Last week, the UN Security Council discussed a draft resolution on providing international protection for Palestinians, upon request by Kuwait's permanent representative to the UN, Mansour Al-Otaibi. By the end of this week, the UNSC will be voting on the resolution, with Wafa news agency reporting that if the US uses its veto, Palestinians will call upon the UN General Assembly for "an extraordinary meeting under the title 'Uniting for Peace'".
It is safe to say that Palestinians are ensnared politically, and every gesture that is ostensibly for their protection is but another manacle that consolidates their isolation. Lest anyone jump on the bandwagon of "protection", it is best that one takes into account that the international community has repeatedly confirmed its loyalties lie with Israel. Its credibility as regards protection, therefore, should be immediately denounced. Asking two fundamental questions juxtaposed against each other would clarify international intentions once and for all.
What does Palestine mean for Palestinians? What does Palestine mean to the international community?
For the first question, it is imperative that one draws upon Palestinian narratives of their land and follow the trajectory of how the entire territory that is their right was colonised by Israel's existence. From that departure point, it is also important to include two rights that the international community wilfully ignores: the right of return and the right of struggle, by all means, against colonialism.
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The second question deals more with disregard rather than concern. Even before Israel's inception, Palestine was treated as a commodity and its people fodder for collateral damage. The Partition Plan of 29 Novermber 1947 is now hypocritically marked as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Let us be clear upon what this alleged solidarity has entailed: supporting colonial Israel and its so-called "right to defend itself" against the population that it has colonised and ostracised. UN solidarity has condoned massacres of Palestinians and forced displacement. In return, it has dedicated one specific day for remembrance which has yet to cause revulsion internationally, rather than acquiescence to commemoration.
The juxtaposition between both questions occurs now, in terms of the Palestinian right of return and their right to struggle for liberation from colonialism. On paper, the UN has not denied these rights. However, it has forced Palestinians into a vacuum where knowledge of rights is not tantamount to accessibility. The UN has created slogans for Palestinians while aiding Israel diplomatically, to the point that is has become a duty to separate the authentic, internationalist, solidarity with Palestinians from the exploitative, symbolic, corrupted remembrance which the UN has bequeathed to Palestinians.
As the UN derives impunity from its own existence, with what conscience can we declare approval for protection emanating from the institution? We must remember that "international protection" is concocted from the exterior, with Palestinians having little to no say in how such protection would be provided, what form would it take and what parameters would be imposed by the UN. Is it too late to remember that during other massacres, UN rhetoric was primarily concerned with Israel's "right to defend itself"? Does memory fade with the passing of years to the point that the Nakba and subsequent massacres are forgotten? I believe not. A memory that emanates from within has the power to transcend time.
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Palestinians do not deserve repetitive attempts at manipulating their rights and having the UN establish its collaborative dominion at their expense. This is not to say that Palestinians do not need protection. However, they are not in need of protection from Israel's accomplices to degrade their options further by increasing their risks of being politically targeted. Two rights and the means to achieve them are what Palestinians need – the right of return and the right to struggle by all means for liberation. A unifying, internationalist force that is ready to stand by Palestinians to help them achieve their rights. Anything less than that is calling Palestinians to play a part in their betrayal.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.