Middle East Monitor / August 27, 2020
Following a brief interval in which all attention was focused on whether Israel would follow through with its annexation plans, world leaders are now back with their usual rhetoric about peace negotiations and “saving” the defunct two-state paradigm. The UN, of course, is at the helm of this narrative, hailing the UAE-Israeli normalisation agreement as a step towards “peace”.
All that is left is for world leaders to kick-start another wasteful period during which the Palestinian people will have to make even more concessions, while Israel makes none whatsoever. In all likelihood this will be an easier process given the Palestinian Authority’s political isolation and Mahmoud Abbas’s clinging to the Arab Peace Initiative and the two-state paradigm, neither of which retain any political relevance other than buying time for Israel.
The meeting between British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Abbas in Ramallah earlier this week was a painful reminder of how, despite utterances seeking to depict the opposite, the PA is on the same wavelength as Israel’s allies. Apart, that is, from Abbas’s acknowledgement that Israel would go ahead with the annexation in due course, while the international community is interpreting “suspension” as a complete halt. Any political divergence ends there, though.
Abbas reportedly told Raab: “Peace will not be achieved by bypassing the Palestinians or through normalising relations with Arab countries. It will not be achieved in the form of the illusion of peace in return for peace.” International resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, declared the PA leader, are what can bring forth a peace agreement.
To put it succinctly, Abbas is substituting one form of illusion for another by even speaking to Raab and thus putting trust in the country that bequeathed Palestine to the Zionists in the first place. The trend of bypassing Palestinians is now not just an external imposition but also emulated and promoted by the Palestinian leadership. Britain and the PA are examples of this marginalisation.
The Balfour Declaration failed to even recognise the Palestinian people, swallowing completely the Zionist narrative about “non-Jewish communities” in Palestine. Decades of UN resolutions determined by the international community have consolidated what Balfour started in 1917. With the creation of the PA, the international community availed itself of an internationally-funded structure, paid to promote the international narrative at the expense of bypassing Palestinians. Even when it became clear that the PA had no other option other than to turn inwards and consult with the Palestinian people, it preferred to rely on initiatives which only reaped political duplicity.
If Britain really opposes annexation, as Raab claimed to Abbas, it would have called for a complete end to Israel’s ongoing colonisation of Palestine. The UAE-Israeli normalisation promotes the political charade which the two-state compromise embodies.
Indeed, the two-state paradigm also “bypasses Palestinians”, as does the Arab Peace Initiative. Endorsement by the PA does not make either of these diplomatic sleights of hand pro-Palestinian. The consequences have been demonstrated clearly. Palestinians are still being displaced and having their territory stolen.
This is not because an internationally-imposed framework has not been implemented, but rather because the Palestinian people have been forced into the role of spectators without a political voice. The international community has rendered Palestine unrecognisable, and the PA would do well to stop promoting fragments of Palestine as an acceptable “solution”.
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