The Palestinian people have the right to live in the kind of democracy that the West and the East are talking about repeatedly. With over 60 per cent of the population being made up of young people, they also have the right to be led by younger people, with the elders who have been shown to be incapable in terms of their policies and practices, and less aware politically, stepping aside. The current leaders have less influence over the course of events than the resistance movements.
The Palestinian people are fed up, and are refusing to have their capabilities shackled by the decisions of an aging president, while seeing their land usurped even as the same president's "sacred" security cooperation with the Israeli occupation authorities continues. The people refuse to be silenced when they hear false claims of achievements, and they will not be silent while their homeland is being stolen by Jewish settlers.
The people have been very patient as they have waited for change. Now the time has come to take action and bring about that change, using all of the cultural, academic, political, organisational, popular, institutional and familial means at their disposal. The call has been made for the removal of Mahmoud Abbas from all of his leadership positions in the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Fatah and, of course, the Palestinian Authority. The people must be allowed to decide who will lead them on the path to freedom, to end the occupation and remove its agents who have insulted Palestine's history, resistance, cause, people, future and destiny.
Thousands of Palestinian individuals have thus signed a petition, the contents of which reflects the conscience of the people. The text is as follows:
We, the undersigned Palestinian intellectuals, academics and public figures, address the Palestinian people including all of its active and struggling forces with this petition in order to strip what remains of the legitimacy of President Mahmoud Abbas, and demand his resignation or immediate dismissal from all his leadership positions: the Presidency of the Palestinian Authority, the presidency of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, and the presidency of the Fatah movement. We call on them to support the national campaign to rebuild the Palestine Liberation Organisation, and the election of an alternative leadership for the Palestinian people.
The recent glorious Jerusalem Intifada has revealed the resounding impotence of the president, his policies and his authority, and the Palestinian public have had enough. Since the start of the intifada in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, and then its expansion to include Al-Aqsa, Jerusalem, then Gaza, the West Bank, the occupied Palestinian territories and diaspora, the president has been the most prominent absentee. After the end of the battle, Abbas added to his political record another failure represented in the absence of moral solidarity with the suffering of the Palestinian people as a whole, even at its minimum levels. He did not bother visiting the families of martyrs in Gaza and the West Bank or to seize this opportunity as the beginning of the end of the division. Instead, the Jerusalem Intifada revealed the extent of the self-paralysis in which the president placed himself, and even restrained a longstanding national movement with a great history like Fatah and froze it, if not destroyed it, along with the PLO, its leadership, and its representation of the Palestinian people, which unfortunately was the second most notable absentee in the Jerusalem Intifada.
The call to dismiss Abbas provides a quick inventory of the past three decades, which indicates that the path of the "peace negotiations" achieved nothing but a mirage. In the absence of real, effective national institutions that would be able to hold accountable those responsible for political failure, such as the Palestinian National Council, the Palestine Liberation Organisation or the Palestinian Central Council, it has become imperative for everyone in the nation to raise their voices clearly and demand the removal of the failures, headed by Mahmoud Abbas himself.
The petition summarised the sins of Mahmoud Abbas in the following points:
- Three decades of utter failure by this president, the decline of the Palestine issue with him, and the erosion of Palestinian rights.
- His continued declaration of hostility towards the resistance and the uprising.
- His shameful absence from the last Jerusalem Intifada.
- Freezing and impeding the Fatah movement, and paralysing the effectiveness of its organisational institutions.
- Freezing the PLO and keeping it completely absent from the struggle and representation of the Palestinians, and not listening to the calls of all sectors of the people for it to be reformed.
- Transforming the interim Oslo process and its dangerous gamble into a permanent regime, based in its essence on providing security services to the Zionist occupation.
- Transforming the Palestinian Authority into a dictatorial institution ruled by a single individual, with laws issued according to Abbas's own mood, under the guise of presidential decrees, without any oversight or accountability.
- Cancelling the Palestinian legislative election, which was scheduled for last month, and thereby solidifying the absence of any electoral or militant legitimacy that can be referred to.
- Continuing to try the same things over and over again, with the same lack of results, and his mad commitment to the negotiations path, that he has been committed to for the past three decades, without listening to the mood of the people or their advisory bodies.
- His submission to the sponsorship of the US, which is in the same trench with Israel and its Zionist project, and then accepting the US as an "honest" broker.
- His failure to bear the responsibility of taking serious measures to end the divisions given his capacity as the leading figure for the Palestinian people.
- His neglect of any serious and real unitary struggle project or horizon.
In conclusion, the signatories said:
We declare that this president no longer has any political or national legitimacy, and he must resign immediately, or be removed from the three leadership positions he controls. We call upon our Palestinian people to join this call, and to turn over a new leaf based on the unity of the struggle, the unity of the people, and the unity of the land, and to begin rebuilding the PLO in a unitary and representative manner for all. We also call for launching popular resistance in the entire occupied land.
The Palestinian people no longer have the luxury of time to waste with a president who has proven his failure and has no project, while our enemy is devouring our land and our rights every day. The truth must be told as it is, without any niceties or hesitation.
I signed this petition in a personal capacity, and I call upon the Palestinian masses to take action against this tyrant, who has destroyed the foundations on which our Palestinian cause was and should be based.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.