By Ramona Wadi
During another routine meeting, this time the 17th session of the Assembly of State Parties of the International Criminal Court, the Palestinian Authority’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Riad Al-Maliki, complained of the ICC’s procrastination in investigating Israel for war crimes. Al-Maliki is reported to have expressed his “disappointment” during his meeting with ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. “Any delay in the investigation is a delay in bringing justice and gives the occupying power impunity and more time to commit its daily crimes,” he pointed out.
Al-Maliki is no novice when it comes to invoking the damage of such delays. Indeed, the PA is guilty of the same thing, and not only in relation to the ICC. It has used delaying tactics on all major issues related to Palestinian rights, paving the way for other institutions to mirror its approach. Joining the ICC was a “threat” made repeatedly by PA President Mahmoud Abbas. By the time that the authority actually acted upon its leader’s rhetoric, though, Israel had committed even more human rights violations against Palestinians.
Upon advice from countries such as France, which play a duplicitous role in the “peace process”, or organizations such as the Middle East Quartet, the PA implemented different forms of delay. More recently, it also gave the US the benefit of the doubt over the Trump administration’s elusive “deal of the century”, resulting in the US declaring its acceptance of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, countries pledging to move their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (as the US did), the withholding of financial aid from the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and the closure of the PLO’s office in Washington.
The PA’s response to all of these twists was to call for protests over Jerusalem and to beg individual countries for support. The only grand gesture made by the authority was to call for an international conference over Jerusalem, thus inviting further external interference in a Palestinian issue, hardly a novel idea, considering that the Holy City was the subject of much debate around the world.
What is noticeable in the PA’s strategy, once again, is the elimination of the people of Palestine from the political process when these delays, obscured by Riad Al-Maliki, play an important part in the ongoing and systematic violation of Palestinian rights by Israel backed by its international accomplices.
The ICC will undoubtedly delay matters and with every scheduled diplomatic remark, the PA will continue to expose its own futile actions, such as the fixation about imploring the international community to stick with the established agenda. There are cries on the ground in Palestine from families who continue to live their lacerated history, but the PA, like other political actors, concentrates on an imitation of Palestine that is confined to reports and external demands for compliance divested of any semblance of legitimate rights.
Institutions will remain loyal to bureaucracy first and foremost. The PA understands this well. Al-Maliki’s constant referral to delays, as well as the PA’s own strategy of delaying anything and everything, to the point of the complete deterioration of any possibilities for political assertion, are proof of the Palestinians being stripped of their humanity in these debacles which masquerade as the protection of human rights. The PA has, in the ICC, found its “waiting” counterpart.
– Ramona Wadi is a staff writer for Middle East Monitor, where this article was originally published. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.