Middle East Monitor / July 25, 2023
The BRICS Summit in South Africa has given further unwarranted validation to the two-state compromise for Palestine-Israel. The Palestinian Authority’s official news agency WAFA promoted the reaffirmation by international diplomacy as calling for “the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
While BRICS is seen as an economic alternative – 22 countries have formally applied to join the bloc, while another 20 have expressed interest – its diplomacy for Palestine only promises more of the same defunct premises which have accelerated Israel’s settler-colonial expansion on Palestinian territory.
Economic inequalities may be addressed through BRICS, although the number of countries applying or expressing interest will inevitably veer the group away from the alternative economic policies which define it. However, the resolution at last week’s summit is reflective of how dominant the international narrative on Palestine is, and how BRICS is failing to challenge the international status quo to allow Palestinians the space to articulate alternative political strategies for their own future. This, of course, is no surprise. The BRICS group — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — are all believers in the two-state compromise. And all maintain diplomatic, military and economic ties with Israel.
So, while the PA lauds this latest resolution as an affirmation of support for Palestinians, there is no meaningful significance to the resolution, other than it being gesture politics of a repetitive nature, and a safe component of diplomacy which will not render BRICS a pariah bloc within the international community.
Countless UN resolutions on Palestine have simply encouraged Israeli colonial expansion; the BRICS resolution will do the same. Likewise, the PA’s attitude is to treat each endorsement of the two-state compromise as a step towards achieving Palestinian independence, despite decades of the same political framework leading nowhere and making the “solution” defunct. BRICS is calling upon Palestinians to endorse their colonized status, in the same way that the wider international community expects Palestinians to comply with the destruction of their land to accommodate the Zionist settler-colonial enterprise. Given their own experience at the hands of colonialists, it is astonishing that Brazil, India and South Africa can agree to this for the people of occupied Palestine.
With all the political changes happening among Palestinians and the increasing marginalization of the PA and its leader Mahmoud Abbas, BRICS could and should have opted for an alternative strategy. A statement supporting the Palestinian people’s right to anti-colonial resistance would have shifted the narrative towards an alternative form of politics, even if temporarily. Instead, the group has accommodated the international narrative, which is to be expected given its collusion with Israel and the international community outside of BRICS.
As with many other initiatives, it is only the Palestinians who are never allowed an alternative. In 2022, BRICS even called for holding an international peace conference, Abbas’s favourite strategy when all his defunct ideas are recycled into oblivion. It should be stressed that no group or bloc will abandon the diplomacy that sustains them in other international arenas, and that non-binding resolutions express no political will, but weak endeavours amounting to no more than appeasement with the colonial occupation state.
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