The Palestinian Authority must get its act together

[ 13/07/2011 – 09:57 PM ]

By Khalid Amayreh
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has never been a truly honorable and dignified entity where excesses and flaws are the exception rather than the norm.

As a deformed child of the infamous Oslo Accords, the PA continues to encapsulate all the disfigurements and abnormalities inherent in the scandalous agreements.

I know that people shouldn’t beat dead horses, however, in the Palestinian case, the dead or dying horse continues to carry out a harmful role, endangering, even in irreversible manner, the durability and resilience of our people’s struggle for justice and freedom from Israel’s colonization and Nazi-like occupation.

The PA suffers a fundamental and inherent contradiction. On the one hand, it claims that the liberation of parts of occupied Palestine from monstrous Zionism is its ultimate  raison d’tre. On the other hand, however, a fleet glance at the PA reality and the  overwhelming restrictions  and fetters governing its performance  shows that  the PA can only survive, let alone grow, depending on the  Israeli “good will.”

In recent weeks, the PA leadership has displayed a preponderance  of dithering, vacillation, reluctance  and  dawdling pertaining to its purported plans  to seek U.N. recognition of a putative  Palestinian state.

PA officials, including Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, made a plethora of statements and remarks, suggesting that the PA has yet to get its act together. For example, the PA leadership is still harboring certain hopes that the so-called peace talks with Israel might help the Palestinians recover their  inalienable rights from Zionist thieves.

This is no less than scandalous.  Nearly 20 years of futile “peace talks” with successive Israeli governments should have convinced any responsible  leadership  of the utter uselessness of talks with a venomous colonial  power that seeks our obliteration and annihilation.

However, the fact that the PA leadership chose to  accommodate Zionist whims, by  maintaining a willingness to go on and on and on, on an open-ended track that leads  to illusion and  further illusion suggests there is something fundamentally wrong with the Palestinian strategy.

The PLO ambassador to  the  U.N. Riyad Mansour has been quoted as saying that Palestinian efforts to obtain international recognition at the UN in September were a last attempt to save the two-state solution from a last irreversible collapse.

Last week, PA prime minister Salam Fayyad was quoted during a visit  to the northern West Bank that the Palestinians would demand  the right to vote for the Israeli Knesset if the Jewish state kept thwarting efforts to establish a viable Palestinian  state.

However, Abbas,  who is displaying  increasing  signs of autocracy and despotism, is keeping his silence, contenting himself with revealing that he soon would make “surprises” and that he would resign if efforts to establish the long-awaited state proved unsuccessful.

Hence, Abbas and  the close coterie of aides, advisors and hangers-on, ought to know that the masses are fed up with their disdainful  theatrics, useless political gymnastics, and   games  of  make believe.

Supporters  and apologists of  the ” Oslo leadership” have always argued that the PA is an absolute asset for the Palestinian people and  their enduring just cause. However, with as many as 200,000 employees and  civil servants, the PA regime is facing  the dilemma  of  reconciling  the task  of securing sufficient financial  sources to pay this army of salary-recipients  while at the same time tending and remaining faithful to the national  cause.

Needless to say, experience has shown that the two tasks are intrinsically irreconcilable, especially when much of  the needed financial resources can only be obtained from or through   Israel and its supporters and allies, e.g. the United States .

It is therefore imperative that the PA immediately seek to   rectify this unacceptable equation whereby overcoming its chronic financial  crises can only be achieved at the expense of maintaining Palestinian steadfastness in the face of Zionist recalcitrance and intransigence.

True, this particular task is not going to be easy. However, the semi-autonomous PA hierarchy must understand that saving  the Palestinian  cause from slow dissolution and obliteration is more important than  paying salaries to tens of thousands of security personnel filling  redundant jobs that bring no benefit  for the Palestinian people.

The PA should  therefore seriously think of trimming its bloated payroll and get rid  of  many or most of the estimated 60,000 security personnel who devour the lion’s share of  PA financial resources while doing  nothing  apart from maintaining  the symbols of a police state apparatus.

Besides, it is crystal clear that the security establishment, in its current state of affair, is a burden and serious liability, not an asset as some  of its members have excelled in persecuting  and torturing other  Palestinians on suspicion of resisting the Israeli  occupiers.

On this  occasion,  one has to remember that  the financial administration of  the PA pay-roll  system was dictated by  political not fiscal considerations. This explains  why some security retirees receive extremely hefty retirement salaries that exceed by far anything that even the highest-ranking professor emeritus would receive. And the reason for that is to keep these mostly  former Fatah activists silent.

Then there is the reconciliation with Hamas. The PA, which was taken by surprise by Hamas’s  good-will, seems off-balance and utterly unable to make  a departure from its erstwhile subservience to Israel and guardian-ally, the United States .

Again, the PA must be  warned against allowing Palestinian national unity to be held hostage to Israeli insolence and the  Zionist-inspired American Islamophobia.

Needless to say, the United States , which is languishing in the throes of  the Jewish-Zionist stranglehold, can not and will not extricate the Palestinians from  the claws of Zionist occupation and criminality. Those who can’t help themselves can not help others.

Hence, the PA, if it wants to survive and be respected and accepted by the Palestinian people, must have the courage to say NO to Israel and the United States . It wouldn’t have much to lose anyway.

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