Middle East Monitor / September 18, 2023
It ought to be pointed out to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas that he has no political legitimacy to speak about the aspirations of the Palestinian people. They are capable of speaking for themselves, and are in no need of their anti-colonial resistance to be exploited internationally by Abbas and the PA.
Speaking at the G77 Summit in Havana, Abbas declared, “The Palestinian people, with the support of the Group of 77 and China, which we had the honour of chairing in 2019, are determined to overcome the historical injustice that has stifled their development and hindered their aspirations for a century. As we speak, Israel’s policies and practices seek to entrench its settler-colonial occupation, and impose the reality of apartheid, which must not be tolerated.”
This is diplomatic language which does not reflect the Palestinian anti-colonial struggle. As much as Abbas craves the amalgamation of the Palestinian resistance to international impositions regarding the two-state compromise, there is no link between them. Diplomacy as the PA understands it is reflective only of the international community’s insistence that Palestinians wait for their land’s entire destruction. Palestinian resistance wants the opposite; it wants to preserve what is left and to move towards liberation. The two-state compromise makes no mention of liberation.
So, when Abbas states that the Palestinian people are seeking to overcome historical injustice with the help of the international community, he should clarify that he only means the PA. It is only the PA that constantly seeks international support and validation, because Ramallah’s politics are those of the international community. The PA has shunned resistance, even criminalized it to ensure there is no change to the status quo in the occupied Palestinian territories. No historical injustice can be overcome through the PA’s tactics, when the PA itself is party to Israel’s ongoing violations of international law, as is the international community.
“This crisis poses an important moral and political question to the international community, which has invested politically and economically in the two-state solution,” Abbas said during his speech. “Isn’t it time to end this complex historical injustice that has affected the Palestinian people ?” From Palestinian resistance, which Abbas attempted to link to international diplomacy, to international investment in the defunct two-state paradigm, the PA shows no coherence. If it was still a viable option, having two states would not end the historical injustice inflicted upon Palestinians because it takes no issue with Israeli colonialism. Neither does it recognize the Palestinian people as a population forcibly displaced perpetually; hence, no rights for Palestinian refugees, including their legitimate right to return. Political and economic investment in two-state politics goes against Palestinian resistance and its aim of liberation.
It is the Palestinian resistance that holds Palestinian refugees at the core of the struggle, not the two-state paradigm, and definitely not the PA’s politics, which are far removed from including the refugees as political actors in any political process. The G77 meeting may provide an avenue for the usual accolades, but for the Palestinian people, the meeting brings nothing substantive and neither does Abbas. At the very least, he should have refrained from referencing the Palestinian resistance, only to exploit its initiatives for the purpose of embroidering his statements.
Ramona Wadi is an independent researcher, freelance journalist, book reviewer and blogger; her writing covers a range of themes in relation to Palestine, Chile and Latin America