Having failed to protect the political rights of the Palestinian people, the UN is diverting attention away from the evasion of its duties by focusing on coronavirus cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. “This recognition of interdependence could – if there is political will – translate into tangible progress towards resolving the conflict,” declared UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov.
In these Covid-19 times, the humanitarian card is easier to play. “Interdependence,” after all, is more convenient for the international community than the dynamics of the coloniser and the colonised. If the coronavirus pandemic can be exploited to alter the foundations for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the UN will have achieved another boost for the colonial state.
Of course, Mladenov acknowledged the looming annexation which, “combined with the devastating impact of Covid-19, can ignite the situation and destroy any hope of peace.” In UN rhetoric, peace is prioritised over human rights, contradicting its own charters and requirements when it comes to the Palestinian anti-colonial struggle.
The Palestine Liberation Organisation’s Secretary General, Saeb Erekat, has not fared any better. As the PA embarks upon its stale lobbying of the international community to garner support against annexation, Erekat reportedly stated that, “The majority of international leaders oppose Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s colonial plans, by insisting that a two-state solution is the way out of the current Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”
Here we have two examples of pro-colonial intent from two political figures purportedly working to safeguard Palestinian rights. As a mouthpiece for the UN, Mladenov’s persistent downplaying of the Palestinians being deprived of their political rights, and instead promoting efforts towards “resolving the conflict” will not prevent annexation from happening. Erekat, on the other hand, promotes international betrayal of the Palestinian cause by presenting global consensus over the two-state compromise as an anti-colonial stance, which it isn’t.
While failing to articulate the demands of Palestinian people — because the PA is politically far removed from the collective experience of Israeli colonial violence through its collaboration — Erekat is unequivocally lending his support to international diplomacy, even though consensus on two-state politics does not constitute a solution, or even the premise of a solution. In all the current hype about annexation, it has become clear that the international community and its various institutions no longer consider Palestine a Palestinian cause. Rather, Palestine has become a diplomatic testing ground and Palestinians are victims not only of Israel weapons, but also of the global race to support colonialism through different political tactics.
The two-state paradigm is a colonial construct which facilitates Israel’s annexation plans. While US political backing through the deal of the century allows Israel to speed up the process, Erekat’s promotion of international diplomacy, rather than the Palestinians’ legitimate right of return to their land, is a bonus for colonialism. Decades of separating each Israeli violation from the colonisation process contradicts Erekat’s claim that international leaders are opposed to Netanyahu’s colonial scheming. The international community’s insistence upon the moribund two-state compromise is thus a tacit endorsement of the US-Israeli plans for annexation.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.