Middle East

Palestinians still lack independence 33 years after declaration: Lawmaker

‘There is no real independence under the occupation,’ says member of Palestinian Legislative Council

Salam Abu Sharar   | 15.11.2021
Palestinians still lack independence 33 years after declaration: Lawmaker

RAMALLAH, Palestine

Some 33 years after President Yasser Arafat proclaimed the Palestinian Declaration of Independence, the situation in Palestine is a complicated reality for Palestinians both politically or economically, a lawmaker said Sunday.

“This declaration was a symbolic step, but we’ve never felt that we have an independent country since its components are under Israeli control. To be clear, there is no real independence under the occupation, and any other speech is just a big lie,” said Ahmad Atton, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).

Arafat proclaimed the independence declaration on Nov. 15, 1988 in Algiers after it was adopted by the Palestinian National Council, the legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), by a vote of 253 in favor, 46 against and 10 abstentions. The declaration was written by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.

Five years later, a pair of agreements between the government of Israel and the PLO known as the Oslo Accords were signed. Both sides agreed that a Palestinian Authority (PA) would be established and assume governing responsibilities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian people hoped to live a better life after the creation of the PA, but the situation has worsened over the years.

“All the land including the capital of Palestine, Jerusalem, is still under occupation. The prisoners are in the jails and the PA suppresses freedoms in several ways against any opponent and plays a functional role in favor of the occupation through security coordination,” Atton said.

He said the Israeli policies of land confiscation in the West Bank and settlements in Jerusalem escalated, leading to the trapping of Palestinian cities by settlements, and this is what threatens the most important component for independence: the land.

“The Palestinian cities are converted into small points on the map without any real geographic or demographic unity,” he said.

On the other hand, the PA is part of many agreements that Atton regards as restrictions against any serious freedom of movement in addition to the security coordination, which undermines any resistance activity either military or socially.

Atton, who is a member of the PLC for the Hamas parliamentary bloc, noted that the relationship between the PA and youths on the streets is based on suppression to block their movement against the occupation, or the suppression of freedoms they are exposed to by Palestinian security forces.

“Our own people gain superiority over their political leadership. They are aware of the occupation policies and the attempts of displacement. Now the political leadership, which is at a seriously critical point, must be harmonized with the struggling state,” Atton highlighted.

The political situation in Palestine has been suffering from serious challenges since the postponing of elections which were supposed to be held between May and August this year.​​​​​​​

“Full independence is a dream for every Palestinian, and our people paid for it with their own blood along the way, and this will never stop until there is freedom for our land. The political leadership and the cultural elite must be coherent with the endeavors for freedom and real independence,” Atton added.

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