Click here to read this statement in Arabic.
Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, calls for the reinstatement of the original Palestinian National Charter in full, and the liberation of the Palestinian struggle from the shackles of the Madrid-Oslo process, once and for all. The Palestinian National Charter was created by the Palestinian people and the Palestinian revolution to represent the aspirations of all Palestinians worldwide, in the homeland and in exile, and implemented through the building of democratic popular institutions capable of harnessing and mobilizing the power, commitment and dedication of the Palestinian people to achieve return and liberation.
However, these Palestinian institutions have been hijacked and confiscated by a purported leadership that has repeatedly provided cover and support for Zionist settler colonialism, rather than mobilizing the Palestinian people’s resistance. We can no longer stand by or accept the total dissolution of our democratic principles and our National Charter . At this critical juncture in the history of the Palestinian people, it is time to take a stand.
The Palestinian Authority has been an unmitigated disaster for the Palestinian cause, and it is time to sweep aside the legacy of Madrid and Oslo and the entire so-called “peace process,” once and for all. We further demand the immediate resignation of the PLO Executive Committee and firmly reject the Palestinian Authority and all of its security, political, and foreign policy institutions, creations of the Madrid-Oslo path that have utterly failed – and, indeed, never served – to protect the lives, lands and aspirations of the Palestinian people.
Following the death of Saeb Erakat and the widely publicized resignation of Hanan Ashrawi, renewed attention has been drawn to the PLO Executive Committee’s absorption by the Palestinian Authority at the Palestinian people’s expense. After thirty years of invisible paralysis, we are reminded of its existence and the fact that this body has done nothing to liberate Palestine or protect our people from the grip of daily assault by Zionist forces since the Oslo surrender was signed.
After nearly 30 years, where the Madrid-Oslo path’s results are plain to see for all, it is long past time to reverse this treacherous trend. The Palestinian people and their popular and revolutionary movement built schools, women’s unions, labor organizations, student movements and mechanisms of self-sufficient economic development that have been confiscated and repressed by the Palestinian Authority and supplanted by the NGO donor reliance infrastructure built since Oslo. The majority of the Palestinian people — Palestinian refugees struggling for their long-denied right to return for over 72 years — have been excluded from political decision-making. And now, we see a call for Palestinian Authority elections to legitimize the official Palestinian leadership that has long been a leading part of this destructive process.
We know that there is no democracy under colonialism, apartheid and military occupations. The bitter lessons of history in Algeria, India, Apartheid South Africa and much of Latin America make this clear. Indeed, A December poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found 52 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank think elections held under present conditions would not be fair and free. There can be no Palestinian representation by “governance” under colonial occupation, security collaboration, or any meaningful Palestinian development under the boot of donor-state dependence and conditionality.
However, there is an alternative to the devastating path of collaboration of the Palestinian Authority and the autocratic and corrupt rule of Mahmoud Abbas. That path is the rebuilding of our popular Palestinian institutions under the framework of the fully restored Palestinian National Charter, as a framework to struggle for the liberation of Palestine and the return of the Palestinian people. That path also encompasses the assertion of Palestinian resistance to Zionist colonialism, rather than security collaboration and “joint security forces” with the Israeli occupation under U.S. and European sponsorship.
The only legitimate elections for the Palestinian people are not those that take place under the auspices of Oslo, the treasonous PA, and the gunsights of the colonizer. In all of Palestine and in exile, they are those within the Palestinian popular institutions, among all Palestinians, to elect a new Palestinian National Council on a democratic, inclusive basis. This newly elected PNC may oversee a new PLO Executive Committee and hold it accountable to the fully reinstated Palestinian National Charter. The reinstatement of the Palestinian National Charter in full and the power of the Palestinians’ popular unions must be a priority to liberate the Palestinian cause from the Palestinian Authority, itself fundamentally anchored from its inception as a security agent of Zionist colonialism.
It is the neutralization of the PLO and its supplantation with the neocolonial Palestinian Authority which has facilitated the U.S.-led attempt to compel more reactionary Arab states to normalize with the Zionist enemy. Added to the states who abandoned Palestine— initially, Jordan and Egypt— Bahrain, the UAE, Sudan, and Morocco have recently since followed suit. Now tourists from Dubai and Abu Dhabi have launched psychological warfare against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement by celebrating with the colonizers in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. At the same time, Gaza suffers through 15 years of inhumane blockade and starvation due to joint Egyptian-Zionist military coordination.
Within this context, we note the importance of organizing the Palestinian community in the United States, alongside the Palestinian people everywhere, to defend Palestinian rights in their totality and restore the Palestinian National Charter and the Palestinian people’s popular institutions. It is the U.S. government that provides $3.8 billion each year in weaponry to the Israeli state while the Palestinian community is targeted for repression, surveillance and attacks. Meanwhile, we see the Palestinian Authority and PLO Executive Committee’s purported leadership seeking the approval of the very imperial power responsible for arming the occupation army, maintaining its colonial control and expanding its regional strategic advantage.
Al Awda calls on all Palestinians, in the West Bank, Gaza, 1948-Palestine, refugee camps, in exile throughout Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa to demand the immediate resignation of the autocratic PLO Executive Committee, unequivocal rejection of the neo-colonial Palestinian Authority, and the dissolution of all institutions that manifested from the Madrid-Oslo pathway.
No colonized people have attained their liberation by appealing to their oppressors or achieved justice by uniting with racial supremacy or Zionism. The Palestinian people are not an exception, especially as we are subjected to an ongoing genocide.
Freedom to all our people under the occupation. Freedom to all our people in Gaza under the Zionist blockade and their collaborators. Freedom to all our people living in the 1948 territories who endure daily humiliation and discrimination. Freedom and return to all our refugees and exiles. Down with apartheid. Down with occupation. Down with settler-colonialism.
We shall prevail.
Until liberation, and return.
Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition
January 23, 2021
 14 items of the Palestinian National Charter were removed by the Zionist occupiers and supposedly voted on by the PLO in this committee. They pertain to: armed struggle; the spiritual and national connection of the Palestinian people to the land of Palestine; any reference to the national-liberation era in the development of the Palestinian people; harnessing the national and Arab wealth and power to support the liberation program of the Palestinian people; reference to Arab unity; creating and sustaining the Palestinian guerilla culture; threats the Zionist occupation of Palestine presents to the Arab peoples; reference to the illegitimacy of the Balfour Declaration and subsequent partition of Palestine; objection to Palestine being the homeland of Jews worldwide; representation of Palestinians worldwide and the execution of a repatriation program.
Al Jazeera, January 17, 2021 – Uncertainty as Palestine’s Abbas announces elections
Photo credit: Montecruz Foto