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. In any case they all have enough money to go anywhere in the world.
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 the two 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?
The two 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 decision. Thus born a corrupt failed dictator that failed all Palestinians.
This confirmed my long time 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 5 days of full engagement with the leadership I went back to Bloomington convinced more than ever the PLO leadership is simply too corrupt, too incompetent to lead to liberation.
Ever since the day the two persons referred 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 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 occasions.
The PNC to its shame and disgrace, never exercised its rights and duties as the representative of the Palestinian people, always acting as the door mat for the PLO leadership.
Never seen such a disgusting disgraceful people representatives such as the PNC. Simply they 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 never representative of the people but representative of the PLO and “Fasael” “Dakakeen” no different the former Soviet Union when the different organizations within the Communist Party where represented in the Supreme Soviets.
With the Palestinian movement, teacher’s union, student union, writer’s unions, business organizations, all of which were organizations deemed part of the PLO and as such the elected representatives of these organization, 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 sense of legitimacy to the PNC.
There was never a direct participatory election by Palestinians 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 and Yasser Arafat and subsequently all PLO leadership at all levels.
With good reasons, Yasser Arafat treated every Palestinians 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, allow them to cheat, steal and loot and then hold them responsible threatening them if they became disloyal to him he will use the little black book he kept listing names and corruptions of every official within the PLO bureaucracy and organization. He made excellent use of “blackmail” to survive and to cheat the Palestinian people out of a promising future.
Not only was Yasser Arafat total absolute corrupt dictator, but he also allowed and nurtured dictatorship within the PLO bureaucracy for his own purpose and to fatal interests of the Palestinian people.
One good example of Yasser Arafat and his contempt for the Palestinian people and members of the PNC 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, un-elected by the people, lacking any legitimacy and representations by the people and for the most part a “Yes” selected members whose job and function is only to give semblance of representative body when in fact, they are window dressing nothing more nothing less.
With all the failings and strategic fatal mistakes of Arafat even Abbas, how many times did members of the PLO Executive Committee took a decision different from the Chairman or overrode 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 Palestinians 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 e even stupid decisions by the Chairman whether it is Jordan, or Syria, or Lebanon or Tunis or Oslo, never.
Even the committee appointed to investigate the death of Yasser Arafat 12 years after his death is yet to submit its decisions. 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, not ready to take charge 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 been successful in all of its programs, whether we agree with it or not. Since 1940’s Palestinians have only three leaders.
Hajj Amin Husseini before 1948. Arafat and Abbas for the last 50 years with few years for Ahmed Shukairi.
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?
Active in peace movement as a co-author of the pre-amble for the One State for All of its people and voluntary service program SalamNation. A frequent contributor on national and international affairs. He resides in the United States.