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Abbas' last resort and the pitfalls of international oppression

The belated decision to resort to international institutions has been hailed as a surprise by the media, signalling a dramatic shift from compliance to independence. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' prior decision to forfeit access to international treaties as a precondition to the commencement of the US-brokered diplomatic manoeuvring has now been partly halted.

However, the discussions have not officially deteriorated and while the decision might have the potential to elevate the Palestinians' status within the international framework, it is far from a surprise move on behalf of Abbas. The intention to seek access to international treaties was regularly brought up by the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the UN Riyad Mansour. Its late affirmation is not an occasion marking victory or defeat. The fact that Abbas prioritised negotiations over the autonomy renders the decision a last resort which, despite being hailed a positive move, still bears the scars of injustice inflicted upon Palestinians in the past months during which Netanyahu's government sought the opportunity to expand the settler-colonial project.

Palestine's greatest opportunity lies in utilising the UN platform to convey its demands without the ramifications of being rendered an imploring spectacle. Legality and legitimacy are internationally determined by imperialist interpretations of international law of which the UN is a willing accomplice. Idealising freedom according to discourse has resulted in a resolute persecution of rebellious states which is then justified within interpretations of international law that seek to render oppression as a humanitarian value. Palestine is no exception to this tenet. Despite decades of colonial violence, the UN has resolutely imparted support for the abomination it recognised in the form of the state of Israel following the atrocities of the Nakba.

Negotiating a dignified and resolute stance within this intricate web requires unity between leadership and the people – a process which the PA has repeatedly fragmented in its quest to appease Israel and the US. So far, the recent decision also reflects the disintegration of loyalty: negotiations were prioritised to the detriment of Palestinians and the requests to join international treaties are still hampered in practice by the level of security collaboration between the PA and Israel.

In keeping with internationally-accepted rhetoric, Abbas stresses the refutation of confrontation through resistance, despite resistance being a necessary component of Palestinian lives threatened by settler-colonial violence. Meanwhile Hamas adheres to its calls for legitimate resistance as an imperative.

The willingness to access the treaties, with the possibility of resorting to the International Criminal Court in the future and thus attempt to hold Israel accountable for war crimes; is not without repercussions for the internationally acknowledged Palestinian leadership and the people it claims to represent. International complicity in advocating for war crimes against resistant nations is a historical recurrence that manages to recruit willing accomplices.

In the case of Palestine, Israeli violence has been reaffirmed as a necessity to safeguard the settler-colonial state from possible destruction. In the absence of a declaration regarding the dismantling of Israel's colonisation of Palestine, international treaties will be manipulated to incarcerate Palestinians further into accepting relics and symbols as a token of freedom in return for relinquishing the liberation of a land and people from settler-colonial oppression.

Abbas' duty towards Palestinians should not be relegated to the modern-day. Neglecting the Zionist premeditated violence ensuring the establishment of Israel is tantamount to treason.

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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