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The French farce reveals the lack of genuinely neutral interlocutors for the Palestinians

Palestinian man scuffles with an Israeli border policeman in West Bank village of Yatta, south of Hebron June 19, 2016 [file photo]
Palestinian man scuffles with an Israeli border policeman in West Bank village of Yatta, south of Hebron June 19, 2016 [file photo]

The fact that the same entities and people continue to support interminable compromised “negotiations” should be enough proof — if ever proof was needed — that the French initiative is a prescription for the further deterioration of the Palestinian cause. According to Ma’an news agency, the EU Foreign Affairs Council is to adopt a resolution that backs the French farce and calls for an international peace conference in which both Israel and Palestine would participate. Clearly, beyond the realm of conferences and repetitive rhetoric, the EU will not be supporting anything innovative, let alone an anti-colonial strategy.

Ma’an reported that Abbas has reiterated his “commitment to the two-state solution, adding that all illegal settlement activity should be halted and that there should be a timeframe for negotiations under international monitoring.” All of these conditions, like the premise under which they were repeated, are inconclusive and accommodating; the PA president has made a series of weak statements which do not support the return of Palestinian land, the refugees’ right of return and the end of Israeli colonialism. Furthermore, the illusion of “international monitoring” is perilous and contentious.

The notion of an allegedly accountable international community has been disseminated by the Palestinian Authority as an alternative not only to the systematic repression embodied by Israel, but also as a preferable option to Palestinian autonomy. Disguised as goodwill and willingness to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinians, the constant referrals of their case to the international community should be interpreted as a reminder of the PA’s acceptance of international support for establishing a colonial entity in Palestine called the State of Israel.

While much has been said about professed support from countries and international institutions regarding “the creation of an independent viable Palestinian state”, it should be remembered that the majority of these interlocutors have supported Israel’s existence since 1948 or soon thereafter. Palestine remains an isolated exception in international affairs; it is an occupied land yet to experience honest, tangible support that is not tarnished by a warped simultaneous commitment to the occupying state. If Palestine keeps relying upon such compromised support, which seems to be the sum total of the PA’s ambition, any purportedly supportive gestures will retain the same characteristics of acquiescence and betrayal.

Palestinians already know what to expect from the international community: symbolic gestures such as the flying of the flag at the UN; non-binding recognition of statehood; condemnation of settlement expansion without accompanying punitive measures in the face of Israel’s contempt for international law; financial and military support for Israel when it embarks on its frequent military offensives in the Gaza Strip; and silence when it comes to the massacres, displacement and forced disappearances of Palestinians. Despite all of this, Abbas applauds the intervention and intrusion of the international community in Palestinian affairs.

Herein lies the contradiction upon which many repercussions follow. Apart from civil society activism, Palestine is lacking in internationalist support. The isolation is almost complete; reference to Palestine is mostly weighed down by the colonial narrative and obfuscated by external impositions.

The only relevance which Palestine has gained within the international community is defined through the corrupt institutions which actually accept and promote colonialism as a solution, rather than being defined within the international community through the Palestinians’ collective memory. Convenience and colonisation have served Israel, the PA and the international community well. What the French farce and the ensuing ramifications have revealed is that there is not a single entity within the international community that is willing to cast aside the dangerous, patronising attitude embodied by Abbas and act as a genuinely neutral interlocutor for the Palestinians.

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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