The PA is recycling its options

Ambassador Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer to the UN for the State of Palestine (WAFA)

Ramona Wadi

Middle East Monitor  /  October 14, 2021

“We’re trying to avoid having confrontations with the US administration,” Palestine’s Ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, stated in a recent interview with The Times of Israel. Obviously, US President, Joe Biden, did not turn out to be the expected alternative to Donald Trump, after all, and the Palestinian Authority’s euphoria swiftly took a blow. Mansour’s complaints about the US being too slow to act upon implementing the few dregs of support it offered to Palestinians says more about the Biden administration’s loyalties to what Trump rolled out during his tenure, in terms of concessions to Israel.

Biden and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, are in agreement that any negotiations are, at the moment, untenable. Abbas, having nothing other than the two-state diplomacy to fall upon, has been calling for negotiations to take place. However, as Mansour stated, the PA does not want the US to be the only interlocutor in the process. The option? A collective approach, commencing with the Middle East Quartet, which has declared the two-state obsolete, yet continues to base its relevance on the same defunct diplomacy.

The international community, Mansour stated, is not averse to the PA’s suggestion, and why should it be? It is not as if the Quartet’s involvement will jeopardize the PA’s reliance upon the two-state compromise. On the contrary—the more the PA reaches out to the international community, the easier it is for its bureaucracy to remain unchallenged.

During the interview, Mansour gave yet another example of how the PA glosses over major political decisions that contributed to Israel’s colonization plans. In discussing the Abraham Accords, Mansour downplayed the repercussions, pointing out that the signatories to the Accords still support pro-Palestine resolutions.

Maybe Mansour is forgetting that Palestine’s land loss was determined by resolutions promoting colonization and that subsequent resolutions have failed to address the root cause of Israel’s settler-colonial project. Or that the Quartet affirms resolutions and preaches the two-state compromise for Israel’s benefit.

It is true that US support for Israel is unrivalled. However, the PA’s alternative is to seek out allies among countries and institutions that have normalized Israel’s colonization of Palestine, for displays of symbolic support or, at the most, an affirmation that negotiations should restart.

Mansour has accused the US of “looking the other way” when it comes to settlement expansion. However, the PA has been doing the same, even more since the Abraham Accords paved the way for de facto annexation. More importantly, the PA has been looking the other way when it comes to reaching out to the Palestinian people for political alternatives, unless it looks to the people to single out potential, intelligent and articulate individuals who may pose a threat to the PA’s existence.

The US’s concern is Israel, not the PA. That, in itself, is a political decision, despite Mansour stating that the US is only concerned with the humanitarian paradigm in terms of Palestine. A refusal to engage politically with the PA is also a political stance, one which is reaping an extension of what Trump started in his presidency.

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