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Plan B for Palestine may exist, but the UN’s role is to eliminate its possibilities

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) shakes hands with Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres (R) in New York, United States on 14 January 2018. [Atılgan Özdil - Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) shakes hands with Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres (R) in New York, United States on 14 January 2018. [Atılgan Özdil - Anadolu Agency]

What UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in his remarks to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People affirmed the inherent hypocrisy of international institutions towards Palestine and Palestinians. “As I have said repeatedly,” he insisted, “there is no Plan B.” Guterres could have saved himself the trouble of his entire speech and merely affirmed its conclusion, words which have been uttered on other occasions since he took over the role from Ban Ki-Moon.

Given that both the Committee and Guterres himself are in concordance with the two-state compromise which has only served to encourage further and ongoing Zionist colonisation of Palestine, the Secretary General’s statement can only be interpreted as his renewed insistence on preventing Palestinians from achieving their inalienable rights.

This particular UN Committee was established in 1975 “to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable rights to self-determination without external interference.” Nevertheless, it endorses and imposes external interference upon Palestinians without the slightest sign of opposition from the Palestinian leadership.

This reflects the Palestinian Authority’s acquiescence to maintaining the question of Palestine as an external issue, to the point that Palestinian prominence at the UN has become less than symbolic. If the PA is unwilling to challenge Guterres and UN bodies which insist on prioritising Palestinian marginalisation, it is facilitating the Committee’s transgression of its aims.

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Since “external interference” played a major role in launching and securing the colonisation of Palestine, it stands to reason that the UN is facilitating a continuation of the process. The international organisation must be called out for its transgression of Palestinian rights, because at the moment it most certainly is not the institution to which which human rights organisations and the PA should resort. There is no doubt that the organisation does not deserve a pedestal of impunity, nor should it be deemed to be a point of reference for human rights.

Allowing the UN to retain its monopoly over “universal human rights” is a major violation which results in depriving all oppressed people of their rights. This is partly why Guterres will keep on insisting that there is no Plan B, for without genuine Palestinian voices being listened to, there will be no consideration of any such plan, even though that route could exist if only the international community would acknowledge and accept the Palestinians’ right to engage in anti-colonial struggle.

However, international interference, supported by Guterres and the Committee, has decided against a possible Plan B. Israel has thus become synonymous with settlement expansion which, the UN Secretary General said, deepens “the sense of mistrust and undermines the two-State solution.” Yet the international community has yet to make the connection between Israel and colonialism, and then do something about both. The two-state paradigm will not eliminate colonialism — it actually condones it — despite the existence of the UN’s Fourth Committee, which is tasked with decolonisation.

Nothing Guterres says or does will ever contain a sliver of possibilities open to the Palestinians. His rhetoric is predictable and justifies Israeli violence through the UN’s reticence about holding the settler-colonial entity accountable for its breaches of international laws and conventions.

When Guterres avails himself of another opportunity to reiterate that there is no Plan B, there should be a collective effort to insist otherwise. Without repeating the intrusive politics applied by the UN, this should then leave the space clear for the Palestinian people to decide the issue.

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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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