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The PA continues to reap humiliation from Trump’s visit

Palestinian demonstrators hold banners and posters during a demonstration in support of the Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, outside the Mahd Church in Bethlehem, West Bank on 22 May, 2017 [Mamoun Wazwaz/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian demonstrators hold banners and posters during a demonstration in support of the Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, outside the Mahd Church in Bethlehem, West Bank on 22 May, 2017 [Mamoun Wazwaz/Anadolu Agency]

Following reports that US President Donald Trump has prioritised the normalisation of relations between Israel and Arab countries prior to restarting diplomatic negotiations for the two-state compromise, misplaced accusations of “incitement” have resurfaced, allegedly during Trump’s meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

According to Israeli media, Trump “yelled” at Abbas, accusing him of incitement: “You tricked me in DC! You talked there about your commitment to peace, but the Israelis showed me your involvement in incitement.” The accusation cannot be construed as news; so-called incitement is a regular tactic used by Israel at times when its colonialism stands to benefit. It is the dehumanising language used which provides the foundations for a humiliation which the PA has not argued against in its mild declarations denying this president-to-president outburst.

Given US support for Israel, one cannot expect Trump to perceive Israeli colonialism as arguably the most extreme kind of incitement against Palestinians. If the outburst did actually take place, Trump’s accusation is a mere echo of Israel’s convenient catchphrases. The belligerence, however, contrasts with the PA’s penchant for acquiescence in every situation, punctured only by regular appeals to international organisations to intervene on Palestine’s behalf. Needless to say, all of these attempts to reach out have been rendered as insignificant as Abbas himself is with the people of Palestine.

However, instead of this insignificance following the equation of nullification, it is creating ripples of passive action in which Israel continues to benefit. Following Netanyahu’s incitement-loaded decision to hold a cabinet meeting in the tunnels under the old city of East Jerusalem – an action intended to demonstrate Israel’s claim of sovereignty over the whole city — Abbas’s spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeinah declared that, “Such arbitrary measures would harm efforts to revive the peace process and would lead to further tensions.” A statement like this is not worth quoting for its significance, for it has none; rather it emphasises how PA opposition to Israeli actions is still tethered to the obsolete and by now absurd notion that the international community has any interest whatsoever in halting the “Greater Israel” project.

Read: Trump’s visit to Israel: How Palestine disappeared from US media coverage

During the same cabinet meeting, a plan was approved to finance Arab East Jerusalem schools to adopt the Israeli curriculum. According to the Israeli Education Ministry headed by extreme right-winger Naftali Bennett, the five year plan seeks “to improve the quality of education in East Jerusalem… and to enhance the ability of East Jerusalem residents to integrate into the Israeli economy and society, and thus strengthen the economic and social resilience of the entire capital.” In other words, the plan is to eliminate Palestinian history, memory and heritage by imposing Israel’s fabricated colonial narratives upon the indigenous people. For their own benefit, of course.

Regardless of whether Trump yelled at Abbas or not, the dehumanisation cycle from oppressor, to collaborator, to the indigenous population, is not being challenged. Two main reasons account for this: the PA is openly sustaining Israel, which translates into a political dehumanisation of Palestinians from within; and the international community is more interested in creating dependency cycles through non-binding resolutions instead of eliminating colonialism. It is under these conditions that Palestinians are being subjugated to yet more diplomatic negotiations which Abbas has contributed towards and repeatedly stressed his commitment to upholding. The PA thus continues to reap humiliation from Trump’s visit.

US President Donald Trump (L) is welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) in Tel Aviv on 22 May, 2017 [Daniel Bar On/Anadolu Agency]

US President Donald Trump (L) is welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) in Tel Aviv on 22 May, 2017 [Daniel Bar On/Anadolu Agency]

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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