The UN, Israel and the PA can no longer control the Palestinian narrative

Ramona Wadi

Middle East Monitor  /  February 23, 2023

“I am continuing my engagement with all concerned parties to deescalate the situation. I urge all sides to refrain from steps that could further enflame an already volatile situation,” the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland stated today, after the Israeli military killed 11 Palestinians and injured over 100 in a raid in Nablus.

As the PA further loses its authoritarian control over the Palestinian people and new concepts of resistance spring up among Palestinians, the most recent being the Lions’ Den brigade which holds no affiliation to any Palestinian faction, the international community can barely keep up its diplomatic charade. Meanwhile, Israel unleashed further aggression against Gaza through yet another round of bombing after rockets were launched from the enclave in retaliation for the Nablus massacre.

In light of the PA’s announcement that it would accept the US security plan for Jenin and enter talks to resume security coordination with Israel, the Israeli raid also reflects how despite the PA’s calls for international protection for Palestinians, the PA’s security services are never employed to protect the Palestinian people. When the PA compromises, Israel exhibits its brutal force.

And yet, Palestinian diplomats claim satisfaction at international rhetoric that does not go beyond the UN halls. Hence one must ask – security coordination for whom? And for what outcome? With the Palestinian people committed to anti-colonial resistance which will, at some point, also include the PA, the PA’s security services remain a collective oppressive force against Palestinians.

Gone are the days when the international community upheld the occupied West Bank and the Palestinian Authority as examples of state-building and economic prosperity in comparison to Gaza. The PA’s own actions against the Palestinian people have ensured a gradual erosion in such perception, which commenced with the collusion between the international community and Ramallah to force Hamas into relinquishing power in Gaza. As the PA embarked on inflicting sanctions, exacerbating a precarious living in Gaza, destroyed as it is through Israeli bombardments, Palestinians in the occupied West Bank protested and the security services responded with force. Such displays of violence by the security services became a regular occurrence, no longer associated with the targeting of individuals associated with Palestinian political factions. For the PA, the enemy is now the entire population, and it will stop at nothing to hold on to what remains of its rule.

As Israel increases its violence in the occupied West Bank, it is also enabling Palestinians to feel an affinity with the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza. For decades, the experiences of Palestinians have been varied, largely due to dispossession and the diaspora. In Palestine, the international community’s focus on the occupied West Bank resulted in Gaza being politically ostracized.

However, Palestinians in both areas are now experiencing similar levels of violence, which will in turn prompt new means of anti-colonial resistance against Israel and the PA. The incentives for unified Palestinians resistance are growing in response to Israeli and PA violence. And while the international community may still clamour for the two-state compromise despite Israel having rendered it defunct, Palestinians are reclaiming their political narrative.

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