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Protecting an obsolete framework is not a legitimate political option

June 15, 2023 at 3:30 pm

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh (R) arrives at the EU Council headquarter to attend a bilateral meeting in Brussels, Belgium on January 23, 2023. [Dursun Aydemir – Anadolu Agency]

The lauding of diplomatic meetings between Palestinian Authority officials and other political entities needs to cease, especially when the item under discussion is the obsolete two-state compromise.

“There is an urgent need to move immediately to protect the two-state solution at a time the Israeli government is pushing the Palestinian Authority to the brink of collapse and destroying the possibility of a Palestinian state,” PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has told the EU Representative to the State of Palestine, Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff, during a meeting in Ramallah.

Since when is protecting an obsolete framework a legitimate political option? All the meetings between the PA and the EU have been futile; those in the future will be no different. Not for Israel, of course, because while the PA ridicules itself — as is its role — and to the detriment of the Palestinian people, “protecting” the obsolete two-state paradigm allows Israel to further its settler-colonial expansion.

The PA needs to be called out for this treachery. As do the EU, the UN and the rest of the international community that upholds a defunct paradigm while claiming to support the Palestinian people’s legitimate political rights.

While the PA was busy reassuring the EU that it remains faithfully opposed to Palestinians gaining any semblance of independence, Israel announced that it will be building around 4,000 new settlement dwellings in the occupied West Bank. The PA could perhaps claim that this latest colonisation of Palestinian space happened because the two-state framework was not protected, but only within Ramallah’s warped logic would this be believable. A defunct “solution” protects nothing; it is merely non-existent.

READ: The PA foreign minister promotes Israeli impunity

However, the efforts to make the two-state illusion appear relevant reap immense rewards for Israel. Departing from the fact that the international community has completely normalised Israeli settlement expansion — despite it being illegal under international law — any rhetorical opposition Israel faces will just be added to news briefs. The settlement expansion will go ahead, the focus on settlements as international law violations will feature briefly, if at all, while the entire reality of Israeli colonisation will be obliterated from the mainstream narrative. From decades of international complicity with Zionism, the only discourse Palestinian and international officials have been speaking of is settlement expansion without the colonial context. It is as if the latter’s elimination as a result of the Zionist narrative actually eliminates colonialism from Palestinian land.

Settlement expansion is colonial expansion, it is not merely the building of new housing units. The two-state compromise does not undo Israeli settler-colonialism, whether it is obsolete or not. But promoting the protection of an obsolete framework is ludicrous. Is this the best that the PA can come up with to prevent Israeli from colonising yet more Palestinian territory?

Given the PA’s track record, it deserves no benefit of the doubt. The PA knows what it is doing; it is a compromised, corrupted entity that has coerced the Palestinian people into a framework that annihilates their liberation aspirations and legitimate resistance efforts. There is always the noble road to take – a revolutionary one that seeks out the people, rather than tramples over them to accommodate the Zionist colonial project — but this is too much for the PA. At the very least, though, perhaps a disclaimer could be published, pointing out that all of these meetings portrayed so grandly in the media are nothing but PR opportunities.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.