The PA’s official news agency works against Palestinian interests

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas met in Ramallah, May 2021 (Alex Brandon - AFP)

Ramona Wadi

Middle East Monitor  /  December 8, 2022

If a reader has to rely on the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency, the best one can hope for is distortion. A recent news brief published by WAFA, summarized from Agence France-Presse (AFP), selected a sliver of US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken’s speech to J Street – the liberal pro-Israel group which sees no contradiction between Jewish and democratic, and which advocates for the two-state compromise – and reframed it as determination on behalf of the US to oppose Israel’s settlement expansion.

Under the headline “US Secretary of State vows to oppose Jewish settlements and annexation of occupied West Bank land”, WAFA quoted Blinken stating, “we will also continue to unequivocally oppose any acts that undermine the prospects of a two-state solution including but not limited to settlement expansion, moves toward annexation of the West Bank, disruption to the historic status quo of holy sites, demolitions and evictions, and incitement to violence.” Only Blinken does not unequivocally oppose any of Israel’s colonial violence, let alone “vow” his opposition.

When Blinken speaks about Israel being Jewish and democratic, he is endorsing Israeli apartheid. Affirming US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in its entirety excludes Palestinian claims over the city, contrary to international resolutions and in favour of the Zionist colonial project. Stating that Palestinians and Israelis “are entitled to the same rights and the same opportunities” without mentioning Israel’s colonial enterprise is hypocritical, not to mention a complete erasure of what Palestinians have suffered since the international community’s complicity in endorsing the Zionist colonization of Palestine. Hailing the Abraham Accords as “something that we can leverage to improve the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank and in Gaza” completely ignores the fact that decades of normalization of relations with Israel, as the rest of the international community has accomplished, only resulted in the entrenchment of Palestinians as a humanitarian project to be funded at a much lesser cost than providing billions to Israel to spend on its military technology and weaponry.

As Blinken reiterated in his speech, the US provides $3.3 billion annually in military funding for Israel. “Our investment is crucial to guaranteeing Israel’s qualitative military edge in the Middle East,” Blinken told his appreciative J Street audience. Presumably, there is no link between funding violence, inflicting violence and the Palestinian victims who are subjected to Israel’s qualitative military edge. Blinken’s words on commitment to Israel’s security narrative, not only obscure its victims, but eliminates them.

Blinken’s speech shows absolute disregard for Palestinians, so why is the PA portraying Blinken as being vociferously against settlement expansion and annexation? Since US President Joe Biden took office in 2021, the PA did not even manage to get back to the earlier defunct status quo, no matter how much it tried to depict the Trump administration’s departure as the end of an era with no repercussions on future diplomacy. In the absence of any formidable opposition to US-Israeli scheming, the PA merely distorts Blinken’s regurgitated comments in an attempt to show the US purportedly standing up for Palestinian interests. However, the PA only fools itself in the process, since its official mouthpiece is as unreliable as itself.

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