A recent report by Axios revealed that Israel is open to discussing “post-war Gaza” with US officials, noting that US Vice President Kamala Harris’s national security adviser Phil Gordon and Middle East Adviser Ilan Goldenberg met with Israeli and Palestinian Authority officials this week. The question of whether the PA should be allowed to return in a governing role in Gaza was a central issue.
However, the report stands out in terms of the intention to preserve Israeli settler-colonialism. Palestinians in Gaza are merely mentioned as a collective requiring humanitarian aid, but are kept absent from the political discussion. Whether Israel colonises Gaza directly as the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) hints in taunting videos, or the PA enters the scene, the fact remains that Palestinians in Gaza are deprived completely of political options. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ statement that “there is no plan B” has sown unprecedented levels of destruction and allowed Israel to inflict the next stage of its colonisation plans upon the Palestinians in Gaza through the IDF’s presence, while the US pushes the status quo that the PA is the only solution for Palestinian politics.
US officials have visited Israel each week since the bombing of Gaza started, providing military assistance to the apartheid state, the latest being 100 bunker buster bombs. Such weapons were used in Iraq and Afghanistan in open areas. In Gaza, 900kg bombs are being used in densely-populated areas by Israel to ethnically cleanse the enclave. And yet, the US explains its regular presence in Israel on the grounds that it is able “to engage the Israelis and Palestinians face to face on the issue of the day-after.” A plan is necessary, Gordon explained, to prevent the return of Hamas to Gaza.
Asking the US to intervene on behalf of Palestinians, knowing that Israel is using US arms and ammunition to bomb Gaza, is one contradictory way of doing diplomacy
In the occupied West Bank, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas exhibited further weakness by bleating to Gordon about how forced displacement will not be allowed. Abbas, with no legitimacy, no military and totally beholden to foreign donors, is merely exhibiting how weak Palestinian politics is. Asking the US to intervene on behalf of Palestinians, knowing that Israel is using US arms and ammunition to bomb Gaza, is one contradictory way of doing diplomacy. But that is the role that the PA serves, and of course Abbas can be assured that humanitarian aid will still trickle insignificantly to Palestinians, making them perpetually colonised and struggling to survive, while remaining politically out of reach and forced into silence. “We will not and have not abandoned our people in the Gaza Strip,” Abbas declared, without mentioning the fact that the PA imposed sanctions on the besieged territory in 2017 in a bid to force Hamas to relinquish power, while unleashing the security forces in Ramallah on Palestinians protesting against the measures.
No wonder the US wants the PA to govern Gaza in its concept of a post-Hamas scenario. While Israel is clearly ready for the next colonisation phase, the US is attempting to draw out the obvious a little longer, to maintain both the colonial process and the humanitarian farce. However, both the US and Israel should know that obliterating Hamas, if it is feasible (how do obliterate an ideology?), does not mean the end of the Palestinian anti-colonial struggle. As long as the colonial occupation exists, so will legitimate resistance.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.