A brief report titled ‘Council conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process’ published yesterday by the Council of the European Union reaffirmed the ongoing trend of normalising Israel’s colonisation of Palestine, seeking to portray an equal conflict in order to justify the European Union’s allegedly impartial support for Israel and Palestine. While addressing the current situation, the report is based upon previous conclusions dating back to 2009, which also advocated a two-state solution against a backdrop of ‘peace and security’ without addressing the issue of decolonisation.
Departing from the privileged stance, the Council’s report depicts an extension of rhetoric routinely used by the US and the United Nations in discussing the negotiations within a framework of displaced legitimacy, obscuring Palestine in its efforts to commend the negotiations. However, an analysis of the report shows the discrepancies within the EU’s concept of equality. While pledging political, economic and security support to both Palestine and Israel as mutual benefits based on parity, the report fails to acknowledge the imposed superiority in Israel’s regard, having been a recipient of financial, economic and military agreements prior to the negotiations.
The illusion of equivalence fails within this context, furthering the divergences between supporting the coloniser and ostracising of the colonised. The “legitimate aspirations” invoked in the opening paragraphs of the report is an indication of the EU’s failure to distinguish between Palestinian historic legitimacy and Israel’s self-recognised legitimacy, derived from Zionist ideology and implemented through the massacres of the Nakba. It is impossible to sustain the discourse of equality when Israeli impunity remains an issue to be safeguarded in order to protect the foundations of the illegal settler-colonial state.
The negotiations are described as “efforts of the parties and of the US towards a just and lasting settlement for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”. While deploring Israel’s violation of international law regarding settlement construction and property demolitions, it also fails to advocate a just solution for Palestinians and exhorts the “unique opportunity which must be seized for both parties to implement a two-state solution”. The report advocates for sustainability of the hypothetical “peace agreement” with regard to aiding Palestine in building its state mechanisms, however the insistence upon a two-state solution as the only solution providing legitimacy with regard to sovereignty and democracy addresses Israeli concerns far more effectively than providing a framework for a Palestinian state.
There is no indication of the EU substantially repudiating the ramifications of colonialism upon Palestine. Other than pledging benefits to Palestinians and further incentives for Israel to assert its dominance, the rhetoric of the two-state solution remains central to Israel’s colonial project, a means through which to ascertain the Jewish demographic majority inhabiting plundered territory. The report states: “A one state reality would not be compatible with the legitimate sovereign and democratic aspirations of both parties.” Such a statement indicates the will to disregard the foundations upon which the state of Israel declared itself and was rewarded by international recognition at the expense of displacement and massacres of the indigenous population to establish a fabricated nation.
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