The US decided to shut down the PLO office in Washington as a punitive measure for the PA's refusal to go along with the "deal of the century". It is also the US' response to the PA's measures of resorting to the ICC to prosecute the occupation for the war crimes it committed against the Palestinians.
The US leaves no opportunity for the so-called "peace" talks when it puts some Arabs in awkward positions after announcing regular decisions and measures against the oppression Palestinian people. After deciding to move the embassy to Jerusalem and to recognise a unified Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and after the decision to cut financial aid to UNRWA, the decision to close the PLO office comes as a hostile measure that classifies the PA as an anti-Washington government.
It seems that there aren't many options for the actors in the PA, as they can no longer find justifications to convince the Palestinian people that the negotiations can lead to political solutions for the conflict over the seized land, especially since the Judaisation and settlement processes have picked up pace since December.
Since Trump's presidency, the White House administration has openly declared its extreme hostility towards the Palestinian cause. We should perhaps give credit to this administration for removing all of the masks previous administrations hid behind, and which they used to promote the illusion of peace and peaceful co-existence with the occupation that seized the land and displaced millions.
The measures taken by the American administration, pressed by the "New Evangelicals" and the influential Jewish lobby in the US, perhaps reveals the fact that the war is not waged by Israel alone, but also waged by the US specifically against the Palestinians. The war ignited by Netanyahu against UNRWA ended with the American president's approval of a decision to cut annual aid to UNRWA, amounting to about $360 million.
The truth is the war on the UNRWA is actually a war on the refugees, who make up the majority of the Palestinian people as they were expelled from their land, and a war on the Palestinian nation as a whole. The PA's most recent statistics indicate that the Palestinian population living in Palestine and in the diaspora is made up of over 13 million people.
Israel and America see this as a demographic threat to Israel, and therefore, UNRWA's work had to be stopped in order to drop the refugee issue, as it is considered one of the central issues in the negotiations. Trump's administration wanted to end the refugee issue and completely uproot it, while the Israeli plan sought to deal a fatal blow to a central issue as big and symbolic as the refugee issue. The truth is that the US basically committed what amounts to a war crime against the Palestinians, which could be added to its black record in relation to this nation.
In addition to this decision which is of a social nature, a decision of a political nature – in the form of shutting down the PLO office in Washington – was made. It is a strong political signal, from Washington to the Ramallah authority that whoever opposes Washington's plans will be isolated and will be damned, so they either get with the programme and surrender the historic rights of a displaced nation or choose the fate of the late Yasser Arafat.
If we summarise what happened during the past months, we will find that the United States has declared three wars against the Palestinian people. The first is of a religious nature, when it made its decision regarding Jerusalem, the second is of a social and economic nature by imposing the siege not only on those living in Palestine but also to those who have been living in refugee camps for nearly 70 years, and the third is of a political nature, in the form of backing the PA into a corner in order to force it to accept the Trump-Netanyahu plans.
Faced with this reality, which doesn't require any effort to interpret and cannot bear the defence of hypothetical peace, the only option that remains is that of resistance. It is the only option that has proven in the past and present that it is the path that leads to the enemy's submission and its acceptance to sit at the negotiating table and recognise the people's rights.
Today the features of the battle are beginning to become clear, and it is leading to real confrontation with no compromise. It is the stage of comprehensive resistance that will force the enemy to submit, and those riding the "Jewish state" bandwagon must wake up. It is true that the regional, international and Arab conditions in particular are no longer the same as they were in the past decades, but nothing can change the status and symbolism of Jerusalem, which remains the correct compass of the battle.
This article first appeared in Arabic in the Palestinian Information Centre on 20 September 2018
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.