Palestinians seek national unity and new peace sponsors

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AMMAN: The Palestinian leadership is looking to strengthen national unity and internationalize the sponsors of the peace process following the US announcement on Jerusalem.

With American mediators seen as losing their ability to act as honest brokers, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called a meeting late on Monday night in which 50 senior Palestinian leaders were invited to discuss future steps.

Hamadeh Faraneh, a member of the Palestine National Council, told Arab News that the number one priority for Palestinians was national unity.

“Our people did well with initiating the reconciliation but what is needed now is to move to power-sharing, especially within the PLO and the Palestinian National Authority.”

Faraneh said that the Palestine National Council had approved extending the mandate of the president and the Palestinian Legislative Council on Oct. 26, 2009.

“The presidency and the executive branch have continued to work but the legislature has been dormant for nearly a decade,” he said.

Montaser Hamdan, a member of the PLO-dominated Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, told Arab News that the Palestinian president was adamant about his boycott of the Americans.

“Abbas is stubborn and he will not meet anyone until there is a clear strategy and a plan.”

Hamdan told Arab News that Abbas “has sent envoys to China and Russia and that the Palestinian Central Council will meet soon to formulate and approve a major shift in Palestinian strategy.”

Abdel Fattah Hamael, one of the leaders of the first intifada, told Arab News that the key for any future strategy must be to go back to the roots of the national struggle.

“We need to remind everyone that we are a national liberation movement. We have to move away from Oslo and from the trappings of a false state that came with it.”

Hamael says that the key to this change must be to clean up the home front so that Palestinians can proceed on the national and international fronts.

“Our goals should not include negotiations based on the current balance of forces,” he said.

Hamael said that President Abbas had hinted that he wanted to throw the keys of running the occupied territories to Netanyahu.
“For sure we need to stop doing the dirty work of the occupiers, but the keys should be delivered to the UN and not to the Israelis,” he told Arab News.

The Palestinian activist and street leader conceded that any effort to remove Palestinians from the situation they are in will not be easy.

“I understand that many have invested in the PA and any change will have a cost to it, but this is what is different between a leader and a regular person. Leadership carried with it sacrifices for the common good but at least you know that when you sacrifice personal interests you gain the support of your people.”

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