In light of the recent consent of the Palestinian leadership to return to the negotiations table with the Israeli occupation authorities, and its submission to the U.S. Administration’s continuous pressure - evident in Secretary of State John Kerry’s six visits to the region, crowned by imposing the U.S. position on the Palestinian and Israeli sides - Occupied Palestine and the Syrian Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI) emphasizes herein the following position:
The acceptance of the Palestinian leadership to return to the negotiations table according to the U.S. vision meant relinquishing its repeatedly-underscored fundamental requirement that Israel stops its colonization of the West Bank. The failure of the Palestinian leadership to stand to its own principles is reflected in Netanyahu’s refusal to comply with its condition, insisting that return to negotiations would be without any preconditions. In addition to this, the Palestinian leadership gave up the defining of a clear political reference for the negotiations, supposedly manifested in United Nations and Security Council resolutions that require the Israeli withdrawal to the 4th of June 1967 lines.
This return to negotiations comes amidst the absence of Palestinian national consensus on the framework of these negotiations. The continuation of the internal Palestinian division means deepening of internal differences and shaking the foundation of national unity, subsequently weakening the Palestinian position in the negotiations.
The return of the Palestinian side to the negotiations according to the American conditions, particularly in light of the current Palestinian political and economic calamity, means the repeating of the experience of Oslo Accords and its consequent catastrophic results pertaining to the Palestinian national rights. The two-decade long experience of the Oslo Accords has not been, so far, subject to any serious scrutiny that aims to draw meaningful lessons from it.
Going back to negotiations in return of the release of a few Palestinian political prisoners from Israeli jails, combined with some economic inducements and a handful of so-called Israeli facilitations, would adversely affect the political, economic and social rights of the Palestinian people. Palestinian national rights fall outside any form of debate, bargaining or maneuvering tactics.
The return to negotiations in the absence of a comprehensive Palestinian national strategy that is based on linking between national liberation by ending the occupation on the one hand, and building a social, economically-prosperous and democratic state on the other, will keep the Palestinians at the mercy of the Americans and Israelis, with all the related political implications.
The above mentioned points suggest that the return to negotiations according to the American vision will be governed by the terms and references specified by the American–Israeli alliance. In other words, this entails restricting any solution or initiatives within the framework of the Oslo Accords, itself the product of an era of Arab political decay coupled with the downfall of Palestinian resistance.
In light of this reality, OPGAI calls on the Palestinian people and its political and social movements to immediately address these challenges. The return to negotiations according to these parameters means the direct liquidation of the Palestinian national rights, particularly the right of return and the issue of Jerusalem, which will be transformed into an issue of mere religious shrines.
For these reasons, OPGAI emphasizes the need to work for ending the state of Palestinian division, and restore national unity. This is a primary national objective that must not be tied to narrow political considerations. We furthermore call on escalating our resistance through uniting the Palestinian popular and social resistance initiatives, (against the Wall and the settlements; initiatives combating the culture of normalization; the BDS movement; the Palestinian Christian Initiative "Kairos Palestine"; prisoners campaign...), as well as reviving and reactivating the PLO, as to represent the Palestinian people and unify Palestinian resistance wherever it may be.
It is also important, in this context, to reinstate the role of the Palestinian National Authority so as to respond to the social and economic needs of the Palestinian people, and to prevent it from exceeding the role of the PLO as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. The role of the Palestinian Authority should focus on meeting the needs of the Palestinian people in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and occupied Jerusalem, alleviate their suffering under occupation, raise awareness and democratic practices in the civil and social organizations, confront the requirements and the pressures of the World Bank and donor countries, as well as reject the use of external support as an instrument of pressure and political blackmail.