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Opinion: The Palestinian Authority’s Official News Agency Distorts EU Inefficiency Over Palestine

While the EU should be called out for its duplicity, as should the entire international community, the PA’s attempts to magnify the EU’s tweets into demands harms Palestinian prospects. Diplomatically, the PA only has limited standing, and this is also dependent upon the financial aid it receives from its donors.

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While the EU should be called out for its duplicity, as should the entire international community, the PA’s attempts to magnify the EU’s tweets into demands harms Palestinian prospects. Diplomatically, the PA only has limited standing, and this is also dependent upon the financial aid it receives from its donors.

The Palestinian Authority is fooling no one with its attempts at making Palestine and Palestinians seem relevant in terms of media and politics.

Recently, the PA’s official news agency, Wafa, ran a brief article about the European Union’s “concern” regarding Israeli settler violence against the Palestinian people, using language which gave the false impression that the EU was more adamant than its usual perfunctory statements implied. 

Wafa’s headline is misleading. “EU demands Israel must take measures to protect Palestinians against settler violence.” Yet a look at the tweets by the European Union Delegation to the Palestinians illustrates otherwise. 

A total of three tweets by a diplomatic office carries no significant political weight. At best, the tweets constitute a detached observation of Israeli settler violence, from a privileged perspective. There is no indication that the EU is “demanding” Israel takes any action – a demand is not made through a tweet, but rather a result of collective action based upon legislation clarifying the violated boundaries.

The EU Delegation merely tweeted, “Under [international humanitarian law] IHL, [Israeli] IL authorities must take all necessary measures to protect Palestinians & their property against settler violence.” The gist of such a statement is that rhetorically, the EU holds Israel responsible for its violations against the Palestinian people and, despite knowing that Israel will never fulfil its international law obligations, the EU will not step in to defend the Palestinian people’s political and human rights. It has the power to do so, but no political will, given that the EU is heavily invested in its trade deals with Israel. 

The Humanitarian Crisis in Palestine is Worsening

The discrepancies between how the EU relates to Israel and Palestine are blatant. Since the EU knows that no amount of calling upon Israel will halt settler or state violence, why is the EU not calling for the Palestinian people’s legitimate right to defend themselves against colonial rule? Why is the PA’s marginal importance protected in order to prevent the emergence of a true democratic Palestinian leadership that is not beholden to the EU’s deals with Israel? 

In the absence of political clarity, there is almost no one calling out the PA for intentionally misrepresenting the EU’s tweets as political action. If the PA truly held Palestinian interests as paramount, it would have called on the EU to do better than tweet its concerns and spent rhetoric, instead of attempting to pass off a few observations as political influence. The only political influence gained from the brief tweets only benefits Israel, as there has been no attack on its impunity. 

On the other hand, the PA has dutifully remained engrossed in promoting EU propaganda which is purportedly pro-Palestine and harming the Palestinian people’s prospects. Calling out Palestine’s isolation is not harmful – on the contrary. It establishes clarity for the first time over diplomatic mangling of the Palestinian anti-colonial struggle, and obliterates once and for all the illusion that the EU is interested in promoting the Palestinian people’s political rights. 

While the EU should be called out for its duplicity, as should the entire international community, the PA’s attempts to magnify the EU’s tweets into demands harms Palestinian prospects. Diplomatically, the PA only has limited standing, and this is also dependent upon the financial aid it receives from its donors.

Recently, EU aid to the PA was suspended over allegations of anti-Semitism and incitement to terrorism in school textbooks, adding to Ramallah’s financial crisis and prompting some EU diplomats to call for waiving the conditionality upon funding.

After all, the PA is a manageable entity with no political legitimacy, and thus in several ways not beholden to the Palestinian people as it should be. With no true autonomy, the PA remains a disposable tool for its donors. 

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