If the UN excels at anything besides creating the conditions for human rights abuses, it is keeping track of human rights violations and disseminating the statistical data. There can thus be no doubt that diplomats have access to the details of what is happening in Palestine; spreading awareness without taking political action has, after all, been the chosen avenue for decades. The Israeli-Palestinian “conflict” narrative couldn’t have opted for a better strategy.
Despite this, the Palestinian Authority still relies on the UN tactics when meeting with diplomats, regurgitating the most obvious statements and rhetorical questions that lead to further impunity for Israel.
“How long will the international silence continue towards what is happening here in Palestine in terms of violations and measures of the occupation?” the PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh demanded of the EU’s Special Representative for Human Rights, Eamonn Gilmour, in a meeting in Ramallah yesterday. Shtayyeh also cited statistics relating to Israeli violations and called for a cessation of “the double standard policies towards the Palestinian cause.”
Yet the PA itself employs double standards to the detriment of Palestine and the Palestinian people. Security coordination with the occupation state remains a primary concern for Palestinians. Moreover, the PA continues to accept meagre concessions; express revulsion towards legitimate anti-colonial resistance by any means; persecute Palestinians whose politics are not aligned with Ramallah; and marginalise the Gaza Strip and Palestinian refugees. It is pertinent to ask the PA why it insists on depicting Palestine through the lens of the international community, which is colonial in nature due to its complicity with Israel, instead of turning towards Palestinians to depict reality through the lived Palestinian experience.
Mentioning Israel’s violations is a weak positioning for the Ramallah authority. The international community has already normalised the spectrum of violations and war crimes which Israel commits against the Palestinian people, and this will not change on account of PA officials repeating statistics ad nauseam. Decades of Israeli colonialism have obliterated the concept of justice for Palestinians, because the international community embarked upon different measures of normalisation to protect the colonial enterprise. The PA’s adherence to the international community over Palestinians’ legitimate political demands also grants impunity to Israel.
Raising awareness regarding Israeli violations is becoming a farcical spectacle in terms of diplomacy, and a lethal one for Palestinians. While the PA and international diplomats consider that their accomplishments are costing the people of occupied Palestine irreplaceable losses, particularly because no one is concerned about the statistics anyway, we can’t forget the Palestinian lives that are hidden behind the data. Counting the violations while neglecting to hold the apartheid state to account for them is the international community’s accomplishment. With no political trajectory of its own, the PA’s upholding of the international narrative guides Israel to widen the parameters of its human rights violations and war crimes against the Palestinian people. Meanwhile, the exploitation of Palestinian suffering increases, as the individual stories that do happen to make the headlines are sensationalised with no reference to the colonial enterprise and the international complicity that enable Israel’s crimes to be committed.
The PA has abandoned Palestine in order to stick to the international narrative. This needs to be changed from within.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.