Vienna: National Reconciliation and Prospects for the Palestinian National Project

On the centennial of the Balfour Declaration, the Handala Association and the Arab-Austrian Cultural Center (OKAZ) organized a political symposium in Vienna, Austria on 2 November, with a lecture by Palestinian media and political activist Wadie Abu Hani.

The event was co-organized with the Palestinian Doctors’ and Pharmacists’ Union and the Arab Palestine Club, and it focused on the obstacles confronting Palestinian reconciliation and national unity.

Abu Hani emphasized the rebuilding of the Palestinian national project within the framework of a unified national strategy that moves beyond bilateral frameworks of reconciliation toward meaningful national unity. He noted that this requires popular protection in order to block the attempts to shift national unity from a national necessity to a regional demand to prepare for a “deal” leading to the liquidation of the Palestinian cause. Reactionary regional forces are pushing for this issue along with the United States, urging the resumption of negotiations without conditions as well as Arab normalization with Zionist occupation without recognition of Palestinian rights.

Abu Hani presented on the catastrophic historical consequences of the Balfour Declaration as a colonial project at the expense of the Palestinian people, their land and their historical rights.

On the obstacles to implementing all the signed agreements between Palestinian forces, he said that the approach to strengthen reconciliation is a self-critical review of the sides of the division. This is necessary in order to build a strategy to confront and resist Zionism, colonialism and imperialism and develop the resistance at the Palestinian, Arab, Islamic and international levels, centering the national liberation struggle for the Palestinian cause.

He urged the rebuilding of the Palestine Liberation Organization as a comprehensive framework for renewal and a national front that is fully inclusive of all forces, through comprehensive national elections, including national, community, trade union and local structures in order to empower Palestinian youth to take their rightful place and leadership in the project of unity and resistance.

The seminar was moderated by the coordinator of the OKAZ Cente and focused on the prospects of the Palestinian national project and the need to preserve Palestinian principles of liberation.

Bashar al-Jamal, an activist in the center, emphasized that the goal of the event is positive self-criticism of the Palestinian national cause, calling for the revitalization of the role of the PLO by rebuilding it based on the Palestinian National Charter.

Shadi Abu Daher, the president of the Federation of Palestinian Doctors and Pharmacists in Austria, said that he expected Palestinian reconciliation to have a positive reflection on Palestinian communities in Europe and discussed the importance of building united action among Palestinian organizations in Austria.