In separate expressions of dissatisfaction, Palestinians demonstrated Saturday against the US-brokered peace-talks and a senior Fatah official claimed the Palestinian Authority would reject any agreement.
Protests, organized by the radical groups Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the People’s (Communist) Party, took place this weekend in Hebron and Nablus. Protesters objected to Kerry’s proposals and discouraged the PA from accepting them. They urged Palestinians to resort to “all forms of resistance” against Israel.
Mohamed Dweikat, a senior official with the DFLP, accused Kerry of “liquidating” the Palestinian issue, especially the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees. He also said Kerry’s proposals would “consolidate settlement in the West Bank.”
Badran Jaber, one of the organizers of the Hebron protest, said, “We reject the Kerry plan because it is designed to liquidate the Palestinian cause. It is also aimed at Judaizing Jerusalem, increasing settlement in the Jordan Valley and denying the right of return for refugees.” Meanwhile, Hamas official Ezat al-Risheq said, “The US administration was never an honest broker.”
The same sentiments were echoed by a senior Fatah official. Tawfiq Tirawi, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee and head of the official Palestinian investigation committee into the death of Yasser Arafat told Lebanese news channel Al-Mayadeen on Thursday that the current peace talks would yield “zero results.”
“We [in Fatah] know what the Israelis and Americans are suggesting [in the negotiating room]. So far, the negotiations are taking place only with the Americans, not the Israelis, and the Americans are liars. There is no framework agreement. It’s a lie. Even if Kerry [presents] an agreement, Palestinians will reject it. There will be a vote, either inside Fatah or among the Palestinian leadership, and the American proposals will be rejected,” Tirawi said.
Tirawi is not alone in his sentiment among Fatah leadership. A number of senior Fatah officials have expressed skepticism as the nine-month negotiation period nears its April end. However, Tirawi took it one step further, saying negotiations alone would not further the Palestinians’ statehood claims.
“There is no possibility of a Palestinian state being established on the West Bank and Gaza in the coming 20 years. None at all. Anyone who believes otherwise is wrong. Negotiations will bring us nothing … we, all Palestinian factions, must return to the cycle of action. When we will do this, many things will change,” he said. When asked to clarify, he explained that he was referring to “resistance in all its forms.”
“Steadfastness is also resistance, negotiations are also a form of resistance, but there must be something on the ground as well … weapons, popular resistance, there are 100 methods to resist.”
Tirawi said the PA was pressured into entering negotiations by the West. “It’s true that most PLO factions were against [entering negotiations], but there’s something called Palestinian national interests. Did we compromise on any of our principles? No. That’s what is important.”
Tirawi took aim at PA leader Mahmoud Abbas’s stance preferring popular resistance — boycotts, demonstrations and limited violence — to armed conflict. However, he said, “There should be a strategic national plan that all organizations can agree upon, both within the PLO and without it.”
Tirawi warned, “The big explosion in Palestine is coming. All of Israel’s actions have placed the Palestinian public under immense pressure. They have no choice but to explode in the face of the occupation.”