Middle East Monitor / February 2, 2023
If Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas had any loyalty towards Palestine and its people, his remarks during US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent visit to Ramallah would have had less to do with preserving the fallacy of hypothetical negotiations and the two-state compromise. Abbas relied on the usual narrative of how the PA abides by international law and how it is ready to work with the US administration even though, in October 2022, the PA leader told Russian President Vladimir Putin that he does not trust the US.
“We do not trust them, we do not depend on them and we do not accept that America — under any circumstance — is the only party in solving the problem,” Abbas told Putin. “It may be part of the quartet because it is a superpower, and we have no objection, but if it is alone, we will not accept it at all.”
Blinken’s visit, of course, proved otherwise. It is possible, of course, that Abbas does not trust the US, but who else can he turn to in order to ensure that the PA remains afloat at a time when Palestinians are resisting Israel’s colonial violence and the PA’s repression? The US official did not disappoint the PA when speaking about “the importance of the Palestinian Authority itself continuing to improve its governance and accountability,” allegedly to “improve the lives of the Palestinian people and also to lay the groundwork for a democratic Palestinian state.”
Unsurprisingly, Blinken said nothing about holding Israel accountable for its colonial violence, preferring to refer to “both sides” with the usual fabricated equivalence between the heavily-armed colonizer and the largely unarmed, civilian colonized.
Politically, however, Blinken’s statements on the PA’s governance pits Ramallah against the Palestinian people even more. The underlying message is that both Israel and the PA are facing a common “threat” to the previously established collaboration which resulted in the detention, torture and imprisonment of many Palestinians involved in anti-colonial resistance.
“We look to both sides to unequivocally condemn any acts of violence regardless of the victim or the perpetrator,” declared Blinken. Israel, though, will not condemn its own violence. The PA, meanwhile, is too eager to hold on to the international narrative on Palestine to safeguard its existence, hence turning against the people of Palestine is the easiest option. Condemning Israel’s violence but adhering to the two-state compromise is just one of the PA’s contradictions. The two-state hypothesis continues to provide Israel with ample time for colonial expansion and perfecting its atrocities against the Palestinian people. Abbas cannot claim to work in the interests of Palestinians from within the parameters of the defunct two-state politics.
The US and the PA are on the same page when it comes to suppressing legitimate Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation. For several years now, the Palestinians have not waited around for the political factions to re-ignite the anti-colonial struggle. The PA’s comfort in the previous equation of “resistance means Gaza, and relative prosperity means Ramallah” has also deteriorated, as Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are becoming more politically assertive. Blinken’s visit will achieve nothing in terms of the “equal rights” he speaks of with no mention of the colonial context. For Abbas, it just signifies a sliver of hope for clinging on at the helm a little while longer.
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