Two statements from the EU within a few days of each other portray the duplicity of its policy towards Palestine. With the two-state compromise always looming in the background as a reminder of how the international community never intended Palestinians to have their own state, let alone liberate themselves from Israel’s colonial land grab, the EU is praising the Palestinian Authority’s return to security coordination while condemning Israel’s colonial expansion.
German Chancellor Angel Merkel was the latest European leader to comment about the PA’s own brand of normalising relations with Israel. PA leader Mahmoud Abbas asserted the willingness to resume negotiations “in accordance with international legitimacy” and the intention to “strengthen our relations with the Arab countries.” Befriending traitors at the expense of the Palestinian people is the PA’s style, and this is the clearest-ever demonstration of poor leadership by Abbas.
Meanwhile, Israel’s decision to build 1,257 settler dwellings in Givat Hamatos in occupied East Jerusalem as part of the de-facto annexation it is working towards has prompted the usual criticism from the EU. European leaders have also spoken out against the planned settlement expansion, with the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs calling upon Israel to “reverse this decision” upon the basis of the two-state paradigm, which Israel holds in contempt.
The EU’s approval of the PA’s subjugation illustrates just how easy it is to feign support for Palestine while leaving the door open for Israel’s ongoing violations of international law, even after its officials experienced settler violence first hand during a recent European delegation’s visit to Givat Hamatos.
Meanwhile, there is less clarity with regard to the conditions under which the PA has returned to security coordination with Israel. The colonial state’s alleged honouring of agreements means nothing when colonialism itself does not meet the requirements of international law. International consensus holds even less validity when it is breached by the same entities drafting what should happen to Palestine. Without any departure from the so-called consensus, colonialism is still given free rein partly due to the restrictions placed upon Palestinians. If Israel overrides all concessions while facing no penalties for its actions, what assurance does the PA have that it will keep to the defunct two-state premise, more so at a time when outgoing US President Donald Trump has altered the two-state concept permanently through the deal of the century?
The EU’s role in influencing the resumption of security coordination between Israel and the PA rests upon a different recognition. It is not a return to the pre-Trump politics, but a way forward to consolidate Trump’s politics without his presence. Israel will not give up any of its gains and security coordination as a step towards the resumption of negotiations will be subject to Trump’s policies now setting the scene for Joe Biden’s presidency. In light of the forthcoming diplomacy, the EU’s criticism of Israel’s settlement expansion will hold even less value for Palestine, more so when it is realised that normalising Israel and its crimes has been validated from the very top of the Palestinian Authority.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.