The search is on for a new Palestinian strategy. The conclusion of the Palestine Central Council brought with it the official death declaration of the US-backed negotiations track. Hamas, which has been the proponent of a violent resistance track, has unofficially declared defeat of its rocket/tunnel strategy some time ago. So, without a negotiated or a military track what options are left for Palestinians?
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hinted about some of the alternative ideas but his track record on some of them is not that encouraging. Furthermore, some of the alternatives suggested by Abbas have internal contradictions and all of them require a high level of buy in a commodity that was elusive at the latest Palestinian meeting. Hamas, which won the last held general elections a decade ago, and Islamic Jihad did not show up at this important meeting and many spoke out publicly for the need of much deeper personal change in the Palestinian leadership.
The options that were presented in President Abbas’ two-hour-long speech at the start of the Palestine Central Council included continued efforts at the UN, joining some 500 international organisations (already Palestine has joined close to 100), escalating what he called the peaceful popular struggle and increasing efforts to engage with Israelis. While Abbas did not mention the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS), the council did and they called in their concluding statement for support for BDS.