Last Saturday, the Palestinian People’s Conference (14 million) was held in occupied Palestine (the West Bank, Gaza and the Palestinian Territories occupied in 1948), as well as all places where Palestinians are present in the diaspora, by participating through the available means of communication. Perhaps the most important issue the conference called for was the restoration of the PLO as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, as well as a reliable foundation for the Palestinian national project, based on the Palestinian National Charter of 1968. to build, develop and activate the PLO on national foundations and to create a pressured popular bloc that can push for a change in the reality of the Palestinian leadership in terms of approach and form so that it becomes a leader of the national struggle. The People’s Conference also called on elected members of the PNC in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to act as a council to assume the task of oversight and legislation, and to transfer political functions to the PLO.
The Palestinian People’s Conference has said nothing new, as all its recommendations do not go beyond the ceiling of the demands of the general Palestinian public, starting with the reform of the PLO, which has been stripped of all its powers and of its basic substance for which it is established. This has been the case since the creation of the PA after being forced by the PLO executive committee to sign the infamous Oslo Accords in 1993, and the PA became its alternative after it seized the Palestinian decision and imposed exclusive power over the government, with the aim of weakening, marginalizing and thwarting the PLO so that it would become an empty organization.
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This conference, which the PA fought and arrested its founder, is not a replacement for the PLO, although it has been accused of doing so. It was intended to express the anger of the Palestinian people at the deteriorating condition of the PLO and the rest of the country’s institutions. While the conference’s final statement reiterated Palestinian demands in every conference, dialogue and negotiation, the latest of these was Algeria’s recent statement on Palestinian reconciliation, which emphasized the need to reform the PLO and activating, the essence of the conference articulated the questions that live in the minds of every Palestinian, namely: What has the PA achieved in the past 3 decades of its life, through its negotiations, coordination and security cooperation? Has the PA moved the Palestinian people closer to achieving their right of return and statehood, ended the occupation, halted settlement construction and expansion, relocated and lifted the siege? Does the PA act in accordance with the Palestinian Constitution regarding the separation of the three powers, or is the executive dominant over the PLC, PNC, PLO and the government? Is the PA holding elections on time and has it achieved national unity and ended division at the domestic Palestinian level?
In terms of importance, the convening of this People’s Conference came at this time as the Palestinian people today face continued escalation from occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It is also forced to take on the difficult tasks that await them in the form of reimagining their future, paving their way to unity and ending division, believing in the principle of sharing, not quotas, and reform the institutions on a democratic basis and with inclusive representation in the PLO and PNC to save the national liberation project. This can only be achieved through the unification of the Palestinian national armed forces and activities, and the involvement of all political forces and active national and Islamic action through the holding of PNC elections. This, in turn, will choose the Central Committee and the Executive Committee of the PLO and determine a strategy that can preserve the Palestinian cause and the national struggle project until it achieves its goals of liberation and return.
This article first appeared in Arabic in the Palestinian Information Center on October 7, 2022
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