Creating new perspectives since 2009

It is time that the PA served the Palestinians, not the international community

March 4, 2017 at 9:00 am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (C), Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (7th L) and Palestinian chief negotiator, Saab Erikat (6th R) meet with the executive board members of Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in Ramallah, West Bank on February 13, 2017 [Issam Rimawi – Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gave a speech to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) this week which provided another example of inflated rhetoric which serves to derail any possibility of liberation. At a time when the two-state imposition is being refuted collectively, Abbas is distancing himself from collective Palestinian expression and aligning himself permanently with colonial intent through generalised statements which are void of meticulous discernment.

His speech was published in full by the Palestine Liberation (oh, what irony) Organisation Negotiations Affairs Department. It was another attempt to marginalise Palestine by placing higher value upon international institutions which have, in reality, served to undermine the anti-colonial struggle.

“Palestine today is a fact and with deep roots within the international community,” proclaimed Abbas, who may have been referring to the trickle of symbolic recognition, from flags outside the UN headquarters to state recognition and non-binding resolutions. However, his entire speech within the context of “fact” eliminates the importance of Palestinian history and memory in favour of action which is dependent upon legislation drafted primarily to safeguard the echelons of power, after which the same power determines eligibility with regard to human rights.

Referring to “fact” also loses effectiveness due to the gap between the Palestinian people and the internationally-recognised leadership which has failed to articulate even a sliver of Palestinian demands away from international impositions. The PA has subjugated Palestinians into a unique and derogatory role. For decades, it has been incumbent upon Palestinians to “prove” to international institutions their disposition towards ambiguous concepts such as “peace”, which has resulted in further demands upon the colonised population in order to appease — and even protect — the coloniser. In this context, Abbas’ demand “for the establishment of an international protection system for the Palestinian people, which will put an end to Israeli violations of Palestinian basic rights” is unfeasible. This is the man, after all, who views PA security collaboration with Israel as “sacred”.

In the same vein, the PA leader’s declaration regarding “our readiness and willingness to cooperate with all countries, including the US Administration of President Trump, toward the achievement of peace on the basis of international law and international resolutions” is proof of how Palestinians are tethered to obsolete paradigms, despite their objections. Like the international community, Abbas continues to avail himself of opportunities to limit the applicability of international law when it comes to Palestine, thus negating other legitimate options including resistance, which the two-state illusion prohibits for the sake of safeguarding Israel’s colonial expansion.

Similarly, Abbas’ warnings to the international community to avoid “steps that contribute to strengthening the Israeli occupation of the State of Palestine” are also ineffective. This is not a leadership that is speaking on behalf of the people but an entity complicit in sustaining colonialism and military occupation. In particular, demands for a “just and permanent solution”, while desired, are rendered irrelevant due to the entities involved in this hypothesis.

The network of international institutions is detrimental, not favourable, to Palestine, precisely due to the duality of available platforms and agendas. Hence, the two-state illusion takes precedence over Palestinian demands as it satisfies the agenda of international institutions while ensuring that Palestine remains an agenda item, instead of a territory and people with legitimate rights for the decolonisation of their land. Rather than exhibiting willingness to “cooperate” with anyone, it is about time that the Palestinian leadership turned inwards to enhance Palestinian visibility and demands; time, indeed, to serve the Palestinian people rather than the international community.

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