With his history of collaborating with settler-colonialist and imperialist dictates, Mahmoud Abbas must be applauding himself for every victim in the ongoing tragedy.
Despite the atrocities inflicted upon Palestinians in Gaza since Israel’s genocidal Operation Protective Edge started on July 8, and despite Israel’s deadliest assault on Gaza over the weekend, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is steadfast in upholding his history of collaborative efforts with settler-colonialist and imperialist dictates.
The earliest plans for a Zionist colonization of Palestine date back to 1882 and culminated in the Nakba of 1948, when thousands of Palestinians were massacred and displaced in order to establish Israel’s settler-colonialist state we see today — an expansionist ideology and implementation in perfect accordance with plans for imperialist domination in the region.
As the horrors of mutilated bodies in Gaza unfold for all to behold, and with international impunity bequeathed to Israel looming in the background, Abbas seems intent on thwarting Palestinian resistance.
Abbas remains completely opposed to resistance — despite its legitimacy. “What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets? We prefer to fight with wisdom and politics,” he said recently in a Palestinian TV broadcast without explicitly naming Hamas.
Any claims to alleged wisdom should be seriously questioned within the parameters of historical concessions and recent history. Just as the creation of Zionist settler-colonialism initiated a prolonged process, the gradual deterioration of Palestinian resistance as a unifying component — particularly in the post-Oslo period — translated into a series of extended negotiations that facilitated both privilege among the settler population as well as colonial expansion.
As recognition from both Israel and the hostile international community took precedence over the liberation of historic Palestine, Abbas sought to further the Israeli narrative through evocations of “painful concessions” and the repeated denial of Palestinians’ rights.
“Painful concessions” — the clichéd metaphor that stands in for willing acquiescence — has wrought havoc upon the Palestinian population, irrespective of location and experience. Abbas has contributed greatly to the turmoil. In November 2012, the Palestinian Authority president publicly renounced his right to return to his birthplace, Safed, during an interview on Israel’s Channel 2.
“I visited Safed before once,” Abbas said. “It’s my right to see it but not to live there”
“I am a refugee, but I am living in Ramallah. I believe that the West Bank and Gaza is Palestine and the other parts are Israel.”
During the recent U.S.-brokered negotiations that resulted in trading the lives of Palestinian prisoners for Israeli colonial expansion, Abbas actually ridiculed the right of return for all Palestinians. The return of all Palestinians back to Palestine is “a joke,” according to Abbas, who added that it was not his intention to disrupt the demography and character of the Zionist entity.
Aside from Abbas endorsing Israel’s decades-long policy of displacing Palestinians through the repudiation of their right of return, security coordination with Israel is often evoked as a favorable operation that allegedly provides stability in the West Bank. Enshrined in U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194, the Palestinian right of return applies to all Palestinians displaced since 1948, as well as their descendents.
However, the non-binding nature of U.N. resolutions has rendered the right of return as a point of contention, as well as an opportunity for manipulation, by Israel, which has outrightly refused the concept due to the obvious demographic changes that would necessarily result if the resolution were ever implemented in its entirely. The joint collaboration financed by the U.S. is an oppressive network in which Palestinian Authority security forces collaborate with Sherut Habitachon Haklali — or Shin Bet, Israel’s internal intelligence unit — in their quest to eliminate Palestinian resistance. Throughout the fast-paced formation of the so-called “unity government” on June 2 — a compromise of establishing a hypothetical state based upon the 1967 borders, thereby acquiescing to colonial and imperialist demands — Abbas has reiterated the sanctity of security coordination throughout discussions, declaring that the collaboration would be a continuous process.
This featured prominently again during the violent rampage in the West Bank after the remains of the three Israeli settlers were discovered on June 30. During this chaos, many prisoners released under the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange agreement were re-arrested.
The above recapitulation of recent willing subjugation on the part of Abbas takes on a dangerous precedent in light of Protective Edge and his calls to place Palestinians under international protection. The process translates directly into seeking U.N. protection, despite sufficient evidence that through its imperialist policies, the organization supports the atrocities committed in Gaza by Israel. In a recent statement, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon persisted in condemning rocket fire from Hamas, while also summoning images of terrified Israelis in shelters, thus ignoring the carnage that stands as testimony to Israel’s gruesome massacre in Gaza. By resorting to the U.N., Abbas is willing to further his collaborative oppression by undermining the legitimate right to armed resistance against colonialism, as stipulated in international law.
As the death toll authored by Israel’s precision strikes increase, the U.N. continues to endorse Israel’s fabricated right to defend itself, while condemning the resistance embodied by Hamas and other Palestinian factions. Abbas has also called on France to lobby Hamas’ allies — purportedly Qatar and Turkey, according to the Agence France-Presse — in order to negotiate a truce with the settler-colonial state. Hailed as comprehensive efforts toward seeking a solution, Abbas’ grovelling at leaders whose priority lies in safeguarding Israel is evidence of his blatant betrayal of the people he claims to represent.
Before turning to France, Abbas had sought to negotiate with Egypt’s Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi to broker a ceasefire. He did this despite the country’s work with Israel to destroy the Gaza tunnels, which provided Palestinians with some degree of mobility amid travel restrictions and border closures, as well as a means of importing goods and medicine. (Israel maintains that the tunnels are used primarily for “terrorist” purposes — the mainstream manipulation commonly used to detract from the right to legitimate resistance endorsed by Hamas.)
If further proof of Abbas’ capitulation was necessary, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro stated Saturday that the U.S. was also seeking to establish Abbas’ rule over Gaza.
Shapiro, as quoted in the Times of Israel, said, “At the end of this conflict, we’ll seek to help the moderate elements among the Palestinians to become stronger in Gaza. They might be able to run Gaza more effectively than Hamas, a terror organization.”
The statement reflects potential plans to further security coordination with Israel in Gaza to eliminate resistance, based on the U.S.’s unfounded assumptions of the military and political deterioration of Hamas. Further, the rhetoric represents the U.S. government’s negation of Hamas’ legitimacy as a democratically-elected government — particularly as Hamas has persistently upheld the right to resistance and the liberation of Palestine.
The victims of Protective Edge, meanwhile, are no more a source of concern for Abbas than they are for Israel. Ostensibly to promote the image of a leader concerned about his people, a three-day mourning period was declared after tragedy unfolded in Shujaiyya — the Gaza suburb where nearly 100 civilians were slaughtered by Israeli shelling over the weekend. Abbas’ credibility, however, is constantly tarnished by the intense efforts to ensure a continuation of the history that started during the Nakba of 1948.
Taken within an historical perspective, Protective Edge is the continuation of an historical trend toward murder, forced displacement, the creation of refugees, the attempted eradication of Palestinian resistance, and a gradual extermination that reflects the bloodbath that consolidated the establishment of the settler-colonial state.
In this scenario, however, Israel can safely rely on Abbas as a collaborator in ensuring a swift implementation of the latest phase. Abbas’ unwillingness to terminate security coordination with Israel reveals an unyielding rejection of tangible Palestinian independence.
If Abbas maintains the internal oppression of Palestinians as a priority, it is little wonder that gestures such as allegedly seeking international protection and begging for political reinforcement against Palestinians would take precedence over support for the resistance. The death toll signifies recognition of the successful, preliminary phase of Palestinian Authority’s collaboration in the West Bank during Operation Brother’s Keeper, the Israeli Defense Forces’ operation that came in response to the alleged kidnapping of the three Israeli teens and paved the way for Protective Edge.
With each victim of colonial violence, Abbas must be applauding himself.