Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : The Central Committee of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has reiterated its call for confronting the Oslo Accords. The PFLP is the second-largest Palestinian party organized in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and has repeatedly called for the discontinuation of policies under the long-violated and legally invalid Oslo Accords. The PFLP also criticized the policies of Al-Fateh, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, and all policies that lead to division rather than unity and mass action.

The Central Committee of the PFLP, in late March, held a regular meeting and decided to reiterate its call to confront the Oslo Accords. The PFLP reports that it evaluated the overall current developments on the Palestinian, Arab, regional and international levels, discussing at length and in depth the various matters on its agenda.

The PFLP stressed that an analysis of contemporary political, social developments and rapid shifts happening confirm that the Zionist project in Palestine, and in the region in general, aims to exercise control and domination through fragmentation, plundering of resources, undermining of progress, perpetuation of backwardness, expansion and colonization, apartheid, ethnic cleansing and denial of the Palestinian people’s rights to freedom and self-determination.

Theodosius Attallah Hanna_Jerusalem_The PFLP also underpinned the fact that Israel is far from “the only democratic state in the Middle East,” as it wants to portray itself, but that Israel, as a State, insists on first and second class citizenry based on religion. Not withstanding the many citizens who are secular, atheists, or Christian, Muslim, or practicing or culturally of other faiths, Israel insists that it be recognized as a “Jewish State”. The PFLP has repeatedly stressed that one can extrapolate from this fact, that Israel also wants to establish a Jewish Primacy State on occupied Palestinian and other occupied Arab territories, such as the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights and the Lebanese Sheba Farm area.

The PFLP noted that all of the above comes in the framework of the strategic alliance with what it describes as US imperialism and its role in the region. The Front noted that the Zionist-US alliance makes the most of the continuing Arab and Palestinian conflict, division and fragmentation, and its agents are dedicated to furthering that fragmentation to keep the Arab and Palestinian people in their weakest stage while confronting many risks and major challenges.

al-aqsa_jerusalem_palestine_israel_2016The PFLP also reiterated that Israel seeks to liquidate the Palestinian cause by offering “solutions” which undermine Palestinian national rights, placed in the context of regional proposals for the situation flaring on multiple fronts, providing the Zionist occupation a greater opportunity to enforce normalization with Arab regimes, and prioritizing the so-called communal and sectarian conflicts over the central Palestinian cause. The PFLP concludes that it is bound to take responsibility for the Palestinian cause and to call for urgent action on a number of core issues.

With regard to the Oslo Accords, the PFLP reiterated that there is an urgent need to break firmly and sharply with the Oslo approach on political, economic, cultural and security levels in concept and in their implementations on the ground, and this requires ending, once and for all, the utterly-failed bets on begging for the rights and national goals of the Palestinian people through the path of futile negotiations, and abandoning the illusion of the United States playing any honest role.

The Front also noted that the US administration has even confirmed that the so-called “two state solution” is not the only solution for it, abandoning the solution that the monopolistic leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization has tied its strategy. The PFLP noted that the U.S. administration announced its unequivocal financial and military support for the policies and procedures of the occupation, including its settlements, annexation of most of the West Bank and Jerusalem, and support to ensure the strategic superiority of the Zionist occupation to preserve its “security” and stability. Thus, the continuation and persistence of this illusionary reliance, on the part of the monopolistic Palestinian “leadership,” will only escalate the danger to Palestinian rights and the Palestinian cause, the PFLP concluded, adding that this comes amid the ongoing plans and visions aiming at the liquidation of the Palestinian cause. Any engagement with ideas and projects dealing with “federalism” of the West Bank and Gaza or a “Gaza/Sinai state project” is the same disastrous approach with devastating results.

With regard to the “home front” that PFLP stressed  that  it is important to continue national efforts to end division and build national unity. This requires commitment to all national agreements that have been developed, especially the national reconciliation document, the Cairo agreements, and the output of the preparatory of the Palestinian National Council in the meetings on January 10-11 2017 in Beirut, and hard work to follow up for their implementation.

The PFLP noted that there is a need to create the atmosphere for the convening of a unifying Palestinian National Council outside occupied Palestine, ensuring the participation of all national forces, on the basis of elections in accordance with the principle of proportional representation wherever possible.

The PFLP stressed that this also requires a comprehensive national review to establish and develop agreement upon a unified national strategy to mobilize the energies of the Palestinian people and unite their efforts and abilities in the confrontation with the primary enemy. It stressed that the PFLP, therefore, also affirms its rejection of all of the formulas and actions which enshrine and deepen the division, including the committee set up by Hamas, recently, for the management of the Gaza Strip.

The PFLP also reiterated that it supports the continuation of mass action to defend the rights and freedoms of our people, to life, decent work and electricity and demand an end to suppression, political arrests and the tracking down of resistance fighters with intimidation and repression by the Palestinian Authority.

The PFLP stressed that it expresses its severe condemnation at the Palestinian Authority (PA) security agencies which violently suppressed the march against the trial of Basil al-Araj and his comrades detained by the Zionist occupation, and the attack on his father. It stressed that, in confirming the position of the PFLP, united with the people and with the family of Basil, and rejecting the approach of the Authority and its repressive practices, they announced their position of refusing to participate in local elections, in the West Bank, in May. The PFLP notes that it emphasizes the need for these elections to be held simultaneously in the West Bank and Gaza and call on Fateh (Al-Fatah) and Hamas to help create a healthy atmosphere for renewal of local municipality bodies as a duty to the Palestinian nation and people.

Moving Away from the Oslo Accords neither Radical or “Anti-Semitic”

While the PFLP’s call for moving away from the Oslo Accords often is misrepresented as “radical” or as “anti-Semitic”, the Accords have never been a treaty, never been law, and have lost their validity latest five years after the signing of the Accords in 1993. The 1993 Oslo Accords also led to a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan, one of the Arab countries that today cooperates closely, although covertly, with Israel in the war against Syria.

The signing of the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan was, however, also no great surprise for those who recall that Jordan previously called on the Israeli Air Force for help, when tank units of the Palestine Liberation Army, supported by Syrians, rushed toward Jordan, where the Jordanian Army was fighting against the PLO.

The late Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres was always a skillful negotiator, and he refined the strategy of negotiating as much as necessary to be able to continue the implementation of plans for a “Greater Israel” to the tee. In 2013, Peres would state, “We can and should bring an end to the conflict, and we have to be the initiators. Playing hard-to-get may be a romantic position, but it’s not a good political plan.”

That said, Peres never used his considerable political influence to mount a tangible opposition to Israel’s settlement policy, or against open statements, by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, to the effect that Israel would permanently annex the Syrian Golan Heights, regardless of international law, UN resolutions and the “international community”.

History books will most probably be written to champion Shimon Peres for his “dedication to the peace process” even before the Oslo Accords. In the late 1980s, Peres was involved in covert negotiations with Jordan’s King Hussein. In 1987, these negotiations resulted in the signing of the London Agreement that outlined a framework for an Arab – Israeli peace. The agreement focused on the development of economic ties between Israel and Jordan, largely sidelining Syria and the issue of Israel’s occupation of the Syrian Golan.

And, even though Israel’s Prime Minister at that time, Yitzak Shamir, rejected the agreement, Israeli-Jordanian ties had become closer and Jordan’s advocacy for the PLO and Syrians in the Golan became side-issues, to be taken up when it was politically opportune. It is, in this regard, that Shimon Peres also will be remembered as a great negotiator within the Oslo Accords which have led to decades of “peace process,” while the colonization of Palestine and the Golan continues unabated without bringing peace.

Perez and Arafat in 2001 (EPA)

Peres and Arafat in 2001 (EPA)

Peres – also described as “the Godfather of the Oslo Accords” became again involved in the “peace process” in the early 1990s, while serving as foreign minister under Yitzhak Rabin, and launching negotiations with the PLO top-leadership and PLO Chairman Yassir Arafat, in Tunis. Some students of the Israeli – Palestinian discourse would claim that both Peres and Rabin had to change their mind about dealing with the PLO abroad, and that Peres felt it was futile to keep Arafat exiled in Tunisia, since it made co-operation between the two sides more difficult.

Others would note that having the PLO leadership move to East Jerusalem, then force it to flee to Ramallah, transformed the PLO leadership into an Israeli hostage, made it more easily accessible for Israeli military action than it would be in Tunisia, broke the back of the international struggle against the Israeli occupation, and rendered the PLO obsolete as a military factor that could pose a threat to Israel.

What is little known is also the fact that parts of the Oslo Accords remain classified, by both Israel and the PLO, until this day. One of the most important known points in the Accords is that Israel would recognize Palestine and that the PLO would recognize the State of Israel. The Accords also created the “interim” Palestinian National Authority (PA), which would fulfill functions of government within Palestinian territories, including education, social welfare, health care, direct taxation and tourism.

The Accords stipulated that  elections would be held within nine months and allowed Yassir Arafat to return to Gaza. Israel, for its part, was supposed to withdraw from Gaza and Jericho within four months. The PLO, in return, agreed to remove chapters in its charter which called for the destruction of Israel. One of Peres’ great achievements was that he persuaded the PLO to give guarantees about the Israeli people’s right to live in peace and security, while Israel did not make concessions such as guaranteeing the right of Palestinians to return.

Where Palestine is concerned, it appears, the difference between Peres and current Prime Minister Netanyahu is like the difference between the good and the bad cop during a police interrogation. In the end, you are more likely to confess to a good cop like Peres, but make no mistake, both are there to put you in jail if they can. For the PLO and Palestinians this “jail” has been manifest in the form of decades of “peace talks, accompanied by an ever more aggressive military occupation. The Oslo Accords were, legally speaking, an interim agreement, not a treaty.

How incompetent the Fateh-dominated PLO leadership was could be likened to a sleepwalker, and it walked right into the trap that had been laid by Rabin. This blunder becomes painfully obvious when one studies the Oslo Accords carefully and, discovers that the Accords did not:

  • Settle the status of Jerusalem;
  • Consolidate the right of return for refugees displaces in 1948 and their descendants;
  • Clarify the status of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza;
  • Delineate the borders of Israel or of a Palestinian State;

The PLO signed the Accords based on the “assumption” that Israel would, in earnest, negotiate a final settlement of these issues within a five-year period. What the PLO received from the hands of Israel was decades more of settlement expansion but no settlement. No final treaty was signed in 1998, as promised.

The prominent Palestinian scholar Dr. Edward Said criticized the Oslo Accords, from the get go, as “A Palestinian Surrender”. Said’s assessment of the Accords as a surrender were as correct as his assessment that the product of the Oslo Accords would be “a Palestinian leadership in disarray”. He was correct in that assessment too. These are the real achievements of the late Shimon Peres. These achievements are part of “their story”, the history of the Palestinians. It is unlikely that they will be published in official “his-story” textbooks.

CH/L – nsnbc 02.04.2017

(Edited for the IMEMC by chris @