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Choosing capitulation over resistance

The peace negotiations which have embroiled Palestinians in further loss of land and autonomy have descended into a major capitulation to imperialist demands. Compromised before commencement due to an agreement brokered by the US, in which PA President Mahmoud Abbas forfeited the right to resort to international institutions, the rapid deterioration of Palestinian freedom has prompted a delayed reversal of the intention to seek international recognition.

Following Tzipi Livni's insistence that Israel is under no obligation to release Palestinian political prisoners from Israeli jails, PA official Nabil Shaath declared that, should Israel fail to comply with the scheduled prisoners' release, Palestinians would "immediately" resort to international institutions to strengthen chances of recognition. However, the avenue has been reduced to an alternative determined unjustly by the outcome of the diplomatic dispute concerning the prisoners' release; in reality, though, the international platform can and should be used to articulate Palestinians' legitimacy as constructed by the identities shaping the population throughout decades of sanctioned colonial violence against them.

The possibility of appealing to the international platform was discussed previously so there is nothing immediate about the diluted threat. Palestinian Permanent Observer to the UN Riyad Mansour articulated the intention while addressing the organisation, prompting further discourse mired in compromise from the PA. However, due to the PA's prior acquiescence to Israeli and US demands, any allure attributed to possible international recognition is already distorted and hampered by various factors, notably the corrosion of the PA's political leadership and its ramifications upon Palestinians, as well as the imperialist structure of the UN and affiliated entities.

The current negotiations are founded upon the maintenance of Israel's settler-colonial project, a fact which the PA is conscious of and averse to challenging. Hence the continued insistence upon the release of Palestinian prisoners despite Israel's retaliatory settlement expansion. This bargaining over Palestinian lives and land should constitute enough proof of the disassociation from freedom epitomised by the internationally-accepted leadership. In this scenario, Palestinian freedom has been reduced to the equivalence of imperialist human rights discourse, an ambiguous concept necessitating compliance in order to bequeath a sliver of exhausted statements from various charters, while ensuring that the conditions to inflict further indignities are maintained.

In its relinquishing of freedom for Palestinians, the PA also adheres to mainstream narratives instead of affirming Palestinian memory and history to construct an interpretation of freedom relating directly to the indigenous experience. The negotiations have attested to this fact; Abbas's primary concern has been the appeasing of Israel and the US upon fundamental issues that consolidate settler-colonialism and impunity while marginalising land reclamation and the right of return.

Abbas's coordination with mainstream narrative includes the recently expressed gratitude to Obama for the "economic and political support the US is extending to the Palestinian state so it can stand on its own two feet". The discourse is reminiscent of subjugated entities whose narrative is neglected to accommodate their oppressors. Translating economic and political dependency into alleged support creates the normalisation of hegemonic violence. This tactic is also reflected in the UN's regurgitated discourse of solidarity with Palestinians while enabling Israel to perfect its international diplomatic exercises and consolidate its fabricated historical claims.

While the PA has alienated itself haranguing over the prisoner release, Israel has persisted in its policy of eliminating Palestinians, creating further victims which the mainstream media either ignores or else portrays as collateral damage and unworthy of recognition other than feigned concern, always within the context of Israel's "security and self-defence claims". Seeking international recognition would allow the possibility of holding Israel accountable for its crimes against the Palestinians, yet Abbas continues to prove himself a willing, passive participant in atrocities by failing to assert the legitimacy of Palestinian resistance.

Seeking international recognition cannot be isolated from the dynamics of the UN as an imperialist platform. In addition, the PA is seeking international legitimacy as part of a process which consolidates compliance, rather than an effort to construct the collective experience of Palestinians through the nation's history of resistance. Abbas's reputation as a collaborator stands in stark contrast with the resilience defining Palestinians throughout the decades, hence the commendations from the privileged segment of the international community and the distortion of legitimate resistance into violence in order to further the marginalisation of Hamas, which has been constant in articulating the necessity of a unifying leadership without relinquishing resistance.

Negating resistance is tantamount to ceding not only the remnants of Palestinian territory, but forcing upon Palestinians the reversal of the anti-colonial struggle. Any semblance of recognition based upon agreements emphasising surrender as an acceptable compromise is incompatible with Palestinian resistance. Furthermore, relinquishing resistance despite its legitimacy is part of the process which the UN desires to achieve in return for illusions of solidarity. Considering the sustained fragmentation of Palestinian identity by the PA, any form of recognition will be decided within strict parameters proclaiming only what the imperialist organisation decides to bequeath, a compromise which Abbas is not averse to accepting.

Following the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro utilised the exposure provided by the organisation to further the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist discourse, highlighting the national struggle from within the revolutionary experience and repudiating imperialist dictates regarding representation. While the Palestinian struggle incorporates additional difficulties, including international complicity in maintaining the settler-colonial state, the PA has exacerbated the prolonged violations by relinquishing resistance, incorporating external and hostile definitions regarding the Palestinian struggle, as well as accepting Israel's self-defined right to exist.

The anti-colonial struggle necessitates the dismantling of Israel's settler-colonial state and establishing accountability within the international community. However, a unifying and competent leadership that prioritises Palestinian liberation is of paramount importance, in order to retaliate effectively against the negotiations and squandering of freedom which amount to nothing more than patronising efforts under the banner of international solidarity. Since the PA is unwilling to establish the unification of resistance and history from within the collective Palestinian experience, any quest for international recognition by Abbas will be reduced to calculated fragments isolating the dignified process of resistance shaping Palestinian history, in return for Israeli and imperialist calculated concessions ensuring that statehood and the Palestinian right of return remain tethered to a negotiated illusion.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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