The European Union’s financial aid to Palestinians has been a source of discussion in light of the fabricated peace negotiations which have been deemed a failure. Discourse concerning “the maintenance of the occupation”, humanitarian concerns and the absence of an established Palestinian state have contributed to an analysis which, as is the trend, absolves Israel and the alleged Palestinian benefactors of accountability.
EU officials have always insisted that aid given to Palestinians retains the objective of establishing “a future, democratic, independent and viable Palestinian state, living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel.” The regularly regurgitated statement is an indication that the preservation of the Zionist settler-colonial state remains a priority for the entity providing aid to the submissive Palestinian Authority.
Quoted in the news outlet IRIN, French political scientist Caroline du Plessix stated: “Are we helping Israel maintain the occupation, or are we actually helping Palestinians build independence?”
Last December, the EU normalised settler-colonialism by portraying an equal conflict in which both parties were deserving of political, economic and security benefits, in return for embarking upon a peace agreement. Further contradictions emanated from EU-representative John Gatt-Rutter’s statement: “The incentives aim at boosting prosperity for both Israelis and Palestinians by increasing access to European markets, facilitating trade and investment and deepening business and cultural ties.”
Israel already enjoys prosperity and its culture of death and destruction is an extension of European colonialism, hence willingly absorbed and embraced. Conversely, Palestinians face continuous hardships and unsustainable conditions funded by the EU’s support for Israel.
Palestinian culture is also constantly threatened by the settler-colonial expansion which reinvents history and heritage. Any possible ties would pertain solely to an Orientalist perspective that derives its strength from collaboration with imperialist narratives, creating further possibilities of exploitation and oppression of identity and liberation.
Sami Abu Roza, former economic adviser to Mahmoud Abbas, acknowledged humanitarian aid as an integral component strengthening the cycle of dependence. “If you take away the good intention behind the money, aid is a substitute for not having real remedies.”
Different strategies have been implemented with regards to the dissemination of financial aid for allegedly humanitarian causes. However, Palestinian independence remains elusive due to the existence of the imposed settler-colonial state so willingly endorsed and maintained by the segment of the international community that decides the targeting and implementation of ruthless oppression.
Abu Roza also said: “Palestinians know that any money coming to Palestinians is political. But they also know that the world won’t stop paying for Palestinians under occupation.”
The statement’s strength is somewhat diminished by surrendering to the mainstream terminology that depicts Israel as an occupying power detached from settler-colonialism. The “occupation” has been rendered an acceptable phenomenon in the West, due to its divestment from the ramifications of colonial processes planned since the late 19th century.
It is necessary for Palestinian officials to shift their discourse in a manner which accurately portrays the historical and current realities for Palestinians, instead of attempting to achieve a sliver of understanding already compromised by definitions which its oppressors have chosen to absolve themselves of accountability.