Nabil Amr
Palestinian writer and politician

The PA And The PLO

Regardless of the polls showing a decline in popular support, and despite ongoing excavation efforts to dig up a body to run things after this war, particularly in Gaza, bets are on the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization once again. Both are organs of a single body that enjoys Palestinian, regional, and international legitimacy.

The President of the PA has met this development by expressing his readiness - on behalf of both the PA and the PLO - to take on the responsibility of governing Gaza, provided that this responsibility encompasses the Palestinian entity in its entirety: the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem, i.e., all of the territory that it is presumed will (as it indeed should) become Palestine. Plans for a Palestinian state are currently being discussed by the entire world, including the United States and half of Israel, and this is not idle talk but a serious project. Implementation on the ground, as well as official recognition by those who have so far refused to recognize this state, are now subject matter of this dialogue, not just slogans or principles.

On what is commonly referred to as "the day after," the wisdom of betting on the Palestinian Authority and the PLO will be determined by the Palestinians themselves. They must lift themselves up without directives from anyone and prepare the domestic scene for the negotiation process. That means ensuring the necessary popular and partisan support, with the integration of every faction into the Palestine Liberation Organization a priority in its political program and the negotiation process.

This does not preclude opposition within parliament (the Palestinian National Council), and Hamas should have seats in this parliament, whether Council members are appointed through an agreement between the factions or elected. Either way, elections must eventually be held after the war, to reinforce the representatives of the Palestinian people's legitimacy, which has seriously eroded over the past few years.

The PA cannot go back to governing Gaza, which it considers to have never left despite the coup against it, so long as a single Israeli soldier remains in the strip. National unity through the emergence of a state is another requisite for its return. Indeed, the PA's experience in the West Bank and the unhealthy relationship with the Israelis that developed during, before, and after the collapse of Oslo, should be a lesson, and the same mistakes should not be repeated.

The framework according to which the PA was responsible for running Area A and partially responsible for Area B, while it was absent from Area C, gave Israel everything it wanted for nothing in return. Settlement building continued and expanded, and the wonton, cost-free occupation persisted, with and without security coordination. The arrangements of the Oslo Accords turned the PA into a policing arm of the occupation in the eyes of Palestinians, which is a crucial factor in explaining its loss of support and prestige.

As Mahmoud Abbas is very well aware, the PA, along with the Fatah movement and the Palestine Liberation Organization, needs to be reformed in a whole host of ways, whether the negotiation process begins tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. Such reforms are not only needed to bolster their influence over these talks and turn them into serious actors, but also because these bodies manage the lives of millions of Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem. This administration must, with or without a settlement, improve in a manner that makes Palestinians' lives easier and provides them with the means to remain resilient and stay on their land, as well as to remain committed to their national movement, which will not abandon its responsibilities in leading the Palestinian people towards their objectives and granting them their rights, which have been recognized by the entire world.

After the war on Gaza, with everything it can be credited and blamed for, with all the challenges it has created, foremost among them are rebuilding an area that has been totally destroyed, reconstituting a political system that has eroded and collapsed due to a lack of renewal, and reunifying a nation whose division left it split...

After the war, Palestinians will be on the frontlines leading the efforts to achieve these goals. The better and more convincing the performance, the less hesitant the world be to support Palestinians and strive in earnest work for the establishment of a Palestinian state, whose emergence alone could mitigate all the repercussions of a conflict. Only through this state could fragments of this nation exhausted by wars and calamities be brought together and finally achieve its aspirations. We should not ignore the fact that this is now what the whole world wants.