“We are very fortunate to have two leaders, in President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu, who are committed to achieving a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through peaceful means.” Uttered by US Special Envoy Martin Indyk during a speech at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy last Thursday, this statement reflects US willingness to normalise decades of violence into dispersed episodes retaining validity only within the brokered and now suspended negotiations that provided additional means to annihilate Palestinian resistance.
According to Indyk, the negotiations are not over. The assessment will probably prove correct; the completion of the settler-colonial process will provide an epilogue to the multitude of concessions which Palestinian leaders have bequeathed to Israel. Hence the restriction of chronology to the Kissinger era, well remembered for his approval in effecting the illegal and unconstitutional in relation to the US-backed dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Chile. He also insisted on the modification of settler-colonialism to conflict, in order to ensure the ability to induce the humiliation of Palestinians through depictions rendering the indigenous population an invisible phenomenon or a permanent impediment. Normalising Israel automatically involves the promotion of oblivion, which Indyk strives to achieve through his discussions about US concepts of peace, leadership responsibility and competing narratives.
Any attempted illusions of equality dissipate immediately, as the allegedly competing narratives transform into the maintenance of Israel’s hegemonic narrative at the expense of marginalising Palestinian history and memory. Departing from the “peaceful” attribute bestowed upon Netanyahu and Abbas, it is evident that settler-colonial violence and acquiescence as its counterpart remain elusive elements in Indyk’s discourse. Compromise, according to him, is an acceptable parameter which Palestinians are expected to embrace. After all, the negotiations have clearly focused upon Israel’s capacity to usurp the remnants of Palestine, ensuring the capitulation of Palestinian leaders to further concessions that not only squander the remaining slivers of territory, but also ensure that resistance continues to collapse under unrecognisable, diplomatic concessions.
Indyk has deemed it “easier for the Palestinians to sign conventions and appeal to international bodies in their supposed pursuit of ‘justice’ and their ‘rights’, a process which by definition requires no compromise.” To state that the belated decision to go to the international community did not entail any form of compromise is erroneous. The decision was taken as a last resort, considering the precondition Abbas acquiesced to at the commencement of the negotiations. Furthermore, considering the UN’s role in supporting Israeli atrocities against Palestinians, as well as ensuring a continuous invalidation of Palestinian narrative through ineffective resolutions, the Palestinian leadership is shifting recognition requirements through legal channels that still exhibit varying manifestations of enmity against the indigenous population of the Holy Land. In the absence of formidable resistance, the UN platform might provide the means of memory obliteration from within the allied international community, in accordance with the implicit recognition of Israel which the adherence to the 1967 borders entails.
Moving on to the issue of settlements, Indyk acknowledges the increase in expansion without correlation to settler-colonialism. The assertion that settlements have contributed to the negotiation impasse, as well as the alleged concern that Israel risks becoming a binational state if further expansion occurs are swiftly mellowed into unflinching support for the “Jewish state” granted by the US. As Israel is granted its perpetual and mendacious “right to exist” in relation to its demands for Palestinian recognition of its Jewish character, the US Special Envoy refers to Kerry’s belief that it is essential to delineate the borders and establish the security arrangements in parallel with all the other permanent status issues. “In that way, once a border is agreed each party would be free to build in its own state.”
Here, Indyk exhibits an obvious historical detachment reflecting the fabricated claims to land ownership. The possible demarcation of borders is imbued with the consequences derived from Israel’s impunity with regard to its settler-colonial agenda. Lack of dispute with regard to the establishment of the Zionist state renders the freedom to build a perpetual parody. In addition, the establishment of security in accordance with Israeli and imperialist demands incarcerates Palestinian autonomy. Assertions that the Israel Defence Forces and Shin Bet internal security agency “highly appreciate” the established security coordination with the Palestinian Authority substantiates the degeneration of Palestinian resistance, as well as the willingness of the Palestinian leadership to subjugate the people to a conspiracy of state-sanctioned oppression.
Indyk also quotes US Secretary of State John Kerry as saying, “The United States has a responsibility to lead, not to find the pessimism and negativity that’s so easily prevalent in the world today.” Leadership as articulated by the US within the context of Palestine translates into additional cooperation with Israel ensuring a permanent assault upon the rights of Palestinians. As unity between the Palestinian leadership and Palestinians remains intangible, the responsibility to lead can be translated into a conglomeration of efforts on behalf of the US, Israel and security forces in collaboration with the settler-colonial state.
With the degeneration of leadership into US perceptions of strategy and peace, Palestinian resistance becomes embroiled within a process that diminishes its sustainability which, according to Indyk, consists of benefits such as: “A sovereign state of their own. A dignified future. A just solution for refugees.” With the elimination of resistance, Palestinian aims are fettered to the hypocritical rhetoric that manipulates freedom into a series of convenient and politically accepted statements. On the other hand, the restrictions implied within token verbal concessions bestowed upon Palestinians result in tangible opportunities for Israel to consolidate unconditional support for its outrageous demands.
As long as Abbas or any future Palestinian leadership remains fettered to Israeli and US demands, the prospects for a Palestinian state will dwindle to mere duplicity. Decades of diplomatic concessions have resulted in a permanent fragmentation of land and people that is impossible to reconcile without a solid foundation of resistance that unites the leadership with the people. While Palestinian leaders are determined to pursue transient frameworks that enable Israel to dictate and implement its terms, the people remain subjugated within a realm that portrays interim usurpation measures as a final solution. If the taking of freedom is reduced to a bargaining exercise producing inadequate compensation efforts, the liberation of Palestine for all Palestinians will be relegated to the periphery of history.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.