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Meetings in Ramallah and Cairo and the spectre of an attack

August 17, 2018 at 7:03 pm

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas participates in the Palestinian Central Council meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s National Council in the West Bank city of Ramallah [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

The Palestinian agenda is crowded with political meetings and debates, and the reality is experiencing a political struggle that will shape the features of the next phase. However, the elements of the Palestinian political activity are, as usual, going in different directions that do not converge. Abu Mazen is gathering his special team in the Central Committee to continue moving and jumping between the PLO’s different departments, which do not represent the Palestinian forces. This is an unprecedented political disturbance and we cannot imagine there is anyone who trusts these meetings that come up with recommendations to shift it from a political body to another context or from a committee to a council, etc. However, we have not seen an implementation of any of these recommendations, as if whoever came up with these decisions is aware that they will be lost and would not be implemented or activated. The situation with the issue of security coordination with the occupation is the clearest example of this.

The Ramallah team is moving towards a Central Committee session after having lost more political forces that were a part of it not too long ago. More dangerous than this is the fact that this loss means that the fact that they have gaining exclusivity over the PLO has been exposed. This is very provoking to those who are concerned with the Palestinian political reality, and internal voices from the political organisation that have the most influence over the PLO have become openly annoyed by the approach of the leader and his team.

Talk of the principle of the legality of holding a Central Committee meeting causes those in the legal, national and political fields to wonder about the magnitude of indifference of whoever is creating the official Palestinian policy. They are designing the policy based on their own path regarding the achievement of the national reconciliation, and completely disregard what was discussed in Beirut regarding holding a united PNC session that brings together everyone and holding free elections. It is as if the Palestinian reconciliation enables the government to extend its control over the Gaza Strip, while what is required is to gather the divided parties and build a political program that enables everyone to face the occupation, the Nation-State Bill, Trump and his deal.

Israel, Hamas agree truce to end Gaza flare-up

The Central Committee’s session goes on to accumulate more complexities that cause separation from the national project rather than doing the opposite. This is because we are not in a political arena that gives us the luxury of talking about moving from the illusion of an authority to a state on paper. The events in the Holy City, the geographic reality on the ground, settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, and the blockade and continued aggression in Gaza confirm that we are still suffering from attempts to distort concepts established in the minds of our young generations. What state are they talking about while we are still fighting an ongoing battle for liberation? It is strange for us to rush to establish a ministry when we do not have sovereignty; it is humiliating to enroot ourselves behind empowerment while we are living under the boots of the occupation army.

On the other hand, the Palestinian forces went to Cairo and met after previous discussions inside the Gaza Strip to discuss more details on the truce, siege and reconciliation according to those who attended the meetings. Those following the details of the Egyptian and international efforts in this context are aware that serious attempts to achieve a truce and address aspects of the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip are just around the corner.

These ongoing debates are distinguished by the fact that they bring together as many Palestinian forces as possible and discuss real concerns. However, what raises concern is the fact that everyone participating in this context knows that the indirect negotiations between Hamas and the occupation may slip into escalation and a war front at any moment. This is especially since the atmosphere is already on the verge of explosion and the children, even before the men and resistance in the Gaza Strip are aware that this enemy is a coward, deceitful and could move towards escalation before reaching the final stage of any expected truce.

Therefore, everyone responding to the mediating parties must realise that the Great March of Return protests have added a number of important qualitative aspects to the Palestinian resistance, and we cannot lose them by relying on fake promises. Furthermore, political cunningness requires preserving this option and appreciating the sacrifices that were made during these marches, as well as remaining determined until the return called for by the march is achieved. This practically means the demise of the occupation.

‘Hamas delegation has returned to Egypt with all the answers’

It is also important that the Palestinians refuse to trade their needs for their constants and weapons. It can be said that the confidence and trust in the organisers of the Great March of Return reassures us that the sacrifices will not go in vain. Instead, it will allow the resisting Palestinians to break the political reality that the occupation tried to impose before 30 March, meaning that the march achieved important goals it had called for, and achieved an unprecedented Palestinian consensus. This image of national consensus and unity is required to confront the occupation.

To sum it up, Ramallah goes to the Central Committee session and Cairo receives the delegations of the factions. There are dozens of speculations and hundreds of statements that create confusion in the street, which is gradually losing its confidence in his leadership. However, the state of certainty within everyone that the sound of a mock raid in Gaza’s air space is enough to control thoughts to focus on the enemy waiting on the border to seize the opportunity to hit the resisting marchers. This pushes us to wait for a reconciliation based on the Great March of Return.

This article first appeared in Arabic on the Palestinian Information Centre on 17 August 2018

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