PLO Chairman Arafat gestures to Israeli PM Rabin after signing of the Oslo peace accord in September 1993 (Reuters)

Oslo is over. Time for a Palestinian rethink

The story of the Oslo Authority has become boring. The current Palestinian political stage needs a new vision that restores the essence to the cause of a people who long decided not to perish.

The Palestine Project
5 min readJun 2, 2021


By Elias Khoury *

If he doesn’t know, then he knows, but he acts as if he doesn’t know.

This is the appropriate description of the situation of Mr. Mahmoud Abbas with the all-inclusive Palestinian uprising that erupted from Sheikh Jarrah and spread to all parts of Palestine, and reached its tragic climax with Gaza rockets, the killing of Palestinian children and the extermination of entire families in the Gaza Strip.

The status quo fell and ended, and the story of the Oslo Authority became boring. I do not want to explain why the Palestinian Authority (PA) ignored the fall of the status quo, as the PA no longer means anything other than that it is a relic left over from a time gone by.

Those who turned “Fatah” into ruins do not have the right to cry over the ruins of “Fatah”. The ruins do not cry over the ruins, the living and the lovers are the ones who cried and cried and studded Arabic poetry with the dictionary of memory. The issue is no longer how to deal with the division. The Palestinian people ended the division when they rose up in Lydda, Jaffa, Haifa, the Galilee, Nablus, Ramallah, Hebron and Jenin, and met Gaza at the crossroads of the ongoing Nakba and the ongoing resistance.

The issue is the inability of the political, organizational and intellectual structures to formulate the questions of the new stage and formulate appropriate programs.

If we try to analyze Palestinian politics as a struggle for power, we are like grinding water.

There is no “authority”. Even Gaza, despite the heroism and steadfastness of its resistance, cannot be an authority.

Therefore, the maneuvers that we are witnessing today, after the dust of the bombing has cleared, do not mean anything. They are an attempt to fill the void with more void. The maneuvers of Arab regimes are motivated by fear for their own stability. Other regimes believe that they can buy blood with money. Or the maneuvers of the Americans and Israelis who place conditions on the reconstruction of what is destroyed.

Not everyone wants to admit that the current status is over.

The current politics in Palestine and the region will be unable to recover from their humiliation, because they are based on the wrong assumption that the cease-fire in Gaza meant the end of the battle.

The battle did not end with the cessation of the brutal bombing of Gaza. Rather, the cessation of the bloody killing is the beginning of a new chapter in the battle, not its end.

This is why those who are accustomed to reading politics as a power struggle, cannot comprehend.

What is going on today in Palestine goes beyond the popular understanding of politics, that is, maneuvers and the search for small gains. Petty politics caused the loss of Palestinian right twice: The first in 1948, when the rest of Palestine was divided between the Jordanian and Egyptian monarchies; and the second when the Palestinian leadership got involved in the game in stages that reached its climax in the miserable Oslo Accords. What is going on today is a historical conflict that has nothing to do with the pedantry of political formulas that dresses the seven decades wounds with their stylized words.

The Palestinian Resistance carried in its infancy a seed of awareness of its radical role when it presented the project of a secular democratic state. It is true that this project remained a general proposal and did not turn into a program of struggle, but it carried the seed of awareness that the conflict does not take place only on the ground, but on the deep human meaning of the resistance struggle. That proposal was turned in favor of what was called political pragmatism, and a brutal death dance revolved around the interpretation of the idea of ​​two states, which was promoted as an embodiment of politics by reaching half-solutions.

That dance of death ended with the assassination of Yasser Arafat, and General Sharon’s announcement that, with the second intifada that raised the slogan of establishing a Palestinian state on a part of Palestine, Israel returned to waging a war of “independence”, that is, to renewing the Nakba War.

The “authority” that inherited Yasser Arafat tried the impossible, and bend over backwards in order to gain legitimacy and obtain what looks like a state at the expense of the dignity of the Palestinian people. All under absolute Israeli hegemony called “security coordination”, and with a discourse that criminalizes any resistance to occupation.

What was the result?

Fatah has become ruins for Fatah.

Look what you have done to yourselves and how you have not stopped erasing your history. Game over.

“From the beginning,” Palestine has been governed by this first.

What has forced all to return to the beginning is the brutality of the Zionist colonial project, its apocalyptic madness, and its insistence on subjugating the region to its project of turning myth into history.

What happened in the Palestinian May Intifada was a return to the first fundamental questions, when the Zionists wanted to continue stealing Sheikh Jarrah’s homes, declaring that their catastrophic project has one aim: to erase the Palestinian existence. Their racist language came out raw from their mouths, the bullets of their guns and the bombs of their planes.

When Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas decided to cancel the presidential and legislative elections, he was trying to avoid losing power. And when the PA led a campaign of intimidation against the Freedom List led by the political-prisoner Marwan Barghouti and Nasser al-Kidwa, it knew that the issue that would be raised was not about the Legislative Council, but about the leadership and its legitimacy, and the readiness of the resistance movement inside the occupation prisons to lead a new phase called resistance to the occupation.

The leadership tried to escape from the fate of the ends by postponing the elections, so the Jerusalem Intifada came to declare frankly that the game is over.

The time has come for President Mahmoud Abbas and his group to resign honorably and in a manner that preserves what remains of the history to which they belonged in the past. The current stage needs a new vision that restores the essence to the cause of a people who decided not to perish.

  • Translated from Arabic. Original: here