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Your apology is not convincing

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By Abdel Bari Atwan

(source: Middle East Monitor)

It was right that the Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad did apologize for the actions of elements within the security apparatus under his authority. They had attacked a gathering of representatives of PLO factions and independent national figures, and prevented them from participating in a symposium called to express opposition to the participation of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in direct negotiations in Washington.  But this apology is unacceptable and must not be accepted because not only does this authority disrespect the Palestinian people, it also disregards its closest allies in what is left of the PLO, and exercises the ugliest forms of bullying to suppress the opinions of others and prevent them from expressing their points of view if they conflict with its view and that of its leaders.

The problem is not confined to a group of thugs within the security forces who stormed the headquarters of the Forum, tore down banners and logos, and caused absolute chaos in the room. The problem is in the policies pursued by the Authority in recent years, particularly the confiscation of freedoms, control of Palestinian representation, and speaking on behalf of the people without any legitimacy or authority or both.

This section of the security forces, whose members carried out this scandalous act hooliganism belongs to an apparatus whose members have been selected very carefully under the supervision of four intelligence agencies. Two of them are Arabs (Jordanian and Palestinian) and the other two are foreign (the Israeli Shin Bet and American CIA) and this was recorded in a lecture delivered by the principal Godfather, Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, at an institute in Washington, when he said that the main objective of the current scheme was the creation of a new Palestinian; one who is devoid of national dignity and self-pride.   This group, therefore, has been raised on values, principles, ethics and morals that are alien to us and which we do not want to know. They have no relationship to the values, ethics and principles of the Palestinian people, and for which thousands of Palestinian, Arab and Muslims sacrificed their lives. Those who carried out the bullying did not do it themselves, but they were acting on the instructions of their security and political leadership. Accordingly, it is no coincidence that dozens of these thugs were carrying portraits of President Abbas and vowing his protection with their spirit and blood; as if he liberated Palestine from the sea to the river. I wonder what they would chant if he actually did that? Repression is like disbelief, they are one of a kind, and people follow the practices of their kings. These Palestinian security agencies, which despise democracy and freedom of expression, are replicas of their leadership; so how can they be democratic while President Abbas is participating in negotiations today without a national mandate or authorization from the institutions of the Palestinian people, or even the Central Committee of Fatah which he heads and rules in its name, let alone the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which lacked a quorum at its last meeting due to the exile of most of its members abroad, or otherwise failure to attend and therefore vote. It is ironic that those who were attacked had only a few days earlier been summoned to attend a meeting for the same Executive Committee and issued a statement, at the request of the President, refusing to participate in "direct" negotiations unless progress was made in the "indirect" negotiations on the core issues such as halting settlement activities, accepting the borders  of the Palestinian State on the basis of the 1967 borders, and identifying a clear reference for the negotiations as embodied in the resolutions of international legitimacy.

When the President reneged on these positions under American pressure and Arab pretence and went forcibly to Washington at the invitation of the U.S., according to Netanyahu's terms, this group was prevented from explaining their point of view, or even to acquit themselves in front of their people and history from this fraud which has been carefully planned in Washington to liquidate the Palestinian cause, or what's left of it, and with the Arabs' blessing. Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu, deliberately insulted President Abbas and his entourage, when he announced explicitly and publicly, that he will not extend the freeze of settlement activity, which ends in three weeks time, as if to say I dare you to carry out your threat to withdraw from the negotiations if there is no extension as you keep saying in your televised statements, to give yourselves a fig leaf to justify going to Washington after a retreat from your past "No." Dr Salam Fayyad announced recently the second part of his plan to complete the construction of infrastructure of the state which he plans to announce in August next year. If this prospective state is going to be known for its repression and silencing of critics then it is not in line with the aspirations of the Palestinian people and does not rise to the least of their sacrifices. We specifically mention Fayad because he was primarily responsible for building the Palestinian security forces under the supervision of U.S. General Dayton. He is also the most likely candidate to assume leadership in the future, as the role of President Abbas and his supporters in Fatah is simply the role of an 'analyst'. Fayyad, who came to power from the World Bank is following in the footsteps of his American friends. They want democracy and rule of law for their people only, but when it comes to Palestinian citizens, democracy and its accessories are thrown out the window and dictatorship and its repressive tools enter through the wide door. The values of democracy and its attendant freedoms are forbidden for the Palestinian people and all peoples of the region. Some may argue that there had been a commission of inquiry ordered by President Abbas, and this is true; but when have such committees worked professionally and objectively, and if they did, have their recommendations been implemented, in terms of punishing those responsible, particularly leading officials of the Authority. The list is long and is too numerous to mention here. One day, the great Chinese sage Confucius passed by a woman crying bitterly and beating her cheeks. He asked her why she was crying, she told him that the tiger ate her husband today, and a month earlier, it ate her eldest son, and two months before it ate her father. Confucius asked her: Why do you not leave this town, then? She replied, do you expect me to leave the city while its governor is just? Fayyad released in his press conference a document called 'a date with freedom', he said it includes establishing the values of integrity, transparency and separation of powers, and provides security and safety and the rule of law, freedom, justice and equality. It must be Plato's Republic utopia.

Our response to Fayyad is to recall the Palestinian proverb which says "the signs of a happy night show from midday." Surely the introduction we have witnessed cannot lead to justice and the rule of law which he promises.