Gaza Shatters Israel’s Prestige

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on 

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A fire breaks out at dawn in Khan Yunis after an Israeli airstrike on targets in the southern Gaza Strip, May 12, 2021 (Photo: Youssef Massoud / AFP)

Elijah J. Magnier

With its different factions, Gaza collectively enshrined the state of consciousness of all of Palestine and achieved its goal of breaking Israel’s prestige, despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim that the country had become “a superpower, not just a regional power.” This new Palestinian awareness was achieved in the wake of the escalation and aggressive Israeli campaign against the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, inhabited by more than 38 Palestinian families threatened with eviction from their homes. Israel also savagely attacked protesters and worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The fate of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood has become an international issue raising global awareness and solidarity with the oppressed Palestinians. The Palestinian cause had been absent from the international scene following the normalizations of Arab and Islamic countries after Donald Trump offered all of Jerusalem to Israel.

However, the battle in Gaza is not expected to end any time soon, because Israel will try to restore the deterrent power it has lost due to Palestinian missiles successfully fired from Gaza. A noteworthy fact is the 1948 Arab uprising. After 72 years of coexistence, in the city of Lod in particular and in other mixed Arab-Israeli cities, they have shown that the new generation wants its occupied territory back, rejecting the unsuccessful Oslo and Camp David agreements.The turn of events is not only generated from the field: Gaza rockets burn the ground under the feet of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas delayed parliamentary and presidential elections that would inevitably lead to the loss of the presidency he has held since 2005. Of course, Israel believes that the current Palestinian president is its best partner, because he has rejected armed resistance. Moreover, Abbas maintains security cooperation with Israel and avoids any possibility of Palestinians living in the West Bank joining Gaza to confront both Israeli aggression and expansion.

It is plausible that Israel also acted in its own self-interest by disrupting the Palestinian presidential elections that coincided with the illegal eviction of families from Sheikh Jarrah, with the aim of preventing Palestinians in Jerusalem from participating in the polls. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is no doubt aware that attacking al-Aqsa and Jerusalemites is like lighting the fuse of a powder keg. The first and second intifadas were the best proof that such acts have consequences.

Hamas, Islamic Jihad and all other factions in the Gaza Strip have achieved unity with Jerusalem by defending it. Hamas did not start shelling Israeli settlements before giving Israel many hours to stop attacking the civilian population of Jerusalem. However, Tel Aviv insisted on its position and dragged everyone into the battle for Benjamin Netanyahu to achieve his goals of postponing Israeli elections, thus saving his political future for the time being. Palestinian groups in Gaza shelled Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ashkelon and Ashdod with hundreds of rockets, which landed not far from Haifa. Israeli officials did not anticipate the intensity of the Palestinian rocket response or the reaction to the Gaza shelling. The various resistance groups proved their credibility with time and intimidation. They gained increased popularity among the Palestinian and Arab population who supported the cause and were against normalization with Israel.

One of the most important goals the Palestinians have achieved has been to demonstrate the failure of the Iron Dome system to intercept all the cheap rockets – domestically made – that were launched into Israeli areas. Gaza overwhelmed the sophisticated Israeli interception systems by launching more than 100 rockets simultaneously. Israel admitted that it was unable to stop the rocket fire despite the Israeli army shelling dozens of targets. To intimidate the population, Israel bombed several civilian towers (al-Hanadi, al-Jawhara and al-Shorooq) in prestigious commercial and residential areas with the intention of turning the inhabitants against Palestinian groups confronting Israel.

So far, at least 60 Palestinians have been killed and 6 Israelis, including a serviceman, have been killed in the exchange of shelling. Palestinian groups managed to launch more than 1,300 rockets. Shameful scenes appeared of members of the Israeli Knesset and Defense Minister Gantz fleeing to bomb shelters.

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Israel has not only lost its deterrence capability, but also its prestige. In the 1940s, a Jewish terrorist group attacked British forces and blew up the King David Hotel in 1946, killing 91 people. The Irgun group claimed responsibility for the bombing, which killed British officials of the British Empire, which ruled Palestine at the time. David Ben Gurion, the founder of the so-called State of Israel, was asked at the time, “Will the Haganah gangs defeat Britain with this bombing?” He replied, “The aim is to break the prestige of the British Empire.” Now, Gaza has shattered the prestige of the Israeli myth.
Israeli policemen crack down on demonstrators protesting the eviction of local Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, May 8, 2021 (Photo: Menahem Kahana / AFP).

The history of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood:

Following the expulsion of Palestinians in 1948, known as the “Nakba”, some 750,000 Palestinians were forced to flee their homes to neighboring countries. Following these events, 28 families (today numbering 38) settled in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in 1956. They reached an agreement with the Jordanian Ministry of Construction and Development and the UN refugee agency (UNRWA) to provide them with housing in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. At that time, the West Bank was under Jordanian rule (1951-1967).

The Jordanian government provided the land, while UNRWA covered the cost of building 28 houses for these families. It was agreed that the residents would pay a token fee, provided that ownership was transferred to the residents more than three years after the completion of construction. However, this was interrupted by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including Jerusalem, in 1967, which prevented the registration of the houses in the families’ names.

This month, Jordan’s Foreign Ministry said it had provided the Palestinian Foreign Ministry with 14 ratified agreements intended for residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah that support their claim to their land and property. In a statement, the Ministry said it provided the residents with a certificate proving that the Jordanian Ministry of Construction and Development had agreed with UNRWA to establish 28 housing units in Sheikh Jarrah to be delegated and registered in the name of these families. The process, however, was interrupted as a result of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in 1967. The Ministry had previously provided the Palestinian side with all documents that could help the Jerusalemites maintain their full rights, including lease contracts, lists of names of beneficiaries and a copy of the agreement concluded with UNRWA in 1954.

In 1972, the Sephardi Committee and the Israel Knesset Committee claimed that they owned the land on which the houses were built in 1885, and asked the court to evict four families from their homes in the neighborhood, accusing them of land grabbing.

In 1982, Israeli settlement associations filed an eviction suit against 24 families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and 17 families hired Israeli lawyer Tosia Cohen to defend them. In 1991, the lawyer signed an agreement, without the families’ knowledge, whereby the ownership of the land belonged to the settlement associations. The lawyer put the Palestinian families under threat of eviction if they did not pay rent to the settlement associations.

In 1997, Suleiman Darwish Hijazi, a resident, filed a lawsuit in the Israeli Central Court to prove ownership of his land, using title deeds issued by the Ottoman Empire, brought from Turkey. However, the court rejected the claim in 2005.The court said the documents did not prove ownership of his land, and Hijazi’s appeal filed the following year was also rejected. In November 2008, the al-Kurd family was evicted from their home, followed by the eviction of the Hanoun and al-Ghawi families in August 2009.

So far, 12 Palestinian families in the neighborhood have received eviction orders issued by Israeli central and lower courts. Four Palestinian families filed an appeal to the Supreme Court, Israel’s highest judicial body, against the decision to evict them from their homes. The Israeli Central Court in East Jerusalem approved earlier this year a decision to evict four Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in favor of far-right Israeli settlers.

In 1948, Al-Sabbagh’s family already fled their home in Jaffa, which is now inhabited by Israelis. Al-Sabbagh, a family of 32, including ten children, fears that the court verdict will make him and his family refugees again.

هَبَّة باب العمود طريق لتصويب المسار

عمرو علان - Amro 🇵🇸 (@amrobilal77) | Twitter

عمرو علان

الأحد، 02 مايو 2021 07:31 م بتوقيت غرينتش

بناءً على تقدير موقف واقعي، وقراءة متكاملة للمشهد الفلسطيني بكافة أبعاده، كان قد استشرف البعض منذ بدايات مسار الانتخابات التشريعية الفلسطينية الجديدة بأن يقوم رئيس السلطة الفلسطينية محمود عباس بتأجيلها كما حصل فعلاً. ولسنا هنا بصدد العودة إلى النقاش الذي دار قبل قرار الفصائل الفلسطينية خلا حركة الجهاد الإسلامي حول خوض مغامرة انتخابية جديدة، لا سيما أننا في حضرة هبَّةٍ مقدسيةٍ عظيمة، قد أنجزت في الميدان وتُبشِّر بالمزيد إذا ما استفاقت الفصائل الفلسطينية لا سيما في الضفة والقدس من غفوتها، وتجاوزت ملهاة انتخابات مجلس تشريعي لدولة تخيُّلية؛ ما هي – في حقيقة الأمر – إلا جزءٌ صغير من كلٍ مغتصَب، يرزح تحت سلطة احتلال تتحكم بكل مفاصل حيات ذاك الفلسطيني الذي مازال صامداً على أرضه يقاوم، بما في ذلك انتخاباته وباعتراف رئيس السلطة الفلسطينية، بغض النظر عن وجاهة التبرير الذي ساقه هذا الأخير لتأجيل أو بالأصح لإلغاء الانتخابات التشريعية.

ما شهدته ساحات الأقصى وأزقة القدس العتيقة في الأيام القليلة الماضية يعيد التأكيد على معادلتين: أولاهما كون الشعب الفلسطيني في الضفة والقدس وحتى في أراضي 48 جاهزاً وحاضراً للقيام بحركة شعبية قابلة لأن تتطور وتتصاعد حتى تصل إلى العصيان المدني وانتفاضة ثالثة طال انتظارها. فبمجرد إقدام الاحتلال على المساس بالمقدّسات تراجعت الهموم الحياتية للمواطن الفلسطيني لتأخذ مرتبة ثانية بعد الهم الوطني، فهذا الصامد في أرضه الذي يرى بأُم العين تغوّل الاستيطان، سواءً في الضفة أو عبر المحاولات المستمرة لتهويد القدس، أثبت أنه يدرك طبيعة الصراع وجوهره، ويفهم أكثر من غيره مسؤولياته التي لا يتردد في القيام بها، وكان هذا شاخصاً في مدى رقعة امتداد الاحتجاجات التي شملت بالإضافة إلى القدس أراضي الضفة الغربية ومناطق 48. وقد تجلى الوعي الفلسطيني في طبيعة الهتافات التي صدرت من قبيل “سامع يا صهيوني سامع.. جاي تسكير الشوارع..”، و”مِن أم الفحم تحية.. لقدسنا الأبية..”، و”بلا سلمية بلا بطّيخ.. بدنا أحجار وصواريخ.. يا أقصى إحنا جينا.. والشرطة ما تثنينا..”. ولعل الهتاف الأكثر بلاغة كان “حط السيف قبال السيف.. إحنا رجال محمد ضيف..”، فكان لافتاً أنه لم يُهتف باسم أيٍ من السياسيين سواءً أكانوا من “حماس” أم من “فتح”، بل هُتِف باسم القادة العسكريين والشهداء.

بمجرد إقدام الاحتلال على المساس بالمقدّسات تراجعت الهموم الحياتية للمواطن الفلسطيني لتأخذ مرتبة ثانية بعد الهم الوطني، فهذا الصامد في أرضه الذي يرى بأُم العين تغوّل الاستيطان، سواءً في الضفة أو عبر المحاولات المستمرة لتهويد القدس، أثبت أنه يدرك طبيعة الصراع وجوهره


أما المعادلة الثانية التي أكدت عليها هبّة باب العمود فكانت الخشية الكبيرة لدى العدو من تفاقم الوضع في الأراضي المحتلة، وظهر ذلك جلياً في طريقة تعاطيه مع الأحداث، سواءً أكان مع صواريخ المقاومة التي انطلقت من غزة بشكل محسوب دعماً لهبّة القدس، أو في تعامل شرطة الاحتلال مع المتظاهرين المقدسيين التي على ما يبدو تفادت سقوط شهداء بين المتظاهرين خوفاً من التصعيد.

وتمكن قراءة القلق الأمريكي أيضاً من انزلاق الوضع إلى انتفاضة ثالثة في لغة التصريح غير المألوفة الصادر عن المتحدث باسم الإدارة الأمريكية نيد برايس، حيث أبدى قلق الإدارة الأمريكية من تصاعد العنف في القدس، وطالب بوقف شعارات الكراهية مع الدعوة إلى الهدوء، بالإضافة إلى مطالبة السلطات بحفظ أمن وسلامة جميع من في القدس، على عكس الموقف الأمريكي التقليدي الذي ما انفك عن تحميل الفلسطينيين مسؤولية جرائم الاحتلال مشفوعاً بعبارته الممجوجة بأن لدى “إسرائيل” حق الدفاع عن النفس. ولم تكن هذه صحوة ضمير، بل مؤشرا على إدراكه للنتائج الوخيمة على كيان الاحتلال إذا ما تطورت الاحتجاجات لتصل إلى انتفاضة ثالثة، يُحتمَل أن تعم هذه المرة كل الأراضي المحتلة في القدس والضفة وأراضي 48، ويكون ظهرها محمياً بمقاومة مسلحة قادرة في غزة يدعمها محور مقاومة صاعد بات يغير المعادلات على الأرض، ويمكنه رسم الخطوط الحمر أمام كيان الاحتلال في طريقة تعاطيه مع انتفاضة الشعب الفلسطيني، خطوط حمر وقواعد اشتباك لن يجرؤ الاحتلال على تجاوزها كما بات واضحاً في سلوكه خلال الأعوام القليلة الماضية.

هاتان المعادلتان كانتا الحاكمتين خلال السنوات الثلاث أو الأربع الأخيرة على أقل تقدير وما تزالان، ونُذكّر بهبّة كاميرات الأقصى التي خسرها الاحتلال، والعمليات الفردية وعمليات الطعن والدهس المتكررة ضد المستوطنين، وتراجع نتنياهو عن تنفيذ خطة الضم في الأول من تموز الفائت خوفاً من اشتعال الأراضي المحتلة حسب تقارير أجهزته الأمنية والعسكرية، ناهيكم عن الحذر الشديد لدى الاحتلال من الانزلاق إلى مواجهة جديدة مفتوحة مع المقاومة في غزة، وتوازن الرعب الذي يعيشه المحتل على جبهة جنوب لبنان المحرر أمام حزب الله.

وعليه يصير السؤال المطروح بإلحاح على الفصائل الفلسطينية: أما حان الوقت للبناء على معادلات القوة هذه في الميدان بشكل منظم، مما يؤدي إلى انتزاع تنازلات حقيقية من العدو من قبيل تفكيك المستوطنات في الضفة أو وقف تهويد القدس على أقل تقدير؟

أما حان الوقت للبناء على معادلات القوة هذه في الميدان بشكل منظم، مما يؤدي إلى انتزاع تنازلات حقيقية من العدو من قبيل تفكيك المستوطنات في الضفة أو وقف تهويد القدس على أقل تقدير؟


لدى الشعب الفلسطيني وفصائله اليوم فرصة جديدة واقعية تتمثل بهبّة مقدسية مباركة يمكن تطويرها وتأطيرها، ويمكن من خلالها استعادة وحدة وطنية حقيقية في الميدان بين كل من يؤمن بمقاومة الاحتلال، عوضاً عن اللهث وراء مشاريع لن تؤدي إلا إلى زيادة التشظي في الساحة الفلسطينية كما حصل عقب القرار البائس في التوجه إلى انتخابات تشريعية في ظل الاحتلال وتحت سقف “أوسلو”.

وإذا ما سلمنا بأنه قد ثبُت بالدليل الحسي انقطاع الأمل في قيام السلطة الفلسطينية ورموز التنسيق الأمني بتعديل مسلكهم، عندها يصبح على عاتق الفصائل مع الذين ما زالوا يؤمنون في “فتح” الرصاصة الأولى لا “فتح” القبيلة؛ اجتراح السبل لتفعيل العمل الميداني، لمواكبة تحركات الشارع الفلسطيني المنتفض، وعلى السلطة حينها الاختيار بين أن تكون جزءاً من الشعب الفلسطيني الثائر أو الوقوف على الحياد، وإما أن تستمر بالتنسيق الأمني مع قوات الاحتلال، وعندها لا ملامة على شعبنا إن عاملها معاملة العملاء في الانتفاضتين السابقتين.

وختاماً نُذكِّر بأن تفعيل المقاومة الشعبية الجادة والعصيان المدني كانا من أهم مخرجات اجتماع أمناء الفصائل الأخير المنعقد في أيلول الماضي، فماذا إذن هم منتظرون؟

Massive Fire Rages in Haifa Oil Refinery in North of Occupied Palestine

 May 1, 2021

A large fire broke out in one of the facilities at the Bazan oil refineries in the city of Haifa in the Occupied Palestine on Friday night, according to the Zionist media.

The following video shows the large fire:

Najah Wakim: Mahmoud Abbas offers condolences to Israel….have you seen a dog worse than this dog?

EU gives lip service to Palestinian elections once again

Hamas warns against delaying next month's Palestinian election - France 24

By Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor -April 30, 2021

EU’s Borrell calls on Israel to facilitate elections across all Palestinian territories

…from PressTV, Tehran

[ Editor’s Note:  The Palestinians now have two boots on their neck, Israel’s and Mr. Abbas’. He knew that Israel would refuse his fake request for election polls in East Jerusalem, and that is what he wanted.

Why? Because he knows the majority of Palestinians know he is hanging on to power purely for the sake of having it. He has never groomed any leadership to come behind him, revealing he wants it all for himself, literally dying in office.

The Israeli government is his partner in crime because it is just fine with the weak, selfish, non-threatening Abbas, and wants to block Hamas rising to power, hence postponing elections suits both.

It is a great irony, as we see a similar struggle taking place in the Israeli election, contenders seeking power not to serve the public, but to serve themselves. Israelis are so sick of “it’s all about Bibi”.

A coalition of political parties with divergent views is considering making compromises they all can live with under a united banner of “anyone but Bibi”.

The Islamic party is even in play with the latest attempt for a new coalition that can form a government, as the others do not have the numbers to break the magic 60 number without it.

Netanyahu is desperate to remain in power so that he can find some way to stop his corruption trial. This was put on display when he tried, illegally, to replace the current justice minister with his hand picked replacement, whom he could rely on to stop his trials.

What followed was an historic cabinet meeting where charges were hurled at each side that they did not have the authority to declare themselves the ruling power. The current Justice ministers said only the Justice Minister could name his replacement. Bibi lost.

And as a bonus, all the other former fractioned parties seem to now see that they must make whatever sacrifices are needed to form a government.

They have a new understanding banner uniting them all, that says ‘No more Netanyahu tyranny…we have had enough’. Bibi’s window to form a government ends at midnight on Saturday. Expect the final deals that parties have been saving for the last minute to start being unveiled Saturday night… Jim W. Dean ]

The EU’s Joseph Borrell

First published … April 30, 2021

The European Union has urged Israel to ensure that elections are held across the Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem al-Quds, expressing regret over a postponement of planned parliamentary polls.

“We reiterate our call on Israel to facilitate the holding of such elections across all of the Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a written statement on Friday.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas postponed the parliamentary elections amid a dispute over voting in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem al-Quds, as well as splits in his Fatah movement and its unpopularity.

Abbas told a conference of senior Palestinian officials on Thursday night that the first Palestinian national elections in 15 years would be indefinitely delayed.

The dispute over East Jerusalem al-Quds was reportedly the official rationale for the postponement cited by Abbas in a speech early Friday following the meeting of Palestinian political factions.

In his statement, Borrell described the decision to postpone the planned elections as “deeply disappointing” and said the EU has repeatedly thrown its weight behind “credible, inclusive and transparent elections for all Palestinians.”

“We firmly believe that strong, inclusive, accountable and functioning democratic Palestinian institutions based on respect for the rule of law and human rights are vital for the Palestinian people, for democratic legitimacy and, ultimately, for the two-state solution,” he added.

The top EU official said, “We strongly encourage all Palestinian actors to resume efforts to build on the successful talks between the factions over recent months.”

He also emphasized the need to set a new date for elections without delay.

He called for calm and restraint “from all actors at this sensitive time” and expressed the bloc’s readiness to “work with all those involved to facilitate EU observation of any electoral process.”

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for President Abbas, told the Voice of Palestine radio station on Tuesday that Israeli authorities have so far refused to agree to European observers monitoring the Palestinian elections, and that the European Union is yet to receive an approval.

The official called for international help to remove the hurdles put by the Israeli regime to undermine the Palestinian polls, particularly in East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Abu Rudeineh reiterated the Palestinian stance that there will be no elections without al-Quds.

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Managing EditorJim W. Dean is Managing Editor of Veterans Today involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews. 

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Abbas Statements are Complicit with Israeli Settler-Colonialism

April 22, 2021

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo: Kremlin, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Ramona Wadi

Known for belatedly spouting known truths, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas was true to form in his address to the J Street conference recently, which revealed the extent of his collaboration with the international community over Palestine’s loss, and his complicity with Israeli settler-colonialism.

Mentioning “apartheid” as he did cannot gloss over the fact that Abbas is still championing a paradigm that has facilitated Israel’s colonial expansion and de-facto annexation of Palestinian land.

US President Joe Biden’s two-state policy is still unclear. The strategy has worked well for Israel, while advocates of the internationally-imposed paradigm can once again make themselves useful. But the two-state “solution” has already been declared dead in the water and pressuring the US administration to heed a matter of international consensus that still harms Palestinians should not be deemed “the only solution”, as Abbas is fond of claiming. In doing so, he is on the same page as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who insists that “There is no Plan B.”

If Abbas thought that by mentioning the A word he would be doing a service to the Palestinians, he is wrong. Not only has the Israeli NGO B’Tselem beaten him to it declaring that the colonial state has already passed the apartheid threshold, but Palestinians have also been trying to raise awareness regarding Israel’s apartheid policies for years. The PA, meanwhile, was busying itself with the international community’s state-building illusions and tacitly approving Israel’s settlement expansion.

“Moving away from the two-state solution will eventually lead to a de facto one-state solution, an apartheid state, and this is something neither, we nor the entire world would accept,” Abbas said. “A one-state solution will only perpetuate the conflict.”

This is not necessarily true. Moving away from moribund two-state politics can give a chance to the Palestinian people, but only if they have a leadership worthy of the name and cause. The two-state solution, remember, came back into vogue with the announcement of the so-called Abraham Accords, which saw some Arab countries normalize relations with Israel in return, they claimed, to halt Israel’s annexation plans.

Annexation, as Israel has made clear, was simply “postponed”. Nevertheless, the UN had no qualms about endorsing the diplomatic game that facilitated the de-facto annexation of the occupied West Bank.

The Trump administration’s “deal of the century” shifted focus on what would happen if Abbas and the international community keep insisting upon the two-state compromise. Saying that the one-state solution would entrench apartheid is valid only because Palestinians have not been given the political freedom to construct their own independence and liberation process.

Israel has leverage over the one-state concept because it has secured its narrative within the international community. The Palestinian people, though, are burdened with a leadership whose main interest is to impose the international paradigm and call it a “solution”.

So what is the use of the PA participating in such seminars, if it only serves to strengthen the Israeli narrative and colonial expansion? Abbas had the opportunity to speak to J Street — a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” liberal US advocacy group — about the Palestinian concept of a single, democratic state, but he did not take it. It is possible, of course, that his invitation to address the group was conditional upon his promotion of the two-state compromise because there is purportedly no other option for the Palestinian people.

To speak where the funding lies is to maintain two-state politics, now defunct in terms of implementation yet favorable for Israel and its de-facto annexation — aka theft — of Palestinian land. The Palestinian leadership embarked yet again upon another spectacle that revealed its allegiance to external entities over and above the people of occupied Palestine.

– Ramona Wadi is a staff writer for Middle East Monitor, where this article was originally published. She contributed this article to the Palestine Chronicle.

The plot against Jordan’s King Abdullah

Jordan’s King Abdullah II is pictured in Amman on 11 April 2021 (Yousef Allan/Jordanian Royal Palace/AFP)
David Hearst is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He is a commentator and speaker on the region and analyst on Saudi Arabia. He was The Guardian’s foreign leader writer, and was correspondent in Russia, Europe, and Belfast. He joined the Guardian from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent.

David Hearst

14 April 2021 

Abdullah fell foul of the axis of Mohammed bin Salman and Benjamin Netanyahu after refusing to go along with the Trump plan to push West Bank Palestinians into Jordan

For once, just for once, US President Joe Biden got something right in the Middle East, and I say this conscious of his abysmal record in the region.

In accepting the intelligence he was passed by the Jordanians that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was up to his ears in a plot to destabilise the rule of King Abdullah, Biden brought the scheme to a premature halt. Biden did well to do so.

His statement that the US was behind Abdullah had immediate consequences for the other partner in this scheme, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel.

While bin Salman was starving Jordan of funds (according to former Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher, the Saudis have not provided any direct bilateral assistance since 2014), Netanyahu was starving the kingdom of water.

Without Washington’s overt support, King Abdullah would now be in serious trouble, the victim of a two-pronged offensive from Saudi Arabia and Israel

This is water that Israel siphons off the River Jordan. Under past agreements, Israel has supplied Jordan with water, and when Jordan asks for an additional amount, Israel normally agrees without delay. Not this year: Netanyahu refused, allegedly in retaliation for an incident in which his helicopter was refused Jordanian airspace. He quickly changed his mind after a call from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to his counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi.

Had former US President Donald Trump still been in power, it is doubtful whether any of this would have happened.

Without Washington’s overt support, King Abdullah would now be in serious trouble: the victim of a two-pronged offensive from Saudi Arabia and Israel, his population seething with discontent, and his younger half-brother counting the days until he could take over.

The problem with Abdullah

But why were bin Salman and Netanyahu keen to put the skids under an ally like Abdullah?

Abdullah, a career soldier, is not exactly an opposition figure in the region. He of all people is not a Bashar al-Assad, Recep Tayyip Erdogan or Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. 

Abdullah was fully signed up to the counter-revolution against the Arab Spring. Jordan joined the Saudi-led anti-Islamic State coalition, deployed aircraft to target the Houthis in Yemen, and withdrew its ambassador from Iran after the Saudi embassy in Tehran and consul in Mashhad were sacked and Saudi Arabia consequently cut diplomatic relations.Jordan arrested senior suspect over contact with Saudi crown prince Read More »

He attended the informal summit on a yacht in the Red Sea, convened to organise the fight against the influence of Turkey and Iran in the Middle East. That was in late 2015.

In January 2016, Abdullah told US congressmen in a private briefing that Turkey was exporting terrorists to Syria, a statement he denied making afterwards. But the remarks were documented in a Jordanian foreign ministry readout passed to MEE.

Jordan’s special forces trained men that Libyan general Khalifa Haftar used in his failed attempt to take Tripoli. This was the pet project of the UAE.

Abdullah also agreed with the Saudis and Emiratis on a plan to replace Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with Mohammed Dahlan, the Emirati- and Israeli-preferred choice of successor.

Why then, should this stalwart of the cause now be considered by his Arab allies, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, an inconvenience that needs to be dealt with?

Insufficiently loyal

The answer partly lies in the psychology of bin Salman. It is not good enough to be partially signed up to his agenda. As far as he is concerned, you are either in or out. 

“But there is also a feeling [in Riyadh] that Jordan and others should be with us or against us. So we were not completely with them on Iran. We were not completely with them on Qatar. We were not completely with them on Syria. We did what we could and I don’t think we should have gone further, but to them, that was not enough.”

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomes Jordan's King Abdullah II to Riyadh on 8 March 2021 (Bandar al-Jaloud/Saudi Royal Palace/AFP)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomes Jordan’s King Abdullah II to Riyadh on 8 March 2021 (Bandar al-Jaloud/Saudi Royal Palace/AFP)

Abdullah’s equivocation certainly was not enough for the intended centrepiece of the new era, Saudi Arabia’s normalisation of relations with Israel.

Here, Jordan would have been directly involved and King Abdullah was having none of it. Had he gone along with the Trump plan, his kingdom – a careful balance between Jordanians and Palestinians – would have been in a state of insurrection.

In addition, Abdullah could not escape the fact that he was a Hashemite, whose legitimacy stems in part from Jordan’s role as custodian of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy sites in Jerusalem. This, too, was being threatened by the Al Sauds.

The importance of Aqaba

But the plan itself was regarded by both bin Salman and Netanyahu as too big to stop. I personalise this, because in both Saudi Arabia and Israel, there are experienced foreign policy and intelligence hands who appreciate how quickly this plan would have destabilised Jordan and Israel’s vulnerable eastern border.

The plan has been years in the preparation and the subject of clandestine meetings between the Saudi prince and the Israeli leader. At the centre of it lies Jordan’s sole access to the Red Sea, the strategic port of Aqaba.

The two cities of Aqaba and Ma’an were part of the kingdom of Hejaz from 1916 to 1925. In May 1925, Ibn Saud surrendered Aqaba and Ma’an and they became part of the British Emirate of Transjordan.

The price for turning on the tap of Saudi finance was too high for Abdullah to pay. It was total subservience to Riyadh

It would be another 40 years before the two independent countries would agree on a Jordan-Saudi border. Jordan got 19 kilometres of coastline on the Gulf of Aqaba and 6,000 square kilometres inland, while Saudi Arabia got 7,000 square kilometres of land.

For the new kid on the block, bin Salman, a prince who was always sensitive about his legitimacy, reclaiming Saudi influence over Aqaba in a big trade deal with Israel would be a big part of his claim to restoring Saudi dominance over its hinterland.

And the trade with Israel would be big. Bin Salman is spending $500bn constructing the city of Neom, which is eventually supposed to straddle Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. Sitting at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba, the Jordanian port would be firmly in Saudi sights.

This is where Bassem Awadallah, the former chief of Jordan’s royal court, comes in. Two years before he definitively broke with King Abdullah, and while he was still Jordan’s envoy to Riyadh, Awadallah negotiated the launch of something called the Saudi-Jordanian Coordination Council, a vehicle that Jordanian officials at the time said would “unblock billions of dollars” for the cash-starved Hashemite kingdom.

A giant Jordanian flag is raised during a celebration in the port of Aqaba in 2016 (AFP)
A giant Jordanian flag is raised during a celebration in the port of Aqaba in 2016 (AFP)

Awadallah promised that the council would invest billions of Saudi dollars in Jordan’s leading economic sectors, focusing on the Aqaba Special Economic Zone.

The money, of course, never materialised. Saudi support for the kingdom diminished to a trickle, and according to an informed source, Muasher, Saudi funds stopped almost completely after 2014.Jordan: Why King Abdullah’s troubles are not over Read More »

The price for turning on the tap of Saudi finance was too high for Abdullah to pay. It was total subservience to Riyadh. Under this plan, Jordan would have become a satellite of Riyadh, much as Bahrain has become.

Netanyahu had his own sub-agenda in the huge trade that would flow from Neom once Saudi Arabia had formally recognised Israel.

A confirmed enemy of the Oslo plan to set up a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, Netanyahu and the Israeli right have always eyed annexation of Area C and the Jordan Valley, which comprises 60 percent of the West Bank. Under this new Nakba, the Palestinians living there, denied Israeli citizenship, would be slowly forced to move to Jordan. This could only happen under a Saudi-oriented plan, in which Jordanian workers could travel freely and work in Saudi Arabia. As it is, remittances from the Jordanian workforce in Saudi Arabia are an economic lifeblood to the bankrupt kingdom. 

The money pouring into Jordan, accompanied by a  mobile workforce of Jordanians and  stateless Palestinians, would finally put to bed grandiose visions of a Palestinian state, and with it the two-state solution. On this, Netanyahu and bin Salman are as one: treat them as a mobile workforce, not citizens of a future state.

Hussein’s favoured son

That Prince Hamzah should be seen as the means by which Jordan is enlisted to this plan represents the final irony of this bizarre tale.

If the Hashemite blood runs deep in any veins, it is surely in his. He was King Hussein’s favoured son. In a letter sent to his brother Prince Hassan in 1999, King Hussein wrote: “Hamzeh, may God give him long life, has been envied since childhood because he was close to me, and because he wanted to know all matters large and small, and all details of the history of his family. He wanted to know about the struggle of his brothers and of his countrymen. I have been touched by his devotion to his country and by his integrity and magnanimity as he stayed beside me, not moving unless I forced him from time to time to carry out some duty on occasions that did not exceed the fingers on one hand.”

Abdullah broke the agreement he made with his father on his death bed when he replaced his half-brother with his son, Hussein, as crown prince in 2004.

The new foreign policy establishment in Washington should wean itself off the notion that US allies are its friends

But if Hashemite pride in and knowledge of Jordan’s history runs deep in Hamzah, he of all princes would have soon realised the cost to Jordan of accepting bin Salman’s billions and Netanyahu’s tacit encouragement, just as his father did.

Hamzah’s friends ardently dispute they are part of this plot and downplay connections with Awadallah. Hamzah only owns up to one thing: that he is immensely concerned at how low Jordan has fallen under years of misrule. In this, Hamzah is 100 percent right.

It is clear what has to happen now. King Abdullah should finally see that he must completely overhaul the Jordanian political system, by calling for free and fair elections and abiding by their result. Only that will unite the country around him.

This is what King Hussein did when he faced challenge and revolt by Jordanian tribes in the south of the kingdom; in 1989, Hussein overhauled the political system and held the freest elections in the history of the kingdom. 

The government that emerged from this process led the country safely out of one of the most difficult moments for Jordan: Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent Gulf War.

The real villains

Biden, meanwhile, should realise that letting bin Salman get away with the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has a cost. 

Bin Salman did not learn anything from the episode and carried on in exactly the same way, reckless and swift, against an Arab neighbour and ally, with potentially disastrous consequences.

The new foreign policy establishment in Washington should wean itself off the notion that US allies are its friends. It should learn once and for all that the active destabilisers of the Middle East are not the cartoon villains of Iran and Turkey. 

Rather, they are the closest US allies, where US forces and military technology are either based, or as in the case of Israel, inextricably intertwined: Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel.

Jordan, the classic buffer state, is a case in point.

From His Solitary Confinement, Marwan Barghouti Holds the Key to Fatah’s Future

April 7, 2021

By Ramzy Baroud

If imprisoned Palestinian leader, Marwan Barghouti, becomes the President of the Palestinian Authority (PA), the status quo will change substantially. For Israel, as well as for the current PA President, Mahmoud Abbas, such a scenario is more dangerous than another strong Hamas showing in the upcoming Palestinian parliamentary elections.

The long-delayed elections, now scheduled for May 22 and July 31 respectively, will not only represent a watershed moment for the fractured Palestinian body politic, but also for the Fatah Movement which has dominated the PA since its inception in 1994. The once-revolutionary Movement has become a shell of its former self under the leadership of Abbas, whose only claim to legitimacy was a poorly contested election in January 2005, following the death of former Fatah leader and PA President, Yasser Arafat.

Though his mandate expired in January 2009, Abbas continued to ‘lead’ Palestinians. Corruption and nepotism increased significantly during his tenure and, not only did he fail to secure an independent Palestinian State, but the Israeli military occupation and illegal settlements have deepened and grown exponentially.

Abbas’ rivals from within the Fatah Movement were sidelined, imprisoned or exiled. A far more popular Fatah leader, Marwan Barghouti, was silenced by Israel as he was thrown into an Israeli prison in April 2002, after a military court found him guilty of involvement in Palestinian resistance operations during the uprising of 2000. This arrangement suited Abbas, for he continued to doubly benefit: from Barghouti’s popularity, on the one hand, and his absence, on the other.

When, in January, Abbas declared that he would hold three successive rounds of elections – legislative elections on May 22, presidential elections on July 31 and Palestinian National Council (PNC) elections on August 31 – he could not have anticipated that his decree, which followed intense Fatah-Hamas talks, could potentially trigger the implosion of his own party.

Fatah-Hamas rivalry has been decades-long but intensified in January 2006 when the latter won the legislative elections in the Occupied Territories. Hamas’s victory was partly attributed to Fatah’s own corruption, but internal rivalry also splintered Fatah’s vote.

Although it was Fatah’s structural weaknesses that partly boosted Hamas’ popularity, it was, oddly, the subsequent rivalry with Hamas that kept Fatah somehow limping forward. Indeed, the anti-Hamas sentiment served as a point of unity among the various Fatah branches. With money pouring in from donor countries, Fatah used its largesse to keep dissent at a minimum and, when necessary, to punish those who refused to toe the pro-Abbas line. This strategy was successfully put to the test in 2010 when Mohammed Dahlan, Fatah’s ‘strong man’ in Gaza prior to 2006, was dismissed from Fatah’s central committee and banished from the West Bank, as he was banished from Gaza four years earlier.

But that convenient paradigm could not be sustained. Israel is entrenching its military occupation, increasing its illegal settlement activities and is rapidly annexing Palestinian land in the West Bank and Jerusalem. The Gaza siege, though deadly and tragic, has become routine and no longer an international priority. A new Palestinian generation in the Occupied Territories cannot relate to Abbas and his old guard, and is openly dissatisfied with the tribal, regional politics through which the PA, under Abbas, continues to govern occupied and oppressed Palestinians.

Possessing no strategies or answers, Abbas is now left with no more political lifelines and few allies.

With dwindling financial resources and faced by the inescapable fact that 85-year-old Abbas must engineer a transition within the movement to prevent its collapse in case of his death, Fatah was forced to contend with an unpleasant reality: without new elections the PA would lose the little political legitimacy with which it ruled over Palestinians.

Abbas was not worried about another setback, like that of 2006, when Hamas won majority of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC)’s seats. Until recently, most opinion polls indicated that the pro-Abbas Fatah list would lead by a comfortable margin in May and that Abbas would be re-elected President in July. With his powers intact, Abbas could then expand his legitimacy by allowing Hamas and others into the PLO’s Palestinian National Council – Palestine’s parliament in the Diaspora. Not only would Abbas renew faith in his Authority, but he could also go down in history as the man who united Palestinians.

But things didn’t go as planned and the problem, this time, did not come from Hamas, but from Fatah itself – although Abbas did anticipate internal challenges. However, the removal of Dahlan, the repeated purges of the party’s influential committees and the marginalization of any dissenting Fatah members throughout the years must have infused Abbas with confidence to advance with his plans.

The first challenge emerged on March 11, when Nasser al-Qidwa, a well-respected former diplomat and a nephew of Yasser Arafat, was expelled from the movement’s Central Committee for daring to challenge Abbas’ dominance. On March 4, Qidwa decided to lock horns with Abbas by running in the elections in a separate list.

The second and bigger surprise came on March 31, just one hour before the closing of the Central Election Commission’s registration deadline, when Qidwa’s list was expanded to include supporters of Marwan Barghouti, under the leadership of his wife, Fadwa.

Opinion polls are now suggesting that a Barghouti-Qidwa list, not only would divide the Fatah Movement but would actually win more seats, defeating both the traditional Fatah list and even Hamas. If this happens, Palestinian politics would turn on its head.

Moreover, the fact that Marwan Barghouti’s name was not on the list keeps alive the possibility that the imprisoned Fatah leader could still contest in the presidential elections in July. If that, too, transpires, Barghouti will effortlessly beat and oust Abbas.

The PA President is now in an unenviable position. Canceling the elections would lead to strife, if not violence. Moving forward means the imminent demise of Abbas and his small but powerful clique of Palestinians who benefited greatly from the cozy political arrangement they created for themselves.

As it stands, the key to the future of Fatah is now held by a Palestinian prisoner, Marwan Barghouti, who has been kept by Israel, largely in solitary confinement, since 2002.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

القدوة للميادين: سأبقى في فتح وسندعم البرغوثي إذا ترشح للرئاسة

المصدر: الميادين نت

4 /نيسان /4/2021

ما هي أبعاد تحالف القيادي ناصر القدوة والأسير مروان البرغوثي في الانتخابات التشريعية الفلسطينية؟ وما هي نقاط التقاطع بينهما؟ وهل الاتفاق بينهما جبهة انتخابية فقط أم مشروع سياسي مستقبلي؟

القدوة للميادين: سأخوض الانتخابات تحت عنوان إحداث التغيير في الحالة الفلسطينية
القدوة للميادين: سأخوض الانتخابات تحت عنوان إحداث التغيير في الحالة الفلسطينية

انعطف القيادي ناصر القدوة عند مفترق الانتخابات عن حركة فتح، مؤسساً الملتقى الوطني الديمقراطي، وأعلن خوض الانتخابات مستقلاً بقائمة الحرية مدعوماً من الأسير مروان البرغوثي.

فهل تكون خطوة القدوة انشقاق عن الحركة أم شق لها؟ وهل الاتفاق بين البرغوثي والقدوة جبهة انتخابية فقط أم مشروع سياسي مستقبلي؟ وأي أبعاد لهذه الخطوة؟

وفي التحالف بين البرغوثي والقدوة تطرح الأسئلة؛ فأي نقاط تقاطع بين مناضل يتمتع بتأييد واسع شعبي، وآخر يحجز مكانةً في الدوائر النخبوية وينسج علاقات دوليةً وإقليمية؟

ويؤكد مراقبون أن تحالف مروان البرغوثي وناصر القدوة، وهو ابن شقيقة الرئيس الراحل ياسر عرفات، إذا ما صمد أمام الضغوط التي تمارس عليه وتحديداً من حركة فتح فقد يشكل ركيزة أساسية من ركائز العمل الوطني الديمقراطي.

في هذا السياق، قال مؤسس الملتقى الوطني الديمقراطي ناصر القدوة في حديث مع الميادين: “سأبقى فتحاوياً حتى العظم ولم أدر ظهري للحركة”، مشيراً إلى أن “بعض الجهات النافذة في حركة فتح أدار ظهره لي ولقطاعات واسعة في الحركة لأسباب سياسية”.

وقال القدوة للميادين إن “قرار فصلي من فتح لا ينسجم مع نظام الحركة ولا يأخذ بالاعتبار التاريخ والجغرافيا”، مؤكداً: “أنا سأبقى في فتح واختلافي مع بعض الأشخاص هو حول الجوهر ولا يتعلق بأمور شخصية وشكلية”.

وأضاف: “سأخوض الانتخابات تحت عنوان إحداث التغيير في الحالة الفلسطينية، والحالة الفلسطينية بحاجة إلى تغيير واسع وعميق، وكرامة المواطن الفلسطيني في خطر بسبب انتهاك سيادة القانون والحرية”.

القدوة تابع: “هناك أمور بدأت تتغير وحاجز الخوف كسر مع ترشحنا للانتخابات، وما زلت أعتبر نفسي في صلب فتح ولست قيادياً سابقاً في الحركة”. 

وأشار إلى أن “بعض الدوائر الفلسطينية لم يتوقف عن توجيه الاتهام لي بأنني حالة دحلانية”، مشيراً إلى أنه “لم يصوت على قرار فصل محمد دحلان من فتح أو غيره لأنها حركة تضم كل الاتجاهات السياسية”.

وقال: “من لديه معلومات عن أموال تصلني من الخارج فليظهرها ولا أنتمي لأي محور من المحاور”.

وكشف القدوة أن “البرغوثي من الممكن أن يترشح للانتخابات الرئاسية وإذا قرر ذلك سندعمه، وسنكون في المعسكر نفسه معه”.

في وقت كان أظهر استطلاع للرأي أن البرغوثي سيفوز بالانتخابات الرئاسية بالأغلبية إذا ترشح لها.

القدوة قال إن “هناك أجواء إيجابية وطيبة تصلني من حركة حماس وهذا لا يعني عدم وجود خلاف معها”.

وحيال تصريحه الأخير الذي هاجم فيه الإسلاموية، رفض القدوة “توجيه أي اتهام لي بالهجوم على الإسلام”، مؤكداً أنه “تم تحريف كلامي بشأن الإسلام بطريقة مزعجة وكاذبة”.

وفي سياق آخر، أكد القدوة أن “إسرائيل مسؤولة عن اغتيال الراحل ياسر عرفات وفق الأدلة والاثباتات”.

فيما رفض ما يسمى بالـ”خطر الإيراني”، قائلاً إن “طهران هي جزء من المنطقة ويجب الحوار معها”.

كما قال إن “سلاح المقاومة الفلسطينية يجب أن لا يمس، وهي مسألة تخضع للحوار فقط”. 
 
هذا وأعلنت لجنة الانتخابات المركزية الفلسطينية قبول ترشيح 36 قائمةً انتخابيةً للوصول إلى مقاعد المجلس التشريعي الفلسطيني.

أبرز اللوائح حملت عنوان حركة فتح وشعارها العاصفة، وهي قائمة مكتملة من 132 عضواً على عدد مقاعد المجلس التشريعي، بدعم من الرئيس محمود عباس.

قائمة الحرية التي يرأسها القيادي السابق في حركة فتح ناصر القدوة، بدعم من القيادي الأسير مروان البرغوثي، وهي غير مكتملة وتضم 65 مرشحاً، معظمهم من الضفة الغربية.

أما قائمة حركة حماس مكتملة بدورها وتحمل عنوان “القدس موعدنا” برئاسة الدكتور خليل الحية، وتضم عدداً من الأسرى من ذوي الأحكام العالية كنائل البرغوثي وجمال أبو الهيجا وحسن سلامة.

ومن القوائم غير المكتملة أيضاً قائمة “نبض الشعب”، ويرأسها من سجنه الأمين العام للجبهة الشعبية لتحرير فلسطين أحمد سعدات، وتضم عضو المجلس التشريعي الأسيرة خالدة جرار، إضافةً إلى قياديين في الجبهة في الضفة الغربية وغزة.

حركة الجهاد الإسلامي تغيب عن المشهد الانتخابي لاعتبارها أن الانتخابات تجري ضمن برنامج يعترف بالاحتلال وشرعيته على أرض فلسطين، وأنها تحول خطير ويعطي شرعيةً للاحتلال لضم الضفة الغربية والقدس، وفق تصريحات أمينها العام زياد نخالة الأخيرة في دمشق.

Report: Israel Asked Abbas to Call off Palestine Elections

March 20, 2021

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo: Mahmoud Abbas Facebook Page)

Head of Israel’s Shin Bet Security Agency Nadav Argaman has secretly met with Palestinian Authority (PA), Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas and asked him to call off Palestinian elections, Israeli media reported on Friday.

According to a report broadcast by Israeli Channel 13, Argaman met with Abbas in Ramallah over the last two weeks, the Times of Israel revealed.

Argaman urged Abbas to cancel the elections if the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas takes part, according to the Times of Israel.

Meanwhile, Anadolu Agency reported the Israeli TV channel claiming that Argaman warned Abbas about pushing forward an investigation into Israeli crimes at the International Criminal Court, Fatah’s plan to run on a joint list with Hamas for the parliamentary elections and forming a coalition government with Hamas.

The Times of Israel reported Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reporting that Nadav Argaman was rebuffed by the PA chief.

Anadolu Agency quoted Israeli TV stating that a US official arrived secretly in Ramallah over the last two weeks and passed the same three warnings.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Blockbuster: Biden Rolling Back Israel’s ‘Free Ride,’ Ready to Recognize Palestinian State

Plans for ‘reset’ of PA ties include rollback of Trump policies legitimizing settlements, $15 million in COVID-related aid to Palestinians

Times of Israel: The Biden administration will reportedly push for a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 lines, with mutually agreed upon land swaps, reinstating US policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to more traditionally held positions than those of former president Donald Trump.

memo titled “The US Palestinian Reset and the Path Forward,” which was revealed Wednesday to the Abu Dhabi-based The National, also showed that the Biden administration is planning on announcing a $15 million aid package in coronavirus-related humanitarian assistance for the Palestinians as early as this month.

Drafted by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr, the memo also details plans to roll back various Trump policies that Washington believes made reaching a two-state solution more difficult, such as US legitimization of the settlement enterprise.

Amr recommends in the memo that the White House back a two-state framework “based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed land swaps and agreements on security and refugees.”

Hady Amr, now US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs, speaks at the Brookings Institute, where he was a fellow, on December 3, 2018. (Screen capture/YouTube)

While behind closed doors, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has participated in peace negotiations based on the 1967 lines, publicly the formula is not very popular in Israel, particularly among the right wing, which is expected to further expand in the Knesset after next week’s election.

The memo discusses “rolling back certain steps by the prior administration that bring into question our commitment or pose real barriers to a two-state solution, such as country of origin labeling.”

The memo was referring to a last-minute policy change announced by Trump’s secretary of state Mike Pompeo, which requires all US exports from the settlements to be labeled as having been “made in Israel.”

Since 1995, US policy had required products made in the West Bank and Gaza to be labeled as such. That directive was republished in 2016 by the Obama administration, which warned that labeling goods as “made in Israel” could lead to fines. Prior to the Oslo Accords, however, all products manufactured in these areas were required to mention Israel in their label when exporting to the United States.

The Pompeo order went into effect in December, but manufacturers were given a 90-day grace period, until March 23, to implement the change.

“As we reset US relations with the Palestinians, the Palestinian body politic is at an inflection point as it moves towards its first elections in 15 years,” the new memo reads. “At the same time, we [the US] suffer from a lack of connective tissue following the 2018 closure of the PLO office in Washington and refusal of Palestinian Authority leadership to directly engage with our embassy to Israel.

The Washington office of the Palestine Liberation Organization, pictured in 2017. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Trump closed the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s diplomatic mission in Washington in 2018, against the backdrop of the PA’s boycott of his administration following the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In 2019, the Trump administration shuttered the US consulate in Jerusalem, which served as the de facto embassy to the Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. The mission was folded into the US embassy to Israel in Jerusalem and the previous position of consul-general was dissolved.

Before the Trump administration began tightening the screws on the PA in 2018 for refusing to engage with its peace efforts, the United States was the single largest donor country to the PA.

The US paid hundreds of millions of dollars a year to the PA’s creditors, such as the Israeli state utility companies from which the Palestinians purchase water and electricity. They paid for training for the PA’s security forces and numerous infrastructure projects.

Washington also gave hundreds of millions a year in funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency — known as UNRWA — which is in charge of administering the daily needs of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees and their descendants across the Middle East.

The memo, which was passed along to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, highlights UNRWA in particular as one of the organizations the Biden administration plans to back in order to aid the Palestinians.

Israel accuses UNRWA of perpetuating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, criticizing the agency’s practice of extending refugee status to millions of descendants, rather than only to the original refugees as is the norm with most refugee populations worldwide.

Then-US president Donald Trump (L) and PA President Mahmoud Abbas leave following a joint press conference at the presidential palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on May 23, 2017. (AFP/Mandel Ngan)

Noting major economic disparities between Israelis and Palestinians, the memo states that the Biden administration is “planning a full range of economic, security and humanitarian assistance programs [for Palestinians], including through UN Relief and World Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).”

“State and USAID are working towards a restart of US assistance to the Palestinians in late March or early April,” the memo says, adding that the COVID-related humanitarian relief package will be announced beforehand.

The memo reveals the administration’s plans to “take a two-fold approach of maintaining and ideally improving the US relationship with Israel by deepening its integration into the region while resetting the US relationship with the Palestinian people and leadership.”

It notes Amr’s “listening sessions” with senior officials in the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry who “welcomed the restart of US-Palestinian relations.”

The United States consulate building in Jerusalem, March 4, 2019. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

Notably, those two offices are controlled by Blue and White ministers Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi who hold more moderate public stances on the Palestinian issue than Netanyahu and his Likud party. Gantz and Ashkenazi have taken pride in their efforts to block Netanyahu’s West Bank annexation plans last year.

One section of the memo likely to please both sides of the political spectrum in Israel is its support for expanding the normalization agreements brokered by the Trump administration between Israel and its Arab and Muslim neighbors.

However, Amr also writes of using such agreements “to support Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and improve the quality of life for the Palestinian people.” Netanyahu has sought to divorce the normalization deals from the Palestinian issue, arguing that the peace deals prove that Israel can expand its diplomatic ties in the region without making concessions to the Palestinians.

As previously pledged by Biden officials, the memo floats the idea of reopening an independent consulate akin to the one that served as the de facto mission to the Palestinians and operated out of the western part of Jerusalem until 2019. Doing so would signal US recommitment to a two-state solution, the document says. However, no final decisions have been made yet on the matter.

Benny Gantz (left) and Gabi Ashkenazi of the Blue and White party arrive to give a joint a statement in Tel Aviv on February 21, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

The memo notes the Biden administration’s commitment to engaging the international community via the UN and the Middle East Quartet, which consists of the United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia.

The document notes the upcoming Palestinian legislative elections in May and presidential elections in July, adding that it has been 15 years since Palestinians have been able to elect their representatives.

“But the implications of an election remain uncertain: the collapse of a power-sharing agreement after the prior elections led to the Hamas takeover of Gaza [in 2007],” the memo says, noting the PA request that the US push Jerusalem to allow elections to take place in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem, but not stating Washington’s position on the matter.

“We are analyzing the evolving situation and will propose a US posture together with the inter-agency,” the memo reads.

The lack of position on elections is likely to disappoint Ramallah as Palestinian officials have been lobbying Washington in recent weeks to come out in support of the democratic process, sources familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel.

Mahmoud Abbas, left, and Joe Biden after their meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wednesday, March 10, 2010. (AP/Bernat Armangue)

Amr recommends the Biden administration push the PA to clamp down on incitement while also calling out Israeli settlement expansion on land that Palestinians hope will be part of their future state.

The memo reveals that talks are underway with the PA leadership aimed at altering Ramallah’s controversial payment of stipends to Palestinian security prisoners, including those convicted of terror attacks against Israeli civilians.

The altered policy currently being discussed in Ramallah would base the stipends on prisoners’ financial need rather than the length of their sentence, senior Palestinian officials told The Times of Israel in January.

The Biden administration will also seek to boost Palestinian institutions. “This includes strengthening civil society, media watchdogs and other elements of the fourth estate, such as emphasizing to the [Palestinian Authority] the need to protect civil society through the reductions of arrests of bloggers and dissidents,” the memo reads.

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Al-Qudwa: ‘It’s Time for Fatah Leaders to Stand against Abbas’

March 13, 2021

Al-Qudwa served as Palestine’s ambassador at the UN. (Photo: UN, file)

Senior Fatah leader Nasser Al-Qudwa has called on Friday for Fatah leaders to stand against Mahmoud Abbas, who he described as “the main reason for Fatah’s weakness”, Arabi21.com reported.

Al-Qudwa’s remarks came in response to Fatah’s decision to dismiss him over his attempt to run for the parliamentary elections on a separate list to Fatah.

“I think a lot of the Palestinians want to change as they believe it is the time to choose a new track for hope,” Al-Qudwa added, referring to his proposal to reform Fatah as a condition for him to run on the official list for parliament.

Criticizing the rapprochement between Fatah and Hamas, he explained:

“It is not difficult for Hamas to face Fatah due to what I have warned about. The cooperation between member of Fatah Central Committee Jibril Al-Rajoub and Hamas Deputy Chief Saleh Al-Arouri is weakening Fatah. Therefore, the president must bear this in mind.”

Al-Qudwa stated that he is still committed to supporting jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti if he runs for presidency, because “there are no other choices on the table.”

Al-Qudwa shared that he was afraid that the relationship between Al-Rajoub and Hamas would bring Iran to the West Bank “via the back door”.

He also warned that Al-Rajoub might use the national reconciliation and the elections for serving himself and not the Palestinian people.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Palestinian Elections: Barghouti and Qidwa Give Abbas Ultimatum for Accepting Electoral List

March 2, 2021

Imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti. (Photo: Tamar Fleishman, The Palestine Chronicle)

Senior Fatah leaders Marwan Barghouti and Nasser Al-Qidwa have given Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas until March 5 to accept their electoral list, Lebanon’s Al-Akbar reported on Monday.

Barghouti has been in an Israeli prison since 2002, while Al-Qidwa is a cousin of the late Yasser Arafat. According to senior Fatah sources, they have proposed a list to Abbas that includes young people and active Fatah members who have been effectively neutralized by Abbas due to their resistance against the Israeli occupation.

The Lebanese newspaper reported the sources as saying that they ruled out that Abbas could cancel the elections or postpone them due to regional and international pressure if he fails to be ready to face Fatah’s main rival, Hamas.

Meanwhile, the differences within Fatah are increasing. The Secretary of its Central Committee, Jibril Al-Rajoub failed last week to prevent the formation of different electoral lists for Fatah members and leaders.

Al-Akhbar said that Al-Rajoub had laid down a roadmap for the elections that meets the demands of Barghouti and Al-Qidwa, but falls far behind their vision in relation to fighting corruption and supporting Palestinian resistance against the occupation.

Senior Fatah official Qadura Fares has announced that he will not stand for election. Fares is the director of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club and said that he is not standing as a candidate because of the “numerous painful conditions for the democratic process that makes the factional agenda superior to national interests.”

Moreover, another senior Fatah official, Nabil Amro, is apparently seeking to form his own list after rejecting the list proposed by the movement’s Central Committee, which does not put him among the top names. Former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the sources said, is working to form his own list and could possibly act in partnership with Amro.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

“Israel” is worried about the Palestinian elections. It believes Abbas is too

The Israeli security services have no wish to rock the boat, but they have few measures to influence the upcoming polls

An electoral worker leaves the Palestinian Central Elections Commission’s office in Gaza City (Reuters)

By Yossi Melman in Tel Aviv, Israel

Published date: 24 February 2021 15:34 UTC 

From the perspective of the Israeli security establishment, it would have been better if the scheduled Palestinian elections would not take place at all.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered general elections to be held on 22 May, a presidential one on 31 July and Palestinian National Council polls on 31 August.

Hamas, the main opposition to Abbas’ Fatah movement currently running a parallel administration in Gaza, welcomed the announcement.

About two million Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem and besieged Gaza Strip are eligible to vote. Israel, which annexed East Jerusalem in 1967 in a move never recognised by the international community, most likely will not allow Jerusalemites to vote.

‘The elections pose for Israel more risks than opportunities’

– Colonel Michael Milshtein, ex-Israeli Military Intelligence

But Israel also remembers how it was shocked to realise that Hamas had won the last elections for the Palestinian legislature in 2006. Judged to be free and fair by international observers, Hamas defeated Fatah, which had been established by its founding father Yasser Arafat and led since his death by Abbas.

“The elections pose for Israel more risks than opportunities,” says Colonel Michael Milshtein, who headed the Palestinian branch in the research department of Israeli Military Intelligence, known by its Hebrew acronym as Aman.

A year after the elections, Hamas took power in Gaza in a coup following violent clashes with Fatah – and has controlled the coastal enclave ever since.

The general elections are a promising development to enhance the democratic process, increase public trust, create international support for the Palestinian predicament and refresh the stagnated Palestinian politics and its ageing politicians.

Fatah suffers from internal tensions, factional rifts and a deteriorating public image. Meanwhile, Hamas shows determination, a high degree of unity and organisational skills.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hands the election decree to Chairman of the Palestinian Central Election Committee Hana Naser in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank (Reuters)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) hands the election decree to Chairman of the Palestinian Central Election Committee Hana Naser in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank (Reuters)

These traits were already present in the turbulent years of 2006-2007, which resulted in Hamas’s election victory and domination of Gaza.

Thus, Israeli security officials from Military Intelligence and the Shin Bet, who monitor and analyse developments in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, are worried.

Fatah fears

According to Israeli security officials, Abbas and his top lieutenants are no less concerned than Israel. They say that Abbas was very reluctant to agree to call the elections.

Abbas’s weakening leadership is challenged by Marwan Barghouti, who is considered the most popular leader among Fatah and Palestinian Authority supporters. So far, all attempts by Abbas to persuade Barghouti to drop his candidacy have failed.

To facilitate Abbas’s aim, Israeli security officials went out of their way to allow the president’s advisers to visit Barghouti in his prison cell, where he is serving multiple life sentences after being convicted of murder by an Israeli court during the Second Intifada.Palestine elections: Gaza voters sceptical about upcoming polls.

But, eventually, Abbas succumbed to the pressure, which was mounted on him by the younger generation of Palestinians that hope to see a change of guard, and by Egypt.

Egypt has over the years played a major role in the attempts to bring about a genuine national Palestinian reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, which has so far failed. Calling the elections is another effort to unify the Palestinian people.

Abbas now faces a dilemma. Without the elections, his attempts to bring national unity and to reinstate Fatah as a significant force in Gaza are doomed to fail. But if the elections take place, Fatah may be defeated again and Hamas would increase its power, not only in its solid base of Gaza but also in the West Bank.

The Israeli security perception is that the elections are a threat.

If Hamas wins the elections, it will increase its self-confidence to challenge Israel more drastically.

Military Intelligence and Shin Bet analysts have already drawn up scenarios arguing that if Hamas emerges as the winner, or only increases its power in the elections, it will employ the same military tactics used in Gaza – launching rockets, planting bombs and using hit and run tactics – against Israeli troops and Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

Israel’s approach is: why rock the boat?

However, there is truly little that Israel can do. It cannot openly oppose the elections, and it knows that it has no real measures to influence them.

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Palestine elections: A leap into the unknown for Fatah and Hamas

HearstDavid Hearst is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He is a commentator and speaker on the region and analyst on Saudi Arabia. He was The Guardian’s foreign leader writer, and was correspondent in Russia, Europe, and Belfast. He joined the Guardian from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent.

David Hearst

18 February 2021 14:31 UTC

Both parties are going into the elections without an agreed vision for Palestine and a detailed plan for obtaining it

You can tell when elections are being planned in the occupied West Bank. 

This is the fifth time elections across Palestine have been attempted in the past 15 years since they were held in 2006, when Hamas, to everyone’s surprise, not least their own, swept the board. This time President Mahmoud Abbas appears to be serious about holding them.

How can one tell? Because between them his Preventive Security and Israeli forces are arresting anyone who opposes their candidates. The Palestinian Prisoners Club says that 456 civilians were arrested in January in the West Bank and on one night alone in February, 31 Palestinians were rounded up. 

A Palestinian member of Central Elections Commission displays an ID to a colleague as they check the work of the first Voter Information and Registration Centre in Gaza City on 10 February, 2021 (AFP)

A serious escalation

The arrests are politically colour blind. Every faction has been targeted – even those that have not yet been established. For over a year, Israeli forces have been targeting hundreds of young men and women from a left-wing social and political network.

Politically motivated arrests are nothing new in the West Bank. What may surprise some is that the Hamas leadership in Gaza is still pushing ahead with the election plan regardless

They face charges of  “terrorist activity,” “visiting an enemy state” or even vaguer “communicating with foreign agents”. Their interrogators put them in little doubt about why they are being detained . They want fear to spread in the community.  Detention and torture are tools to stop the network before it can grow. Hamas members in the West Bank are threatened they will be next if they dare to stand. 

Khaled al-Hajj, a Hamas leader in Jenin who supported President Abbas’s elections decrees, was arrested last week. Another Hamas member, who had just had surgery for cancer, was severely beaten.

Wasfi Kabha, a former Hamas minister, told MEE: “We are facing a dangerous and serious escalation, not only by the occupation, but also by the security services that belong to the PA. That arrest campaign aims to scare, intimidate and terrorise members of the movement and also those who have sympathy for Hamas. The arrests are meant to influence the election. There are many others that the Israeli forces threaten to arrest if they nominate themselves or take part in the elections.”

Kabha added: “The Palestinian security services severely beat Abdel Nasser Rabbi despite the fact he had suffered from cancer and had surgery a short time ago. Unfortunately, Palestinian security services finish the job of whoever Israel can not manage to arrest.”

Politically motivated arrests are nothing new in the West Bank. What may surprise some is that the Hamas leadership in Gaza is still pushing ahead with the election plan regardless.

A divided Hamas

The interesting question is why? During three rounds of negotiations with Fatah in Beirut and Ankara, the Hamas leadership insisted on holding all three elections for the Legislative Council , the presidency, and the National Council of the PLO simultaneously. This is because they did not trust Abbas to keep his word once he himself had been reelected as president.After 15-year wait, Palestinian elections face new obstacles following law amendments

Hamas also insisted that the PA end its security cooperation with Israel and the arrest campaign in the West Bank. For a while Abbas complied, only to abandon that strategy when it became clear to him last November that Donald Trump was out of office. In subsequent talks in Cairo, Hamas failed to get either demand. 

The other two factions, the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), both tabled reservations. Islamic Jihad announced it was not running for the elections, but the delegation from Hamas stayed in.

Proponents of the deal with Fatah claim that Hamas were given guarantees that some 38,000 civil servants in Gaza would not only be paid by the PA, but receive permanent tenure. They claim a new election court would be formed to avoid the heavily weighted constitutional court that Abbas created. They also claim Hamas would secure the collaboration of the international community, including renewing relations with the European Union. They also claim that no one could criminalise the resistance.

Opponents of the deal within Hamas say all of these promises are wishful thinking. They point out that the issue of civil servants, which is at least a decade old, has been put off until after the elections. A new election court has not been announced by Abbas and, even if it were to be formed, it could not supplant the existing constitutional court, which remains the highest legal authority in the West Bank. 

Lastly, they say that it is not in Fatah’s power to guarantee international recognition of Hamas, which is still designated as a terrorist organisation by both the US and the EU

This combination of pictures created on 11 January, 2019 shows (L) Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (AFP)
This combination of pictures created on 11 January, 2019 shows (L) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (AFP)

Hamas’s senior leadership is clearly divided. Hamas in Gaza is hemmed in, unable to break out of the prison camp that has become Gaza following the 2006 elections, the attempted coup by Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan, and the split with Fatah. They are fed up with being held responsible for the continuing siege and are desperate to find a way out. Money is also running out. Iran is no longer funding them as before, and there are signs that other foreign backers are pushing them into Fatah’s arms.  Israel’s arrest campaign aims to destroy a new Palestinian movement

But the anger at the crackdown on Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PFLP members in the West Bank is mounting. While there is sympathy over the conditions they face in Gaza, the Hamas leadership, which is now based entirely in the enclave, will face mounting pressure to pull out of elections in which Hamas can only lose. 

No one expects a rerun of the 2006 result.

One measure of the backlash which the leadership in Gaza will face is spelled out in a leaked letter from one of the most prominent Hamas leaders in Israeli prisons. Ibrahim Hamid was a leader of the military wing in the West Bank during the Second Intifada and received one of the harshest terms: 54 concurrent life imprisonment sentences. Hamid called the decision by Hamas’ political bureau to run in the elections “hasty”.

He said the decision had been made independently of the Shura Council, a consultative body that elects Hamas’s politburo, and without the full knowledge of the prisoners’ movement. Ibrahim added that running for the elections would only serve Abbas’s purpose of reviving his legitimacy while curtailing that of Hamas.

In Hamid’s analysis, Hamas is facing a lose/lose scenario: should it win the elections, what is to prevent a repeat of the 2006 scenario, which launched the siege of Gaza and the split with Fatah? Should it lose the elections, would Hamas hand over both the administration and its rockets to Fatah in Gaza?

Even if Abbas kept his word and created a genuinely representative national Palestinian government, and Hamas was allowed to return to parliament and enter the PLO, what would stop Israel from arresting MPs as they do now? 

Fatah’s problems

Fatah is faring no better. Abbas’s drive to refresh his mandate and seek the legitimacy he has lost as one of the architects of Oslo is being threatened by two other Fatah leaders. Abbas has long been aware of the plan which I first revealed in 2016 to replace him with his arch-rival Dahlan.

The plan for a post-Abbas era was hatched by the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Egypt. Since 2016, Egypt and Jordan have not stopped pressuring Abbas to reconcile with Dahlan. The latest message was passed to Abbas when Egypt and Jordan’s heads of intelligence visited Ramallah recently.

The new card in this operation is the man who ran against Abbas and then withdrew his candidacy in the 2005 presidential election, the Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, a leader of the First and Second Intifadas who is in prison on five concurrent life sentences. 

Barghouti remains a consistently popular figure of the resistance. At one point he polled higher than both Abbas and Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader, for the post of president. In April 2017 Barghouti organised a hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

This time round, Barghouti announced his intention to run for the presidency and the PNC through one of his supporters, Raafat Ilayyan. Ilayyan quoted Barghouti as saying that a united Fatah list “should be open to all including those accused of taking sides and those sacked from the movement”.

A man holds a photo of prominent Palestinian prisoner Marwan Barghouti calling for his release during a rally supporting those detained in Israeli jails after hundreds of them launched a hunger strike, in the West Bank town of Hebron on April 17, 2017
A man holds a photo of prominent Palestinian prisoner Marwan Barghouti calling for his release during a rally on 17 April 2017 (AFP)

This was a clear reference to Dahlan, who lives in exile and has been sentenced in absentia to three years in prison on corruption charges and expelled from the party. Dahlan’s lawyer at the time called the conviction a “cleansing exercise” for Abbas.

Does Fatah want to liberate Palestine from the occupation, or does it want to govern as a surrogate for Israel, whatever conditions it is put under?

After nearly two decades behind bars, Barghouti wants to get out of jail. Is Dahlan, who is Israel’s preferred Palestinian leader, the Fatah leader’s get out of jail card? Barghouti’s announcement ruffled feathers in Fatah. Jibril Rajoub, secretary general of Fatah’s central committee, who led negotiations with Hamas, accused foreign countries of meddling in the Palestinian elections. 

Rajoub told Palestinian TV: “Some messages have been received from some countries trying to interfere in the path of dialogue, including Arab states which rushed [to normalise relations with Israel]. However, Fatah’s position is clear and does not take directions from any foreign capital.” 

In their campaign to position Dahlan as the next Palestinian leader, Egypt, Jordan and UAE are keen to exploit the distrust between Fatah and Hamas. The latest sign of this is the arrival of the first of what will be a large group of Dahlan men in Gaza after many years in exile. This could only have been achieved with the consent of Hamas leaders in Gaza. 

The true winner of the election may, therefore, be a man who does not even stand on the ballot. One way or another, Dahlan is determined to return to Palestine at the expense of both Abbas and Hamas. 

The jockeying for position within Fatah is about power. But aside from this, Fatah has a real problem with its identity and its purpose. Does Fatah want to liberate Palestine from the occupation, or does it want to govern as a surrogate for Israel, whatever conditions it is put under?

Rajoub and Dahlan are sworn enemies only because they are rivals. Neither has a vision for a free Palestine. Abbas momentarily found his voice as a Palestinian leader in pushing back against the normalisation of ties with Israel, which he called a betrayal. But as soon it became clear Trump was on his way out, Abbas tossed his principles out of the window and returned to business as usual both with Washington and Israel.

The real leaders

Who then are the real leaders of this struggle? For this, we should not look to elections but to what is happening on the streets because it is only here that liberation movements are reborn. That was the case when the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat started Fatah and when Hamas became a dominant force in the First Intifada. No one, either in Ramallah or Gaza, is leading or directing events that are now taking place in Palestine.

Israel is playing a delaying game, and unhappily, both Fatah and Hamas leaders are playing into its hands

It has been a long time since there were major demonstrations by Palestinian citizens of Israel. Earlier this month, protests erupted in several towns and villages. The spark this time is the crime rate and the lack of policing. But the Palestinian flags and the slogans tell a different story, one that has not been seen or heard since the First Intifada. 

There are more and more youth initiatives taking root in the West Bank, including the one Israeli forces are so keen to dismantle. There is clearly a new generation of protest underway that is independent of Fatah, Hamas or the now divided Joint List in the Israeli Knesset.

In the diaspora, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) is becoming an international movement. This, too, is independent of any Palestinian leadership. Rudderless, there is every chance that a new Palestinian movement in and outside Palestine will seize control. 

Israel is playing a delaying game, and, unhappily, leaders of both Fatah and Hamas  – one crippled by its decision to recognise Israel, the other imprisoned by it – are playing into its hands. If this continues, the impetus to break the deadlock will come from the streets, as it always has done in the past.

No vision

What a contrast Palestinian leaders make to other liberation movements. When Nelson Mandela walked out of prison on 11 February 1990, he made a speech that resonates to this day. He said the armed struggle would continue until apartheid collapsed. He called on the international community to continue the boycott of the apartheid regime.

Mandela and the ANC showed determination and vision to the end. Both are sadly lacking in Palestine

“The factors which necessitated the armed struggle still exist today. We have no option but to continue. We express the hope that a climate conducive to a negotiated settlement would be created soon so that there may no longer be the need for the armed struggle… To lift sanctions now would be to run the risk of aborting the process towards the complete eradication of apartheid. Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way,” Mandela said.

Compare this to what Fatah has done. It signed the Oslo agreement that criminalised the armed struggle and opened the way for Israel to normalise its relations with China, the Soviet Union in its last days, India and many African countries. Oslo gave nothing to the Palestinians. It ended up giving a lot to Israel, culminating in the opening of embassies in Abu Dhabi and Manama. 

The Palestinian Authority created by Oslo became a surrogate of Israeli forces, even when Israel was starving Ramallah of tax revenue collected on its behalf. In Abbas’s own words, the PA provided Israel with “the cheapest occupation in history”.

What did Abbas get in return? Another 600,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. 

Mandela and the African National Congress showed determination and vision to the end. Both are sadly lacking in Palestine. The mice of this struggle are in Ramallah. The lions are on the street – where they have always been.

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

Related

The US is Duplicitous over Jerusalem, but the PA Stays Silent

February 18, 2021

The city of Jerusalem. (Photo: Ekaterina Vysotina, via Pixabay)

By Ramona Wadi

The Biden administration is adopting a confusing position regarding Jerusalem, signaling a possible effort to square the circle of taking the US back to the fold of international consensus on Palestine and Israel, while maintaining the gifts which former US President Donald Trump handed on a plate to Israel. As usual, Washington is being duplicitous. Also as normal, the PA is staying silent.

In a recent briefing by the US State Department, spokesman Ned Price seemed to contradict the diplomatic position taken by the US under Trump, declaring the issue of Jerusalem to be “a final status issue which will need to be resolved by the parties in the context of direct negotiations.” Such a statement puts the US in line with two-state politics and international consensus.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated clearly that he recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a Trump-era move that ushered in the probability of further annexation. Even more telling was Blinken’s dithering when asked whether the US would support a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem. Playing upon the fact that diplomatic negotiations are stalled, Blinken answered, “What we have to see is for the parties to get together directly and negotiate these so-called final status issues.”

If President Joe Biden is determined to pursue two-state diplomacy within the framework of Trump’s legacy, Palestinians are in for a worse time than they were under his predecessor.

The “deal of the century” was explicit in its determination to strip Palestinians of their political rights. A mix of two-state politics and the deal of the century constitutes a double effort to ensure that the Palestinians are the losers, which will be exacerbated with the Palestinian Authority’s brand of acquiescent politics.

In the absence of a clear policy on Palestine, the PA has given too much importance to Biden’s overtures so far. Restoring relations with the PA is, of course, a necessity, but Mahmoud Abbas has still not spoken about US-Palestinian diplomacy, while Biden has not yet formulated a policy and is still hovering between Trump’s actions and pursuing the two-state paradigm.

So far, the US has stated that it will not move the US Embassy back to Tel Aviv, thus clearly endorsing Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided” capital. The PA has preferred not to mull over this significant strategy.

The restoration of relations and the promise of humanitarian aid have instilled a resolve in Abbas to resort to the usual time-waster of an international peace conference, in which participants will overlook the fact that the US can’t possibly adhere to the two-state paradigm without recognizing that occupied East Jerusalem should serve as the capital of the Palestinian state.

Abbas and the international community are still clinging to the obsolete two-state hypothesis, while the US will abide by international consensus as long as it does not have to completely renege on what Trump achieved. When Trump declared Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital, Abbas called for protests.

What will he do if Biden does not explicitly endorse East Jerusalem as the capital of a State of Palestine? Will Abbas call out the US for its duplicity, or will he continue to stay silent as long as the PA can once again lay claim to a minor presence in the circle of America’s diplomatic relations?

– Ramona Wadi is a staff writer for Middle East Monitor, where this article was originally published. She contributed this article to the Palestine Chronicle.

 Palestine news

Palestinian Resistance running in the New Legislative Elections Simulates Insanity,إستراتيجية فلسطينية واقعية في مقابل انتخابات تحاكي الجنون

**Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

Palestinian Resistance running in the New Legislative Elections Simulates Insanity

عمرو علان - Amro 🇵🇸 (@amrobilal77) | Twitter
* Palestinian writer and Political researcher

Amro Allan

First published in Global Research

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results:” this quote is wrongly attributed to Einstein, but regardless of who said it, this is what best describes the Palestinian resistance participation in the new Palestinian legislative elections. The new elections are being sold as the way for reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. However, the Palestinian division occurred in the light of the results of the 2006 legislative elections, and as a direct result of the contrast between Hamas and Fatah strategies towards the Palestinian cause. 

The strategies of the Palestinian factions have not changed since the previous elections. On the contrary, the Palestinian Authority (which in fact represents Fatah) has become entrenched further with the occupation, and the foreign actors’ stance against the Palestinian resistance has become more rigid. And it is stands to reason that a significant change in at least one of these two factors is a prerequisite to expect different outcome of any new elections 

So, away from the slogans of the reconciliation between Palestinian factions and the accompanied PR campaigns, what does each of the Palestinian factions hope to achieve from these elections?  And more importantly, what is the solution to break the siege imposed on the Palestinian resistance in Gaza?

The Palestinian Authority (PA)

In January 2020, the former U.S. administration announced the ‘deal of the century’; this deal in fact exposed the hidden intention of the successive U.S. administrations. This announcement was preceded by the Zionist Entity revealing its intention to annex the West Bank. Add to this, the ‘Jewish nation-state’  laws which the Zionist Entity passed in 2018 that may lead to transportation of the Palestinians in the 1948 territories out of their homes. After all these developments, Mahmoud Abbas declared Oslo Accords dead and the end of the security coordination with the occupation. With this, a glimmer of hope within the Palestinian factions that the PA had finally benefited from its disastrous experience over the past 30 years has emerged. It was said at the time that it was possible for Fatah to agree with the other Palestinian factions on the basis of civil resistance to the occupation. And a meeting of the Secretaries-Generals of the Palestinian factions was held in Beirut on this basis. However, soon the hope of any change in the performance of the PA evaporated. The PA continued to coordinate fully with the ‘Israelis’ forces in order to thwart any attempt to resist the occupation and continued to suppress any popular movement on the ground, no matter how peaceful it was. The PA relentlessly suppressed Even the peaceful popular demonstration of solidarity with the hunger-striking detainee Maher al-Akhras at the time. Then came the shocking statement of Hussein al-Sheikh, the PA Civil Affairs Minister, when he announced the return of the PA diplomatic relations with ‘Israel’ to how it was, including the security coordination- which in truth never ceased. 

It has become clear to most observers that the PA function has become limited to two tasks: first, collecting financial aid; and second, paving the way (knowingly or unknowingly) for the occupation to accomplish its aims of annexing what little that remains of the West Bank. 

By stifling any form of Palestinian movements, peaceful or otherwise, to resist the occupation’s changing the facts on the ground, the Pa has become de-facto complicit of the occupation. Hence, all PA talk still possessing a Palestinian national project becomes no more than empty rhetoric. Because even he who believes in the negotiations as the only path to attain Palestinian rights does not strip himself of all negotiation leverages as the PA has indeed done. The PA has become a mockery of itself. It now mimics the French government of Vichy or the South Lebanon Army; with the difference that the last two had a project, regardless of our view of their projects, whereas the PA no longer has a task to speak of. These are not labels that can be given lightly or as a matter of populism, nor it is a call for internal fighting which must be avoided at all cost, especially in the presence of the occupation. But this is a description of the current situation that must be taken into account when assessing any future Palestinian strategy.

Thus, it can be reasoned that the goal of Mahmoud Abbas and the PA from the elections is to renew their legitimacy, or more precisely to take allegiance from Hamas and the rest of the Palestinian factions, and then to return to the vortex of what they call peace process and with no horizons in sight, of course. 

Hamas and the Palestinian resistance factions

Hamas and the Palestinian resistance are going through an evident crisis, because of their limited options and their failure to lift the 15-year siege imposed on the Gaza Strip. It can be argued that the origins of the blockade were Hamas’s strategic miscalculations to run in the 2006 legislative elections- which did not secure Hamas any immunity nor protected it as it had hoped. Notwithstanding this argument, the occupation remains the prime source of the blockade. The Zionist Entity is the holder of the blockade keys and no one else. This is the primary fact and must not be ignored when formulating any   strategy to dismantle the blockade.

It is not a secret that Hamas is hoping that running in the upcoming elections will lead to lifting the blockade or at the very least easing it. This presents two assumptions: either Hamas competes against Fatah to win the majority in the legislative elections or runs with Fatah on the same party list. Suppose it is the former, and Hamas wins the election. In that case, Hamas will face a repeat of the 2006 scenario if there is no change in the Palestinian faction’s policies nor any change in the key international players’ stance towards the Palestinian resistance. 

But if Hamas runs in the elections on a party list with Fatah, and it agrees to be a minority in the legislative elections, it will become an opposition party within the Oslo system. At which point, they will be obliged to play according to the Oslo rules. We observe the emergence of two parallel lines on the Palestinian scene- that can never converge. One represents the PA which has become linked to the occupation (and part of it, in reality), and which does not believe in any form of confrontation with the occupation, even a peaceful one; whilst the other believes in Resistance to restore Palestinian rights. As a result, the resistance factions will find themselves facing the same current dilemma. With the difference that this time they will have given to the opposite side new ammunition to use against them. The Palestinian resistance will be required internally and internationally to respect the elections’ results and hand over the Gaza Strip to the PA before any easing of the blockade takes place.  And because the blockade keys are with the occupation, the Palestinian resistance will have to follow the Zionist Entity’s definition of handing over control of the Gaza Strip. And that means the disarmament of the Palestinian resistance and nothing else.

The solution to break the siege on the Palestinian resistance

It must be recognized first that finding a solution to the Gaza crisis is not a simple task, because the blockade is linked first and foremost to the occupation itself and is only one of its   symptoms. Nevertheless, what deserves attention is that the Occupation Entity has allowed a lot of financial aid to the PA in Ramallah and even to the Gaza Strip, whenever the status quo nears the point of collapse in the West Bank or Gaza. This indicates that the Zionist Entity fears an explosion in either of these arenas. For instance, Netanyahu retreated from his decision to announce the West Bank’s annexation fearing the break of a third intifada based on the estimates of his security advisers and nothing else. This casts doubt on the idea that the West Bank    is not ready for a popular movement and a third intifada. It is true that starting a popular movement is not without many obstacles, first of which   is the presence of the PA intelligence services, who are now directly coordinating with the Shin Bet. Nevertheless, is it really possible that the Palestinian factions are short of the means to motivate people and move onto the street if they put their mind to it?

In addition to what has been said, if we put the blockade imposed on the Palestinian resistance in its broader context as part of the economic war imposed on all resistance forces in the region, movements and states alike, the lifting of the siege on Gaza clearly becomes a common interest for all these actors. And this calls for the Palestinian factions to try to formulate a unified strategy with all the resistance forces in the region (i.e. the Axis of Resistance) to lift the blockade. It is, of course, obvious that this requires rounds and rounds of discussion, and that any strategy to break the siege with the support of the Axis of Resistance will be a medium-term strategy, but this remains the more productive option. Engaging in uncalculated adventures such as new elections will only lead to more time-wasting, even according to the most optimistic estimates.

Conclusion

The siege imposed on the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip is a vital component in the overall strategy of the Zionist Entity, and any counter plan to break the siege that does not take in account this fact is bound to fail. Therefore, steps that can change the equations on the ground and the development of a comprehensive national Palestinian strategy are paramount for dismantling the siege. Today the Palestinians have a realistic opportunity to impose withdrawal of the occupation from the 1967 territories through a   third intifada. This would undoubtedly change all the existing equations on the ground. 

What is put forward in this article are only thoughts for deliberation. The formulation of a complete future Palestinian strategy needs the participation of many minds. But what this article has tried to avoid is sugar-coating the reality, simplifying the status quo, and providing solutions that appear attractive on the outside but bear the seeds of their own failure in the inside.

* Palestinian writer and Political researcher

إستراتيجية فلسطينية واقعية في مقابل انتخابات تحاكي الجنون

عمرو علان - Amro 🇵🇸 (@amrobilal77) | Twitter
*كاتب فلسطيني وباحث سياسي

عمرو علان

First published in Arabic in Al-Akhbar Fri 5 Feb 2021

الأخبار الجمعة 5 شباط 2021

«الجنون هو أن تكرّر الفعل نفسه أكثر من مرّة وتتوقّع نتائج مغايرة». يُنسب هذا الاقتباس خطأ إلى آينشتاين، لكن بغضّ النظر عمّن كان قائله الحقيقي، لعلّه أفضل ما يُوَصِّف حالة انتخابات المجلس التشريعي الفلسطيني المزمع إجراؤها قريباً. لقد وقع الانقسام الفلسطيني، أصلاً، على ضوء نتائج انتخابات عام 2006 التشريعية، وكنتيجة لتباين النظرة بشأن الاستراتيجيات بين حركتَي «حماس» و«فتح»، ومنذ ذلك الحين، لم يطرأ أيّ تغيير على الظروف الداخلية الفلسطينية من ناحية المواقف، ولا الرؤى تجاه المشروع الوطني الفلسطيني، ولا الموقفان الخارجيان الدولي والعربي قد تبدّلا بشيء. بل على العكس، زاد انحدار السلطة الفلسطينية وارتباطها بالاحتلال داخلياً، وزاد الموقفان الدولي والعربي نكراناً للحق الفلسطيني وصلفاً تجاه القوى الفلسطينية عموماً، فكيف إذن يمكن توقّع أن تكون نتائج الانتخابات الجديدة أفضل من سابقتها، وأن تؤدّي إلى مصالحة فلسطينية؟ فما الذي يبتغيه، إذن، كلّ طرف من هذه الانتخابات بعيداً عن الشعارات المعلنة وحملات العلاقات العامّة؟ وما هو الحل للخروج من حالتَي المراوحة والتيه الواضحتين في الوضع الفلسطيني؟

السلطة الفلسطينية

مع إعلان الإدارة الأميركية السابقة عن صفقة القرن، هذه الصفقة التي تمثل التوجه الحقيقي للإدارات الأميركية المتعاقبة، وما تلاها من إفصاح الكيان الصهيوني عن مسعاه لضمّ أراضي الضفّة الغربية، ناهيك بسَنّ قوانين يهودية الدولة التي تهدّد أصل وجود فلسطينيّي أراضي الـ48 في ديارهم، ظهر بصيص أمل ولو كان ضئيلاً عن احتمالية كون السلطة قد استفادت من تجربتها الكارثية، خلال الأعوام الثلاثين الماضية، عندما أعلن محمود عباس عدم الالتزام بمخرجات أوسلو ووقف التنسيق الأمني، وقيل حينها إنّه يمكن التوافق بين سائر القوى الفلسطينية على أرضية الحدّ الأدنى في مقاومة الاحتلال على أساس المقاومة الشعبية. وعلى وقْع ذلك، تمّ عقد اجتماع أمناء الفصائل في بيروت، لكن سرعان ما تبدّد الأمل في أي تبدّل ولو كان طفيفاً في أداء السلطة، فقد استمرت السلطة في التعاون الكامل مع قوات الاحتلال بهدف إحباط أيّ محاولة لمقاومة الاحتلال، وتابعت قمع أيّ حراك شعبي على الأرض مهما كان سلمياً، وحتى مجرّد التظاهرة الشعبية السلمية للتضامن مع الأسير المضرب عن الطعام آنذاك، ماهر الأخرس، تمّ قمعها دون هوادة. وتبع ذلك تصريح حسين الشيخ مستهزِئاً بعقول كلّ الشعب الفلسطيني بلا استثناء، عندما أعلن ما أسماه «انتصار الشعب الفلسطيني» وعودة التنسيق الأمني رسمياً (ويا دار ما دخلك شر).

لقد بات جلياً من طريقة تعاطي السلطة الفلسطينية مع الواقع الفلسطيني، أنّ وظيفتها صارت محصورة بأمرين لا ثالث لهما؛ الأول: تحصيل المخصّصات، والآخر: تمهيد الأرضية في الضفة الغربية – بعلم أو بدون علم – كي يُنجِز الاحتلال مشروعه بابتلاع ما بقي من أراضي الضفة عبر منعها لأيّ شكل من أشكال المقاومة أو الحراك من أجل التصدّي لخطوات الاحتلال التي يستمر بتنفيذها على أرض الواقع. وكلّ حديث عن مشروع وطني فلسطيني لدى السلطة ما هو إلا صرخات في البرّية، فحتى من كان يؤمن بطريق المفاوضات لتحصيل حقوقه لا يعمد إلى تجريد نفسه من كلّ ما لديه من أوراق ضغط أو تفاوض من تلقاء ذاته. وعلى هذا، صارت السلطة الفلسطينية تحاكي حكومة فيشي الفرنسية أو جيش لحد الجنوبي مع فارق أنّه كان لهذين الأخيرين مشروع، بغضّ النظر عن رأينا في مشروعيهما، بينما لا يوجد أي أفق مستقبلي أو مشروع للسلطة الفلسطينية، هذه ليست توصيفات يمكن إطلاقها بِخِفّة أو من باب الشعبوية، ولا هي دعوة إلى الاقتتال الداخلي الذي يجب اجتنابه بأيّ ثمن، ولا سيما في ظلّ وجود الاحتلال، لكن هذا توصيف لواقع حال يجب أن يؤخذ في الحسبان عند تقدير أيّ موقف.

وإذا ما ألقينا نظرة فاحصة، نجد أنّ السلطة فعلياً باتت تمثّل مشروع الفلسطيني المهزوم. لذلك، نجد محمود عباس يقول إنّه سيفاوض ويستمر بالمفاوضات والاستجداء عساه يُحصِّل شيئاً من الحقوق الفلسطينية، ويُعلّل ذلك بكون الفلسطيني جرّب الطرق الأخرى ولم يحصل على مراده لأنّ الظروف الدولية والإقليمية والداخلية في غير مصلحته، بحسب فهمه غير الدقيق ولا الواقعي. لكن يغيب عن هذا التصوّر أنّه حتى خيار الاستسلام غير متاح للفلسطيني الموجود في الضفة وأراضي الـ48، فالكيان الصهيوني لم يَعُد يخفي مشروعه في هضم أراضي الضفة وترحيل سكانها عاجلاً أم آجلاً، وربما يكون مردّ التشويش في هذا التصوّر تجاهل أصل المشروع الصهيوني الذي هو مشروع إحلالي يقوم على اقتلاع السكان الأصليين للأرض وإحلال المستوطنين مكانهم، وقد ساعد في ظهور هذا التصوّر بروز بعض الأطروحات المشوِّهة لحقيقة الصراع من قبيل نظريات الفصل العنصري (الأبارتايد)، أو أنّ القضية الفلسطينية هي قضية كرامة أو مساواة. لكنّ المفارقة، هنا، أنّ خيار الاستسلام ربما يكون متاحاً لأهالي غزّة إذا ارتضوا العيش بذلّة تحت سيطرة الصهيوني، وليس لباقي سكّان المناطق الأخرى في أرض فلسطين. نكتفي بهذا القدر كي لا نستطرد عن أصل النقاش الحالي أكثر.

بناءً على هذا العرض، يمكن الخلوص إلى كون هدف محمود عباس والسلطة عموماً من إجراء الانتخابات هو تجديد شرعيتها، أو أخذ البيعة من حركة «حماس» وباقي الفصائل، بتأييد خطّها السياسي إن صحّ وصفه بالخط سياسي، ومن ثم لتعود إلى دوّامة ما يسمونه مفاوضات سلام وبلا أيّ أفق طبعاً، بينما تواصل تأدية دورها الوظيفي في تأمين الحماية لقوات الاحتلال والمستوطنين، ريثما يُجْهِز الكيان الصهيوني على باقي أراضي الضفة وعلى الوجود السكاني لأهالي الضفة وأراضي الـ48.

«حماس» وفصائل المقاومة

تمرّ «حماس» بأزمة خيارات واضحة وحقيقية، بسبب إخفاقها في فكّ الحصار عن قطاع غزة، هذا الحصار الذي تشارك فيه السلطة ذاتها وبعض الدول العربية المتواطئة، والذي بات يشكّل عبئاً على أهالي القطاع ويتسبّب في عجز الحكم في غزة عن تأمين الكثير من الحاجيات الأولية للغزّيين، ناهيكم بتعطيل حركة الدخول والخروج من وإلى القطاع، ما حوَّل قطاع غزة إلى سجن مفتوح بكل معنى الكلمة. ويمكن المحاجّة بأنّ منشأ الحصار كان بسبب تقدير «حماس» الاستراتيجي الخاطئ الذي خاضت بموجبه الانتخابات التشريعية في عام 2006، التي لم تؤمّن للحركة أي حصانة ولا هي حمت ظهرها كما كان مرجواً، لكن بعيداً عن كلّ هذا النقاش يبقى الاحتلال هو مصدر الحصار الأول والأخير، ومفتاح فكّه ليس مع أحد سواه، لا مع السلطة ولا مع تلك الدول العربية المتواطئة، وهذا أمر أساسي لا يصحّ تجاهله عند صياغة أي استراتيجية لفكّ الحصار.

بناءً على ما سلف، يمكن استنتاج أنّ «حماس» تأمل من دخول الانتخابات فكّ الحصار أو تخفيفه على أقلّ تقدير، وهذا بالتالي يطرح فرضيّتين: إما دخول «حماس» الانتخابات على أساس المغالبة، وإمّا خوضها على أساس المشاركة بصيغة قائمة مشتركة مع «فتح» أو بصيغة أخرى يُتّفَق عليها.

فإذا كانت الانتخابات مغالبة، واستطاعت «حماس» الفوز بالأكثرية، عندها نكون أمام تكرار سيناريو عام 2006 بحذافيره، طالما لا تغيير في المواقف الداخلية للأطراف ولا تبديل للمواقف الدولية كما ذكرنا. وأما إذا كانت الانتخابات بالمشاركة وارتضت «حماس» أن تكون أقلية، أو إذا ما فشلت في تحقيق الأغلبية بالمغالبة ففي الحالتين ستتحوّل إلى معارضة ضمن منظومة أوسلو، وعندها ستكون ملزمة باللعب وفق قواعدِه، وفي ظلّ وجود خطّين متوازيين على الساحة الفلسطينية لا يتقاطعان، أحدهما بات مرتبطاً بالاحتلال عضوياً وبالطبيعة لا يؤمِن بأيّ شكل من أشكال مجابهة الاحتلال حتى ولو كانت سلمية، والآخر يؤمِن بالمقاومة كسبيل لاستعادة الحقوق.

فستجد «حماس» وسائر فصائل المقاومة نفسها أمام ذات المعضلة الحالية، لكن هذه المرة ستكون قد منحت للطرف المقابل ذخيرة جديدة للاستقواء عليها، فهي ستكون مطالبة داخلياً ودولياً باحترام نتائج الانتخابات وتسليم قطاع غزة قبل أيّ تخفيف للحصار. وهنا لن ينفع التذاكي فالحصار مفتاحه مع الاحتلال والآخرون هم مجرد تفصيل كما جادلنا، وتسليم القطاع لدى الكيان الصهيوني يعني تسليم كلّ فصائل المقاومة لسلاحها الموجود فوق الأرض وتحت الأرض ولا شيء دون ذلك.

لكن يردُّ البعض بأنّ دخول الانتخابات يمكن أن يمنح «حماس» وسائر فصائل المقاومة وضعاً في الداخل الفلسطيني يماثل وضع حزب الله في لبنان، وهنا يمكن قول الآتي: من الصعب مقارنة وضع قطاع غزة وحال فصائله بالحالة اللبنانية، لا من ناحية وجود سوريا على الحدود اللبنانية التي لا تشارك في حصار لبنان، والتي فوق ذلك تشكّل خطّ إمداد لحزب الله منها وعبرها، ولا من ناحية قوة حزب الله الذي بلغ مرحلة من القدرة التسليحية يستطيع معها تبديل معادلات إقليمية. ومع هذا، يجب الانتباه إلى أنّ من يطْبِق الحصار على غزّة هو الكيان الصهيوني بشكل مباشر، بينما يعدّ الأميركي الوحيد الذي لديه قدرة على ممارسة أشكال من الحصار على لبنان. وكان الأميركي يتَّبِع في الفترات الماضية استراتيجية المساكنة في لبنان لحسابات معقّدة ومخاوف لديه لا مجال لذكرها هنا، بينما تخلّى اليوم عن فكرة المساكنة، وهذا ما يفسر الضغط الاقتصادي الذي يمرّ به لبنان بالأساس، بالإضافة إلى عوامل داخلية لبنانية أخرى مساعِدة. وخلاصة القول أنّ جميع قوى المقاومة في الإقليم تتعرّض، اليوم، لحصار مالي واقتصادي تتفاوت فعاليته وآثاره تبَعاً لظروف كلّ فصيل وجغرافياً موقع تواجده.

الخروج من حالة المراوحة

استعرضنا في ما سبق كيف أنّ دخول «حماس» الانتخابات لن يفضي إلى حلٍّ لحصار غزة، بل يرجّح أن يؤدّي إلى نتائج عكسية تعود بالضرر على المقاومة الفلسطينية. هذا ولم نفصل في المخاطر على المشروع الوطني الفلسطيني وثوابته وأهدافه لضيق المساحة. وقبل الخوض في الحلول، يجب الاعتراف بداية بأنّ إيجاد حلّ لأزمة غزة ليس بالأمر الهيّن كون الحصار مرتبطاً أولاً وأخيراً بالاحتلال ذاته وما هو إلّا أحد أعراضه، وهو ضريبة تدفعها قوى المقاومة إلى جانب ضرائب أخرى كثيرة يتحمّلها كلّ من يسعى إلى التحرير كما جادلنا. لكن يجب أيضاً الإشارة إلى أمر آخر جدير بالانتباه، وهو سماح كيان الاحتلال لقدر من المساعدات المالية بالوصول إلى سلطة رام الله، وحتى قطاع غزّة، كلّما أوشك الوضع على الانهيار، سواءً في الضفة أو قطاع غزة. وهذا يشير بوضوح إلى أنّ ما يخشاه العدو هو حصول انفجار في أيٍّ من هاتين الساحتين، ويبدو أنّ العدو بات مدركاً لمكامن ضعفه واختلال موازين القوى لغير مصلحته أكثر من إدراك بعض الفلسطينيين لهذه الوقائع، فنجد بنيامين نتنياهو يتراجع عن قراره الذي استثمر فيه كثيراً بإعلان ضمّ أراضي الضفة الغربية تحسّباً لانفجار الانتفاضة في أراضي الـ67، بناءً على تقديرات أجهزته الأمنية ولا شيء سوى ذلك، وهذا يدحض الفكرة القائلة بكون الضفة مترهّلة وغير حاضرة للتحرّك شعبياً. صحيح أنّ الحراك الشعبي دونه صعاب عديدة، أوّلها وجود جيش من مخبري أجهزة السلطة الذين باتوا يأتمرون بأمر الشاباك مباشرة، لكن هل يُعقل أن تعدم الفصائل الوسيلة في تحريك الشارع؟

وفي المقابل، فليس مردّ التذمّر الشعبي ضيق الحال المعيشي فقط، لكنّ حالتَي السكون والمراوحة اللتين يعيشهما الوضع الفلسطيني هما سببان لا يمكن تجاهلهما، حيث كون هذا الوضع يوحي بانسداد الأفق على الصعيد الوطني، وفي هذه الحالة تطفو المصاعب المعيشية على السطح لتأخذ موقع الصدارة على القضايا الوطنية الأخرى. وهذه ليست دعوة للهروب إلى الأمام كما ربما سيحاجج البعض، فأيّ حراك شعبي في الضفة هذه المرة ستكون حظوظه في فرض الانسحاب على كيان الاحتلال من أراضي الـ67 مرتفعة للغاية، بناءً على استقراء التوازنات الدولية والإقليمية وحالة التراجع التي يعيشها الكيان الصهيوني. ولا تغرّنكم حالة انهيار بعض الأعراب أمام هذا الكيان، فهؤلاء مصيرهم مرتبط بهذه المنظومة الاستعمارية وليس بمقدورهم تعديل موازين القوى بشكل حقيقي، ويصحّ فيهم القول الشعبي: «عصفور يسند زرزور».

بالإضافة إلى ما تَقدَّم، إذا ما وضعنا الحصار المفروض على قوى المقاومة الفلسطينية في إطاره الأوسع كجزء من الحرب المفروضة على كلّ قوى المقاومة في الإقليم أحزاباً ودولاً، كما نوّهنا في الفقرة السابقة، يصير فكّ الحصار عن غزة مصلحة مشتركة لكلّ هذه الأطراف مجتمعة، ويستدعي العمل من جهة الفصائل الإسلامية والوطنية الفلسطينية على محاولة صياغة استراتيجية موحّدة مع كلّ قوى المقاومة في الإقليم. ندرك كون هذا الأمر يلزمه جولات وجولات من التباحث، وكون أيّ استراتيجية لفكّ الحصار بالتوافق مع القوى الداعمة ستكون من طبيعة الاستراتيجيات المتوسّطة المدى، لكن هذا يظلّ أجدى من الدخول في مغامرات غير محسوبة العواقب كالانتخابات، التي لن تؤدي إلّا إلى المزيد من إضاعة الوقت بحسب أكثر التقديرات تفاؤلاً.

خاتمة

حصار قوى المقاومة في غزة ليس بالأمر الثانوي ضمن استراتيجية العدو، لهذا لا يُتوقع أن تفلح الخطوات الملتوية ولا الهروب من حقيقة الأمر في فكّه، ويلزم لذلك خطوات من شأنها تبديل المعادلات على الأرض، ومشروع وطني متكامل. واليوم، أمام الشعب الفلسطيني فرصة واقعية لفرض الانسحاب على الكيان الصهيوني من أراضي الـ67 عبر انتفاضة ثالثة، وهذا من شأنه بلا شك تبديل كل التوازنات القائمة، وما تمّ طرحه في هذا المقال هو عبارة عن أفكار للنقاش والتداول كون الأمر يحتاج إلى العديد من العقول للخروج باستراتيجية مجدية. يقول المثل الإنكليزي: «يُغَلِّف الموت بالسُّكَّر»، كناية عن عدم مواجهة الأمور على حقيقتها، وهذا ما حاول هذا المقال تفاديه بدلاً من تبسيط الوضع القائم وتقديم حلول ظاهرها سهل وباطنها فشل، وتبقى هذه هي ضريبة التحرير والمقاومة التي لا مناص من دفعها.

* كاتب فلسطيني وباحث سياسي

Palestinian political activist and analyst Abdel Sattar Qassem dies of Covid-19

Qassem was born in the village of Deir al-Ghusun in 1948

Qassem, 72, had announced in January that he would be running as an independent candidate for the presidency in the upcoming Palestinian election

By MEE staff

Published date: 2 February 202

Prominent Palestinian academic and political activist Abdel Sattar Qassem died late on Monday aged 72 of Covid-19, his family said.

Qassem, a professor of political science at Al-Najah University in Nablus, was well known for his activism against the Israeli military occupation in the West Bank, as well as his criticism of the Palestinian Authority’s security coordination and the Oslo Accords of 1993, signed between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO).

He died at Al-Najah Hospital in the northern West Bank town of Nablus, where he was receiving treatment after contracting coronavirus two weeks ago.

As of Tuesday, 2,023 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have died of Covid-19 since the pandemic started in March, according to figures released by the PA Ministry of Health.

Qassem was born in the village of Deir al-Ghusun in 1948, near the town of Tulkarem in the present-day West Bank. He received a BA in political science from the American University in Cairo, followed by a master’s degree from Kansas State University, and a second master’s in economics and a PhD in political philosophy from the University of Missouri in 1977.

Early in January, Qassem announced that he would be running as an independent candidate for the presidency in planned PA elections in July. 

He did not reveal the names of candidates on his list for the legislative council election in May for fear of persecution and arrest by Israeli or PA security forces, according to Al-Watan Voice news.

Qassem has been arrested numerous times by Israeli authorities. After the Oslo Accords in 1993, the Palestinian Authority detained him for short periods for his harsh criticism of the PA’s security coordination with Israel.

Translation: Farewell Abdel Sattar Qassem

In August 2014, he survived a close-range assassination attempt in Nablus. Unknown gunmen attempted to shoot him from a driving vehicle, almost 200 metres away from his house, while he was on his way to a TV interview.

The PA arrested him once again in 2016, claiming that he had called for the execution of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a live show on the Gaza-based Al-Quds channel. Qassem denied the allegation, and he was later released.

He was a well-known prolific political commentator for several publications – including speaking to Middle East Eye for a number of stories – and was hosted on major Arab and Palestinian TV channels.

He authored several books about his days in the Israeli prison of the Negev, the Syrian-Palestinian leader Izz al-Din Al-Qassam’s revolt against the British mandate in the 1930s, and the fall of the Shah in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. 

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Palestinian elections: one path for many goals ‫الانتخابات الفلسطينية: مسارٌ واحد لأهداف كثيرة

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

Cartoon – Mother #Palestine gives #Israel agent Mahmoud Abbas a lesson on  the Right of Return | Latuff Cartoons

All Palestinian factions have been plunged into a detailed debate about the elections, without even placing them in the balance of need and benefit. Everyone was silent on the way and timing chosen by the authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, to hold the elections, Hamas, accepted the decrees. Abbas wants to elect the “Legislative Council”, then the presidency, as the “National Council of the Liberation Organisation”, However, Abbas” wants to ensure that he remains in his chair, and to prepare plans to contain “Hamas” or reduce its representation, Fatah faces serious divisions that could fragment the movement in his life before he leaves, a scenario that he has not been accounted for and is now firmly working to prevent. The only constant is that as long as he is alive, he will not budge from his position, and that what forced him to hold elections is only the American-European, Arab, requests for the considerations of each party. Hamas, which advocates that it is “compelled” to run in elections and pressured it — in a repetition of the 2006 scenario — has decided to work to harvest the majority if possible, while Islamic Jihad remains on its previous position, with the possibility of participating in the “national” elections in whether it will lead to a change in the PLO’s doctrine. Between this and that, the organisation’s factions and “independent” figures assess the proportions they can get to cross the entry threshold, and better alliances if they are forced.

Three-way split threatens Fatah: The Solution in Barghouti’s Hand

Mai Reda

Monday, February 1, 2021

Ramallah | Since PA President Mahmoud Abbas issued a presidential decree setting a date for the elections, as a result of a U.S.-European-Arab request to renew “legitimacy” and arrange the region, internal “Fateh” differences have begun to surface, foreshadowing divisions within the movement that may contest the elections with three lists: one affiliated with the Central Committee and supporting Abbas, the second supported by the prisoner Marwan Barghouti and the youth group, and the third for the current dismissed leader Mohammed Dahlan (reformist) will continue to count on Fatah even if the latter rejects it.

PFLP has not resolved its position on participation because it doubts Abbas’s intentions (APA)

The “Fateh” projections indicate Barghouti’s intention to run for president, and to form a list in the legislative elections that precede it, a “nightmare” that haunts Fatah’s first-grade leaders. But Marwan’s son, Kassam Barghouti, said his father “does not yet have an official position on the matter… On Tuesday, the date of the lawyer’s visit to Barghouti will be conveyed from him, pointing out that “everything that is rumoured in the press is not official.” However, according to well-informed sources in the movement, who preferred not to be named, the subject is “very sensitive”, so within days he will meet the secretary of Fateh’s central committee, Jibril Rajoub, Barghouti in prison to dissuade him from running against Abbas, and to try to satisfy him by putting him at the top of Fateh’s list in the legislative council. The sources add: «Barghouti is very angry with the behaviour of the authority about his case, and feels that he was left alone, especially in the strike of dignity announced years ago,» but «it is unlikely to depart from the framework of the movement because it is one of its founders».

A few days ago, Fateh leaders Azzam al-Ahmad and Jamal Nazzal vowed that the movement would hold accountable any of its members who might fight it by running independently “difficult”, but Al-Ahmad added that “Barghouti is cut off from politics and spent his life in prison, and cannot meet the wishes of our people”! However, Fateh’s legislative member Hatem Abdel Kader told Al-Akhbar that, according to Barghouti’ lawyer, the man would run for president, but we do not know how the “Fateh” pressure will affect him. Barghouti entered his 19th year in Israeli prisons on charges of leading formations of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Fateh, while circles close to him are rumoured to have many concerns about his fate, and what he is currently interested in getting out of prison, especially if there is a prisoner exchange at the hands of the resistance.

Away from the man’s position on running for the presidency, there is a “Fateh” approach calling, if the official movement’s list does not meet the conditions that would ensure its success (e.g., including competent, honest, experienced, professional and militant personalities), to create another list that meets the previous conditions, says Abdel Kader, noting that Abbas has threatened to use “force” against any other list called Fateh, a rival to that official. Other sources confirm Abdel Kader’s speech, saying that there is a list led by al-Shabaab ( young people), which will be supported by Barghouti, and that there may be figures from the Central Committee and other authority at the Level of the West Bank and Gaza. This list is “a haven for disgruntled people to power, and by the way they will not ally with Dahlan, but may be coordinated after the elections if they win, with the aim of restoring consideration to Fatah,” the sources added.

There is an official list of “central” and another for Dahlan and a third supported by Barghouti


ياسر عرفات – اليرموكYarmouk63

As for the “reformist”, he intends to participate in a parallel list and promote it with leaders Dahlan is working to buy the loyalty of some of them inf the West Bank and Gaza, and he appointed a few days ago two spokespersons of the current, the owners of the “shocking names of Fatah and the Authority”, according to sources close to his current. “Dahlan has monitored this list and its success in tens of millions of dollars with UAE funding.” The current spokesman, Imad Mohsen, has already said that if Fateh does not include them in its list, “we will go to the elections with an independent list of legal and academic Fateh figures, because the free Fateh will not be driven like a herd based on the whims of one person,” referring to Abbas.

Commenting on these divisions, Fatah leader Abdullah Abdullah told Al-Akhbar that Dahlan is no longer Fatah, and therefore his descent into the elections does not affect the unity of the movement. Barghouti will be contacted by the Central Committee, stressing that it is the frameworks of the movement (the central, the revolutionary council and the advisory council) that decide the presidential candidate, “and if you decide a name, everyone should abide by it… I don’t think Barghouti sings outside Fatah.” With regard to the electoral map and the official list, Abdullah said: “After the Cairo meeting, we will determine who will be at the top of the list based on the ideas that will be presented at the meeting, and we will decide whether the movement will be at the top of the list alone or with other factions of the PLO, and we will not anticipate the events.”

Dahlan’s current realises that Fatah’s polarisation will be a factor in his favour in the elections, as there has already been a split in the movement’s leaders’ statements about its presidential candidate. However, The Kaban’s egg remains in Barghouti’s hand, which public opinion polls show is the most popular Palestinian in the West Bank at least, the most recent of which was conducted by the Palestinian Center for Political and Research Research (PSR) a few days ago, with Barghouti winning 61% of the vote if he was placed not in front of Abbas, but in front of Hamas’ political bureau chief, Ismail Haniyeh. According to the same poll, if Haniyeh is placed in front of Abbas, the former will get 50% against 43% for the second. The Center also estimated that if Barghouti forms an independent list, he will get 25% of the public vote, while 19% of the public said that in this case they will vote for the official Fatah list, which is confirmed by a source in the Ramallah government who said that «50% of the official Fatah prefers Barghouti for the presidency over Abbas». As for Dahlan, the poll predicted that his current list would get 7% of the public, while in this case 27% would vote for Fateh’s official list against him.

Hamas seeks majority… And “Jihad” is studying its options

Rajab Al-Madhoun

«حماس» تسعى للغالبية... و«الجهاد» تدرس خياراتها
Recommendations have been issued to the government in Gaza to improve dealing with people and avoid any problems (AFP)

Hamas continues to prepare and prepare its initial list for legislative elections, while Islamic Jihad continues to consider the possibility of contesting elections of its origin and any parts it may participate in, and the two issues remain awaiting the outcome of the Cairo Dialogues

Gaza | As part of Palestinian preparations for the first part of the elections next May, a Hamas source told Al-Akhbar that the movement has prepared its initial list of legislative elections, including Gaza and the West Bank, but is “considering options other than entering a single list in its name,” including “the possibility of a list of alliances with resistance factions, and with independents, to achieve an appropriate number of seats,” stressing that the directives of the Political Bureau and the Shura Council approved the entry of the elections strongly and work to win more than 2006 elections.

Although Hamas has not begun to “mobilise the organisational cadre” for the elections and implement the popular mobilisation plan to vote for it in Gaza, it has completed the formation of its central and sub-committees to implement its campaign based on the Program of Resistance and Resilience in the Face of Occupation, the source says, which reveals instructions to the Government branch in Gaza to “complete the efforts that have been strengthened over the past two years to improve the reality of government work with the population, prevent any current crises, and provide all necessary services to citizens.” The initial list includes symbolic figures in the movement, as well as the young faces whose number swelled, noting that the largest share will be professional and community figures with a large presence within Gaza and the West Bank, as the movement seeks to avoid the problems of 2006, when the main criticism was that its list consisted mostly of sheikhs and graduates of sharia colleges.

Regardless of the nature of the list, Hamas has resolved its intention to participate strongly


At the same time, the source says, the movement has developed a number of scenarios for the elections, including a single list or a list with Fatah, a list with resistance factions or even a list with “independents,” but will wait for the outcome of the Cairo dialogues next week to determine the nature of their participation, and which scenarios will result in the biggest victory. These dialogues, it seems, will be a watershed in evaluating the elections and their seriousness, the source explains, adding that “we have formed committees to process the files for dialogue in the issues of justice, security, personnel and the reality of the situation in Gaza, the West Bank and freedom of expression… We have also formed a central high committee in the political bureau to follow up on the legislative elections.”

Although it seeks to win the most seats, Hamas does not want to form a government alone if it wins a majority, but rather favours a government of national unity or a competent government to avoid a new blockade. The “Hamas” position on the mobilisation for the National Assembly elections remains the same, but the decision to enter the presidential elections has not yet been decided, to be discussed after the results of the “legislative”

In contrast, The Islamic Jihad has not resolved its position on participating in the legislative council elections, preferring to discuss the move after the Cairo dialogues, according to statements by its leaders. However, sources said that there are opinions within the movement pushing towards partial participation, as opposed to a majority rejecting the origin of participation that the movement has avoided many times before while announcing that it continues to adopt the option of resistance, away from the secretions of the Oslo Agreement all. While Jihad has a strong desire to enter the National elections under certain conditions, it has postponed discussions on these conditions until it is sure that these elections, scheduled for the end of the eighth month, can take place, and the movement has not resolved its position on the presidential elections and any figures that could support them through its cadres.

«PFLP» hesitating… The rest are afraid to fall.

Rajab Al-Madhoun

Monday, February 1, 2021

«الشعبية» متردّدة... والبقية يخشون السقوط
PFLP has not resolved its position on participation because it doubts Abbas’s intentions (APA)

Palestine (PFLP), has not resolved its position on participating in the elections. This is because he continues to question the intentions of the authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, and the possibility of using the Constitutional Court against his opponents if Fatah does not win. Al-Shaabia (PFLP) shares its participation with consensus in Cairo on the points of contention, most notably “the formation of the electoral court by national consensus away from the uniqueness and manipulation that took place in the Supreme Council for the Elimination of Abbas”, as confirmed by the Deputy Secretary-General of the Front, Abu Ahmed Fouad.

A leading source in al-Shaabia (PFLP), told Al-Akhbar, that the Central Committee and the Political Bureau have not yet decided on the decision to participate, but confirms that “all options are available, including participation in a national list of all factions, alliance with Hamas, or a single list similar to the 2006 elections” in which the FRONT won 4.2% by three seats. The source points out that there is internal opposition to entering into a unified list with the organization’s factions, including Fatah, for fear of exploiting the list, strengthening its uniqueness with the Palestinian decision, strengthening its political program based on negotiations with the occupation, as well as differences with Fatah that have not been resolved at all.

The front refused to be under the umbrella of Fateh and shared one list


In parallel, Fatah is seeking to bring together PLO factions to enter into a single list with them in the legislative elections. Since the decision to hold the elections, the organisation’s factions have held meetings, most recently in the middle of last month, to discuss how they will enter the elections and achieve good results that will cover their weak popularity. Fearing the exposure of its low popularity, a number of them are seeking to form a unified list to bypass the threshold and entry of the Legislative Council, which was called for by The Democratic Front’s Central Committee member, Mahmoud Khalaf.

DPFLP meetings include the People’s Party, the Popular Struggle Front, the Palestine Liberation Front, the Palestine Arab Front, and the Palestinian Arab Front, factions that did not get the decisive percentage in the 2006 elections, and fear that their presence would end because some of them adhered to the positions of the authority, the latter’s use of them in many positions, as well as their ineffectiveness in the popular arena. Therefore, it wants to boost its chances now to achieve more than 10% for all of them, but the fear of disagreements over the formation of a unified list among them has led some to demand a reduction of the discount rate to 1% unlike the previous rate, 2%. Democracy wants to expand the alliance of the organisation’s factions this time to achieve better results than it did in 2006, when it allied itself with the People and Fida and garnered 2.7% of the vote, and is now struggling to include the Liberation Front, which won the last election 0.3%, in addition to the Palestinian Arab, which received 0.4%, and the Palestinian Initiative (Mustafa Barghouti and others.) which got 2.72%.

“Independents” find their chance

Rajab Al-Madhoun

The presidential decree on legislative elections does not allow “independents” to run individually, prompting a number of them to form their own lists, leaving themselves as a rival and alternative to factions, taking advantage of the decline in popular confidence of the majority of the organisations. “Independent” figures in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip are preparing to form several lists, while a number of factions are considering an alliance with those including Hamas and Fatah to consolidate the seats they will win in the elections.

With the “Gathering of Independent Personalities” welcomed the election decree, sources in the group revealed that a number of figures under his banner are seriously considering running in the elections on a special list, amid expectations that this list will get “satisfactory results with the high popularity of a number of them and the desire of the street to change and end the division.”

Al-Akhbar learned that the former prime minister, Salam Fayyad, is preparing to enter the elections at the top of a list of independents that includes personalities from Gaza and the West Bank, as happened in the 2006 elections in which he won two seats, but his partner in the last elections, Hanan Ashrawi, announced that she would not run This election, as well as her disagreement with him.

‫الانتخابات الفلسطينية: مسارٌ واحد لأهداف كثيرة

Cartoon – Mother #Palestine gives #Israel agent Mahmoud Abbas a lesson on  the Right of Return | Latuff Cartoons

غرقت الفصائل الفلسطينية كافة في النقاش التفصيلي حول الانتخابات، من دون وضعها أصلاً في ميزان الحاجة والفائدة. سكت الكلّ على الطريقة والتوقيت اللذين اختارهما رئيس السلطة، محمود عباس، لإجراء الانتخابات، وتحديداً «حماس» التي قبلت «المراسيم» كما هي من دون اعتراض. يريد عباس انتخاب «المجلس التشريعي»، ثمّ الرئاسة، فـ«المجلس الوطني لمنظمة التحرير»، والأخيران تحصيل حاصل لخريطة القوى التي ستظهر في الأول. لكن مع احتياطات «أبو مازن» لضمان بقائه على كرسيّه، وإعداده خططاً لاحتواء «حماس» أو تقليل نسبة تمثيلها، تواجه «فتح» انقسامات خطيرة قد تُشظّي الحركة في حياته قبل رحيله، وهو السيناريو الذي لم يكن يحسب له حساباً ويعمل الآن بقوة على منعه. الثابت الوحيد أنه ما دام حيّاً، فلن يتزحزح عن منصبه، وأن ما اضطره إلى إجراء الانتخابات ليس سوى الطلبَين الأميركي – الأوروبي، والعربي، لاعتبارات كلّ طرف. أمّا «حماس»، التي تدافع بأنها «مضطرة» لخوض الانتخابات وأن ضغوطاً تمارَس عليها – في تكرار لسيناريو 2006 -، فقرّرت العمل على حصاد الغالبية لو أمكن، فيما لا تزال «الجهاد الإسلامي» على موقفها السابق، مع إمكانية للمشاركة في انتخابات «الوطني» في ما إذا كانت ستؤدي إلى تغيير في عقيدة «منظّمة التحرير». بين هذا وذاك، تُقيّم فصائل المنظّمة والشخصيات «المستقلّة» النسب التي يمكن أن تحصل عليها لتتخطّى عتبة الدخول، والتحالفات الأفضل في حال اضطّرت لها.

انقسام ثلاثي يهدّد «فتح»: الحسم بيد البرغوثي

 مي رضا الإثنين 1 شباط 2021

رام الله | منذ أن أصدر رئيس السلطة الفلسطينية، محمود عباس، مرسوماً رئاسياً بتحديد موعد للانتخابات، جرّاء طلب أميركي ــــ أوروبي ــــ عربي تحت عنوان تجديد «الشرعيات» وترتيب الإقليم، بدأت الخلافات «الفتحاوية» الداخلية تطفو على السطح، ما ينذر بانقسامات داخل الحركة التي قد تخوض الانتخابات بثلاث قوائم: الأولى تابعة لـ«اللجنة المركزية» وتدعم عباس، والثانية يدعمها الأسير مروان البرغوثي وفئة الشباب، والثالثة لتيار القيادي المفصول محمد دحلان (الإصلاحي) ستبقى تُحسب على «فتح» حتى لو رفضتها الأخيرة.

لم تحسم «الشعبيّة» موقفها من المشاركة لأنها تشكّك في نيّات عبّاس (أي بي أيه )

تشير التوقّعات «الفتحاوية» إلى نية البرغوثي ترشيح نفسه للرئاسة، وتشكيل قائمة في انتخابات المجلس التشريعي التي تسبقها، وهو «كابوس» يؤرّق قيادات الصف الأول في «فتح». لكن نجل مروان، قسام البرغوثي، قال إن أباه «ليس لديه حتى الآن موقف رسمي حيال الأمر… غداً الثلاثاء موعد زيارة المحامي للبرغوثي وسينقل عنه موقفه»، مشيراً إلى أن «كلّ ما يشاع في الصحافة ليس رسمياً». مع ذلك، تقول مصادر مطّلعة في الحركة، فضّلت عدم ذكر اسمها، إن الموضوع «حسّاس جداً»، ولذلك سيلتقي خلال أيام أمين سرّ «اللجنة المركزية لفتح»، جبريل الرجوب، البرغوثي في السجن ليثنيه عن الترشّح ضدّ عباس، ولمحاولة إرضائه بوضعه على رأس قائمة «فتح» في المجلس التشريعي. تضيف المصادر: «البرغوثي غاضب جداً من سلوك السلطة حيال قضيته، ويشعر بأنه تُرك وحيداً وخاصةً في إضراب الكرامة الذي أعلنه قبل سنوات»، لكن «يُستبعد أن يخرج عن إطار الحركة لأنه من مؤسِّسيها».

وقبل أيام، توعّد القياديان في «فتح»، عزام الأحمد وجمال نزال، بأن الحركة ستحاسب أيّاً من أعضائها الذين قد يحاربونها بترشّحهم مستقلّين «حساباً عسيراً»، لكن الأحمد زاد على ذلك بالقول إن «البرغوثي منقطع عن السياسة وأمضى عمره في السجون، ولا يستطيع تلبية أمنيات شعبنا»! مع ذلك، يقول عضو «التشريعي» عن «فتح»، حاتم عبد القادر، لـ«الأخبار»، إنه وفقاً لما نُقل عن البرغوثي عبر محاميه، سيُرشّح الرجل نفسه للرئاسة، لكن لا ندري كيف ستؤثّر الضغوط «الفتحاويه» عليه. يُذكر أن البرغوثي دخل عامه الـ 19 في سجون الاحتلال بتهمة قيادة تشكيلات لـ«كتائب شهداء الأقصى»، الجناح العسكري المحلول لـ«فتح»، فيما تشيع أوساط مقرّبة منه أن لديه هواجس كثيرة حيال مصيره، وما يهمّه حالياً الخروج من السجن، وخاصة إن كان هناك تبادل أسرى على يد المقاومة.

بعيداً من موقف الرجل من الترشّح للرئاسة، ثمّة توجّه «فتحاوي» يدعو، في حال كانت قائمة الحركة الرسمية لا تلبّي الشروط الكفيلة بإنجاحها (كأن تضمّ شخصيات ذات كفاءة ونزاهة وخبرة وسيرة مشرّفة مهنياً ونضالياً)، إلى إنشاء قائمة أخرى تُلبّي الشروط السابقة، كما يقول عبد القادر، علماً بأن عباس هدّد باستخدام «القوة» ضدّ أيّ قائمة أخرى باسم «فتح» منافِسة لتلك الرسمية. وتؤكّد مصادر أخرى حديث عبد القادر، قائلة إن هناك قائمة يقودها الشباب، وسيدعمها البرغوثي، ويُحتمل أن تكون فيها شخصيات من «اللجنة المركزية» وأخرى من السلطة على مستوى الضفة وغزة. وهذه القائمة «ملاذ الساخطين على السلطة، وهم بالمناسبة لن يتحالفوا مع دحلان، لكن ربّما يجري التنسيق معه بعد الانتخابات في حال فوزهم، بهدف إعادة الاعتبار إلى فتح»، تضيف المصادر.

ثمّة قائمة رسميّة من «المركزية» وأخرى لدحلان وثالثة يدعمها البرغوثي


أمّا «الإصلاحي»، فينوي المشاركة بقائمة موازية وتعزيزها بقيادات يعمل دحلان على شراء ولاء بعضهم على مستويَي الضفة وغزة، وهو قد عيّن قبل أيّام متحدّثَين رسميَّين للتيار، هما من أصحاب «الأسماء الصادمة لفتح والسلطة»، كما تقول مصادر مقرّبة من تيّاره. وتضيف: «دحلان رصد لهذه القائمة وإنجاحها مبالغ ضخمة بعشرات الملايين من الدولارات بتمويل إماراتي». وسبق أن قال المتحدّث باسم التيار، عماد محسن، إنه في حال لم تُدخلهم «فتح» في قائمتها، «فسنذهب إلى الانتخابات بقائمة مستقلّة تحتوي على شخصيات فتحاوية اعتبارية وأكاديميين، لأن الفتحاوي الحر لن يساق مثل القطيع بناءً على أهواء شخص واحد»، في إشارة إلى عباس.
تعقيباً على هذه الانقسامات، يقول القيادي في «فتح»، عبد الله عبد الله، لـ«الأخبار»، إن «دحلان لم يعد من فتح، ولذلك نزوله في الانتخابات لا يؤثّر في وحدة الحركة. أمّا البرغوثي، فستتواصل معه اللجنة المركزية»، مؤكّداً أن أطر الحركة (المركزية والمجلس الثوري والمجلس الاستشاري) هي التي تُقرّر مرشح الرئاسة، «وإذا قرّرت اسماً، على الجميع أن يلتزم بذلك… لا أعتقد أن يغرّد البرغوثي خارج فتح». وفي ما يتعلّق بالخريطة الانتخابية والقائمة الرسمية، يقول عبد الله: «بعد لقاء القاهرة، سنُحدّد مَن يكون على رأس القائمة بناءً على الأفكار التي ستُطرح في اللقاء، وسنقرّر هل ستكون الحركة على رأس قائمة وحدها أم مع غيرها من فصائل منظّمة التحرير، ولن نستبق الأحداث».

يدرك تيار دحلان أن حالة الاستقطاب التي تعيشها «مركزية فتح» ستكون عاملاً لمصلحته في الانتخابات، إذ سبق أن ظهر انقسام في تصريحات قادة الحركة حول مرشّحها للرئاسة. مع ذلك، تبقى بيضة القبّان بيد البرغوثي، الذي تُظهر استطلاعات الرأي العام أنه الأكثر شعبية «فتحاوياً» وفلسطينياً ــــ في الضفة على الأقل ــــ، وآخرها استطلاع أجراه «المركز الفلسطيني للبحوث السياسية والبحثية» قبل أيام، وكانت نتيجته تفوّق البرغوثي بحصوله على 61% من الأصوات في حال وُضع ليس أمام عباس، بل أمام رئيس المكتب السياسي لـ«حماس»، إسماعيل هنية. وبحسب الاستطلاع نفسه، فإنه في حال وُضع هنية أمام عباس، يحصل الأول على 50% مقابل 43% للثاني. كما قَدّر المركز أنه إذا شَكّل البرغوثي قائمة مستقلّة، فسيحصل على 25% من أصوات الجمهور، فيما قال 19% من الجمهور إنهم سيصوّتون في هذه الحالة لقائمة «فتح» الرسمية، وهو ما يؤكّده مصدر في حكومة رام الله قال إن «50% من فتح الرسمية تُفضّل البرغوثي للرئاسة على عباس». أمّا بشأن دحلان، فتَوقّع الاستطلاع أن تحصل قائمة تيّاره على 7% من الجمهور، في حين أن 27٪ سيُصوّتون في هذه الحالة لقائمة «فتح» الرسمية ضدّه.

«حماس» تسعى للغالبية… و«الجهاد» تدرس خياراتها

رجب المدهون الإثنين 1 شباط 2021

«حماس» تسعى للغالبية... و«الجهاد» تدرس خياراتها
صدرت توصيات للحكومة في غزة بتحسين التعامل مع الناس وتجنّب أيّ إشكالات (أ ف ب )

تُواصل «حماس» استعداداتها وتجهيز قائمتها الأوّلية للانتخابات التشريعية، فيما لا تزال «الجهاد الإسلامي» تتدارس إمكانية خوض الانتخابات من أصلها وأيّ أجزاء يمكن أن تشارك فيها، والمسألتان تبقيان في انتظار ما ستفرزه «حوارات القاهرة»غزة | في إطار الاستعدادات الفلسطينية للانتخابات المنوي عقد الجزء الأول منها (البرلمان) في أيار/ مايو المقبل، يقول مصدر في «حماس»، لـ«الأخبار»، إن الحركة أعدّت قائمتها الأوّلية للانتخابات التشريعية بما يشمل غزة والضفة، لكنها «تدرس خيارات أخرى غير الدخول بقائمة منفردة باسمها»، ومنها «إمكانية عقد قائمة تحالفات مع فصائل المقاومة، وأخرى مع مستقلّين، بما يحقق لها عدداً مناسباً من المقاعد»، مؤكداً أن «توجيهات المكتب السياسي ومجلس الشورى أقرّت بضرورة دخول الانتخابات بقوة والعمل على الفوز بنسبة أكبر من انتخابات 2006».

ومع أن «حماس» لم تبدأ «استنهاض الكادر التنظيمي» للانتخابات، وتنفيذ خطّة التحشيد الشعبي للتصويت لها في غزة، فإنها أكملت تشكيل لجانها المركزية والفرعية لتنفيذ حملتها القائمة على «برنامج المقاومة والصمود في وجه الاحتلال»، كما ينقل المصدر، الذي يكشف عن صدور تعليمات للجهاز الحكومي في غزة بـ«استكمال الجهود التي تَعزّزت خلال العامين الماضيين في تحسين واقع العمل الحكومي مع السكّان، ومنع ظهور أيّ أزمات حالياً، وتقديم كلّ ما يَلزم من خدمات إلى المواطنين». وتشمل القائمة الأوّلية شخصيات رمزية في الحركة، إلى جانب الوجوه الشابّة التي ازداد عددها، علماً بأن الحصّة الكبرى ستكون لشخصيات مهنية ومجتمعية ذات حضور كبير داخل غزة والضفة، إذ تسعى الحركة بوجودهم إلى تلافي إشكالات 2006، حين تمحور الانتقاد الرئيسي حول أن قائمتها تتشكّل غالبيتها من الشيوخ وخرّيجي الكلّيات الشرعية.

بغضّ النظر عن طبيعة القائمة، حسمت «حماس» نيّتها المشاركة بقوّة


بموازاة ذلك، يقول المصدر إن الحركة وضعت عدداً من السيناريوات للانتخابات، منها الدخول بقائمة منفردة أو بقائمة مع «فتح» أو بقائمة مع فصائل المقاومة أو حتى قائمة مع “المستقلّين”، لكنها ستنتظر ما ستفضي إليه حوارات القاهرة الأسبوع المقبل لتحديد طبيعة مشاركتها، وأيّ السيناريوات ستُحقّق لها أكبر فوز. هذه الحوارات، كما يبدو، ستكون محطّة فاصلة في تقييم الانتخابات وجدّيتها، كما يشرح المصدر، مضيفاً «(أننا) شَكّلنا لجاناً لتجهيز الملفّات الخاصة بالحوار في قضايا القضاء والأمن والموظفين وواقع الحال في غزة والضفة وحرية التعبير… أيضاً شَكّلنا لجنة عليا مركزية في المكتب السياسي لمتابعة الانتخابات التشريعية».
وعلى رغم سعيها إلى الفوز بأكبر قدر من المقاعد، إلا أن «حماس» لا ترغب في تشكيل الحكومة وحدها مجدّداً في حال نيلها الغالبية، بل هي تُفضّل تأليف حكومة وحدة وطنية أو حكومة كفاءات لتلافي حصار جديد. أمّا الموقف “الحمساوي” في شأن الحشد لانتخابات «المجلس الوطني» فلا يزال هو نفسه، لكن لم يُحسم بعد القرار بالدخول في الانتخابات الرئاسية، على أن يناقَش ذلك بعد نتائج “التشريعية”.

في المقابل، لم تحسم حركة «الجهاد الإسلامي» موقفها بخصوص المشاركة في انتخابات «المجلس التشريعي»، مُفضِّلة أيضاً مناقشة هذه الخطوة بعد حوارات القاهرة، طبقاً لتصريحات قياديين فيها. لكن مصادر قالت إن هناك آراء داخل الحركة تدفع نحو المشاركة الجزئية، مقابل غالبية ترفض أصل المشاركة التي تَجنّبتها الحركة مرّات سابقاً مع إعلان استمرارها في تبنّي خيار المقاومة، بعيداً من إفرازات “اتفاقية أوسلو” كافة. وبينما لدى «الجهاد» رغبة كبيرة في دخول انتخابات «الوطني» ضمن شروط معينة، أرجأت التباحث في هذه الشروط حتى التأكّد من إمكانية حدوث هذه الانتخابات المُقرَّرة نهاية الشهر الثامن، كما لم تحسم الحركة موقفها من الانتخابات الرئاسية وأيّ شخصيات يمكن أن تدعمها عبر كوادرها.


«الشعبية» متردّدة… والبقية يخشون السقوط

رجب المدهون الإثنين 1 شباط 2021

«الشعبية» متردّدة... والبقية يخشون السقوط
لم تحسم «الشعبيّة» موقفها من المشاركة لأنها تشكّك في نيّات عبّاس (أي بي أيه )

لم يحسم الفصيل الأكبر في «منظّمة التحرير الفلسطينية» بعد حركة «فتح»، «الجبهة الشعبية لتحرير فلسطين»، موقفه من المشاركة في الانتخابات. مردّ ذلك أنه لا يزال يُشكّك في نيّات رئيس السلطة، محمود عباس، وإمكانية استخدامه المحكمة الدستورية ضدّ خصومه في حال لم يحالف الفوزُ «فتح». وتربط «الشعبية» مشاركتها بالتوافق في القاهرة على النقاط الخلافية، وأبرزها «تشكيل محكمة الانتخابات بتوافق وطني بعيداً من التفرّد والتلاعب الذي جرى في المجلس الأعلى للقضاء على يد عباس»، كما أكد نائب الأمين العام للجبهة، أبو أحمد فؤاد.

يقول مصدر قيادي في «الشعبية»، لـ«الأخبار»، إن اللجنة المركزية والمكتب السياسي لم يحسما بعد قرار المشاركة، لكنه يؤكد أن «الخيارات كافة متاحة بما في ذلك المشاركة في قائمة وطنية تضمّ جميع الفصائل، أو التحالف مع حماس، أو قائمة منفردة على غرار انتخابات 2006» التي حصلت فيها الجبهة على 4.2% بواقع ثلاثة مقاعد. ويشير المصدر إلى وجود معارضة داخلية للدخول في قائمة موحّدة مع فصائل المنظّمة تضمّ «فتح»، خشية من استغلال الأخيرة تلك القائمة، وتعزيز تفرّدها بالقرار الفلسطيني، وتقوية برنامجها السياسي القائم على التفاوض مع الاحتلال، فضلاً عن وجود خلافات مع «فتح» لم يتمّ حلّها أصلاً.

رفضت الجبهة أن تكون تحت مظلّة «فتح» وتشاركها قائمة واحدة


على خطّ موازٍ، تسعى «فتح» إلى تجميع فصائل «منظّمة التحرير» للدخول في قائمة واحدة معها في الانتخابات التشريعية. ومنذ قرار إجراء الانتخابات، عقدت فصائل المنظّمة لقاءات، آخرها منتصف الشهر الماضي، للتباحث في كيفية دخولها الانتخابات وتحقيق نتائج جيدة تغطّي ضعف شعبيتها. وأمام خوف عدد منها من انكشاف شعبيّتها المتدنّية، فهي تسعى إلى تشكيل قائمة موحّدة لتجاوز نسبة الحسم ودخول «المجلس التشريعي»، الأمر الذي دعا إليه عضو اللجنة المركزية لـ«الجبهة الديموقراطية»، محمود خلف.

تضمّ تلك اللقاءات حزب «الشعب» و«جبهة النضال الشعبي» و«جبهة التحرير الفلسطينية» وحزب «فدا» و«الجبهة العربية الفلسطينية»، وهي فصائل لم تحصل على نسبة الحسم في انتخابات 2006، وتخشى من انتهاء حضورها بسبب التصاق بعضها بمواقف السلطة، واستخدام الأخيرة لها في مواقف كثيرة، فضلاً عن انعدام فعاليتها في الساحة الشعبية. ولذلك، تريد تعزيز فرصها الآن لتحقيق أكثر من 10% لها جميعاً، لكن الخشية من الخلافات حول تشكيل قائمة موحّدة بينها دفع بعضها إلى المطالبة بخفض نسبة الحسم إلى 1% بخلاف النسبة السابقة، 2%. أمّا «الديموقراطية»، فتريد توسيع تحالف فصائل المنظّمة هذه المرّة لتحقيق نتائج أفضل من التي حصلت عليها في 2006، عندما تحالفت مع «الشعب» و«فدا» وحصدت 2.7% من الأصوات، وهي الآن تجهد لضمّ «جبهة التحرير» التي حصلت في الانتخابات الماضية على 0.3%، إضافة إلى «العربية الفلسطينية» التي حصلت على 0.4%، و«المبادرة الفلسطينية» (مصطفى البرغوثي وآخرين) التي حصلت على 2.72% .

«المستقلّون» يجدون فرصتهم

رجب المدهون الإثنين 1 شباط 2021

لا يتيح المرسوم الرئاسي الخاصّ بالانتخابات التشريعية، لـ«المستقلّين»، الترشّح بصورة منفردة، ما يدفع عدداً من هؤلاء إلى تشكيل قوائم خاصة بهم، طارحين أنفسهم منافساً وبديلاً من الفصائل، مستغلّين في ذلك تراجع الثقة الشعبية لغالبية التنظيمات. وتستعدّ شخصيات «مستقلّة» في الضفة المحتلة وقطاع غزة لتشكيل قوائم عدّة، فيما يدرس عدد من الفصائل التحالف مع هؤلاء بِمَن فيها «حماس» و«فتح»، لتعزيز المقاعد التي ستحصل عليها في الانتخابات.

ومع ترحيب «تجمّع الشخصيات المستقلّة» بمرسوم الانتخابات، كشفت مصادر في التجمّع أن هناك عدداً من الشخصيات المنضوية تحت لوائه تبحث بجدّية خوض الانتخابات ضمن قائمة خاصة، وسط توقعات بأن تحصل هذه القائمة على «نتائج مرضية مع ارتفاع شعبية عدد منهم ورغبة الشارع في التغيير وإنهاء الانقسام».
وعلمت «الأخبار» أن رئيس الوزراء الأسبق، سلام فياض، يستعدّ لدخول الانتخابات على رأس قائمة من المستقلّين تضمّ شخصيات من غزة والضفة، كما جرى في انتخابات 2006 والتي حصل فيها على مقعدين، لكن شريكته في الانتخابات الماضية، حنان عشراوي، أعلنت أنها لن تخوض هذه الانتخابات، فضلاً عن خلافها معه.

⁨انتخابات كلٌ يغني على ليلاه – New Elections or a Third Intifada?⁩

** Please scroll down for the English machine translation **

انتخابات كلٌ يغني على ليلاه

عمرو علان - Amro 🇵🇸 (@amrobilal77) | Twitter
*كاتب فلسطيني وباحث سياسي

عمرو علان

عربي 21، الجمعة 29 يناير\كانون الثاني 2021

تدخل القوى الفلسطينية معترك انتخابات المجلس التشريعي التي تم التوافق على إجرائها وكلٌ يغني على ليلاه، فمحمود عباس يسعى من وراء هذه الانتخابات إلى الحصول على إقرار بكونه الممثل الشرعي لكل الفصائل الفلسطينية في الضفة وقطاع غزة، وعينه على طاولة مفاوضات جديدة تُعْقَد بمباركة إدارة جو بايدن الأمريكية، وعلى استئناف تلقي المخصصات من الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية والكيان الصهيوني، فهو لم يَعُدْ عنده أي شيء آخر ليقدمه للفلسطينيين، سوى ربما المزيد من تنسيقه الأمني “المقدس” مع قوات الاحتلال وبلا أدنى خجل، ولا يحتاج الإنسان إلى الكثير من العناء لتوقُّع مصير هذه المفاوضات، فيكفي النظر إلى تجربة الثلاثة عقود المنصرمة، وإذا كان هذا غير كافٍ فيمكن الاستئناس بما قاله جو بايدن مؤخرا عندما بشّرنا بأن التوافق بين أطراف النزاع يحتاج إلى المزيد من الوقت، وطبعا الكيان الصهيوني مستمر أثناء ذلك في تنفيذ مشروعه بقضم القليل المتبقي من أراضي الضفة عبر زيادة الاستيطان، وصولا إلى تهجير من تبقّى من سكان الضفة لأن الصهيوني يريد الأرض دون البشر الذين عليها، ويقدر أحد أصحاب الرأي بأنه لن يمضي الكثير من الوقت قبل أن يبدأ المستوطنون بحملات الإرهاب ضد سكان الضفة، حملات بدأت بوادرها بالظهور من خلال القتل الاعتباطي لبعض سكان أراضي 67، ولِما لا والسلطة الفلسطينية صارت وظيفتها الوحيدة حفظ أمن المستوطنين موفرةً بذلك للكيان الغاصب أرخص احتلال عرفه التاريخ، هذا ولم نتحدث عن الانتشار المريب للسلاح غير المنضبط بين أيادي بعض المشبوهين من أهالي 48، الذي أدى إلى حصول عدة جرائم في الشهور الماضية.

إن كل ما شهدناه من سياسة الحرد التي اتبعها محمود عباس فترة حكم دونالد ترامب، وصولا إلى اجتماع أمناء الفصائل الفلسطينية في بيروت لم يكن إلا مجرد مناورات تكتيكية، والمضحك المبكي أنه كان يُصرّح طيلة تلك الفترة عن تمسكه باستراتيجية المفاوضات العقيمة، لكن هناك على الساحة الفلسطينية من لا يريد أن  يسمع.

أما حركة حماس فهي تأمل من وراء هذه الانتخابات الخروج من المأزق الذي وضعت نفسها فيه بعد خوضها انتخابات عام 2006، لعلها تستطيع تخفيف وطأة الحصار الظالم على قطاع غزة، وهنا يُطرح السؤال الوجيه الذي يرِدْ على لسان الكثيرين: كيف لانتخابات جديدة أن تؤدي إلى انهاء الانقسام بينما كان منشأ الانقسام انتخابات 2006 بالأصل؟

واهمٌ من يظن أن حصار فصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية في قطاع غزة سببه الانقسام، الحصار يا سادة سببه تمسك المقاومة الفلسطينية بالحقوق والثوابت الوطنية، وحملها عبء قضية فلسطين المقدسة، ومربط فرس الحصار عند كيان الاحتلال لا عند سواه، لذلك أي محاولات لفك الحصار أو تخفيفه لا تمر عبر الاشتباك مع العدو الذي يفرض الحصار لن تكون ذات جدوى، ولن تفضي إلا إلى المزيد من تعمق الأزمة وإضاعة الوقت والجهود.

تشهد الضفة هذه الفترة حالة غليان لا يمكن تجاهلها، والعمليات الفردية والبطولية المستمرة تدلل عل أن النار تحت الرماد، فلا يمر أسبوع دون حصول عملية أو اثنتين، فأيهما أجدى؟ تأطير هذه الطاقات وتفعيل الحراك الشعبي وصولا إلى الانتفاضة، أم تنفيس هذا الغضب الشعبي الكامن عبر دخول انتخابات غير مقتنع بجدواها غالبية الشعب الفلسطيني؟

شعبنا بعمومه مدرك لكون فكرة انتخابات تحت حراب الاحتلال الذي يتحكم بكل مفاصل الحياة في الضفة الغربية ما هي إلا مزحة سمجة، لكن أحد أخطر عواقب هذه المزحة السمجة إدخال الإحباط في نفوس الشباب الغاضب في الضفة وتثبيط هممه.

خروج المقاومة الفلسطينية من أزمتها وتخفيف الحصار الظالم المفروض عليها لن يكون عبر سلوك الطريق الأسهل غير المجدي بل من خلال الطريق الأنجع حتى ولو كان الأصعب، والانتفاضة الثالثة سيكون من شأنها قلب المعادلات وتغيير الوقائع، ناهيكم عن فرصتها الحقيقية في دحر الاحتلال عن أراضي 67 دون قيد أو شرط في ظل حالة التراجع التي يعيشها العدو الصهيوني، والتي باتت تتحدث عنها مراكز دراسات العدو ذاته، ولا يغرنكم حالة التذمر الشعبي من صلافة العيش وضيق الحال، فلتبدأ الخطوات الجدية اتجاه حراك شعبي منظم وانتفاضة جديدة وستجدون خلفكم مارد اسمه الشعب الفلسطيني، يعض على الجراح ويربط الحجَر على المَعِدة لكتم الجوع – متمثلا بالرسول الأعظم – في سبيل الهدف الوطني الأسمى. 

New Elections or a Third Intifada?

Amro Allan

عمرو علان - Amro 🇵🇸 (@amrobilal77) | Twitter
*Palestinian writer and Political researcher

Arabi 21, Friday January 29 2021

On the 15th of January Mahmoud Abbas called for new elections to be held in the next couple of months in the occupied territories. But let us ignore the fundamental contradiction of holding a poll in an occupied territory under the watch of the occupation forces for now, and try to look in the motives behind this step.

We believe that each of the Palestinian factions is planning to run in this elections with a different ulterior motive.

First, Mahmoud Abbas is seeking  recognition as the legitimate representative of all Palestinian factions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. And all he has in mind is a new negotiating table held with the blessing of the new Joe Biden administration, and to resume receiving financial support from the United States of America and the Zionist Entity.  That is because he no longer has anything else to offer  to the Palestinians, except perhaps more security coordination with the occupation forces without any hint of shame. 

The outcome of this new negotiations is predictable, at least from the experience of the last three decades. And if this is not enough, we can draw on what Joe Biden has said recently when he warned that a consensus between the parties to the conflict needs more time. Of course, the Zionist Entity will continue to implement its project of annexing the little that remains from the West Bank lands by increasing settlement activities, with the aim to displace the remaining Palestinians in the West Bank. The Zionist Entity wants the land without the people on it. One expert envisages that it will not be long before the settlers start a campaigns of terror against the inhabitants of the West Bank; campaigns that began to appear through the arbitrary killing of some of the inhabitants of the territories occupied in 1967. And why not, when the Palestinian Authority sole function has become to maintain the security of the settlers. Thus, providing  the usurped entity the cheapest  occupation  in  history.

And we have not mentioned the suspicious appearance of uncontrolled weapons in the hands of some shady individuals in the territories occupied in 1948, which led to several homicides in the past few months alone.

All the steps that we witnessed from Mahmoud Abbas hinting to the withdrawal from the Oslo Accord during the days of Donald Trump was nothing but   a tactical maneuver. And the irony is that he was openly reaffirming all along his adherence to his futile strategy of negotiations.

Turning to Hamas, we find that it hopes that the new elections will break the deadlock in which they set themselves up after the last elections in 2006. Also, they hope to ease the unjust blockade on the Gaza Strip as they believe that a new elections will lead to unity between Hamas and Fatah. But here the valid question arises: how can new elections lead to an end to the division between Hamas and Fatah, when the elections of 2006 was what caused the current division in the first place?

In any case,, all who think that the siege of the Palestinian  resistance  factions in the Gaza Strip is because of the current division are deluded. The siege, gentlemen, is because of the Palestinian resistance’s adherence to the Palestinian’s national rights and principles, as well as carrying the burden of the holy cause of liberating Palestine.

The siege locks are in the hands of the Occupation Entity and not in Abbas’s hands nor any one else. Thus, any attempts to dismantle or ease the siege do not pass through the clash with the occupation which imposes the blockade will be sterile, and will only lead to further deepening of the crisis and wasting more time and efforts.

We have been witnessing a boiling situation over the passed year or two in the West Bank that cannot be ignored, and the continuous individual and heroic operations almost on a weekly bases clearly indicate that the fire is under the ashes. So which is more useful then, Framing  these energies and activating the popular movement to the intifada, or venting this underlying popular anger by running a new elections? 

The Palestinians in their majority are not convinced of the usefulness of this new elections. Our people in general are aware that the idea of elections under the bayonets of the occupation, which controls every detail of the life in the West Bank, is nothing but a joke. But one of the most serious consequences of this silly joke is to introduce dismay in the hearts of angry youth in the West Bank and discourage them.

The Palestinian resistance’s exit from its crisis, and the easing of the unjust siege imposed on it will not be through the easier and useless way, but through the most effective way, even if it is the more difficult one. And a third intifada will change the status-quo and the facts on the ground. Not to mention its real chance to force the occupation withdrawal from the 1967 territories without conditions.

Today the Zionist Entity is witnessing a real deterioration due to many reasons. Even ‘Israel’ thinktanks and strategic  centers acknowledge this deterioration , and it would be wise of the Palestinians to build on these new conditions. 

Finally, to the Palestinian resistance factions we say, do not be fooled by the discontent displayed by many Palestinians because of the present harsh economic situation in Palestine, let the serious steps towards an organised popular movement and a new intifada begin, and you will find behind you a giant called the Palestinian people, who will bear their wounds, and tie the stone on the stomach to bate the hunger as Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him, once did, for the sake of the supreme Palestinian national goal.

Realities of politics and Palestinian aspirations حقائق السياسة وأماني الفلسطيني

**Please scroll down for the Arabic version **

Palestinian politician residing in Jenin, Occupied Palestine

Saada Mustafa  Arshid_

Many Arab and Palestinian policies are built on the fact that Joe Biden’s presidency will  be a natural extension of the policies of the Obama administration, in which Biden was vice president, and president Biden is the same person. I think that’s an inaccurate estimate. The man has a strong personality, he is experienced and experienced in both domestic and foreign politics, and his long experience in Congress has given him the experience and statesmanship he needs, and then there is a lot of water that has taken place  in the valleys of politics  both in Washington and  in the Middle East during the four years  of Trump’s administration, which  has been full of events, which makes the new president obliged to deal  with  those  variables, albeit with a different mentality and policies. If he ever talked about a two-state solution, he ever talked about a two-state solution, it goes back  to a long time ago, and that  does not  mean that he will remain steadfast when he speaks. The new U.S. State Department, which supports the two-state solution, a state (Israel) as a Jewish state and besides it a Palestinian state without sovereignty and dignity, without borders without crossings, without sovereignty over its airspace or the hollow of its territory, without its Jerusalem and some of the West Bank. Last Tuesday, exaggerated statements were made in Ramallah following a speech by the Acting United States Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Richard Wells, in which he said: We will restore relations with the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian people, and that many mistakes were made by the administration of former President Trump in this context and must be corrected, but it does not specify what are those mistakes, and it seems certain that the subject of Jerusalem and the transfer of the embassy to it are not one of those mistakes, as well as the annexation of the West Bank from the Jordan, settlements and  goods that have become sold in the United States and written on them.  By Israel, these mistakes may not go beyond cutting off financial aid, closing the PLO office in Washington, and closing the U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem.

There is no doubt that the election of Biden was in some respects a coup in the Arab balances  that  have  repercussions on the Palestinian affairs, and he acknowledged in the certainty of many Arab leaders that Trump will remain in the White House for a second term, which led them to invest in supporting his re-election financially and politically, and indeed At the  expense of national security through the processes of normalisation and alliance in its political, security and then economic forms, and this has put them in trouble with the new administration, which has enough files and tools to their necks, making it their plans and dreams and illusions autumn papers, blowing the wind. Biden’s victory, at the same time, was a victory for other regional  powers, which entered into a bitter and strained conflict with the Trump administration, Iran  breathed a sigh of relief, even if there were adjustments to the  nuclear deal with the Obama administration, but with Biden’s arrival, she had passed the difficult stage and had come out  of the bottle, as well as Qatar, a permanent ally of democratic administrations in Washington, and a victory for Qatar’s Muslim Brotherhood allies and Qatar’s Palestinian guests, i.e. Hamas, while at the same time defeating Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and its Palestinian guest, while dealing with an adversary with the Trump administration can be optimistic (and perhaps He is overly optimistic, as we see the Palestinian Authority, which see President Mahmoud Abbas’ call for Trump’s house to be  ruined, has been met with caution, and those who have treated the Trump administration cautiously in its last year find an opportunity to build better relations with the new administration, as Jordan has. Some Arabs are optimistic under Biden, including the Palestinians, as they carry expectations and aspirations above what they can afford, and what comes out of the new U.S. administration is nothing more than delusions and signs that may be misleading — such as talking about a two-state solution — because there are no clear policies or strategies that can be read or built upon yet, This is while the Arab, Islamic and international violations are expanding, with new countries candidates for normalisation, and others in the process of transferring their embassies to Jerusalem, while (Israel) exchanges with Sudan, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates embassies, missions, economic and cultural  missions and iron domes, an Arab who was the back of Palestine Its issue and the rights of  its people  will  be at its best only a neutral  intermediary, in the Palestinian (Israeli) relationship, while the Palestinian is totally  absent  from any comment, condemnation or criticism of this nefarious behaviour.

حقائق السياسة وأماني الفلسطيني

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سياسي فلسطيني مقيم في جنين – فلسطين المحتلة

سعادة مصطفى أرشيد

يتمّ بناء كثير من السياسات العربية والفلسطينية منها على أنّ رئاسة جو بايدن ستكون امتداداً طبيعياً لسياسات إدارة الرئيس الأسبق أوباما، التي كان فيها بايدن نائباً للرئيس، وانّ الرئيس بايدن هو الشخص ذاته. وفي ظني أنّ ذلك تقدير غير دقيق. فالرجل يملك شخصية قوية، وهو مجرّب ومتمرّس في السياسة الداخلية والخارجية على حدّ سواء، وقد منحته تجربته الطويلة في الكونغرس ما يحتاجه من خبرة وحنكة، ثم أنّ مياهاً غزيرة قد جرت في وديان السياسة سواء في واشنطن أو في الشرق الأوسط خلال السنوات الأربع من حكم ترامب والتي كانت مليئة بالأحداث، ذلك ما يجعل الرئيس الجديد ملزماً بالتعامل مع تلك المتغيّرات وإنْ بعقلية وسياسات مختلفة. وإذا كان قد تحدث ذات يوم عن حلّ الدولتين، فإنّ ذلك يعود الى زمن مضى، ولا يعني ذلك أنه سيبقى متمترّساً عند كلمته، فالسياسة أمر دائم التغيّر ولا ثوابت فيها، وكذلك مفهوم حلّ الدولتين الذي يحتمل أكثر من تفسير، مما يدعم هذه النظرة ما قاله منذ أيام، وزير الخارجية الأميركي الجديد بلينكن أمام الكونغرس، من أنه يدعم حلّ الدولتين، دولة (إسرائيل) كدولة يهودية وإلى جانبها دولة فلسطينية منزوعة السيادة والكرامة، بلا حدود بلا معابر، بلا سيادة على أجوائها أو جوف أرضها، بلا قدسها وبعض من الضفة الغربية. الثلاثاء الماضي، صدرت تصريحات مبالغة في تفاؤلها من رام الله اثر حديث أدلى بها القائم بأعمال مندوب الولايات المتحدة في هيئة الأمم السفير ريتشارد ويلز، قال فيه: سنعيد العلاقات مع القيادة الفلسطينية والشعب الفلسطيني، وإنّ أخطاء عديدة كانت قد اقترفتها إدارة الرئيس السابق ترامب في هذا السياق ويجب تصحيحها، ولكنه لم يحدّد ما هي تلك الأخطاء، ويبدو أنّ من الأكيد أنّ موضوع القدس ونقل السفارة إليها ليسا من تلك الأخطاء، وكذلك ضمّ أراضي الضفة الغربية من أغوار ومستوطنات وبضائعها التي أصبحت تباع في الولايات المتحدة ومكتوب عليها أنها من إنتاج (إسرائيل)، ولعلّ تلك الأخطاء لن تتجاوز قطع المساعدات المالية وإغلاق مكتب منظمة التحرير في واشنطن، وإغلاق القنصلية الأميركية في القدس الشرقية.

مما لا شك فيه أنّ انتخاب بايدن كان في بعض جوانبه انقلاباً في التوازنات العربية التي لها انعكاساتها على الشأن الفلسطيني، فقد وقر في يقين عديد من القادة العرب أن ترامب باق في البيت الأبيض لفترة رئاسية ثانية، الأمر الذي دعاهم لأن يستثمروا في دعم إعادة انتخابه مالياً وسياسياً، لا بل وعلى حساب الأمن القومي من خلال عمليات التطبيع والتحالف بأشكاله السياسية والأمنية ثم الاقتصادية، وهذا الذي أوقعهم في مأزق مع الإدارة الجديدة التي تملك من الملفات والأدوات ما يكفى لليّ رقابهم، فجعل ذلك من خططهم وأحلامهم وأوهامهم أوراق خريف، تذروها الرياح. فانتصار بايدن، كان في الوقت ذاته انتصاراً لقوى إقليمية أخرى، دخلت في صراع مرير ومجهد مع إدارة ترامب، إيران تنفست الصعداء، حتى لو جرت تعديلات على الاتفاق النووي الذي أبرمته مع إدارة أوباما، لكنها مع مجيء بايدن، قد تجاوزت المرحلة الصعبة وقد خرجت من عنق الزجاجة، وكذلك قطر، الحليف الدائم للإدارات الديمقراطية في واشنطن، وانتصار لحلفاء قطر من الإخوان المسلمين وضيوف قطر من الفلسطينيين وأقصد هنا حركة حماس، وفي الوقت ذاته هزيمة للسعودية ومصر والإمارات وضيفها الفلسطيني، فيما يستطيع من تعامل بخصومة مع إدارة ترامب بأن يتفاءل (وربما يبالغ في تفاؤله) كما نرى السلطة الفلسطينية التي ترى أنّ دعاء الرئيس أبو مازن على بيت ترامب بالخراب قد تمّت الاستجابة له، ومن تعامل بحذر مع إدارة ترامب في عامها الأخير، أن يجد فرصة لبناء علاقات أفضل مع الإدارة الجديدة، كما حال الأردن. يبدي بعض العرب تفاؤلاً برئاسة بايدن، ومنهم الفلسطينيون، إذ يحملون الأمور توقعات وأماني فوق ما تحتمل، فما يصدر عن الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة ليس أكثر من تهويمات وإشارات قد تكون مضللة – كالحديث عن حلّ الدولتين – إذ لا سياسات أو استراتيجيات واضحة يمكن قراءتها أو البناء عليها حتى الآن، هذا فيما يتسع الخرق العربي والإسلامي والعالمي، بدول جديدة مرشحة للتطبيع، وأخرى بصدد نقل سفاراتها للقدس، فيما تتبادل (إسرائيل) مع السودان والمغرب والإمارات السفارات والبعثات والملحقيات الاقتصادية والثقافية والقباب الحديدية، وهو العربي الذي كان ظهيراً لفلسطين ومسألتها وحقوق شعبها، لن يكون بأحسن أحواله إلا وسيطاً محايداً، في العلاقة الفلسطينية (الإسرائيلية) فيما يغيب الفلسطيني تماماً عن أيّ تعليق أو إدانة أو انتقاد لهذا السلوك الشائن.

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