Palestinians will rebuild the PLO! The liberation landscape is changing

free palestine

Caption: At a joint in California where customers leave notes in the cracks of a brick wall. Note says:
الله اكبر –Free Palestine, assholes.”

It’s not wishful thinking; it’s really happening! To use Bob Dylan’s words, the Israeli order is “rapidly fadin’ and the first one now will later be last, for the times they are a-changin’.”

You’ve probably heard that on September 19, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is mobilizing globally “in solidarity with Palestinians oppressed everywhere by Israel’s brutal apartheid regime.” But you might not have heard about the other exciting new developments on the Palestinian political scene, as the repression on social media and elsewhere continues to have a stranglehold on Palestinian and anti-Zionist speech, while Israel’s racist so-called “narrative” continues to be blared out from powerful platforms like Netflix.

palestine
Caption: “One day, we’ll return”

As the saying goes, it always seems impossible until it’s done. The Palestinian liberation landscape is changing! On Oct 22, 2022 The National Campaign for Rebuilding the PLO will be holding its first conference to take place simultaneously in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the diaspora, ensuring the representation of all popular, public and societal sectors from all communities. It will be followed at the end of the year with a strategic conference.

The rationale behind this initiative is as follows:

… since the Oslo Accords in 1993 and the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in the West Bank and Gaza, a steady decline began in the role of the PLO, the comprehensive framework for all the Palestinian people in the homeland and the diaspora, in favour of the PNA, which was established, based on the Oslo Accords, to assume administrative tasks in Gaza and some areas of the West Bank.

This decline has increased, due to the Authority’s policies to build a state under occupation at the expense of the struggle to end the occupation and achieve the national rights of return and self-determination in accordance with United Nations Resolution 194.

Parallel to this, the occupation’s determination to expand settlement construction in Jerusalem and the West Bank has increased, suppressing any movement for Palestinian struggle, and persisting in suppressing and killing Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, while the position of the Authority in all these circumstances did not exceed condemnation and protestation.

In response to the challenges described above, the National Campaign for Rebuilding the PLO and the Popular Alliance for Change came together and agreed to work towards achieving four goals, chief among them being the resurrection of the PPLO as “the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, custodian and trustee of the Palestinian national project emanating from the Palestinian National Charter of 1968,” and “rebuilding, developing and activating the PLO, in order for it to regain its leadership role in the national struggle and in order to save the national liberation project, through the unification of the Palestinian national forces and activities and with the participation of all active political forces through holding elections for the PNC, which in turn forms the Executive Committee and the PCC.”

They also agreed that the elected members of the PNC in the West Bank and Gaza are to form “a council that undertakes the task of oversight and legislation in the two regions after changing the functions of the authority to become a servant of the national project and transfer the political function to the PLO. A body will emerge from it to manage their daily affairs and provide services necessary for the life and security of citizens outside the frameworks of Oslo and without the requirements of the occupation’s approval.”

If you have questions or concerns re the above, read Reclaiming The PLO, Re-Engaging Youth, a report published by Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network on August 13, 2020, which discusses how, in the last three decades, “both Hamas and Islamic Jihad, particularly Hamas, have evolved their position toward the PLO.” In Reconstituting the PLO: Any Place for Hamas and Islamic Jihad?, Belal Shobaki analyzes how both parties evolved their position vis-à-vis the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian people from the 1980s to the Cairo Declaration of 2005 and the subverted elections of 2006, focusing on “the significant shifts in Hamas and Islamic Jihad from a doctrinal approach to governance to a democratic one.”

This is all obviously threatening to both Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), so what is Israel doing to shore up the PA? Well, according to Haaretz, Israel is “weighing” limiting West Bank “operations” (read almost daily killings of Palestinians) to help strengthen the Palestinian Authority.

But, in my view, such coordination between the Israeli government and the PA is unlikely to succeed in stemming the tide of Palestinian legitimate revolutionary resistance against Israel. The Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement Masar Badil released the following compelling video clip a few days ago titled “No to legitimating Zionist colonization…let’s keep in mind the legacy of our martyrs.” It articulates clearly and powerfully the alternative path of liberation struggle for the Palestinian people.

 

On Oct 24–29 in Brussels, Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network will join Masar Badil for the International Week of Action for Palestinian Liberation & the March for Return & Liberation.

Meanwhile, Israel’s ongoing outrageous actions keep us wondering, as Ghada Karmi quoted in Return: A Palestinian Memoir: ‘What on earth is the matter with these people? They’ve taken the whole damn country. Why isn’t that enough?’

Note: First published on Medium

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Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem and whose mother’s side of the family is from Ijzim, south of Haifa. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank.

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