USPCN: “Palestine Network” is a P.A. Attempt to Divide the Palestinian People and Surrender their Rights
Feb. 24, 2010: Sign petition against the “Palestine Network”!
A document has been recently distributed in the US by figures associated with the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. This document, under the name of the “Palestine Network,” purports to put forth a mechanism for organizing the Palestinian diaspora, which it re-labels the “expatriate” community. In reality, the “Palestine Network” is a recipe for splintering our people, and for undermining the fundamentals of our national cause, first and foremost the Right of Return.
The US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) believes that it is critically important that our community in the US resist the “Palestine Network” and any similar projects that aim to undermine our national rights, co-opt our organizations and activists, fragment our community, and turn our people outside Palestine into pawns of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. (Click here to read the “Palestine Network” concept paper to which this statement responds, for reference.)
Despite being directed at Palestinians outside Palestine, this document uses the term “refugee” only once, to describe “refugeedom” for Palestinians in 1948 and 1967, and exclusively uses the term “expatriate” for Palestinians throughout the seven-page proposal. Nowhere does it recognize or even mention in passing the right of return. Instead, the document urges them to pledge blind allegiance to the PLO and to “become engaged” in the project to establish a state with no mention of the fundamental principles of the Palestinian national liberation. In fact, the entire Palestinian cause is reduced to the establishment of a mirage statelet, with no mention even of Jerusalem, or the meaning or borders of such a state.
Second, the “Palestine Network” systematically cuts off Palestinians outside Palestine from any real representational body or structure. In response to the grassroots calls, both inside and outside Palestine, for a rebuilding of the PLO’s institutions on democratic and inclusive basis, including new elections to the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the “Palestine Network” proposes a self-contained body that has no representational power or authority and serves only as an auxiliary to a “state-building project.”
Third, one of the document’s most dangerous aspects is its attempt to divide the Palestinians into separate sectors and organizations on the basis of their point of origin. By doing so, the “Palestine Network” would be removing one of the greatest strengths of Palestinian community organizing in the diaspora – where the sons and daughters of Yaffa struggle together with the sons and daughters of Nablus, Naher el-Bared and al-Yarmouk. Fourth, the “Palestine Network” project’s total neglect of the rights of our people who live in the 1948-occupied Palestinian areas is troubling. The mission of the purported organization is described as thus: “To create a platform that would bring together an active network of expatriate Palestinians from all over the world who adopt the Palestinian National Charter, and who wish to be actively engaged in ending the occupation and building the State of Palestine based on the values of democracy and human rights.” Despite the reference to the Palestinian national charter, the absence of any reference to the rights of our people in 1948 occupied Palestine are obvious and clear in their intent.
The “Palestine Network” is far from the “independent” entity it claims to be. It is part and parcel of the Fayyad –Dayton “state-building” initiative, run directly out of the highest offices of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. The document makes it explicitly clear that the project is being led by four individuals very close to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah – Ramzi Khoury, a “special adviser” to Mahmoud Abbas, Ghassan Khatib, director of the PA Government Media Office, Rafiq Husseini, the Chief of Staff of Mahmoud Abbas, and Issa Kassissieh, the Assistant Chief of staff to Mahmoud Abbas. In fact, the document clearly states that until the convening of its first conference, the “Palestine Network” is being run by the “Palestinian Presidency, Palestinian Government and PLO Negotiations Affairs Department”.
The USPCN issues this letter as a forewarning to all Palestinian communities throughout the world, believing that it is critical that our people are not deceived by initiatives aimed at undermining the strength, unity and power of our grassroots community movements. We categorically reject their abandonment of Palestinian national rights in favor of collaborating with the Israeli occupiers. We will not be deceived by the Abbas-Fayyad regime, its sponsors and supporters. They do not represent us, and they have no legitimacy in our communities. We demand that these forces cease their attempts to co-opt our communities in exile and undermine the Palestinian national movement for self-determination, return and liberation.
The US Palestinian Community Network is a grassroots body for Palestinians in the United States, with an elected democratic leadership from over 20 cities.
US Palestinian Community Network