Middle East Monitor / April 26, 2022
Earlier this month, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called for “international support for returning calm to Jerusalem” when tweeting about updating US Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the occupied city. Of course, Israel was portrayed as exerting “responsible and measured efforts” in order to maintain the colonial security narrative which is unquestioned in the international arena. No mention was made of Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians, not to mention recent statistics showing that Israel escalated its killing of Palestinians this year, when compared with 2021.
Bleating about international protection, which Israel clearly doesn’t need given the way that it decides unilaterally to “defend itself” with state of the art weaponry, is a tactic which Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas employs regularly. Lapid’s request borders on the ridiculous; since when does Israel not have “international support”?
Abbas, meanwhile, renewed his own calls for international intervention during a meeting with Acting US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Yael Lambert and US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hadi Amr. The request this time was for the US to intervene, with Abbas warning feebly that, “In the face of the lack of a political horizon and Israel’s failure to stop unilateral actions and abide by the signed agreements, the Palestinian leadership will soon have to implement the decisions of the PLO Central Council.” Of course this means nothing in terms of a threat.
Abbas is not in a position to make any threatening noises. Even if he was, Israel’s colonial expansion has garnered more tangible support since the 1948 Nakba than the Palestinians’ legitimate anti-colonial struggle has. Rescinding recognition of Israel and stopping security coordination are empty threats which Abbas cannot implement, because the PA is completely dependent upon the two-state compromise for its existence. How will Abbas maintain his political platform if he opts hypothetically to revoke recognition of Israel? And how would Israel be affected by such a decision, given that such recognition within the international community has eclipsed that of recognizing the right to Palestinian statehood?
Moreover, the more that Abbas loses face with the Palestinian people, the more that security coordination becomes a priority for the PA. This much has been evident and brought sharply into focus ever since Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz held meetings with Abbas with the aim of strengthening the PA to exclude Hamas politically. What’s more, the PA’s security services have been at the helm of disrupting unified political protests against Abbas with extreme violence and impunity, clearly taking a leaf out of Israel’s brutal security playbook.
Asking for international intervention has never brought any results, and Abbas knows this. On the contrary, it explicitly portrays the PA’s absence of political vision and integrity. Knowing that the US holds Israel’s interests to be paramount, how does Abbas expect the Biden administration to alter its policy? If the PA leader himself has persistently maintained that the international community’s designs on Palestine take precedence over the Palestinian people’s political demands, how much of a difference does he think a compromised request for protection will make to US foreign policy?
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.