Saturday, June 23, 2007

The PLO doesn’t represent me

A Very Good Comment
By Khalid Amayreh in occupied East Jerusalem

"“The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is an illegal and illusory entity.” These are the words of Farouq al Qaddumi, head of the PLO political department, as reported by several news agencies this week.

The veteran Fatah leader living in exile is telling the truth. In fact, the PLO ceased to exist as a viable and relevant body a long time ago. Its detachment from reality, internal disintegration and monopoly by the Fatah organization reduced it to marginal significance. And when the self-rule Palestinian Authority (PA) was established following the conclusion of the hapless Oslo Accords in 1993, the PLO was more or less consigned to the museum of history, with most of its representatives and symbols coalescing into the western-backed PA.

The same thing can be said about the so-called Palestinian National Council (PNC), another unrepresentative body which Fatah uses as a rubber stamp to pass its controversial decisions, e.g. annulling the Palestinian National Charter for free in order to appease Israel and America.

Today, whenever the widely-despised champions of Oslo, people like Yasser Abed Rabbo, et al, who have long lost any significant support among Palestinians, want to show their defiance and disdain of the collective will of the Palestinian people, whether at home or in the Diaspora, all they have to do is invoke the sacrosanct mantra, namely that the PLO is the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

Well, this time-worn mantra is acceptable no more. The PLO, after all, is not an immortal idol that is not subject to change; it is not above the will of the people and certainly it is not a Holy Quran or a Holy Bible.

True, two or three decades ago, especially during the 1970s and 1980s, the PLO was viewed by many Palestinians as the chief representative of the Palestinian people, mainly because it championed the Palestinian national cause. But now, things have changed. There are other forces that are shouldering the national cause, such as Hamas which defeated the PLO, e.g. Fatah, in the 2006 legislative elections.

In fact, I dare predict that if similar elections were to be held among Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, Hamas would again score election victories over a petrified and unreformed PLO.

I don’t deny that the once upon a time the PLO had a certain historical legitimacy. But that was a long time a go, whereas today the only acceptable legitimacy is the legitimacy of the ballot boxes, of which the PLO is almost totally bereft.......

Undoubtedly, there are other objective issues that make the beholder question the legitimacy, even relevance, of a half-dead anachronistic organization that has a skeleton but very little flesh, if any, and certainly no soul. It is well known that the PLO Leadership is not an elected body. Even Mahmoud Abbas, the American-backed PA Chairman, was elected by a small minority of Palestinians (less than 10%) in 2005.

The rest of PLO leaders, most of them in their positions for decades, have no electoral legitimacy whatsoever. Notwithstanding, they have the audacity to claim that they represent the Palestinian people. But, in truth, they don’t.

Indeed, in light of the undemocratic decisions taken by the PLO executive committee recently, any Palestinian is prompted to asked the following questions: Who elected Yasser Abed Rabbo to represent the Palestinian people? Who elected Samir Ghoushe? Who elected the heads of these tiny groups whose followers can barely fill two or three mini buses to capacity.?.....

Secondly, the PLO has been more or less a dormant body for many years, a body that is only remembered whenever the need to suppress the will of the people arises as is the case these days.

Thirdly, the vast bulk of the PLO is now based in the West Bank in the shadow of Israeli tanks and soldiers. This means that the PLO is as pliant and subservient to the will of the occupier as is the PA. This alone should make it devoid of legitimacy and honor.

PLO defenders ( or, more correctly, “PLO beneficiaries) would invoke the so-called revolutionary legitimacy. Well, what revolutionary legitimacy are they talking about? The PLO today happens to be controlled and manipulated by people who happen to be squarely in the American (Zionist) lap, people who have lost every shred of legitimacy if only because they have chosen the “American-Israeli legitimacy” at the expense of their people and their just cause.

Indeed, a PLO that is at America’s beck and call has no legitimacy whatsoever. A PLO that constantly seeks to appease America and Israel by undoing the outcome of democratic elections is not legitimate. More to the point, a PLO that signals its willingness to compromise on paramount Palestinians national rights, such as the Right of Return and Jerusalem, loses whatever legitimacy it may have......"