A lot of speculation has gripped the media with regard to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s forthcoming speech at the UN General Assembly on 29 September. Reports in the Times of Israel have cited contradicting claims, with European diplomats insisting that he will not dismantle the PA or annul the Oslo Accords, while Saeb Erekat asserts otherwise. For his part, Abbas reportedly spoke of dropping “a bombshell”, which translates to nothing other than the usual gimmicks and pandering to Israel and international oppressors.
Clearly, Abbas has not tired of absurdity and ridicule. Only a few months ago, the PA ignited international fervour with seemingly adamant claims that it would seek Israel’s expulsion from world football’s governing body, FIFA, another apparently corrupt body that clearly benefits from the export of Israel’s colonial brutality and surveillance technology. The PA’s stand was predictable; it was all an illusion that faded away as the time to move from rhetoric to action approached.
Palestine News Network has published the five main points which Abbas will purportedly tackle during his speech later this month. These include declaring Palestine a state under occupation; a discussion about the PA and international failure to resume the so-called peace process; reconciliation with Hamas; PA “efforts” at the International Criminal Court; and the Israeli incursions and attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Very few speeches at the General Assembly have been worth remembering; notable exceptions include Fidel Castro’s direct anti-colonial stances at an international level, which articulated Cuba’s reality rather than submission to, and endorsement of, external narratives. Indeed, evident in Fidel’s speeches is the repudiation of international diktats regarding the Cuban Revolution and its aims.
Abbas’s rhetoric even fails to acknowledge the obvious international complicity that condones and sustains Israel’s colonisation of Palestine. Primarily, Abbas’s role is that of a collaborator with Israel, as opposed to a representative of the Palestinian people. The lack of autonomy is also reflected in the constant regurgitation of topics, the only difference being a slightly altered articulation that is aligned perfectly not only with previous meanings and intentions, but also with the same processes that contribute to the depletion of Palestine as a viable entity.
The only tool at the PA president’s disposal, given his expressed abhorrence of Palestinian resistance, is diplomacy. Yet even within this realm, Abbas has achieved perpetual failure by clinging to his role dependent on Israeli largesse. PA rhetoric has exhibited a constant detachment from the importance of shifting discourse away from “the occupation” to the reality of colonisation. By utilising the international platform to repeat obvious observances that act as a veneer for ulterior motives, Abbas is wasting precious time while no doubt enjoying the spurious limelight.
Recent history has been inundated with alleged attempts at reconciliation and counterfeit acts of defiance. The unity government functioned as an extension of the PA to marginalise Hamas which, as part of its efforts to cooperate, ended up in a quagmire of its own creation by fluctuating between resistance and the two-state compromise. Numerous draft resolutions submitted to the UN Security Council have been prepared by France, which has openly declared its support for Zionist colonisation on numerous occasions. If anyone expects a different stance in the forthcoming address by Mahmoud Abbas, then that person is even more delusional than the president himself.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.