International initiatives exclude any voice for the Palestinian people

A Palestinian protester takes cover after Israeli forces attacked protesters during the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, at the Israel-Gaza border on 15 May, 2018 (Ashraf Amra - APA Images)

Ramona Wadi

Middle East Monitor  / February 4, 2021

With each diplomatic attempt by the international community to save the two-state compromise, Palestinians are guaranteed further loss of territory with every compromise that they are forced to make. What, therefore, is the Palestinian Authority hoping to gain from its obstinate refusal to come up with a distinctly Palestinian initiative for occupied Palestine ?

Countless resolutions have created the current scenario, but the political discourse which claims that UN resolutions are in favour of the Palestinian people and their rights must be abandoned. Check for yourself, but not even the Palestinian right of return as enshrined in UN Resolution 194 seeks justice for the Palestinians. On the contrary, it urges Palestinians to find a compromise with settler-colonialism – “their neighbours”, in UN-speak — and the ethnic cleansing of their land.

The PA has exploited the fact that Palestinians have grappled with loss for far too long. As an internationally-funded body, it has no loyalty towards the people it claims to represent. The simplest way forward in the PA’s eyes is to subject the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and independence to the UN’s symbolic support. When losses happen — and they’re guaranteed — the PA turns to the UN and international institutions, reminding them of their commitment to international law, leaving Israel to extend the boundaries of what is permissible, and the UN to nod its consent for further colonisation.

On Tuesday, PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh held an online meeting with Germany’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Niels Annen, in which Shtayyeh approved the Munich Formula Group’s peace-making diplomacy, yet another international initiative following a meeting between Germany, Egypt, France and Jordan last year. “The Munich formula track is a path supportive of the International Quartet, and it occurred in an important circumstance to counter annexation and the deal of the century,” Shtayyeh declared. Supportive of the Quartet, note, not the Palestinian people.

Now that the Trump administration is history, albeit still influential in terms of annexation and normalisation, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called upon the Quartet to meet in order to attempt a resumption of negotiations. US President Joe Biden has restored diplomatic relations with the PA and pledged to resume humanitarian aid. According to Guterres, “There is a strong will of the new US administration to play a positive role in creating these conditions for a true peace process to restart.”

Briefly, the UN is looking forward to resuming international initiatives that bring “dialogue” to the Palestinians, while facilitating Israel’s de facto annexation of Palestinian territory through its illegal settlement building. All of this is happening in the absence of a genuinely Palestinian initiative, because the PA does not have one and does intend to consult with the Palestinian people in order to put a Palestinian national narrative at the helm of decision-making.

For now, the PA is concentrating on electoral propaganda — including logistics and rhetorical defiance of Israel — over whether Palestinians in Jerusalem will be able to vote in May’s presidential election. The democratic illusion of this electoral process will satisfy the international community, particularly if the vote actually goes ahead and what is acceptable in Palestinian politics is once again determined by Mahmoud Abbas.

So far, the UN has found no better way to engage Palestinian politics without engaging the Palestinian people. With the Quartet back on the scene and Abbas’s democratic pretences, the international community has renewed its commitment to ensure that a truly representative voice of the Palestinian people remains excluded.

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