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Solidarity, concessions and complicity

In the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the United Nations deems it pertinent to issue a reminder to Palestine with regard to the rapacious imperial benevolence. On April 14, the UN website published a news brief stating that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had spoken to Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu in an effort to salvage the temporarily stalled negotiations.


According to spokesperson Stephanie Dujarric, "The purpose of the calls was to discuss the ongoing efforts to extend the negotiations towards a final peace agreement between Israel and Palestine." Dujarric added that Ban "expressed his hope that both leaders will seize the current opening created by US efforts to find a way forward to achieve the two-state solution."

Omitted from the official statement was the reference to Abbas's decision to seek international recognition following Israel's refusal to release the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners. Instead, reference was made to the 2010 deterioration in negotiations following Netanyahu's refusal to freeze settlement expansion.

The brief report attempted to obliterate the spectacle and its protagonists. As the US, the UN and Israel articulate their concerns and calculated concessions, Palestine remained an inconsequential detail identified solely by expectations of compliance that revert the narrative back to imperialist demands. Israel retained its prestigious inclusion within the oppressive network, allowing itself to be relegated briefly to the periphery in order to provide a context for what the UN describes as a "conflict", as opposed to settler-colonialism. The transition is rectified immediately, as Israel is welcomed back within the coalition that, despite its rhetoric, requires no settlement other than the continuous deterioration of Palestine.

In his speech during the UN International Meeting on the Question of Palestine held in Quito, Ecuador, on March 25, Ban reiterated the alleged commitment to the two-state solution, "with Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security". He called upon both parties "to reach an agreement, even if it requires painful concessions."

Renouncing accountability remains an imperative. Even as international law is evoked to declare the settlement expansion illegal, the UN will avoid any insistence for the dismantling of the settler-colonial state. Neither will the UN expound upon its imagined two-state solution, reduced in fact to an improbability which is expected to be constructed upon the remaining fragments of Palestinian land not already expropriated by Israel.

By contrast, the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was mentioned twice, in a manner as ambiguous as the publicised multilingual banners that favour the embellishment of illusion over Palestinian liberation. The solidarity achieved so far by the UN is less than a fragment of what activists have accomplished over decades. However, the glorification of the imperialist institution provides the required impunity to shield it from accountability over its recognition of the settler-colonial state.

The UN would do well to remember that within its vastly and selectively quoted legislation lies enshrined the freedom to resort to legitimate resistance against colonial and military occupation. However, as with other states challenging imperial domination, reference to resistance will never be acknowledged by the UN unless it can be manipulated into the gruesome operation erroneously designated as humanitarian intervention.

With reference to what was uttered in Quito, "painful concessions" do not exist. Not even a substitute of the euphemism used would rectify the damage imposed upon Palestine by the mirage of imposed equality. The UN should obliterate reference to "painful concessions" and acknowledge the accumulated collateral damage or murder, to discover the equation of complicity in supporting the settler-colonial illegality that the organisation seeks to protect.

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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