UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has been sworn in for a second term – another extension in which Palestinians will acquaint themselves with “There is no Plan B,” now bolstered by the Abraham Accords which the UN so promptly acknowledged and praised.
For Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, another tenure of Guterres paying less than lip service to the Palestinian people’s political rights is of no concern. On the contrary, Abbas’ letter to Guterres exhibits the absence of a Palestinian political strategy on the part of the PA, unless one counts a strategy of acquiescing to doing nothing except organise futile peace conferences.
So obsessed is the PA leadership with international peace conferences, that Abbas’ letter to Guterres would have been lacking without it. According to Abbas, the conference would serve to “reach a permanent solution that ends the Israeli occupation of the land of the state of Palestine with its capital, East Jerusalem, resolves the issue of Palestinian refugees in accordance with United Nations resolutions, and puts an end to the suffering of our people who have been struggling for more than seven decades.”
Briefly, Abbas is pleading with Guterres to maintain futile agendas that distance Palestinians from their goal. Peace conferences do not solve the problems emanating from colonisation, let alone for the foundations for any semblance of a Palestinian state. It is shameful that the Palestinian leadership refuses to consider nothing but proven to fail initiatives, while Israel embarks on strategies for its next moves.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, on the other hand, called upon the UN to include Israel on the list of countries violating children’s rights. Refusing to list Israel for its violations, Shtayyeh stated, gives rise to “scepticism about the principles on which the UN is based.” Is it only on the basis of this particular refusal that scepticism about the UN’s abandonment of its principles should be raised?
But Guterres has no qualms about describing Gaza as “hell on earth”, while at the same time ensuring defence for Israel’s security narrative either through blatant favouritism for Israel, or else attempting equivalence between the coloniser and the colonised.
Despite Guterres advancing the normalisation of colonialism, Abbas’ letter showed no recognition of this dangerous and intentional fallacy. On the contrary, “We’re keen to continue working with you to achieve this noble goal and other goals that promote stability and peace in the world,” Abbas wrote. Even though Guterres works against Palestinians by refusing to at least recognise that the humanitarian predicament is a result of the absence of political rights.
Working with the UN has got the Palestinians nowhere. Abbas refuses to consider the historical trajectories leading to the current de-facto annexation. Congratulating Guterres for upholding the ramifications of the 1947 UN Partition plan is not done in the name of the Palestinian people, and Abbas ought to have left the Palestinian people out of the diplomatic jargon that agrees to colonial expansion. The PA would do well to remember that it is not the Palestinian people who are preoccupied with upholding the politics of the Zionist colonial enterprise.