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PFLP calls for 'mass struggle' in opposition to PA-backed French initiative

May 30, 2016 6:56 P.M. (Updated: May 31, 2016 6:05 P.M.)
PFLP rally Gaza 2015 (AFP, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) --The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) on Sunday reiterated their opposition to the Palestinian Authority-backed French initiative to hold a multilateral peace conference in Paris.

In a statement published on their website, the left-wing organization called on Palestinians in the occupied territory, in exile, and in the diaspora “to organize to confront and bring down the so-called ‘French initiative’ and any similar international or Arab projects that seek to liquidate Palestinian rights under the guise of ‘peace negotiations.’

The statement called for June 3 and 4 to be “days of mass struggle, protest, and activity to reject the French initiative and work to stop all of these suspicious activities that are in full swing in order to revive the marketing of the so-called ‘peace process.’”

The PFLP also condemned the Palestinian Authority’s “monopolistic” leadership in their promotion of the initiative as “seriously” undermining Palestinian national consensus.

“The initiative was never even presented to the Palestine Liberation Organization’s responsible bodies or discussed with the Palestinian political forces,” the statement added.

Also on Sunday, a spokesperson for the Hamas movement released a statement asserting that the French initiative was an individual move on the part of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and did not represent the opinion of the Palestinian people.

The French initiative, Sami Abu Zuhri said, was "an attempt to keep the Palestinian people busy and distract them from their rights -- especially the right of return."

Both Hamas and the PFLP slammed Palestinian leadership in April, when the PA seemingly made a push for the initiative at the expense of submitting a resolution against illegal Israeli settlements to the UN Security Council -- which has now been indefinitely postponed.

Abu Zuhri at the time called on the PA and its dominant party Fatah to “stop their careless toying with the Palestinian cause.”

In response to the PA’s alignment with the French effort, the PFLP published an interview with writer Khaled Barakat, who condemned the French government as a "dishonest broker."

Citing France’s “long history of colonialism in the region,” Barakat said the European state “systematically supports the apartheid settler state of Israel. Such a state can never lead efforts towards meaningful peace.”

Barakat in his interview with PFLP warned the initiative would evolve into a “new Oslo,” referring to the peace agreements of the mid-90s, which critics argue have pushed Palestinians further under Israeli military occupation.

Sunday’s statements came amid a rising tide of criticism of Abbas, the PA, and the PLO among Palestinian factions in recent months, primarily for the Palestinian leadership's ongoing security coordination with Israel, which the groups allege enables rather than fights the decades-long military occupation.

A number of Palestinian activists have criticized pushes for a two-state solution as unsustainable and unlikely to bring durable peace, proposing instead a binational state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians.
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