There is one thing the UN and its personnel would do well to keep in mind when pontificating about the purported peace process and to promote Israel's security narrative: Palestinian children are not props for exploitation. At a time when the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees is facing a severe crisis due to funding shortages, as well as the misdemeanour allegations concerning its staff, the last thing the UN should be doing is exploiting Palestinian children for the sake of upholding the obsolete two-state compromise.
Earlier this month, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov posted a photo on Twitter, of himself and UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo, together with a group of female refugee students attending one of UNRWA's schools. "I hope these young girls grow up to participate in democratic elections where Palestine, Israel live side-by-side in peace and security," he tweeted.
Excellent visit with @DicarloRosemary to an @UNRWA #Ramallah school to meet with the youth parliament, discuss #humanrights #safety #dignity. I hope these young girls grow up to participate in #democratic elections where #Palestine, #Israel live side-by-side in #peace & #security pic.twitter.com/dKRM3kjqgP
— Nickolay E. MLADENOV (@nmladenov) October 7, 2019
Just because the colonial narrative makes Israel, peace and security synonymous doesn't mean there are no inherent contradictions in the rhetoric. The UN, a collaborator since before the inception of Israel, is, of course, aware of the discrepancies, but it prefers to enforce historical cycles of dispossession upon Palestinians, including students, framing them as a warped peace process in which Israel's existence is paramount, even at the expense of Palestinian lives.
Mladenov's wish for Palestinian children is not that they exercise their right to live freely in all of historic Palestine. On the contrary, he is demanding perpetual subjugation and oblivion of the Palestinian right of return, and what better way to attempt indoctrination than with the younger generations, according to the UN's delusional standards?
But Palestinians have remembrance, and that remembrance is political. Has Mladenov deigned to listen to the Palestinian children's refugee narratives? Are Mladenov and the UN expecting future Palestinian generations to exploit themselves for Israel's colonial plans? How do UN officials reconcile democracy with the colonialism inherent in the two-state paradigm, which is the purported solution envisaged for Palestinians by the international community?
Taking the latter one step further, since the UN knows that the two-state hypothesis is obsolete, it stands to reason that these Palestinian children, along with many others, will be witness to further colonial appropriation by Israel. Mladenov's legacy to this group of students will be nothing other than a promotional photo taken for UN propaganda purposes, while in the background; Palestinian families are permanently ruptured and dispossessed by Israel.
UN antics are not impressive; they are endangering the lives of Palestinians and attempting to tarnish students with acquiescence. Parroting about democratic elections while envisaging perpetual colonialism is vile, all the more when involving students in UN propaganda. So, stop the rhetoric of hope, which is an illusion when there is factual support for the elimination of Palestinian rights. Mladenov never intended Palestinian students' voices to reach the international arena. The promotion photo speaks volumes about how the UN coerces Palestinians into silence. When the focus is Palestinian children facing perpetual refugee status, it is clear the UN could not sink any lower.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.