The International Community Has No Right to Determine Palestinian Narratives

Palestinians taking part in the Great March of Return. (Photo: Abdallah Aljamal, Palestine Chronicle)

By Ramona Wadi

There is a lot of unfortunate truth in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assessment of international diplomacy. Without having to make any concessions on settlement expansion or Jerusalem, Israel is enjoying a “diplomatic flourishing”. This renders all the previous hyperbole on Israel’s isolation, from Israeli officials and purported Palestinian supporters, invalid. It is also proof of a collective effort to exploit the Palestinian cause and marginalize its relevance to the business of human rights rhetoric.

Peace, according to Netanyahu, will be achieved through “Israel’s value as a technological, financial, defense and intelligence powerhouse.” None of these attributes constitute peace; if anything, they are a reminder of how power is capable of corrupting terminology to create different meanings. The illusion of an international community purportedly concerned about human rights is a calculated attempt to deflect attention away from various countries’ active engagement in human rights violations.

Countries and regions, most recently in the Arab world, speak of normalizing relations with Israel. In a very overt manner, normalization has broken out of the confines of academic studies. It is no longer a theoretical concept; Israel has implemented it thoroughly and countries are following suit.

On the other hand, Palestinians have been refused the freedom to articulate their history, memory, and demands, unless it falls within predetermined parameters that do not clash with the colonial framework and international interests in restricting Palestine to an object of study. Palestine as a theory, as an academic interest and as a humanitarian concern are all deemed valid frameworks within international interests. Palestine as historic Palestine, which is the foundation of the Palestinian narrative, crosses a red line as it reveals the international collusion of Zionist colonization prior to the contemporary trend of normalizing Israel and transforming it from a colonial entity into a “Jewish nation-state”.

It is clear that safeguarding regional and individual interests is a prime motivator in normalizing relations with Israel. Now the veneer is exposed, why are these same countries which promote normalization allowed a platform to speak of Palestinian rights when Palestinians themselves have their anti-colonial narrative marginalized, rejected and obliterated? The international community has no right to determine Palestinian narratives.

This overt inclination towards Israel will spell additional turmoil for the people of Palestine as the Palestinian Authority, in particular, has acquiesced to their land becoming an international issue. The constant, futile groveling at the feet of the international community; the regurgitation of previous peace initiatives; and the blinkered vision over the two-state compromise have all contributed to Israel’s impunity.

The different trajectories undertaken by the colonial power and the PA are evident. Israel has maintained its power by promoting itself as a state, which the international community has accepted. On the other hand, the PA is nothing but a culmination of decades of forced submission now masquerading as an internationally-recognized leadership; it exposes its own absence of political autonomy with its insistence upon the obsolete two-state compromise.

Israel continues to violate international law on many levels, while Palestinians have sought their right to all forms of resistance against colonialist occupation as specified in international law. The international community has normalized the former and criminalized the latter while expecting Palestinians to adapt to their humanitarian concerns and two-state rhetoric.

If anything is to be gleaned from Netanyahu’s boasting, it is the fact that Palestinians are burdened with so many imposed and irrelevant constructs, that the isolation circle as regards diplomacy, once applied to Israel unabashedly, does not even begin to describe the alienation surrounding the real Palestinian cause.

– Ramona Wadi is a staff writer for Middle East Monitor, where this article was originally published. She contributed this article to

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