Palestinian factions and activists have called for the abrogation of the Olso Accords, and said that the agreements that were signed between the PLO and Israel 25 years ago have failed to fulfill Palestinian aspirations for statehood and independence. Israel, they claimed, took advantage of the Oslo Accords to create irreversible facts on the ground, especially by increasing “settlement construction.”

In Ramallah, a senior official belonging to the ruling Fatah faction dismissed the calls for annulling the Oslo Accordsas “unrealistic” and “hypocritical.” The official told The Jerusalem Post that many of those who were calling on the Palestinians to abandon the Oslo Accords “are the among the first to stand in line at ATM machines to receive their salaries [from the PA government].” The official said that while he understood much of the criticism against the Oslo Accords, “there’s no denying that today we are in a much better situation than we were more than 25 years ago. We have our own government, our own security forces and our own state institutions – thanks to the Oslo Accords.” In the Gaza Strip, Hamas and several extremist Palestinian factions issued separate statements on Thursday calling on the PA leadership to dump the “failed” and “disastrous” Oslo Accords. “The armed struggle represents the strategic option for protecting the Palestinian cause and restoring our national rights,” Hamas said. The movement that rules the Gaza Strip also called on PA President Mahmoud Abbas to halt the “profane” security coordination with Israel, stop the PA security clampdown on Hamas supporters and lift the “oppressive” sanctions he imposed on the Gaza Strip more than a year ago.

Referring to the Oslo Accords, Hamas said that the Palestinians were continuing “to pay the price for this political trap and national crime.” It said that the accords had “weakened the Palestinians politically, restricted their ties with the Arabs and free world, and bolstered Israel’s standing in the international arena.” Representatives of Hamas and several Palestinian factions opposed to the Oslo Accords on Thursday attended a conference in Gaza City under the motto “The 25th anniversary of the catastrophic Oslo.” Speakers at the conference strongly condemned the Oslo Accords and urged the PA leadership to rescind them and all agreements signed with Israel. Mohammed al-Hindi, a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad official, said it was time for Abbas’s Fatah faction to choose between “partnership and confrontation with the enemy.” He also called on Abbas to revoke the PLO’s recognition of Israel. “After 25 years of Oslo, 80% of Palestine has become Israel,” he argued. “The remaining 20% of Palestine is being Judaized and settlements are being built there.” Hani Thawabteh, a representative of the PLO’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), told the conference that the Oslo Accords had “paved the way for eliminating Palestinian national rights and imposing a policy of siege on the Palestinian people.” The PA and its security forces, he said, have become a “pawn” in the hands of Israel thanks to the Oslo Accords. Talal Abu Tharifeh, a representative of the PLO’s Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), said that the Oslo Accords have led to a dramatic increase in settlement construction and the number of settlers in the West Bank. He too called for halting all forms of secret and public “normalization,” contacts and negotiations with Israel. Top Hamas official Khalil al-Haya said that “Palestinian national unity was the only way to get rid of the Oslo Accords.” He called on the PA leadership to abandon the Oslo Accords, which he described as an “historic disaster.” Many Palestinians also took to social media to voice their strong opposition to the “treacherous” Oslo Accords, which they compared to the British government’s 1917 Balfour Declaration announcing support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. “A quarter of a century ago, the Oslo Accords were born and the [Palestinian] cause died,” commented Palestinian poet and writer Mourid Barghouti. Palestinian political scientist Abdel Sattar Qassem noted that the “Oslo catastrophe” had divided the Palestinians and destroyed their national unity. Mustafa Barghouti, a prominent Ramallah-based Palestinian politician and activist, called for replacing the path of negotiations with Israel with an “alternative national strategy” based on “popular resistance, boycotting and imposing sanctions on Israel, and ending Palestinian divisions.” The Oslo Accords have failed, he said, because they were “based on the assumption that Israel would accept compromise.” Barghouti said that the main conclusion that ought to be drawn from the experience of the past 25 years is that the present US administration and Israel are in agreement “to end the Oslo Accords and destroy the idea of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state.”

This article originally appeared on the Jerusalem Post

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