Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, September 2017
Substitution of necessity for compromise
One wonders how the UN can continue to masquerade in a role that it has ridiculed beyond redemption this week. Antonio Guterres’s statements eliminating Palestinian options, the enforcing of the two-state compromise as a purported solution and affirming Israel’s permanence are all contrary to international law.
During his visit to Israel, the UN Secretary-General unequivocally endorsed the continuation of human rights violations against Palestinians, including an approval of colonisation. This means that the international community has abandoned all pretence of supporting Palestine in its quest for a viable independent state. It might as well also do away with the symbolic commemorations which have held Palestinians back for so long, incarcerated within a diplomatic game where official political opponents are absent as a result of collaboration.
It is equally humiliating that PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat described his meeting with Guterres as “positive”. This was despite the discrepancies which ought to have compelled Palestinian officials to protest, rather than indulge in yet another futile briefing “on the latest political developments, our position for a just and lasting peace in the region, as well as on the daily Israeli crimes and violations, including its colonial-settlement enterprise that is not only an obstacle but destroys every possibility for peace.”
The litany is by now well-rehearsed and disseminated, yet it is proof of the prevailing subjugation. One departure point made by Erekat was a request to preserve Item 7 on the UN Human Rights Council, an issue which Israel is partial to arguing against even though the discussions have never led to anything remotely resembling punitive measures. However, in light of Guterres’s visit and statements, it is difficult to perceive any genuine principles at all held by international institutions, and not just because of the pro-Israel bias which, if abandoned, would unravel the entire dynamics of the UN in terms of the power it wields as a platform for the promotion of the self-same violations it professes to condemn. The other reason stems from the approach adopted by the Palestinian Authority and its officials, who have prioritised awareness over rights.
As reported by Bloomberg, Guterres condemned settlement expansion, declaring it illegal under international law and stating, “There is no Plan B for the two-state solution.” The settlement condemnation is merely rhetoric and Israel is fully aware of the leniency it is afforded in this regard. On the other hand, refusing any other solution as an alternative to the two-state paradigm is imbued with consequences through which the PA has wilfully entrapped itself.
Consider the difference between Guterres’s statement and Erekat’s plea. While both imply political agendas, Erekat is not challenging any aspect of the Secretary General’s visit despite the vocal opposition to its dynamics, opting instead for a muted role.
Guterres clearly arrived with an agenda to promote Israel’s
settler-colonial project. Erekat remained within the realm of raising
awareness through the corrupted labyrinth of international institutions,
thus imparting an acceptance of subjugation. How will Item 7 change the
course of Israeli violations and promote Palestinian rights, rather than
awareness? The substitution of necessity for compromise should also be
considered as a violation of Palestinian rights. For the UN, such rights
are merely rhetorical embellishments. The least the PA can do is refrain
from playing along with the charade.
- Ramon Wadi is a MEMO staff writer.
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