In the US and the West, we are able and free to debate God and HIS/HER existence, debate Jesus, Moses, Mohamed, debate America, its failures and its successes, debate our constitution and its interpretations. We are free to debate George Bush and his stupidity, his crimes against America and the world, and his many failures. We are free to debate anything and everything except Zionism, Israel and Judaism. In Palestine and the Arab world, we are allowed to discuss few things but one thing no one dares to discuss is the PLO, its illegitimacy and its failures.
Israel committed war crimes for over 20 days in Gaza, killing and murdering in cold blood women and children, destroying homes, schools, social centers, UN facilities, mosques and hospitals yet, no one in the US and the West dare to say anything let alone criticize Israel, its racist and criminal practices, as we have seen in the BBC’s refusal to air calls for aid to Gaza and in the attack on Paul Simon and CBC for its airing of the recent special of why a two state solution is not possible any more.
Mahmoud Abbas, whose presidential term finished and expired a couple of weeks ago and who lost any and all legitimacy as president of Palestine and the Palestinian Authority stood up yesterday in Cairo and declared that under no circumstances will there be any dialogue with those who (Hamas) questions the legitimacy of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
I am sure all Palestinians and the Arab world, with the exception of the very few Palestinians who are on the payroll of the PLO know well that the PLO lost any and all of whatever legitimacy it had to begin with 20 years ago. What remains now of the PLO is nothing more than perhaps a couple of dozen “parasites” around Mahmoud Abbas, direct beneficiaries of his financial generosity. I am sure if the payroll stops they will drop the PLO as hot potatoes.
To begin with, the PLO was never elected, voted or chosen by the Palestinian people, rather the PLO was chosen by the Arab League, which itself is of questionable legitimacy with many Arab leaders coming to power by tanks but not by the ballots and have no legitimacy whatsoever. As at no time did the Palestinian people in an open debate, forums, votes or ballots ever vote for and selected the PLO as “the sole and only representative of the Palestinian people”. An organization like the Arab League with questionable legitimacy cannot vote on or select an organization for and on behalf of the Palestinians people. The Arab League never had a mandate to represent the people of Palestine let alone select its representative, never.
Even in its heyday, the PLO was never legitimate since its officers and members were not elected by the people, but through a process similar in so many ways to the old Communist Party of the old Soviet Union, where the party on its own, without ever going back to the people, chose its general members and this general membership elected a slate of candidates that the leadership put forward. The same is true of the PLO. Arafat as a party leader funded and organized unions such as teachers, artists, social scientists, engineers, students, etc to be part of the “party” and put forward the slate of leadership to head and represent these “unions” and in turn these selected leaders voted the same (Arafat) leadership that voted them in. Thus the Palestine National Council, which is the “elected” people’s congress, was never elected through open election: rather its members where selected by Arafat and his gangs and where voted in. Faulty process to the core.
Thus the Palestine National Congress never truly represented the people and Arafat and his gangs were never voted in by the Palestinian people inside or outside Palestine. That is why there was never ever an open and serious debate on issues of concern to the people such as the occupation, liberation, building institutions, representing the people of the Diaspora, let alone the many fatal and criminal decisions taken by Arafat and the PLO leadership. There was never a debate on what happened in Jordan in 1970, never a debate on what happened in Lebanon, never a debate on what happened in Tel-Zaater and Sabra and Shatila, never a debate on what happened to cause of the forced exiles of 350,000 from Kuwait, never a debate let alone filing criminal and civil charges against all those who committed war crimes against the Palestinian people. Equally troublesome is the lack of debate or call for accountability of the tens of billions of the people’s money that simply disappeared during the tenures of Arafat, Qurai and Abbas. Tens of billions of the people’s money stolen by the very same leadership that is supposed to be the people’s trustees of their money and future. As such the Palestine National Council was nothing more than a ‘yes’ congress for the leadership so similar to the party congress of the Soviet Union, a bunch of ‘yes’ people who serve the wills of their masters, the leadership.
It was the late Arafat and his partners Abbas and Qurai who, once they signed the Oslo agreement recognizing Israel and its occupations, and becoming its agents and administrators, simply discarded the PLO as no entity. The Palestinian Trio of Arafat, Abbas and Qurai, turned the PLO into a “shell” organization putting a number of loyal cadres on the payroll just to keep the PLO under “oxygen”. The Palestinian Authority became the legal and financial partner of the Jewish Occupation. Arafat and Abbas simply put the PLO in a cold freezer, to use only when needed and to serve the purpose of the Jewish Occupation.
Under Oslo, Israel recognized the PLO as “the representative of the Palestinian people” and the only one authorized to sign and execute a “peace agreement” with Israel. Thus Mahmoud Abbas’s insistence on the PLO and its role in the “peace process”. Without Abbas’s PLO, Israel could not consolidate its occupation, could not settle the issue of the refugees, could not keep the Jewish settlements and could not have a financial and security partner. Abbas’s insistence on the legitimacy of the PLO has nothing to do with ending the Jewish Occupation, has nothing to do with the Apartheid Wall, has nothing to do with ending the Jewish settlements, has nothing to do with return of refugees, has nothing to do with Jerusalem, has nothing to do with Jewish war crimes, has nothing to do with the 11,000 hostages held by Israel, certainly it has nothing to do with the siege of Gaza, with the war on Gaza and the Jewish war crimes committed in Gaza. It has everything to do with his the PLO legal obligations under Oslo to deliver Palestine and the Palestinian people under occupation and in the Diaspora to Israel. Without the PLO Israel could not reach a “peace agreement” that makes Israel a controlling partner of all Occupied Palestine of ‘67 including Jerusalem.
As for Israel and the lack of debate, we all know what happened to anyone and everyone who dares to say or speak out. They end up on the side streets of Washington, Berlin, Paris and London, politically finished and ruined. A deadly bullet waits all those who dare to speak out. The same is true in Palestine and the Arab world.