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The deadly condescension game

April 6, 2016 at 8:54 am

Last week, Mahmoud Abbas regaled the world with insight into security coordination with Israel vis-à-vis attempts to curb the ongoing Palestinian resistance. Apart from revealing that the PA security agencies are searching students’ bags for knives, thus seeking to credit himself with the occupation authorities through collaboration, Abbas also embarked upon a series of statements that exhibited contempt for the intifada and provided Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with opportunities to indulge in additional condescension.

Speaking on Israel’s Channel 2 TV, Abbas declared his willingness to meet Netanyahu. “If he [Netanyahu] gives me responsibility and tells me that he believes in [the] two-state solution,” he added, “and we sit around the table to talk about [the] two-state solution, this will give my people hope, and nobody dares to go and stab or shoot or do anything here or there.”

Yesterday, prior to meeting Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek, Netanyahu declared in reference to Abbas: “I’m inviting him again. I’ve cleared my schedule this week. Any day he can come here.”

Theatrics require at least a participant and an audience. Abbas has proved himself to qualify as both, given that his alleged attempts at depicting himself as a leader have catapulted waves of derision in his general direction.

The Palestinian president’s repertoire of stock phrases is predictable yet continues to regress into a constant devaluation of Palestinians and their resistance efforts. This is particularly so within the context of the latest uprising which, while lacking effective coordination, has clearly inscribed mistrust within the PA.

Yet he continues to dangle the illusion of “hope”, seeking to construct an alternative reality through ambiguity while clearly cementing his inferior political position by appealing to Netanyahu for responsibility regarding the two-state compromise. There is no congruence between colonisation and responsibility, because the former is synonymous with violent exploitation. However, the normalisation of colonial expansion espoused by Abbas is one which not only subjugates itself to the obvious ramifications that it has, but also conjures up an illusion in which colonialism simply does not feature, thus negating decades of Palestinian struggle.

Recent surveys have shown that Palestinians are partial to coordinated armed resistance as the means through which to achieve their national rights, rendering Abbas’ recent statements completely out of sync with reality. The stagnant political rhetoric has provided an avenue for profitable diplomacy, hence the danger in refusing to separate it from the resultant actions.

The discrepancy has served Abbas and the PA well; the latter can rely upon the international community to disseminate negotiations, or lack thereof, as an interminable situation that has failed to yield any change. However, change is actually occurring daily, which is why Palestinians are veering once again towards resistance rather than subjugate themselves to Israel, the PA and the international community.

Feigning oblivion is precarious; endorsing the concept in order to forge equivalence between the coloniser and the colonised is tantamount to treason. Yet this is what Abbas has sought to achieve with his concern for the safety of illegal Israeli settlers while Palestinians are murdered in the streets at Netanyahu’s orders. Abbas knows that the issue of loss is interpreted differently by the indigenous population and the settlers. That he has aligned himself with the latter is a horrendous act of betrayal and the Palestinian people are paying a heavy price. The condescension game is a deadly game indeed.

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