The Palestinian Authority is decades behind in its political approach. Israel is not “continuing” to destroy the two-state paradigm – it has already destroyed it. Ramallah has learnt its lines so well, however, that the international community can depend upon it to ensure nothing poses a threat to Israel’s colonial expansion.
Speaking at the Dutch Representative Office in Ramallah on the occasion of King’s Day, the PA’s Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, told Dutch diplomats and representatives in attendance that “The biggest challenge is how to preserve the two-state solution in light of the systematic destruction carried out by Israel,” noting that the settler demography is posing “a real threat” to the paradigm.
The threat, however, has existed since the 1947 Partition Plan, which allowed Zionism the foundations to pave the way for the complete colonisation of Palestine. Settler colonists are a necessary occurrence for Israel and definitely a threat to Palestine, but not to the two-state compromise. The two-state never aspired for an end to settler-colonisation in Palestine, but to appease Palestinians into accepting a semblance of a state of their own. Palestine would still be lost to Israeli colonialism.
If the two-state was a veneer for Israeli colonisation, why is the PA so intent on preserving it? Why does the PA want to preserve a concept that not only bequeathed Palestine to the Zionist colonial enterprise, but also marginalises Palestinian refugees, thus obliterating a major part of Palestinians’ collective memory and perpetual trauma?
Shtayyeh’s words, like the PA’s narrative, reek of betrayal. If the two-state paradigm was still feasible, Shtayyeh would be advocating for settler-colonialism to continue under the guise of “an independent, viable Palestinian state” which excludes Palestinian refugees while retaining all the implications of a state dependent on humanitarian aid. It is impossible to forget that the UN determined Palestine a humanitarian problem to exclude Palestinians from their political trajectory and rights.
Since the two-state framework is obsolete, and it is obvious that the international community retains the diplomatic structure only because it serves Israel, the PA’s insistence on preserving the paradigm only lends more overt support to Israeli colonisation. Achieving a Palestinian state within the colonial framework is impossible – Israel’s settlement expansion has seen to that. Besides, a state built upon the ruins of another will not allow the colonised to thrive in political independence. Land is a political issue – the international community only made it a humanitarian concern within the context of Palestine.
The PA, void as it is of political objectives other than collaborating with colonialism and the international community, only attaches importance to land in terms of the two-state paradigm. Hence, the PA’s concern about refugees and their own ties to their land, for example, is absent. State-building without Palestinian refugees is an illusion, and the PA’s preference for illusions is well known. It prizes symbolic action above any political alternative that puts land and refugees as a central concern. And, therefore, in its haste to continue accommodating a defunct international imposition on Palestine, the PA keeps granting Israel more impunity for colonising Palestine.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.