The Palestinian Authority has exerted its best efforts to appear to be taking defiant steps in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s announcements regarding Jerusalem. Yet it cannot conceal the fact that masquerading as the representative of the Palestinian people has resulted in political deficiencies.
On Tuesday, the PA boycotted a White House conference about the humanitarian situation in Gaza. The media highlighted the discrepancy of having a conference about Palestinians without a Palestinian representative being present. In fact, the conference reflected the political reality. US Special Envoy to the peace process Jason Greenblatt captured the situation from the collaborationist perspective succinctly when he said: “We regret that the Palestinian Authority is not here with us today. This is not about politics. This is about the health, safety and happiness of the people of Gaza, and of all Palestinians, Israelis and Egyptians.”
It is about politics, no matter what Greenblatt may say. However, his statement as reported by the Times of Israel reflects the efforts undertaken by Israel, the US, the PA and the international community to push Palestine, especially Gaza, as a humanitarian endeavour. This has allowed for the regurgitation of facts such as the lack of access to basic needs and for phrases such as “ordinary Gazans” to be coined, for the sake of sustaining the humanitarian narrative when deemed necessary.
If one eliminates the “ordinary” and substitutes the convenient “Gazans” for Palestinians, the humanitarian façade collapses instantly. However, insistence upon such terminology also indicates the fragility of the collaborative narrative, despite the system sustaining even from within through the PA. However, in order to move past the tactic of making speeches which only hold appeal for those who cheer human rights violations or segments of populations who remain politically uninformed, the absence of the PA at this conference should be read within the context of the violations it has itself enforced upon the Gaza Strip in its bid to assert control, and how its plans support US and Israeli objectives.
In exploiting the enclave for a show of power, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas catapulted Palestinians in Gaza towards additional misery. Hence, for the Head of the Palestinian delegation to the US, Husam Zomlot, to state, as reported by Wafa news agency, that the conference exploited the humanitarian situation for political ends should ring true as a statement for those who did take part in the conference, as well as the PA itself.
“We will not be fooled by any manoeuvring in order to return through the door of humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” Zomlot intoned, “and it will not change the position of the Palestinian leadership.”
This is nothing less than a political farce with macabre consequences. The PA’s shameless exploitation of Gaza is on a par with that of Israel and the US. Its presence would have done nothing to alter Gaza’s predicament. However, to speak of its absence as an achievement is beyond hypocritical. Whichever way the PA moves, it can only reap humiliation, which will propagate further delusion about its political role. The dangerous aspect of this rigmarole is placing the political burden upon the Palestinians, only to remind them that, as far as the collaborators are concerned, their politics are as marginalised as their existence. This is the other side of the coin when it comes to the purported political absence of the PA from such farcical get-togethers as the one held in the White House.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.