The PA favours one form of normalisation over another

PNA President Mahmoud Abbas (Arab News)

Ramona Wadi

Middle East Monitor  /  October 6, 2020

For all the rhetoric in which the Palestinian Authority tries to assimilate with the Palestinian people’s resilience, there is no reason to think that the Palestinian leadership is attempting a different political strategy. On the contrary, not even the compromise required of the PA by the international community has served the leadership.

In the lull before Israel decides how and when to proceed with annexation, the PA is promoting another “international peace conference” which should be held next year and which will not hold the slightest sway over the normalisation deals which Arab countries are seeking with Israel. After all, the international community normalised Israel in 1949. The Arab world is merely following the same corrupt footsteps.

Yet this basic observation will not dent the PA’s enthusiasm for persistently failing Palestinians. The international community will not object to an international peace conference as long as Abbas is doing the work for the two-state diplomacy, and not for Palestine. Do Palestinians need additional, useless non-binding resolutions submitted to the UN General Assembly, voted upon and archived as reference but yielding no results on the ground?

The PA’s planning so far does not go beyond tried and tested initiatives which only reap failure. Palestine’s UN Permanent Observer to the UN Riyad Mansour has lauded Germany, Russia and China for their disposition to participate in the conference. However, Germany, for example, was among the European countries hailing the normalisation of Arab countries’ relations with Israel as “another important step toward peace in the region”. While Russia sees less value in normalisation without resolving “the Palestine issue” upon the two-state framework.

With Abbas’ endeavours in preserving international diplomacy, the international community is not under any pressure to alter its politics. Last week, Abbas described the UAE and Bahrain’s normalisation of relations with Israel as violating a “just and lasting solution under international law”. A truly just solution would require the undoing of what the international community has allowed Israel to achieve. It is not a question of the 1967 borders; that narrative is meant to promote Israel’s security narrative, not an independent Palestinian state. Palestine is absent in the international arena, save for when the international community deems it important to mention in order to back up the prevailing and distorted story of Israel, security and peace.

How will the international community back Palestine when it practices the same indifference exhibited by the UAE towards Palestinians? The normalisation agreements, according to UAE officials, will not be affected if Israel escalates its aggression in Gaza. Such statements differ little from the international community’s focus on prioritising Israel’s defence and both are rooted in normalising Israel’s colonial violence.

Another peace conference will only be a spectacle in which the PA openly disgraces itself for favouring one form of normalisation over another. The so-called “just solution” which Abbas supports is based upon Palestinian territorial loss, normalised through international consensus. Publicising the steps to further entrench this dynamic is not a political strategy; it is the action of a leadership that has nothing to give, not only due to the constraints of the PA being an internationally-funded entity, but also because there is not the slightest shred of introspection regarding the role it has played in ensuring Palestinians will be permanently shattered by loss.

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