Tuesday, 2 October 2007


The 'Osloization' of the Palestinian Left

In spite of its rich revolutionary tradition, the Left has been
hijacked by right-wing cabals, whose interest is intertwined with that
of the political elite of Oslo.

By Majda Hassan
Special to PalestineChronicle.com

The Osloization of the Palestinian Left is now complete. The
opportunistic and unprincipled position taken by the right-wing "Left"
of the PLO vis-à-vis the current standoff between Hamas and Fatah is
yet another indication of the Left's inexorable deterioration which
followed its' implicit acceptance of the Oslo accords-despite its
alleged opposition to that agreement. In fact, the People's Party
never opposed the accords, but rather legitimized them by its
acceptance of ministerial positions in almost every government formed
since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority.

Judging by statements and analyses presented by the main Left
organizations and individuals, one could conclude that, in spite of
its rich revolutionary tradition, the Left has been hijacked by right-
wing cabals, whose interest is intertwined with that of the political
elite of Oslo. Although I fail to understand how a nation can have
elections under the boot of a brutal occupying power, I still naively
thought that the Palestinian Left, and liberal forces for that matter,
would seize the unique opportunity which arose as a result of that
democratic process in January 2006 and support and strengthen it. The
long held slogans of "from and for the masses" and "long live the
people" turned out to be hollow.

No honest supporter of the Left would disagree with the statement that
the Oslo agreement has brought disaster to Palestine. Oslo brought an
unprecedented level of corruption into Palestine; and security
coordination with Israel has become the norm. To guarantee itself an
easy ride, the controlling party-itself hijacked by a right-wing cabal
groomed by General Keith Dayton-has managed to bribe the major secular
forces belonging to the PLO. Most members of the Political Bureaus of
the major Left parties are either directly employed by the PA, or get
paid monthly salaries without being directly employed!

Instead of harnessing all effort to fight the outcome of the Oslo
Accords, and instead of respecting the outcome of the 2006 elections
and forming a United Front with the party that won the elections
(Hamas) with a clear majority on a platform of resistance and reforms,
the Left has, alas fallen in line with the undemocratic methods
adopted by the controlling party (Fatah) and failed the historical

I am aware of the differences within the Left itself, but I am more
interested in the position of its supposedly most radical wing, i.e.
the PFLP. In its statements and in most interviews with its leaders,
the PFLP has shown an unexpected undemocratic position by mainly
dovetailing its position with that of the unelected government in
Ramallah and the 'ancient' leadership of the PLO. By claiming to be
taking a neutral position, but blaming Hamas for defending itself
against General Dayton and General Abrams plans to oust it and
liquidate the Palestinian cause altogether, the PFLP has taken not
just a short-sighted position, but an opportunistic one. Not a single
PFLP leader in Gaza and the West Bank has mentioned the names of the
American Generals and their roles in the bloody clashes that took
place in Gaza in June 2007. In fact, Abdul Rahim Mallouh, Deputy
Secretary General, has made it more than clear in almost all the
interviews he has given to Palestine TV (itself a tool of right wing
propaganda) that Hamas is responsible for the current situation. Other
senior PFLP leaders in Gaza have reiterated this. None of them seems
to be aware of the role played by the American Generals in arming and
financing war lords in Gaza. Hani Hassan, a member of the Central
Committee of Fatah, is more conscious of this role.

In support of the unconstitutional Ramallah government, the
Palestinian Left in Gaza has been revived within the PLO so that it
can fight the caretaker government of Hamas. Marches, Friday prayers,
and strikes have been staged in Gaza to protest against Hamas and its
executive forces. "Freedom of expression" has become the new slogan of
the Palestinian left, but with great selectivity. The banning of two
Hamas affiliated newspapers in the West Bank; the shutting down of the
offices of Alaqsa Satellite Station, and the imprisonment of 600
political prisoners by the PA without a trial or charge; the shooting
and killing of an An Najah university student by PA security forces;
the bi-weekly meetings between the Palestinian Chairman of the PA and
the Israeli PM; the shutting down of more than 110 charity
organizations; and the obstruction-in coordination with the Israelis--
of a Qatari draft at the SC of the UN to consider Gaza an area of
human disaster-have not motivated the Left to stage a single march or
strike in the West Bank.

The Palestinian Left has a historical mission that it has not lived up
to; a mission that should take resistance and democracy as the two
torches which will lead to freedom. Alas, it has failed miserably and
what is left of the Left is just rhetoric that has nothing to do with
the rich legacy of the historical leaders and fighters that
radicalized the concept of struggle, not only locally, but also
internationally. This Left has not been able to adapt to the new
realities which face the Palestinian people. A "new" Left is,
therefore, necessary; a Left that is completely free of the Oslo
legacy; one that can provide a democratic alternative to the two-state
industry. This "new" Left must, together with other popular forces of
resistance, strategize and build on international solidarity and
boycott campaigns, in a united front, to confront the Zionist and
imperialist onslaught. Is there a way of reaching the ears of the Left
in Palestine? Alas, the signs are not that encouraging.

-Majda Hassan is a Palestinian feminist activist residing in Gaza.

1 comment:

mahmoud musa said...

Currently,the left is represented by the One Democratic State movement.

Mahmoud Musa