Palestinians’ peaceful resistance should not be conflated with the PA’s diplomatic failures
The Palestinian Authority has often intruded into the Palestinian anti-colonial resistance for the sole purpose of garnering some media visibility, as it does with Khan al-Ahmar and the Palestinian political prisoners collective hunger strikes, for example. Christmas and New Year have proved to be no exception for the PA to mangle what Palestinians have achieved in terms of unity without Ramallah’s echelons.
“Today we are facing the policies and actions of our occupier with unity, commitment to our national values, steadfastness on our land, and with the world standing on the side of truth and justice,” PA leader Mahmoud Abbas declared in his speech without a shard of truth, as the year draws to a close. The PA is still collaborating with Israel, it has no commitment to national values since its primary concern is maintaining security coordination with Israel, and the world is far from standing for truth and justice. If it had, the UN would have at least declared Israel a settler-colonial enterprise as a first step.
However, Abbas’s biggest and most erroneous statement is his conflation of Palestinians peaceful resistance with the PA’s failed diplomacy. “We will not accept the practices of the colonial-settlement occupation and will confront them with peaceful popular resistance, in all international forums and courts,” Abbas stated. Not only does the PA accept Israel’s settler-colonial presence in Palestine, but it also provides no protection for Palestinians engaged in any form of resistance, even the peaceful resistance which Abbas is fond of referring to.
Not to mention that Abbas differentiates between peaceful resistance in Gaza and the occupied West Bank. Abbas could have risen to the occasion and supported the Great March of Return in Gaza. However, his support for peaceful resistance comes secondary to the power struggle with Hamas and other factions or individuals with a strong grassroots base that can challenge his illegitimate rule.
In the occupied West Bank, Abbas’s support for Palestinian peaceful resistance is characterised either by empty rhetoric or suppression by the PA’s security services. The weekly demonstrations against Israeli colonial expansion in Palestinian towns and villages would not irk Abbas, for the sole reason that such protests have become normalised by the PA instead of appreciated and supported for their persistence in the face of ongoing Israeli violations. On the contrary, any Palestinian peacefully opposing Abbas would be met with violence and possible annihilation. After all, why would Abbas be in favour of having Palestinians peacefully resisting the PA’s decision to cancel democratic elections once again, for example?
Palestinians are engaged in their immediate political, social and economic circumstances, which gives context to their peaceful resistance. The PA, on the other hand, is far removed from the Palestinian experience and its futile diplomatic efforts do not constitute peaceful resistance. Pleading for international peace conferences instead of calling upon the UN to take steps towards decolonising Palestine is mere time wasting. The same goes for the UNGA’s non-binding resolutions which the PA celebrates as temporary victories, while Israel remains shrouded in its impunity. Palestinian popular resistance happens in Palestine against Israeli colonialism and PA collaboration, not in corrupt international institutions that are invested in shackling Palestinians to the humanitarian paradigm.