Sweeping statements about concessions expose how much the PA is held in contempt

Ramona Wadi

Middle East Monitor  /  October 5, 2203

The only outcomes that the Palestinians can expect from any political negotiations are yet more settler-colonial expansion and talk about concessions. As the Abraham Accords continue to take centre stage, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu describing them as a historic breakthrough despite the various stages leading to the forthcoming normalization agreement, US Democrat lawmakers have insisted upon concessions for Palestinians in the vaguest way possible: “A commitment from Israel to halt settlement construction and preserve the option of a two-state solution.” Another demand is requesting a commitment from Israel not to annex territories from the occupied West Bank, which is what the UAE requested upon signing its normalization agreement with the apartheid state. Abu Dhabi has since confessed that normalization hasn’t stopped annexation plans.

Israel cannot commit to halting settlement construction, though, because the aim of Zionism, its founding ideology, is Greater Israel. As for the two-state paradigm, existing settlement expansion has already rendered it defunct. Moreover, the international community has been admonishing Israel for decades over both issues, to no avail whatsoever, because its security narrative takes precedence in the international arena, as does its ability to act with total impunity. Indeed, at a UN Security Council meeting last month, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process mentioned both the need to halt settlement construction and the two-state paradigm. One continues unabated, the other is moribund.

Succinctly, all that US Democrats are aiming for is empty rhetoric as concessions for Palestinians. When the Trump administration publicized the “Deal of the Century” and the two-state compromise was marginalized as a result of unilateral US decisions that accelerated Israel’s colonial expansion, the international community waited for the moment that it could once again indulge in its two-state diplomacy. Trump’s parting legacy – the Abraham Accords – was perceived by the international community as a means to revive the two-state rhetoric again. Since normalization agreements were signed, such rhetoric has merely embellished the picture for Israel, even though Netanyahu has been stating for several years that Palestinian demands are no longer a concern. This probably means that an independent, viable Palestinian state as envisaged by the two-state paradigm is never likely to come into being. De facto annexation by Israel of what remains of historic Palestine is already happening, and its formalization is still politically achievable despite it being a violation of international law.

Abbas will not influence normalisation with Saudi Arabia 

The scorn is also evident. According to the Times of Israel, senior Israeli officials have told the Biden administration that “the mayor of Ramallah” – a sarcastic reference to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas — will not influence the normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia. That’s true, because Abbas cannot influence anything; his position as PA leader is determined by Israel’s political need, not political legitimacy derived from the Palestinian electorate. However, such derogatory comments illustrate how irrelevant Palestine is in the normalization agreements. It is only the signatories and the international community that attempt a hypocritical discussion of relevance and gain for Palestinians, only to rehash decades-long warnings under the guise of concessions. The fact that politicians can get away with sweeping statements about concessions says a lot about how much the PA is held in contempt, as well as validating Netanyahu’s statement that Palestine is no longer a priority.

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