Middle East Monitor / December 29, 2020
In yet another scripted audience, the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh met the outgoing UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, and made an inaccurate statement about the UN and international law with regard to Palestine. “The United Nations is a guarantor of international law and legitimacy,” he declared. “It rejected the deal of the century and annexation, and strengthened the Palestinian position on it”.
None of what he said contains a shred of truth. The UN has generated impunity that goes against international law. It has accepted the normalisation deals which pave the way for Israel’s annexation plans, with the latter bolstered by the Trump administration’s deal of the century. Furthermore, the UN has instigated a weakened Palestinian position ever since its 1947 Partition Plan.
Plainly speaking, Shtayyeh knows that he has nothing to praise as far as the UN is concerned. Unless, that is, by “strengthened the Palestinian position” Shtayyeh is referring to the UN’s promotion of the PA as a complicit, collaborative entity that makes the case against Palestinians at an international level, by blindly accepting the colonial demands inherent in the two-state compromise.
In this case, the UN and the PA are working in unison, particularly when it comes to annexation. The UN has referred to its suspension as a complete cessation, while the PA returned to security coordination — blatant collaboration — with Israel even before US President-elect Joe Biden made clear his politics regarding Palestine. Following Trump’s defeat at the polls, the UN and the PA quickly adopted the earlier normalised narrative of colonialism, to further reinforce the illusion that the outgoing US president was a mere hiccup in the status quo.
Trump actually exposed the collaborative dynamics between Israel, the UN, the US and the international community. Yet not even this overt aggression was enough for the PA to take a stand on behalf of the Palestinian people, if this meant standing up to the international community. The hierarchy in Ramallah will not, of course, ever do anything that might risk the loss of its funding, even at the expense of Palestinian political rights.
Earlier this month, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated, “Only a two-state solution that realises the legitimate national aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis can lead to sustainable peace.” The UN — “a guarantor of international law and legitimacy,” according to Shtayyeh — does not see the contradiction between (Israeli) colonialism and peace, as long as “national aspirations” can form part of a statement intended to gloss over what the international community intends to leave unacknowledged.
Perhaps Shtayyeh does not feel the need to recall that the 1947 Partition Plan gifted Zionism with the international consensus necessary to create Israel at the expense of the Palestinian people. Or maybe the Palestinian leadership is not so enamoured of its own historical trajectory unless its serves the purposes of meaningless commemoration ceremonies. Maybe when the Nakba anniversary approaches, Shtayyeh and the PA can trace the roots of the ethnic cleansing of the people of Palestine back to when the Zionists were still in the early stages of misappropriating the land, if only to see and acknowledge the UN’s role in the process. A next step would be for the PA to accept that it has wilfully enabled the UN to create impunity for itself and for Israel, given the Palestinian leaders’ constant grovelling to the international institutions to bargain for nothing other than a gradual decline of the legitimate political rights of the people who the Ramallah authority is supposed to be serving.
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