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UN General Assembly charades offer publicity stunts but nothing for Palestinians

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech during the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, on 20 September, 2017 [Palestinian Presidency Handout/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech at the UN General Assembly in New York [Palestinian Presidency Handout/Anadolu Agency]

While speculation about Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas's speech to the UN General Assembly continues, the trends unfolding on the sidelines are indicative of increasing restrictions, to the point that it will no longer be plausible to claim the UN podium to make the case for Palestinian rights. After all, the UN's motives are procured from the interests of countries that sustain its role, while Abbas remains cornered into concessions as per the game plan that started with the Oslo Accords.

More than a year after the frenzied speculation over US President Donald Trump's incongruous comments about his vision of a purported solution in Palestine-Israel, it is now confirmed that the US is sticking to the two-state paradigm. "I like the two-state solution," Trump told reporters during a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Palestinians, he said, with reference to the PA, will be "coming back to the table" for negotiations.

Meanwhile, Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni met Abbas in New York. She urged him to renew negotiations with the US to achieve a "demilitarised Palestinian state alongside Israel, not because of the US's punishments and the budgetary reductions but in spite of them, even if you have feelings of anger and you don't agree with the conditions."

Read: It's clear the US and Israel favoured Abbas. It's also clear he failed.

Wafa news agency has reported that the representatives of over 40 countries attended the meeting called by Abbas on Wednesday to reach a predictable outcome; that's right, "the necessity of preserving" the two-state compromise. In other words, the General Assembly is serving as another opportunity — one of many — for the international community and the PA to determine their intentional lack of any concrete vision for Palestine, although they are obliged to refrain from describing these repetitive meetings as useless. On fact, they have a dangerous purpose, to enable the colonial narrative to thrive with the imposition upon the Palestinians of an international definition of what Palestine should be.

The reality is that Abbas is far from gaining international support for the Palestinian cause, no matter how the PA attempts to spin the UN outcomes. So far, the General Assembly has clearly conveyed his role in sustaining the international community's designated outcome for Palestine, which is its total disappearance. The same international community which admitted that the two-state "solution" has been rendered obsolete has found no diplomatic opposition to its persistence in discussing an unviable outcome. This is because the annual meeting of UN member states is just an opportunity for leaders to grab some of the limelight and maintain the power imbalance to the detriment of the people.

In his speech, Abbas is not expected to veer away from what has been already discussed meeting. Palestinians are not fooled by rhetoric to "hasten", or "save", the two-state compromise. The PA, like the UN, is not driven by urgency; its privilege, dependent as it is upon the international community, makes it immune to Palestinian sufferings or demands. That is why, like Israel, Abbas has not refrained from exploiting and oppressing his own people at the slightest hint of collective revolt. The charades at the UN General Assembly offer opportunities for publicity stunts, but nothing whatsoever in favour of the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights.

Read: The lost Palestinian leader

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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