The decisions taken by the secretaries-general of the Palestinian factions on 3 September in a joint online meeting from Ramallah and Beirut have been embodied in the first statement issued on Sunday by the Unified National Leadership of Popular Resistance in Palestine. It was the launch of a comprehensive popular struggle which will not end until the creation of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, to which the statement’s signatories aspire.
A reproduction of the 1987 Intifada has been called for, as it was distinguished by being a collective popular uprising. With partnership across civil society and using non-violent means, its effectiveness was unparalleled.
This does not mean that a new intifada will not be confrontational with the Israeli occupation, nor does it mean that the occupiers will leave it to develop and that its leadership will be left alone to manage the conflict, building its public reputation in the process. This will all depend on the response to the intifada within Palestinian society, and public participation according to the agenda prepared by the leadership. How much support it gets will depend on how effective it is in making the occupation too costly for Israel.
The agenda calls for activities to start today, 15 September, with the raising of Palestinian flags, followed by black flags on 18 September as a protest accompanying sit-ins by the families of martyrs whose bodies are being detained by the Israelis. This may mobilise Palestinian civil society in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.
Despite the importance of activities to confront the occupation, the Palestinian leadership still has to present serious steps that reflect the unity of their will and options to unite institutions, such as reshaping the government to include Hamas and other factions. Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh should be a member of the Fatah Central Committee, while his deputy should be from Hamas and from the Gaza Strip.
Municipal elections should be conducted, especially in Gaza, to create a national partnership in the most important civil institutions that express the will of the people and are in their service.
Reform of the Palestine Liberation Organisation should be a priority, so that its Executive Committee can include members from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command, As-Sa’iqa and the Palestinian National Initiative.
Moreover, the unconstitutional decision to dissolve the Palestinian Legislative Council should be revoked in preparation for holding presidential and legislative elections.
If this is done, a political front will be created for unity within the PLO and its institutions, including the Palestinian Authority, municipalities, the presidency and the PLC.
The call by the Unified National Leadership of Popular Resistance to revive the Arab front in support of the struggle of the Palestinian people will receive a positive response from the Arab parties, including those from the nationalist, Islamic, leftist and national liberal trends, as well as trade unions and civil society institutions across the Arab world, because this is their duty. This may either be through activities against the occupation, or by integration and participation within the PLO institutions and their activities.
Combined efforts against the “deal of the century” and its repercussions must be matched by action to end the occupation and continue the joint struggle until freedom and independence are achieved, and Palestinian refugees are able to exercise their legitimate right to return. Joint action against the Israeli occupation has been called for; it is better late than never.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.