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Op-Ed: 'Palestine' - No Elections, No Hope

In the absence of any unified, elected representation for the Palestinian Arabs how can any agreement bring about a final end to the Arab-Jewish conflict that has raged unresolved for the last 130 years?
Published: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 11:54 AM



Kerry should be focusing on the common denominator that has virtually guaranteed the failure of negotiations during the last seven years/
The PLO negotiating team - headed by perennial negotiator Saeb Erekat - resigned this week in the middle of a nine month period set aside for intense and secret negotiations with Israel to achieve the creation of a second Arab state - in addition to Jordan - in former Mandatory Palestine.

PLO Chairman, head of Fatah, unconstitutional self-styled President of the defunct Palestinian Authority and unelected "President" of the "State of Palestine" -  Mahmoud Abbas - was quick to point out on Egyptian TV:

"Either we can convince it to return, and we're trying with them, or we form a new delegation.".

Either way - it will be a waste of time.

The "two state solution" posited by these currently stalled negotiations is doomed to failure.

Ramzy Baroud - a Palestinian-American journalist, author and editor who taught Mass Communication at Australia's Curtin University of Technology, and is Editor-in-Chief of the Palestine Chronicle - explains the futility of further negotiations with the PLO in his article "Why a winning Palestinian narrative is hard to find":

"In an initially pointless exercise that lasted nearly an hour, I flipped between two Palestinian television channels, al-Aqsa TV of Hamas in Gaza and Palestine TV of Fatah in the West Bank. While both purported to represent Palestine and the Palestinians, each seemed to represent some other place and some other people. It was all very disappointing.

"Hamas’ world is fixated on their hate of Fatah and other factional personal business. Fatah TV is stuck between several worlds of archaic language of phony revolutions, factional rivalry and unmatched self-adoration. The two narratives are growingly alien and will unlikely ever move beyond their immediate sense of self-gratification and utter absurdity."

These irreconcilable differences between Fatah - the dominant faction in the PLO - and Hamas - not a member of the PLO -  have remained unresolved since 2007.

In the absence of any unified representation for the Palestinian Arabs living in the "West Bank" and Gaza - how can any agreement between Israel and the PLO ever bring about a final end to the Arab-Jewish conflict that has raged unresolved for the last 130 years?

Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a Hamas official based in Gaza, told his movement’s daily newspaper -  Al-Resalah - in August this year that Hamas should act to isolate Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and strip him of any representative capacity over his decision to negotiate with Israel.

"The PA has dealt the final blow to reconciliation talks, and Hamas will never accept the negotiation track and its result."

CBN News confirmed Hamas's stance on 30 September in its article "Hamas: No Agreement That Includes Israel's Right to Exist":

"We will not recognize any agreements at the expense of our land, rights and religious sites," Asharq al-Awsat quoted Hamas officials on Sunday. "Palestine -- the whole of Palestine from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river [i.e., Israel] -- is the property Palestinian people and our nation, and no usurper has any right to a speck of dust of its territory."

A spokesman for the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the so-called military wing of Hamas, promised to be "at the heart of the new intifada."

And Islamic Jihad member Ahmed al-Mudallal said, "Resistance in Palestine is the spearhead in the confrontation with the Zionist project, which targets Jerusalem, al-Aksa [mosque on the Temple Mount] and the whole of Palestine."

 Hamas vowed never to accept any agreement that includes recognition of Israel's right to exist.

"Negotiations and security coordination with the Zionist enemy form a cover for the continuation of the occupation's crimes against our territory, our people and our religious sites," the statement continued.

"We call upon all Palestinian forces and factions to reject the path of these wasteful negotiations, which have proved their failure to achieve our people's dreams and only brought them more waste, loss and division in the face of the occupation's crimes and plans."

Hamas called on the Palestinian Authority's Fatah faction "to end negotiations and security coordination with the enemy and to return to resistance, national reconciliation and Palestinian unity."

Fatah responded by saying it "will remain committed to Palestinian unity and will continue to work for the unity of the people, territory and the Palestinian leadership, which is represented by the Palestine Liberation Organization," Asharq al-Awsat reported."

US Secretary of State - John Kerry - showed once again how little he understands about the Jewish-Arab conflict he is spending so much time trying to resolve - telling TV audiences in Israel and the West Bank:

"The alternative to getting back to the talks is the potential of chaos. I mean, does Israel want a third intifada?"

Kerry obviously fails to appreciate that it is Hamas and its backers that will instigate a third intifada - especially if Israel and the PLO do look like they are miraculously agreeing on anything.

Kerry should be focusing on the common denominator that has virtually guaranteed the failure of negotiations during the last seven years - the refusal of both Hamas and the PLO to allow the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza and the "West Bank" to hold fair and transparent triennial elections to determine who should represent them in final status negotiations with Israel.

Elections will end the culture of political impotency which has proved an impenetrable barrier to the Palestinian Arabs claimed right to self determination of any kind.

Without such elections - no final and binding agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs is possible.