US National Security Adviser John Bolton has visited Occupied East Jerusalem during a visit to Israel, which prompted PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat to tweet, “Bolton’s support for occupation, apartheid, illegal settlements, annexation of territory occupied by force is unwavering.” There is nothing new about Erekat’s observation; Bolton is a known hawk, and the US is so pro-Israel that it flaunts its position by all means necessary and on every possible occasion.
Erekat, however, clarified his own position by stating that the real issue is not about being pro-Israel or pro-Palestine, but rather is being for peace or against peace. He totally missed the point, but there is no way that any politician in Ramallah will not take the chance to uphold support for the two-state compromise over justice and Palestinian rights.
Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman defended the postponement of the so-called “Deal of the Century” by saying that it needs more “wordsmithing and smoothing” before the details are revealed to the public.
Much of Bolton’s visit was obscured by Erekat’s tweets and purported ire expressed by the Palestinian Authority over the US delegation’s visit to Jerusalem’s Old City. This meant that an important comment made by Bolton during a press conference went largely unnoticed. Speaking about the US commitment to supporting Israel and its “right to defend itself,” Bolton declared, “A sovereign nation’s ability to defend itself is the ultimate mark of sovereignty.”
In light of this statement — which is also a mark of the internationally-endorsed two-state compromise and the prioritising of Israel’s alleged security concerns — why is Erekat finding fault with US diplomacy and not with the international community? Furthermore, why is the PA shielded from criticism regarding its tacit approval of Israel’s right to defend itself and its complicity in this process?
The answer may be found in how the PA aligns itself with facts to create its own politics of accommodation. However, despite mainstream media shortcomings over highlighting this fact, the PA’s tactics have long been exposed as one continuous betrayal of the Palestinian people. Clinging to the international community’s preferred keywords such as “peace” and “two-state solution” is the PA’s overt way of creating intermittent controversy over Washington’s scheming against Palestine, while endorsing the international pretence of safeguarding the Palestinians’ right to have “an independent, viable Palestinian state”.
If the PA is truly indignant about Israel’s occupation and colonisation of Jerusalem, why does it wait for a state visit by an American pro-Israel hawk to voice any displeasure? Why has it proposed little other than an international conference and the upholding of UN resolutions?
The truth is that Jerusalem holds no value to the PA other than being a topical subject upon which the Palestinian leadership can pontificate. While Israel utilises different forms of violence to colonise the entire city, the PA is still debating the differences between being pro-Israel or pro-Palestine juxtaposed against its own concoctions of “peace”. And this while eliminating the fact that Israel’s version of peace is a colonised land in which the indigenous Palestinian presence is gradually annihilated.
Tweeting against Bolton’s visit is far from a subversive act. The issue is not Bolton’s visit but the PA’s acquiescence to the US upholding defence as the “ultimate mark of sovereignty” in a selective manner. If human rights really were valued and upheld, the Palestinians’ right to defend themselves against Israel’s military occupation would surpass any “security concerns” of the nuclear-armed state busy colonising historic Palestine.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.