Middle East Monitor / February 14, 2023
If the two-state compromise provided Israel with the veneer necessary for gradually moving towards annexation through settlement expansion, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas might as well ask the UN to declare publicly its allegiance to the settler-colonial enterprise. At the Arab League Conference in Support of Jerusalem held in Cairo, Abbas stated that he will “demand a resolution confirming the protection of the two-state solution by granting the State of Palestine full membership in the United Nations.”
Meanwhile, the US has asked the PA to refrain from taking steps “against Israel” at the UN, as well as to resume security coordination with the occupation state. The Biden administration has also called for a temporary halt to Israel’s settlement expansion.
In response, Israel “legalized” under its own laws nine settler outposts, with no reaction from the US other than a statement by the State Department’s spokesman Ned Price indicating complete acquiescence. “Israel of course is going to make its own sovereign decisions,” Price declared. “We have made our opinion, our very strong opinion on this very clear.”
Israeli Finance Minister Belazel Smotrich echoed Price’s words. “The current administration [in Washington] knows that this government is committed to the settlements. There’s nothing wrong with two friends having disputes. They understand, and that’s the way things will continue.”
All of Israel’s settlements and settlement “outposts” are illegal under international law.
While the US and Israel play out their allegiances, the PA does nothing other than to attempt what has failed previously. The Arab League has been tainted for decades as a result of its members normalizing relations with Israel or signing treaties, even as the organization professes support for Palestine. The Abraham Accords brought Arab leaders’ hypocrisy back into the spotlight, as the UAE and Bahrain became signatories to the normalization agreements. For a while, Abbas played a purportedly opposing role, while succumbing to the previous Israeli government’s overtures of concessions just to remain politically afloat, even if illegitimately.
Abbas seeking UN reassurance to protect the two-state compromise will not stop Netanyahu, but it does continue to shed light on his complicit leadership of the PA. The Ramallah authority does not want to highlight the Palestinian people’s consciousness of how much is at stake; doing so would require a different brand of politics and one for which the PA cannot and will not assume responsibility. Its existence is tied to the two-state framework, so each time Abbas utilizes the international consensus, which is every time he makes a speech, he is merely pleading for the PA’s survival for a while longer. No matter how much of a chronological overview he offers to make the case for protecting two-state politics, Palestine is far from being a concern for the PA.
While full UN membership for Palestine is currently unlikely, as Abbas knows, it is by amalgamating both together that the PA can give a new slant to its old repertoire of failed stances. The key words are the “two-state solution” rather than Palestine’s status at the UN. Why would the UN not oblige with meaningless statements or non-binding resolutions, when no demand for stopping Israel’s annexation is made by the Palestinian leaders who continue to betray Palestine?
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