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The PA has no politics of its own, only compromise

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Sochi, Russia on 23 November 2021 [MIA Rossiya Segodnya/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Sochi, Russia on 23 November 2021 [MIA Rossiya Segodnya/Anadolu Agency]

In October, US State Department Spokesman Ned Price opposed "the expansion of [Israeli] settlements, which is completely inconsistent with efforts to lower tensions and to ensure calm, and it damages the prospects for a two-state solution." During a virtual meeting earlier this month between US and Palestinian officials to renew the US-Palestinian Economic Dialogue (USPED), the US Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Yael Lempert stated that improving economic relations with the Palestinian Authority would advance "our overarching political goal: a negotiated two-state solution, with a viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel."

It is little wonder, therefore that an unnamed Palestinian official quoted by the Jerusalem Post is expressing the opinion that Washington's settlement policy is "a 180 degree turn" from that adopted by US President Joe Biden's predecessor Donald Trump. All the PA is seeking is a reiteration of what the international community has long reached consensus on; a rhetorical agreement that provides a veneer for Israeli impunity.

"The Biden administration shares our view that Israel's settlement policy is an obstacle to peace and the two-state solution," the unnamed official was quoted as saying. If this is all the PA needed to be convinced of a change in US policy, the level of delusion in Ramallah is reaching new heights.

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Perhaps the PA needs a reminder that Biden is not against Trump's policies and has made no effort to restore the US position to that of the pre-Trump era. Even America's humanitarian donations to UNRWA were only cautiously and partly restored, with caveats, a far cry from the expectations that the PA had upon Biden's electoral triumph when it rushed to reconcile with Washington without knowing what the new US president had in mind.

On the more pressing issues, such as Jerusalem and Israel's de facto annexation of occupied Palestinian land, Biden is content to allow Trump's legacy to run its course, with obvious benefits for Israel. If the PA were to be taken seriously on the subject of Palestinian independence, it would speak about the discrepancies in Biden's narrative as the administration still upholds most of Trump's policies. Unfortunately, the PA can only be taken seriously on account of its complicity with external actors that undermine the political rights of the Palestinian people. On that level, the PA can boast a list of achievements that continue to jeopardise the entire Palestinian anti-colonial struggle, in return for nothing but illusory state building.

The PA has no politics of its own, only compromise. If the US is on a par in terms of policy with Palestinian demands, then that is all the more reason to demand a change in leadership and hold free and fair democratic elections in Palestine. The PA aligning itself openly with a strategy that sabotages any shard of Palestinians' political rights goes beyond two-state hypocrisy. What the PA refuses to consider is that the two-state "solution" is now subservient to the changes effected by Trump, notably de facto annexation. Indeed, the two-state option was declared to be dead in the water even before Trump entered the White House. Nevertheless, ever since he provided the tools for the complete annihilation of that "solution", the PA is still chasing its spectre.

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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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