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Rethinking Palestinian Representation Post-October 7, 2023

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Eng. Saleem Al Batayneh

In the aftermath of the events unfolding since October 7, 2023, a critical question looms large over Palestine: Who represents the Palestinians now?

It is a question that demands our immediate attention, resonating with the internal struggles facing Palestine today. The desperate attempt to cling to power regardless of the cost or consequences, poses a grave internal threat. The haunting images and painful scenes emerging from the recent conflict underscore the urgency of reevaluating Palestinian representation on both internal and external fronts.

The first dimension to consider is the alarming division and separation within the Palestinian Authority, encompassing political, geographical, economic, and social aspects. This internal fragmentation weakens the authority, rendering it less effective and relevant on both regional and international stages.

The second dimension unfolds on a strategic political level, involving regional and international dynamics, coupled with the existential dimension of Palestinian life. The crisis of legitimacy surrounding Palestinian representation is glaring, creating a vacuum within the authority. It appears as if the authority’s primary function is merely to comply with Israel’s directives, diminishing its representative character and undermining its role on the global stage.

The Palestinian political body grapples with a deep crisis of legitimacy, evident in the perceived vacuum within the authority. Its relevance is eroding, and its role seems confined to serving Israeli interests. Despite its official status as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, this legitimacy has faded among Palestinians worldwide. The authority’s failure to effectively manage its files and pursue meaningful options has further exacerbated the situation.

We don’t need opinion polls to recognize this reality. The media, a living entity in its own right, conveys the truth through images and words, reflecting the sentiment on the ground. The authority’s failure to meet the aspirations of its people is palpable, and the need for a redefined and legitimate representation becomes increasingly urgent.

As we navigate the aftermath of the Gaza conflict, the lie of the two-state solution unravels, and the armed resistance reshapes the geopolitical landscape. The recent war in Gaza has set the stage for a new chapter in Arab history, with implications that extend beyond immediate outcomes. Whether or not one agrees with the methods, Hamas emerges from this conflict with a strengthened position.

Change is imminent, and events serve as catalysts for new possibilities. The Gaza war, while devastating, holds the potential to usher in a new geopolitical reality. Post-October 7, a political reckoning is necessary, leading to a renewed negotiation process and a reshaping of the Palestinian political system. As events unfold in the depths, they signal the gateway to geopolitical and ideological transformations, urging a recalibration of political strategies.

In conclusion, the question of who represents the Palestinians after October 7 is not merely rhetorical. It’s a call to action, demanding a comprehensive reassessment of the Palestinian political landscape and a redefinition of their representation to navigate the evolving geopolitical and ideological currents.

Al Batayneh was a member of the Jordanian Parliament.