The PA Excels in Theatre of the Absurd

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayeh (L) with PA Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo: File)

By Ramona Wadi

If there is one thing in which the Palestinian Authority excels, it is theatre of the absurd. Following its announcement that, based on international reassurances, there will be a resumption of security coordination with Israel, the PA’s official news outlet Wafa published a news brief detailing the Palestinian leadership’s welcome of commendations from international bodies over the decision. However, would the international community ever contradict the entities funded by itself that hold sway over the two-state rhetoric?

So the PA “welcomed the position of the Middle East Quartet which affirmed that the Palestinian Government’s resumption of the relations with Israel creates the necessary conditions to build confidence and return to direct negotiations on final status issues.” The reality is that the PA is merely trying to give some diplomatic spin to its betrayal of the Palestinian people, knowing that it will not be held to account for collaborating with Israel and the UN in depriving Palestinians of their legitimate rights to land and autonomy.

In a meeting with Philip Hall, the British Consul General in Jerusalem, the PA’s Head of the General Authority of Civil Affairs, Hussein Al-Sheikh, affirmed the Quartet’s call for returning to negotiations. Meanwhile, in another pathetic show of purported defiance, the PA reportedly called for the US to be excluded from the Quartet when a meeting is held to discuss the convening of an international peace conference, Mahmoud Abbas’s favorite — and most pointless — diplomatic activity to waste time in Israel’s favor. The US, reports stated, could resume its role when US President-elect Joe Biden takes office, and only if the incoming administration affirms its support for the two-state compromise.

In a nutshell, then, the PA – a pawn created by the international community, remember – is conjuring up a scenario in which it believes that it can hold sway over an institution that actually dictates its every move.

With Abbas promoting the erroneous politics of “resuming negotiations” without addressing the changes orchestrated by Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the international community is under no pressure to examine how recent US diplomacy, supported tacitly around the world, has altered the “final status issues” to which the PA is fond of referring.

Biden’s presidency will not just be a resumption of the pre-Trump era; it is only the PA which is making such a prediction and strengthening not only Israeli impunity but also its own oblivion. Biden will steer the US back into the cycle of two-state diplomacy, supported by all the alterations made by Trump, as well as the normalisation agreements between Arab countries and Israel, which will continue.

All that we can expect from the PA are further blunders, which will hurt the Palestinian people irreparably. Security coordination is a bonus for Israel, a source of financial support for the PA, and a promise of violence for the Palestinians. Israel wanted Biden to restore security coordination; the PA is one step ahead, returning voluntarily to collaboration with Zionist colonial violence.

Can things get worse than they have been under Trump? Definitely. The contentions of the pre-Trump era are now a grotesque political nostalgia that the PA and the UN are pretending to revive. Another chapter is being written for Palestine, and it will prove to be even more contradictory and damaging than the one coming to a close.

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

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