As the details of Washington’s peace plan becomes clear, Palestinian leaders are searching for a way forward that avoids acquiescing to US and Israeli demands.
Veteran Jordanian-Palestinian writer Lamas Andon told Arab News that while Palestinian leaders have a right to reject the plan, they must look inward to find a way forward.
“Palestinians have an opportunity to lead and set the tone of their own future because they are in charge now and can’t wait on anyone else to help.”
Palestinians believe that the huge US document demonstrates America’s bias. The terms “Jews” and “Jewish” are mentioned 1,806 times, compared to just 303 and 473 for “Muslim” and “Christian” respectively.
Israel is mentioned nearly five times more than Palestine. Palestine will have its borders, its airspace and its international waters controlled by Israel, which will, at certain times, “have the right to enter the areas earmarked for the state of Palestine.”
Andoni told Arab News that the other option available to Palestinians is international law: “The International criminal court and the court of criminal justice have shown interest in supporting Palestinian rights. Therefore, all legal battles must be waged against Israel.”
Nabil Shaath, an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told the US-based Al-Monitor news site that Abbas has approved a possible major confrontation with Israel.
“The president has re-emphasized the need for national unity, and has agreed to a request to go to Gaza to attend a unity meeting, he has supported the need for popular struggle and has called for the revisit of the functions of the Palestinian Authority.
“The move to implement the decisions of the Palestine National and Central Councils will obviously include the decision to suspend security coordination.”
But Israeli media reported that the security coordination has not been suspended, despite suggestions from Abbas’s office.
In addition to the legal front, Andoni believes that supporters of Palestinians must step up their efforts with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
He added that he hoped that an intifada would erupt.
Andoni’s call was also echoed by Abbas, who has agreed to a call for a national unity conference in Gaza with the participation of all factions including Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad as well as independents.
Mufid Abed Rabo, a Fatah activist and one of the leaders of the first intifada, told Arab News that the unity efforts that were seen in the Tuesday night meeting in Ramallah must be followed up with serious and strategic steps.
Palestinian supporters have responded angrily to the US plans with demonstrations and public strikes throughout the occupied Palestinian territories.
In his speech carried live on Palestine TV, Abbas also spoke about the popular struggle, but it was not clear how serious the Palestinian leadership is willing to commit to an escalation of unarmed attacks against Israel.
The nonviolent struggle has long been discussed and debated among Palestinians without a clear guideline. In Gaza, unarmed attacks in the form of the Great March of Return were often politically manipulated and failed to stay totally nonviolent.
The new frontier for the coming months will be the Jordan Valley, where about 50,000 Palestinians live, as opposition grows to the possibility of an Israeli annexation of these lands.