Jan 182008

January 15, 2008 marks the sixth anniversary of the kidnapping and seizure of General Secretary Ahmad Sa’adat by Palestinian Authority security forces, since which time he has remained in constant detention and imprisonment – first by PA security, then under US and British guard in Jericho, and today, alongside 11,000 other Palestinian political prisoners, inside Israeli jails after a brutal siege and kidnapping from Jericho. Looking at the six years that have followed from that date, we can see many clear lessons for the Palestinian national movement today, from the current internal state of division to the status of our 11,000 prisoners struggling for their freedom in the jails of the enemy. We understand the current situation of internal political division within the Palestinian national movement. Precisely because of that division, it is particularly critical to highlight this example of Palestinan internal relations, in order to strive towards meaningful and responsible national unity, as well as to uphold the struggle for the immediate freedom of all of our Palestinian political prisoners in the hands of the enemy, and to learn from the lessons of the case of Ahmad Sa’adat.

The crime that was committed on January 15, 2002 is a perpetual, indelible stain on Palestinian internal history and the national movement. On the evening of January 15, General Secretary Ahmad Sa’adat was lured under false pretenses to a meeting with the intelligence services that he attended despite being pursued by enemy forces for imprisonment or assassination. At this meeting, he was instead kidnapped by Palestinian Authority security forces and taken to al-Muqata, a detention that was widely and publicly announced. This was soon followed by the abduction of the alleged killers of Ze’evi, those resistance fighters who carried out the operation of the assassination of zionist racist minister Rehavam Ze’evi in retaliation for the August 2001 assassination of PFLP General Secretary Abu Ali Mustafa, again under false pretenses, allegedly to protect them from Israeli attacks, while again publicly announcing their detention and their presence in al-Muqata.

This trick, in which a Palestinian national leader was lured to a meeting under false pretenses, only to be abducted by Palestinian Authority security forces, is a bitter illustration of how the politics and behavior of the PA, which was born of “security cooperation,” protected no one, instead intensifying the Israeli siege on Ramallah while setting a dangerous Palestinian precedent that the Israeli assassination of Palestinian leaders is acceptable in that retaliation will be punished, not only by the Israeli enemy, but also by the Palestinian Authority, only assisting in leaving a clear path open for the ongoing campaign of assassination waged against Palestinian leaders by Israel. While the danger of such actions to the Palestinian cause may seem apparent, the security forces acted as they were supposed to under Oslo and as a product of Oslo – act as security not for the Palestinian people but instead for the occupation against the resistance, despite whatever illusions may have been held. The crime that was committed on January 15, 2002, and the events that followed are the responsibility of those who committed that crime, and is also the continuing responsibility of those who would continue to implement and encourage such policies of Palestinian security forces against the resistance.

The case of Ahmad Sa’adat illustrates the dangers of so-called “security cooperation” and the use of “security forces” to attack the resistance, a common US/Israeli demand, as it was in the case of Sa’adat and his comrades. The US and Israel continue to demand these things today against the Palestinian resistance, and the case of Sa’adat should stand as an example of how bitterly dangerous these policies are toward the Palestinian national movement and the Palestinian people; the path of the Sa’adat case, in which security agencies abducted a Palestinian national leader, turned him over to US and British control, and later saw him, in his prison, once more abducted by the army of the occupation, should serve as an illustration of the utter bankruptcy of such a path for the Palestinian national movement.

The case of Sa’adat has been from the beginning a mockery of justice, beginning with an arrest under the guise of protection, followed by a kangaroo court in al-Muqata hurriedly convicting Sa’adat and his comrades under a trial that bore no resemblance to a court of law authorized in any Palestinian law, followed by the internationalization of Sa’adat’s imprisonment under US and British control despite the nominal sovereignty of the PA, and concluding with Sa’adat’s case joining the case of all 11,000 of our Palestinian prisoners, in the hands of the enemy. It is important to note that in the case of several hundred of these prisoners – not only Sa’adat and his comrades – the PA bears direct responsibility for their imprisonment due to “security cooperation.” The so-called Muqata deal, in which Sa’adat and his comrades were turned over for imprisonment under US and British control, in exchange for an alleged Israeli withdrawal from the Muqata compound, has been revealed for its futility – despite whatever illusions were held by those who made this agreement – time and again as the crimes, invasions and attacks of the occupation continue. This is the path – one that abandons justice for Palestinians while upholding the injustice of the occupier – that is followed today by those who would see Palestinian forces, under the guise of security, operate against the Palestinian resistance, and it is a path that is marked with danger and betrayal.

There are several key lessons from this case that we can, and should, look to today, at a time when national unity is once more in danger and at a time when the occupation once more demands Palestinians wage their battles against the resistance:

Under Oslo, Palestinian security agencies were never meant to provide security for Palestinians. 
They were solely and exclusively designed to provide security for the occupier and to serve as a tool and a mechanism for the implementation of Israeli interests. These security forces were designed to be a weapon against the Palestinian resistance rather than any form of truly sovereign Palestinian entity. It is long past time for these agencies to reject this role, rather than continue to replicate this role.

The issue of Ahmad Sa’adat’s case is the issue of the right to resist, and to change the balance of power. When Palestinian security agencies concede to US and Israeli demands to punish and repress Palestinian resistance, the fundamental right of our occupied people to resist that occupation is put at risk, by the weapons not of the occupier but by the weapons held in the hand of security forces. The assassination of Palestinian leaders and activists has been an ongoing policy of the occupation since its inception sixty years ago, and in the case of the assassination of General Secretary Abu Ali Mustafa, was met with a clear retaliatory response from the Palestinian resistance. While this clear and retaliatory response had the potential to serve as a Palestinian national response and precedent that the assassination policy will not be allowed to continue without a severe cost to the occupier, the travesty which took place in al-Muqata and in Jericho instead created a dangerous Palestinian precedent that retaliation for assassinations will be punished, leaving the road clear for the continuation of the incessant and murderous assassination policy of the occupier.

Palestinian internal political differences cannot be solved by kidnapping and repression, but rather by dialogue. 
If some Palestinian forces were opposed to this tactic of retaliation for the assassination of Abu Ali Mustafa, the solution to this political issue is not kidnappings, abductions, imprisonment and kangaroo courts, but rather political debate and discussion in a democratic, revolutionary climate. Security agencies that were created for the purpose of repression do not hold this revolutionary framework that is necessary for a democratic resolution to Palestinian internal political differences.

The responsibility to uphold national unity rests with all parts of the Palestinian national movement. Upon the occasion of this crime against our leaders and comrades, the PFLP nevertheless placed the preservation of Palestinian national unity at the center of its response and its demands for the freedom of our comrades. Despite the crimes against the Palestinian national movement and Palestinian unity perpetrated by those who engaged in these actions, it was necessary to take responsibility to uphold national unity in a principled manner, and to continue today to demand accountability for those responsible for this crime, and not simply to forget or let this case remain in the past while our comrades remain imprisoned and while the threat of the use of security agencies against the resistance remains.

Violations of Palestinian law to satisfy Israel and the US – whether by calculation or illusion – are unacceptable. The violations of law that took place, from the kidnapping and imprisonment of a Palestinian national leader under false pretenses, to the military kangaroo court in al-Muqata, to the utter disregard for the Palestinian High Court decision that demanded the release of Ahmad Sa’adat, are indicative of a Palestinian political trend that is willing to violate all Palestinian principles, constants and laws for the demands and interests of the occupier. Whether these violations take place by calculation or by illusion may witness a difference in intent, but no difference whatsoever in their results for our people and our national movement.

The abrogation of Palestinian sovereignty makes all of our cities a globalized Guantanamo. 
The acceptance of the internationalization of Ahmad Sa’adat’s case, and turning him over to an ostensibly Palestinian prison, guarded in fact by the imperialist powers themselves – the United States and Britain – was an acceptance of the abrogation of Palestinian sovereignty in the interests of the occupier, and of a bitter alliance between the imperialist forces, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority security agencies. Such internationalization of nominal  Palestinian sovereignty makes all of our cities home to globalized Guantanamos that exist outside the law, outside the Palestinian framework, and inside the grasp of imperialism.

Today, as we struggle for the freedom of 11,000 prisoners, the case of Ahmad Sa’adat is the case of these 11,000 – a paradigmatic example of the continuous war waged upon our resistance and our freedom fighters, using any and all mechanisms available to repress the inevitable march toward victory of our people and our resistance. And on this anniversary, it is essential that this case remain at the center of our work, precisely as such a paradigmatic example of the imprisonment of our national leaders, and that we work to support the campaign to free Ahmad Sa’adat and all Palestinian political prisoners, a campaign that needs all of our effort and attention with events, activities, statements and actions, remembering the crime of six years ago, learning today’s lessons, and struggling for the freedom of our prisoners and the liberation of our people and our land.

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