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More symbolic solidarity at the UN General Assembly

November 24, 2015 at 4:18 pm

The annual “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People”, as articulated by the UN, was held yesterday, resulting in several condemnations of Israeli policy including settlement expansion. Described by the Times of Israel as “an annual event sponsored by the Palestinians” the UN General Assembly has once again resorted to symbolic support, issuing recommendations that are non-binding and, despite professing alleged support for Palestinians, sending a strong suggestion that an annual commemoration is all that the Palestinians deserve from the international community.

In his statement to the General Assembly, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine Riyad Mansour also embarked upon a rehash of symbolism, appreciation and gratitude. “Since its inception, the United Nations has defended our cause, placing it as a priority on the agenda of the international community,” he claimed, somewhat erroneously. The only reason that Palestine is on any international agenda is the UN’s collaboration with imperialist powers to smooth the way for Zionist colonisation of Palestinian land. Any supposed effort to “search for a just, lasting and comprehensive solution” is nothing more than an extended conspiracy which Palestinian leaders have participated in willingly, to the detriment of the indigenous population of historic Palestine.

While Mansour spoke about the obvious double standards as regards Israel and the numerous resolutions which have not been implemented, his speech fluctuated between outright flattery of the UN, mild displeasure and perpetual acquiescence. The selectivity when it comes to colonial expansion and the 1967 borders is evidence of “resolutions of international legitimacy” taking precedence over facts, notably ignoring the initial political nonsense that established an illegal colonial entity on Palestinian territory in the first place.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon attempted a publicity stunt in the assembly, showing photographs of Israeli settlers who have died since the incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque triggered the current Palestinian uprising, and accusing the UN of having “granted legitimacy to Palestinian terror”. He also attempted to equate the terror attacks in France with the Palestinian uprising by focusing on the victims, conveniently eliminating the fact that Israeli settlers are directly complicit in the state’s colonisation of Palestine (and are themselves guilty of many criminal acts, including murder, against Palestinians). The illusion of “civilians” in Israeli rhetoric has, unfortunately, provided enough metaphorical ammunition for the international community to sustain its hypocritical agenda, that of safeguarding Israel’s “right to defend itself” while seeking to appease Palestinians with gestures that barely have any impact beyond temporary news briefs.

It is worth noting that while Danon was posturing at the UN and clamouring for further impunity, state and settler terror continued unabated in Hebron, Ramallah and Tulkarem. Further collective punishment against Palestinians in the form of raids on villages, barricading whole areas and home demolition orders continued, as evidence of Israel’s perpetual preoccupation with stifling Palestinian resistance.

Aida refugee camp was also targeted yesterday. According to Ma’an news agency, Israeli forces “set up a military outpost” on the roof of the camp’s community centre and proceeded to raise an Israeli flag, barely a month after residents were threatened for persisting in resistance activities by Israeli troops announcing, “We will hit you with gas until you die.”

It stands to reason that Mansour, and other leaders spouting similar rhetoric, have different intentions and ulterior motives when phrases such as “peace is our ultimate goal” are uttered. No amount of logic can formulate any solution based upon the acceptance of colonial exploitation and terror, and no amount of symbolic solidarity is likely to make one iota of difference to the reality of Israel’s brutal military occupation.

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