There has been a misplaced media emphasis upon Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s repeated refusal to participate in the international peace conference proposed by France. Three distinct but interlinked narratives are being isolated for one purpose; to portray the international community as a benevolent entity attempting to appease a polarised spectrum.
A recapitulation of the recent diplomatic discourse portrays French Special Envoy to the Middle East Pierre Vimont attempting to secure the participation of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority in a follow-up conference to be held this month. As quoted in the Times of Israel, Netanyahu’s office released a statement which labelled the French initiative as being detrimental to peace while asserting, “It was explained to the French envoy that Israel will not participate in any international conference convened in opposition to its position.” The statement also included an assumption that, “Israel is certain and expects that France will not advance a conference or process contradicting the State of Israel’s official position.”
The PA, on the other hand, has been embarrassingly eager to participate in the spectacle, and it is unlikely that the previous trend will be repealed, even though Palestinian factions have expressed opposition to further international interference in Palestinian affairs. It is, of course, almost useless to recall that even PA President Mahmoud Abbas has delivered a speech denouncing external impositions and imploring the international community to let Palestinians think “as Palestinians”. The only value in this remembrance is to contemplate the dangers presented by Abbas’s fluctuating positions.
Many truths emerge, the most prominent being the persistence in catering for the obsolete. If the conference’s aim is to get Israel and the PA to confirm their adherence to the two-state compromise, this has already been achieved rhetorically, even though entities with vested interests — such as the so-called Middle East Quartet — have also stated that the two-state “solution” has been rendered irrelevant. Hence, this is nothing but a spurious international event, one of several initiatives that have spelled disaster for Palestine while buying time for Israel to expand its colonial occupation.
Far more sinister, yet largely unacknowledged, is the way in which the international community, Israel and the PA have found the means through which to disseminate alleged clashes over objectives while working seamlessly in the interests of the Zionist ambition of “Greater Israel”. By relying upon simplification, the international community, this time through France, continues to propagate the narrative of conflict, which is the only premise available to continue a charade based upon euphemisms such as freedom, security and justice. It is colonialism as concocted by France, Israel and the PA. Alienation remains the biggest and most convenient ally; despite ample evidence of colonial violence by Israel, there is an absence of political will as well as a vacuum when it comes to constant internationalist support for Palestinians.
In the grand scheme of things, it is imperative to focus upon the perceived “lesser” actor in this whole farce. Abbas’s role as collaborator has been excused many times in different scenarios, mostly derived from the purpose behind the existence of the PA as a colonial extension of Israel. However, in the context of a diminished Palestine, it is equally important to clamour for PA accountability, if only to strengthen Palestinian narratives away from the conniving political drama. The forthcoming conference will be – in all respects – a colonial conference. Any attempt to masquerade as anything other than this — a scenario not only possible, but also very probable — will be no more than a shameful deception cobbled together for Israel’s benefit, at the Palestinians’ cost.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.