01 pm

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (C) attends the 7th General Assembly meeting of Fatah Movement in Ramallah, West Bank on 29 November 2016 [Palestinian Presidency/Anadolu Agency]

The latest poll conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) has depicted clearly what the Palestinian Authority and the international community are intent on ignoring. The divide between the internationally-recognised Palestinian representation and the Palestinian people it is supposed to represent has become more prominent, which should automatically elicit immediate discussion and implementation of a political alternative. However, disrupting the obsolete hypothesis of the two-state paradigm is not a viable option for the corrupt and complicit political actors.

A look at the poll findings indicates an increasing mistrust of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, with 64 per cent of the respondents preferring his resignation. The lack of confidence has also been expressed with regard to Fatah’s Seventh Conference; 54 per cent “do not have confidence in the new leadership” and “48 per cent do not believe that the selection of Abbas as head of Fatah will help consolidate [his] legitimacy as the president of the PA and chairman of the PLO Executive Committee.” According to the survey, if new presidential elections were to be held, the main contenders would be Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas and Fatah’s Marwan Barghouti. Participants have also expressed a lack of optimism with regard to reconciliation and 34 per cent have blamed the PA for obstacles with regard to the reconciliation process.

Section 6 of the poll results — headed “The peace process” — portrays the decline of diplomacy and Palestinian support for armed resistance as well as non-violent popular resistance, with 37 per cent and 24 per cent respectively. However, it should be noted that these percentages are also tied to the two-state compromise. The survey shows that 65 per cent of respondents consider the two-state option to be “no longer viable” and 61 per cent also expect the French initiative to degenerate into another failure. There is also an increase of support for the dissolution of the PA and a return to an armed intifada in the absence of negotiations. In addition, 73 per cent of respondents have expressed worry over land confiscation and home demolitions by Israel. The international approach is preferred over bilateral negotiations.

There are two main issues that necessitate discussion. It is clear that Palestinians have rejected Abbas as their purported representative leader. Yet there is no concern within the international community regarding this discrepancy between the conveniently designated president of the PA and the people. Hence, there must be a clear consensus at an international level that, despite Palestinian discontent, Abbas is the necessary option in the aim to fragment Palestine permanently into oblivion. This should in turn elicit questions as to why Palestinians feel that the international option is preferred over bilateral negotiations, since one is an automatic extension of the other.

Palestinian rejection of, or disillusion with, diplomacy has been discussed within the two-state framework, which has been declared obsolete several times even by the international community itself. Thus, the statistics, while indicating Palestinian demands and concerns, are still tethered to a stagnant process. In this regard, the concept of Palestinian resistance tied solely to “building a Palestinian state next to the state of Israel” should be considered as a departure from the concept of resistance aiming for liberation from colonialism. If resistance is also shackled to the two-state illusion, it is an even clearer indication that diplomatic overtures towards this alleged aim are futile. Resistance with the ultimate aim of compromise thwarts the concept and ideals which have shaped the Palestinian struggle.

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