Palestinians: Abdicating the Cause of Palestine

December 8, 2017 Asia , Middle East , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , POLITICS

Roberto Gimmi photo

 

By

Sami Jamil Jadallah

 

 

This may come as a shock to many Palestinians but it is time they wake up and smell the coffee. Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration should cause the PLO to pack its bags and go back to Tunis or Tel-Aviv. For over 50 years the Palestinians enabled a corrupt, incompetent, if not decadent, dictatorship to make all the decisions without ever holding Arafat or Abbas accountable.

 

Back in 1985, precisely in April of that year, I met with two key Palestinian leaders at the Richmond Hotel in Geneva. After discussing the purpose of the meeting, I asked them this very simple question; ‘Why did you as member of the Palestine National Council gave Yasser Arafat absolute and unconditional right to lead the PLO?’ Both answered that Yasser Arafat demanded absolute and unconditional control over the money, over all the decisions, without ever having the need to refer to or take a vote or allow for any financial audit, let alone question any of his decisions. Thus emerged a corrupt failed dictator that failed all Palestinians.

 

This confirmed my long held opinion of both Arafat and the PLO when I had the opportunity back in September 1974 to travel from Bloomington, Indiana to New York City, meeting and staying with the Palestinian leadership that came with Arafat when he gave his famous UN speech. After more than five days of full engagement with the leadership I went back to Bloomington convinced more than ever that the PLO leadership is simply too corrupt and too incompetent to lead to liberation.

 

Ever since the day the two people referred to above and the Palestinian National Council gave Arafat full and unconditional control over the “Palestinian Cause” the Palestinians abdicated their rights, certainly their duty, to hold their leadership accountable. Now after 50 years of utter consistent failure and rampant corruption and incompetency at all levels and endemic cronyism, they (Palestinians) have no one to blame but themselves.

 

Not only have the general public abdicated their duties and responsibilities but their “selected representatives” in the Palestinian National Council (PNC) abdicated their own obligations and duties, failing the public at every turn and on every occasion.

 

The PNC to its shame and disgrace never exercised its rights and duties as the representative of the Palestinian people, always acting as the doormat for the PLO leadership. I have never seen such disgusting and disgraceful representatives such as the PNC. They simply gave up their duties and responsibilities to hold the leadership accountable and for that no one should ever forgive them.

 

Of course, the PNC to begin with was not representative of the people but representative of the PLO and “Fasael” or “Dakakeen”, no different from the former Soviet Union when the different organizations within the Communist Party were represented in the Supreme Soviets.

 

With the Palestinian movement, the teacher’s union, student union, writer’s unions and business organizations, all of which were organizations deemed part of the PLO and as such the elected representatives of these organizations, were in turn voted into in the PNC. With few exceptions there were very few cases of independent representatives within the PNC. However, these representatives for the most part were decorative giving a sense of legitimacy to the PNC. There was never a direct participatory election by Palestinian communities and the world, choosing their own representatives within the PNC. As such neither the PLO, nor the PNC ever had clear and untainted legitimacy to represent the Palestinians.

 

Such fatal failings on the part of the PNC led to the corrupt, incompetent and failed leadership of the PLO, Yasser Arafat and subsequently all PLO leadership at all levels.

 

With good reason, Yasser Arafat treated every Palestinian with contempt in the same way he treated PNC members, even his cabinet, with contempt. For those around him and those within the PLO bureaucracy, Yasser Arafat knew well how to treat them, allowing them to cheat, steal and loot and then hold them responsible, threatening them if they became disloyal to him, using the little black book in which he kept listing names and corruptions of every official within the PLO bureaucracy and organization. He made excellent use of “blackmail” to survive and cheat the Palestinian people out of a promising future.

 

Not only was Yasser Arafat a totally corrupt dictator, he also allowed and nurtured dictatorship within the PLO bureaucracy for his own purpose and to the fatal interests of the Palestinian people.

 

One good example of Yasser Arafat and his contempt for the Palestinian people and members of the PNC was in deciding to go ahead and proceed with the secret negotiations in Oslo, sending the most inept, stupid, and incompetent team to lead the negotiations contrary to Yitzhak Rabin who went out of Israel to choose the best and brightest team to negotiate Oslo.

 

Arafat and the PLO Executive Committee were unelected by the people, lacking any legitimacy and representation by the people and for the most part “Yes” selected members whose job and function was only to give the semblance of a representative body when in fact they are window dressing, nothing more nothing less. With all the failings and fatal strategic mistakes of Arafat and even Abbas, how many times did members of the PLO Executive Committee make a decision different from the Chairman or override his decision? They all serve at his pleasure and on his payroll.

 

After 50 years of Arafat and Abbas’ leadership and after 25 years of Oslo, the Palestinian people must own it, take full responsibility for abdicating their obligations and duties to demand full participation in all decisions made by the Chairman of the PLO. Never in the history of Palestinian have the Palestinian people ever held the leadership accountable for any single decision, never demanded a full accounting of all the looted billions, or fatal decisions, reckless and even stupid decisions by the Chairman whether it is Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Tunis or Oslo; never. Even the committee appointed to investigate the death of Yasser Arafat twelve years after is yet to submit its decision. The tens of commissions appointed to investigate corruption or looting are yet to render a decision or recover the hundreds of millions if not billions looted and unaccounted for.

 

In almost 100 years of abdicating the responsibilities for their future, the Palestinians proved they are unfit and not ready to form or shape their future let alone take full responsibility as citizens. They only need to look across the Apartheid Wall and see how the Israeli public hold its leadership accountable for everything, never giving it any excuses. Yes, the Israelis have a lot to teach the Palestinians about responsibility and taking charge of their future. They are the winners, and the Palestinians are the losers.

 

In closing please consider this. Israel has been successful in all of its programs, whether we agree with it or not. Since the 1940’s Palestinians have only three leaders. Haj Amin Husseini before 1948. Arafat and Abbas for the last 50 years with a few years for Ahmed Shukeiri. The Israelis have thus far had David Ben-Gurion (48-53), Moshe Sharett (53-55), David Ben-Gurion (55-63), Levi Eshkol (63-69), Golda Meir (69-74), Yitzhak Rabin (74-77), Menachem Begin (77-83), Yitzhak Shamir (83-84), Shimon Peres (84-86), Yitzhak Rabin (92-95), Shimon Peres (95-98), Benjamin Netanyahu (96-99), Ehud Barak (99-2001), Ariel Sharon (2001-06), Ehud Olmert (2006-09) and Benjamin Netanyahu (2009-Present). How do Palestinians ever expect to win when they stick to incompetent failed dictators?

 

 

 

 

sami-jamil-jadallah

Sami Jamil Jadallah

Sami Jamil Jadallah is a US citizen, an immigrant from Palestine with over 35 years of international legal and business experience in the US, Middle East, Europe and North Africa. He is a Veteran of the US Army and holds a BA degree in political science and economics, a master degree in public and environmental affairs and doctor of jurisprudence from Indiana University.

Active in international and local affairs, Sami is a co-drafter of the Pre-Ample for the Constitution of the One State for All of its People in Palestine and is active in veteran’s affairs in support of their re-integration in American society. He lectures and writes on a variety of topics including terrorism, social, economic and political issues related to the US and the Middle East.

Sami believes that education is the only way to transform the Middle East into a peaceful productive region and calls on all foreign troops to get out of the Middle East, leaving the people to shape their own destiny. Sami is in semi-retirement but fully engaged in voluntary work and engaged in the peace movement in the Middle East.

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