Hasan Khreisheh: Abbas' Authority Will Not Govern Gaza, and Global Student Activism Must Evolve (Exclusive)

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Deputy Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Hasan Khreisheh stated that Operation al-Aqsa Flood launched by Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, on October 7, 2023, "isolated the Palestinian Authority and exacerbated its diminishing role."

Khreisheh, also a member of the Palestinian Central Council, affirmed in an interview with Al-Estiklal that Operation al-Aqsa Flood "left nothing hidden from the world, revealing all the truths related to the Palestinian issue, categorizing the supporters of resistance clearly, as well as classifying its enemies in their appropriate trench."

The Palestinian politician confidently asserted that the resistance is "triumphant" due to its endeavors and the united support of the people. He emphasized that "anyone who fails to grasp the transformative impact of Operation al-Aqsa Flood is out of touch with reality."

Regarding the recent governmental change in Ramallah, Khreisheh clarified that "any change in the Palestinian Authority must be at the level of individuals and the system as a whole," as he believes that cosmetic operations in this matter are no longer productive, and that the people have become more aware of their political reality than ever before.

Khreisheh (69 years old) is the Deputy Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council and previously held the position of Chairman of the Palestinian Legislative Council for a brief period. He is an independent political figure from the city of Tulkarm in the West Bank.

A Harsh Reality

 

• How do you see the repercussions of Operation al-Aqsa Flood on the reality of the Palestinian Authority?

Operation al-Aqsa Flood exposed the Palestinian Authority to everyone; prior to Hamas operation, the Authority was unqualified to bear the responsibility of the Palestinian cause in general. Operation al-Aqsa Flood served to expose and confirm this reality, effectively isolating the Authority both at the leadership and grassroots levels.

Instead of siding with the people and considering Operation al-Aqsa Flood a turning point in its approach to dealing with resistance and the population, unfortunately, the Authority continues to rely on the United States and the West to maintain its position as a pseudo-governing body.

They still believe that the negotiation process is the solution, and this conviction is reinforced by statements from European leaders or from U.S. President Joe Biden, suggesting that the Authority is always ready to lead and replace the resistance.

Unfortunately, the Authority still lives in these illusions and tries to convince its few supporters of its importance. 

 

• With that said, do you think America and the West might soon withdraw their support for the Palestinian Authority, and how do you see its future if that happens?

They have already withdrawn their support, evident in their continuous and overt bias towards the Israeli Occupation. It's astonishing that the Authority still relies on their stance.

How do you expect these actors — whether America, Britain, the West in general, or some Arab countries — to work towards establishing a Palestinian state when you know this contradicts their interests?

America and the West, in general, sent a clear message to the entire world, not just to the Palestinian Authority, on the day they intercepted Iranian missiles heading towards Tel Aviv, stating that the Palestinian issue must be resolved as we want, not as the Authority or any other party around the world wants.

As for the future of the Authority, the U.S. administration is trying to restructure it in a way that aligns with its goals and Israeli goals, as it did after the Second Intifada, attempting to replicate that experience.

However, when they did so before, the result was negative for the Palestinian cause. The status of the cause diminished in the eyes of the international system, and pressure increased on the Authority from all sides, to the point where its role in security coordination and confronting resistance became broader than its desired role in liberating the occupied territories.

The Master of Decisions

 

• What solutions do you think are available to reorient the Palestinian Authority's compass of action?

In this context, the Palestinian people are the masters of their own destiny. Those who make sacrifices are the ones who hold sway. So far, it's been the resistance and the people together.

Hence, if the Authority genuinely seeks the well-being of its people and the advancement of the cause, it should prioritize holding elections to revamp personnel, tools, and operational approaches. However, from my perspective, that isn't the current priority.

We must wait to see the outcome of the war because, as I've said, the Authority is in a state of severe isolation and seclusion and is no longer as influential in the Palestinian cause as the impact of the resistance.

Currently, the Authority ignores this reality and insists on relying on the West and America. Moreover, its consideration of going to Gaza is highly improbable, and I don't think it will happen.

I don't believe the West will succeed in reintroducing the Authority to Gaza at the expense of a defeat they wish for the resistance there.

 

• What's your take on the arrest of six Palestinians caught trying to enter Gaza with weapons disguised as humanitarian aid?

These individuals were said to be affiliated with the intelligence apparatus, but even if that's true, I see it as an immature and unwise move.

The Authority already has approximately 30,000 police personnel inside Gaza who receive salaries without work, and it doesn't need to send infiltrators to Gaza to incite internal strife.

I believe that the internal front in Gaza is strong, vigilant, cohesive, and well aware of what's happening. It's always prepared to fill any vacuum left by the Israeli Occupation after withdrawal. This doesn't deny the existence of a fifth column or those aspiring to play such a role, always ready.

It's worth mentioning that on March 31, 2024, the Gaza Ministry of Interior revealed the thwarting of an intelligence operation involving the infiltration of several officers and soldiers affiliated with the General Intelligence Apparatus in Ramallah into the northern Gaza area, following the failure of the Israeli Occupation's plans to impose a new anti-Hamas Authority in Gaza.

The Arab Deficiency

 

• In your opinion, what specifically does Israel fear at this stage?

Israel is concerned about the Arab street. It has found reassurance in the West's stance and its firmness regarding engagement with Iran or the bombing of Gaza.

Israel's primary concern now is losing its Arab allies due to the outbreak of a new Arab Spring, perhaps what we might call the Palestinian Spring, with an escalation of protests in Arab countries that the Israeli Occupation had recently secured through Abrahamic normalization deals.

The intensification of protests in these countries as a popular uprising worries Israel more than the ruling regimes in these countries because such a spring, upon its eruption, would set Israel significantly back. We have witnessed popular movements in Jordan, Morocco, and many other Arab countries.

Proposing that Israel fears official Arab movements is fanciful, given the notable shortcomings within the Arab League and among the 57 Islamic countries, even when their stances are lacking in alignment with the prevailing events.

In reality, without the present official Arab stances about the aggression, we wouldn't have witnessed the escalation to the current extent of casualties and the devastation in Gaza.

So, the keyword here is the people and the civil society institutions supporting the cause. I believe that what the resistance currently relies on, after its strength in confrontation, is the support from Arab peoples, the free world, and some support from some official regimes.

One of Israel's major fears in its current war is the exposure of its inhumane practices, despite its attempts to show that it is indifferent to them and that these practices are necessary to win the war and regain hostages. However, the reality is that scenes of killing, terrorizing, and dismembering the bodies of women, children, and civilians are not easy for Israel to dismiss.

We see this in the withdrawal of support or at least silence from some quarters and the widespread positive response from students in American universities and some European capitals. These scenes and scandals have a significant impact on this matter, and of course, Israel fears the development of the resistance's capabilities on the ground.

 

• The resistance relies on multiple factors for its continuation. How effective do you see these factors?

There are several elements in this context. Firstly, the unity of the internal arenas: Gaza, the West Bank, the 1948 territories, and the Palestinian diaspora abroad.

I believe these components are united and in agreement within a unified context, distinct from official components. The West Bank supports the resistance, and there is ample evidence of that, as do the internal territories and the diaspora.

Therefore, I always affirm that the position of the Authority does not represent at all the components of the Palestinian cause.

Secondly, the cooperating component in the resistance operation from around us, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen, who have made 13 countries ally to protect Israel's interests at sea, with some Arab countries joining them reluctantly and without official declaration.

This component, which rose to assist and support Gaza, is also unified and cohesive. The reality is that the countries fighting against it are actually stronger, but this has been the situation of the resistance throughout history: it exhausts the occupier over long periods.

Thirdly, the Egyptian regime component, which I see as having surrendered itself to the West and America for various reasons, mainly economic in the face of political failure. Cairo has exited the scene, and its role is no longer robust; it has become utilitarian and obedient to major powers, nothing more.

In this context, only the popular mass element remains influential, but it has not yet reached the level to change the equation's components, primarily due to repression by regimes and life pressures.

There is also the global popular role, seen at the forefront in the movements of students around the world. We have great hope that this movement will evolve or at least not surrender and affirm the message that the resistance continues and will not be defeated, especially after gaining broad sympathy and momentum, confirming day by day the justice of the Palestinian cause.