Israel’s colonisation of Palestine has altered the dynamics of politics and expectation to one of permanent exploitation and compromise. The two-state compromise, in particular, has ensnared governments, as well as many prominent institutions and groups to the point that opportunities for Palestinians to define their aims from within their own history and rights have almost been depleted.
On Tuesday, foreign ministers from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) met in Pretoria, South Africa, ahead of the 10th BRICS summit which will be held in July. The final statement following the meeting echoed South Africa’s demand last March, that Palestine should be a priority on the BRICS agenda. However, paying mere lip-service to a legitimate demand is harming Palestine’s prospects, rather than enhancing opportunities for anti-colonial, legitimate resistance.
On their part the BRICS statement as published by Wafa news agency calls for creating “an independent, viable, territorially contiguous Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel. The minister reiterated that the status of Jerusalem is one of the final status issues to be defined in the context of negotiations between Israel and Palestine”.
There is no point in pretending to make Palestine a priority when statements convey otherwise. The BRICS rhetoric is identical to that regurgitated routinely by the UN, the Middle East Quartet, the EU and the majority of governments around the world. Increasingly, Palestine is becoming an agenda item to be discussed within the context of normalising colonisation. This is creating an abyss in which many forms of activism are falling prey to unsustainable campaigning, while Palestinians are marginalised from their own story, forced to compromise on their own aspirations for liberation and purportedly supported by entities that prioritise Israel’s security within the context of creating a hypothetical Palestinian state.
From this meeting, it is important to place emphasis upon the fact that BRICS supports the two-state compromise. Putting Palestine on the agenda has been a brief spectacle, the likes of which are seen almost daily and which portray the discrepancy between words and action. Worst of all, a consensus among international actors has now been generated that follows convenience, rather than rights.
There is no differentiation within these circles between “Palestine” and “agenda items”. The underlying motive is to maintain Israel’s status by defining Palestine’s options from the fabricated colonial narratives. Since historic Palestine belongs to Palestinians, the indigenous population should be leading the strategy for liberation, after which peace can be discussed. Tethering the status of Jerusalem to international agreements and debates has resulted in Israel laying claims over Jerusalem, unilaterally supported by the US.
The ultimate hypocrisy is international insistence upon the two-state paradigm when it has been declared obsolete. Speaking over Palestinians to annihilate their voice – to the point that any possible diplomatic alternative can trace its origins back to the prevailing corrupted compromise – has become the norm. The political option for Palestinians lies in aiding their anti-colonial resistance, which the international community has ruled out through its insistence that Palestinians subjugate themselves to definitions concocted to appease Israel.
Keeping this in mind, is it not time that obligations are analysed from a Palestinian perspective? BRICS, like other entities, is merely concerned with replicating the vacuum of symbolism for Palestinians and paving the way for Israel’s “Greater Israel” project. There is no obligation for Palestinians to abide by any international demands other than the legitimacy of anti-colonial resistance. Upon international institutions and governments, there is no obligation other than to stand by their declaration to end colonialism. The latter is a farce – since 1990, the UN General Assembly has declared three decades “for the Eradication of Colonialism”. It is also an example of what Palestine is up against and how words are divested of their meanings to incorporate everything and nothing according to power.
Faced with the existence of an international community that is overtly dedicated to safeguarding colonialism, Palestinians have no obligation to anyone but themselves and their legitimate claims to historic Palestine.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.