Abu Mazen: The road map back to Oslo

Category: Middle East, World Affairs Topics: Occupation, Palestine, Yasser Arafat Views: 2871

Palestinians finally have their own prime minister.

As a result, Palestinian society has been consumed by intense debate. On the forefront of the debate is the personal legacy of Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), a man seen as the first real challenge to the authority of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Arafat has rarely been challenged from within his ranks. Israel schemed for years to undermine Arafat's influence among his people, but failed. Opinion polls have shown that Arafat's popularity surges during Israeli crackdowns, especially if the aging leader becomes a target.

Independent politicians and opposition groups such as Hamas continue to be regarded with respect by segments of Palestinian society, but they, too, have failed to present a challenge to Arafat. Some are not interested in presenting themselves as alternatives, and others, although respected, haven't been given the chance to prove their capability to lead.

But within Arafat's circle, Abu Mazen's challenge is unprecedented. He is different because he emerged as the outcome of two simultaneous movements, one genuine and the other political. The genuine movement was the Palestinian people's desire for true reforms and democracy. The other presented itself in the form of the so-called Middle East Quartet for peace, designed to forge a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of the U.S.-authored road map for peace initiative.

The Palestinian people's call for reforms emerged shortly after the birth of the Palestinian Authority (PA), but has been strongly emphasized following the Israeli reoccupation of the major urban centers in the West Bank in March 2002 and again in June (a reoccupation that has yet to end). While the Palestinian resistance put up a good fight, the Palestinian Authority scrambled with uncertainty, with accusations exchanged among various Palestinian officials. Some vowed to "resist until the end" and others were willing to talk with Israel without conditions, openly willing to compromise even though virtually nothing on which to compromise was left.

A split took place in the PA that subsequently reflected on the Fatah movement, the largest PLO faction and the leadership base for the PA.

A portion within Fatah is concerned more about national unity among various Palestinian movements. It refuses to negotiate under occupation and settlement expansion, demands an end to Israel's assassination policy and believes in continuing attacks targeting Israeli forces and armed settlers, yet believes in Israel's right to exist and preaches co-existence under a just and peaceful formula. Leaders of this segment have either been assassinated, arrested and put in Israeli prisons or are on Israel's wanted list. Marwan Barghouti, now in an Israeli prison, is seen as the leader of this movement.

Another segment, now emerging more forcefully, is represented by Abu Mazen. Abu Mazen made a few friends upon his return to the occupied territories from exile, following the signing of the Oslo Accord between Arafat and Israel in 1993.

Abu Mazen was one of the engineers of the agreement, which Palestinians now regard as one of the worst decisions made by their leadership. The man's wealth, crowned by his $1.5 million villa in Gaza, one of the poorest spots on Earth, evoked objection and bitter questions from many.

The intifada was a direct response to the unfairness of Oslo and led to the marginalization of Abu Mazen during its first year. In the second year, Abu Mazen was back on the scene, demanding an end to all violent expressions of the Intifada, calling to disarm Palestinian groups and for unconditional return to the negotiation table. Abu Mazen indicated his willingness to compromise on fundamental issues that ignited the Palestinian struggle for decades, especially discounting the Palestinian rights in Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian people were increasingly demanding reforms that would create accountability on all levels, reforms that would achieve an equitable political governance representing all Palestinians.

The loud voices demanding reforms were heard, as Israel and the United States called for Palestinian reforms as well. But Israel's desire for reforms was motivated by entirely different reasons, primarily aimed at fighting the intifada with Palestinian resources. Until the present intifada, Israel was considerably successful in this regard.

The objectives of the Palestinian people remain clear: an end to the Israeli occupation and the dismantling of settlements eructed illegally on their land. They are not interested in ending their intifada or subscribing to the political system of imposed democracies. Their indifference to or rejection of Abu Mazen represents their rejection of the political legacy that Abu Mazen's re-emergence brought about, which as far as Palestinians are concerned is yet another Oslo. The Palestinian people have paid a heavy price to rectify the futility of Oslo; will they choose to go down that same road (map) again?

Ramzy Baroud is the editor-in-chief of the Palestine Chronicle.

  Category: Middle East, World Affairs
  Topics: Occupation, Palestine, Yasser Arafat
Views: 2871

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Older Comments:
Allah says in a translation of the meaning of the Quran "Allah does not allow a way for the disbelievers over the Believers." (an-Nisa' 4)
This means that Kuffar are not allowed any authority in any of our lands - be it in India, Serbia, Iraq. Spain Palestine etc.. Thus jewish occupation of our lands is a crime and peace with them is a crime. They must be removed. As Muslims this is imperative!

Allah says in a translation of the meaning of the Quran "Allah does not allow a way for the disbelievers over the Believers." (an-Nisa' 4)
This means that Kuffar are not allowed any authority in any of our lands - be it in India, Serbia, Iraq. Spain Palestine etc.. Thus jewish occupation of our lands is a crime and peace with them is a crime. They must be removed. As Muslims this is imperative!

'passport'is a thing that enables one to achieve.


Let's see if the sensorship at Iviews.com will allow my comments this time.

Ramzy Baroud the the editor-in-chief of the Palestine Chronicle should be ashamed of himself reporting what he has. He is in keeping with the CNN's and FOX's of the planet.

That said, Arafat and Hamas are equivalent to Sharon and the IDF...both warmongering criminals that benifit off of the sweat, blood and tears of the Palestinians.

Both of these criminal elements do everything they can to avoid peace because it will mean an end to their rule.

Hamas is a twisted organization that aims to bring about a Shia state in Palestine without regard for the souls currently living there.

Arafat is and has always been the greatest criminal of them all.

Every muslim soul in the West Bank and Gaza is suffering...EXCEPT for the CRIMINALS in Arafat's gang and the murders in Hamas.

Sucide = Haram = GOING TO HELL FOREVER. No "shake" shia or suni can change the laws of Al Qur'an and until the fools in that area realize this they will continue to suffer at the hands of the opressing Zionists.


Its always ironic to see the rape victim being blame again and again for that unfortunate incident.Whether s/he dressed not good enough or alone in dark alley or purposedly pulled the aggresors lust triggers or etc.Watching Palestinians jumped into the wicked psycological games by the Jewish state is always frustrating.Like continuously build evil's settlements, back to back checkpoints, assassinated leaders, erected mammoth walls and infamous the birdish Sharon's visit to the Haram-as-Sharif.If the quartet ignored these as a terrors-invite policy by Tel Aviv, the road map is going in cycle.

It is not the Palestinian people who will go down the same road (map) again, meaning Oslo, and now Bush's "road map," the question is, will the authority representing the Palestinian population try to sit at the table and negotiate with these so called peaceful Americans and Jews who have never delivered anything to the Palestinians, returned anything back to them since Israel's inception. As far as all this hot talk about democracy, there is no such thing as democracy...where is the justice, how long will it take to arrive, another 2,3 years, and even if this 2005 deadline is met, will it be RIGHT? Have you ever heard of the old saying, 'Justice delayed is justice denied' ?? Not only will there be an unequal attempt on Jerusalem by these "negotiators of peace," but ever since the Israeli government has been digging holes all around Al-Aqsa Masjid, under roads, grass, anything that they can to get under the Masjid and look for the Arc of the Covenant??? Is this justice?? Or is this a dream to change Al-Aqsa into Solomon's Temple?? What is really going on here? I an incredibly doubtful that there will be a fair, and equal comprimise, as the Road Map says that teh borders will be to prior intifada levels, and even if that is true, those settlements will take many years to leave, and while talks of the Road Map are stil going on, there is still violence in the region on both sides. We could say, this is a stepping stone for us, it is better than nothing...but how can we not deny this to be just another false promise, gain more time, keep filling us with false hope?

Since Bush Senior never took measures to implement a Palestinians state, and it was actually Clinton who was in the white house when the idae of the Oslo Accords came into being, what makes us think that Bush junior, who has done nothing but follow in the exact footsteps of his father, that he will take on something his father never even considered???? YES WAKE UP MUSLIMS!

The first Gulf War brought Bush I's Madrid which resulted in the Oslo fiasco. The second Gulf War has brought Bush II's "Road Map". The Americans will always continue to work for Israel's cause. The question is will the Palestinian/Arab rulerships ever work for the Palestinian/Arab/Muslim cause or only watch for their personal/clique benefits? And when will the Arab people wake from their slumber?

Palestinians need a vision that goes beyond and further the short and middle-term obstacles of their struggle against Israel and among themselves.

Whatever they can wish, as human beings and as Muslims, is very well reachable in a modern, democratic world. Anything should be sacrificed for this goal, a goal which only the next generation of Palestinians, at best, will reach. Yes, let's face it; the present generation is already sacrificed. Let's try and preserve the next one.

Give Palestinians a vision for their children.