There is increasing evidence that international overtures, ostensibly to safeguard Palestinian rights, are nothing but pretence. Following Israel’s High Court ruling in favour of the destruction of Khan Al-Ahmar, which will displace the entire community, the EU has subjected Palestinian rights to the dictates of Israeli interests.
In a letter to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, B’Tselem insisted that leniency “articulates to the Israeli leadership, and to the Israeli public, that the EU accepts the current reality, and that, in fact, it is helping to sustain and advance it.” The letter also states: “The destruction of an entire Palestinian community is the clearest recent expression of Israel’s unabashed disregard for the supposed shared values that presumably lie at the core of its relationship with the EU.”
The second statement quoted from B’Tselem’s letter is an example of how there is still some reluctance to describe the ties between Israel and international institutions as being based upon the shared intent to exploit the downtrodden. Indeed, Mogherini herself spelled out the collusion between Israel and the EU in her response to Khan Al-Ahmar’s pending demolition. In comments quoted by Haaretz, Mogherini deemed the court decision to be “a blow against the viability of the State of Palestine and against the very possibility of a two-state solution.” This, however, was just a prelude to the real reason; obtaining a “two-state solution”, she stated, was “mainly in Israel’s interest… This is why the European Union does not and will not give up on a negotiated two state solution.” She assumes the absence of other valid options.
Since it is widely accepted that the two-state compromise is no longer viable, Mogherini’s insistence — like that of many others, including the Palestinian Authority — is related to the time required by Israel to colonise all of Palestine. There are other options, of course, but the entrenched system is in place to prevent the Palestinian people from fulfilling their aspirations.
As a result, the perpetuation of human rights violations forces Palestinians to step back from their demands. It is, therefore, through organisations that Palestinians are rendered visible. Yet the dissemination of their demands by rights groups is muted due to the dynamics that create several, perhaps unintended, levels of complicity. What constitutes a norm does not translate to rights. Appealing to Mogherini, or the EU, or any other international institution, is mere participation in a bureaucratic process that goes against the concept of human rights.
So far, the quest for Palestinian rights has followed the same, tired formula of appealing to collaborators for some degree of understanding about the severity of violations, which is a travesty in itself as there is full knowledge and acceptance of Israel’s colonial project in Palestine. Furthermore, it creates a link between human rights organisations and international institutions that forces the former to construct their arguments departing from the normalised violations which are rarely questioned.
Khan Al-Ahmar has once again been exploited, and not only within its impending demolition. Between B’Tselem’s argument regarding alleged “shared values” as opposed to a shared interest in tackling violations by Israel and the EU, and Mogherini’s exposure of the rhetorical two-state paradigm as furthering Israeli interests, Palestinians are once again relegated to waiting for their dispossession, expendable in the charade labelled “human rights” and “the peace process”.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.