Prior to the extreme electricity cuts in Gaza, the ongoing violation was treated as a daily tribulation. Now that Israel and the Palestinian Authority have collaborated in plunging the enclave into near total blackout, cautious reports have reached the media in such a way that they echo the preferred Zionist narrative that this is all down to an “internal political dispute”.
The UN’s concoction of the phrase, playing directly into Israel’s pocket, will suit the international community, Israel and the PA well. If less emphasis is placed upon the premeditation of the cutting of the electricity supply to the already besieged enclave, there is more chance of this latest violation becoming an appendage to the previous shortages, which gradually became accepted as a way of life and rarely elicits any condemnation from the international community. Over the years, the list of violations committed by Israel and the PA against the Palestinians in Gaza reads like a descriptive essay rather than being exposed as part of Israel’s gradual genocide of the Palestinian people.
Normalisation of such deprivation is the main reason why the imposed restrictions of just two to three hours of electricity a day have not generated any momentum of protest against Israel and the PA. The illegal blockade has crippled every aspect of life in Gaza. Politically and psychologically, the biggest ramification of this implosion has been the marginalisation of the Palestinian experience in the territory, despite abundant information and awareness. However, the dominant approach consists of a collective effort to dehumanise Gaza into an experimental zone where people do not matter; as one Israeli observer has put it, the territory is Israel’s “lab.” for military and security experiments. One of the desired results of all of this as far as the PA is concerned would be a weakened Hamas. This is most likely to backfire on the PA, which has increased its obsequious obeisance to colonial demands since Mahmoud Abbas’s meetings with US President Donald Trump.
Yet, like the electricity crisis, Abbas’s current political rampage in Gaza also has precedents. It must be remembered that in the days prior to the brokered end of Operation Protective Edge in 2014, the US expressed its preference for subjugating Gaza to PA rule. Abbas might relish the fantasy. Palestinians, however, despite criticism of Hamas, are unlikely to swap what started as a resistance movement for an entity that flaunts its dependency at every possible opportunity. For Israel, it might be the prelude to different forms of aggression, given its increasing rhetoric of “escalating tensions” while refusing to commit to specific details.
From a humanitarian perspective, the intended repercussion of cutting electricity supplies to almost nothing is to destroy what remains of normal life in Gaza. For some segments of society, it can translate into death due to the inability of hospitals to function properly, below the level of the already limited care provided. It is an abomination that the international community will not even consider changing its narrative to reflect the nature of such consequences as a direct result of colonial violence and complicity.
Politically, Israel and the PA are emphasising their collaboration to bring about a complete blackout of Gaza. The UN and its affiliated organisations are validating such actions through normalisation of human rights violations and will continue to determine Palestine’s narrative at an international level. For the sake of convenience, Gaza’s experience will only be disseminated internationally in a grotesque spotlight for different spectators. The extent of that viewing will be determined in accordance with what Israel and the PA determine; the latter is relishing its transient untouchable status.
As unlikely as it is for the international community to influence change in Gaza, it is also equally obvious that the PA’s current gloating over Gaza will backfire. If international isolation continues as a result of complicity, Palestinians will avail themselves of the opportunity to define their own political terms from within, to the exclusion of the PA. It may be able to enforce an electricity blackout, but the PA will not be able to enforce a political blackout, even with Israeli assistance.