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The Palestinian Authority’s Blind Acquiescence to Biden and US-Israeli Impunity

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The PA’s refusal to see a Biden presidency for what it is – the opportunity to normalise colonial expansion and annexation through the two-state compromise – will result in an unprecedented loss of land and rights.

Now that the jubilation over US President Donald Trump’s electoral loss has faded, it has become clear, for those celebrating, that the political scenario for Palestinians is set to worsen. President-elect Joe Biden – according to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, the best option to salvage the two-state compromise – has so far expressed no unequivocal reversal of Trump’s policies which led to Israel’s plans to annex swathes of the occupied West Bank.

The final blow dealt by Trump actually aids Biden’s term – the normalisation of Arab countries’ relations with Israel in return for a suspension of annexation appeased both the international community and Abbas, who continues to exhibit an absolute absence of leadership skills and priorities. 

After announcing the return of security coordination with Israel, which ignited anger among Palestinians, Abbas also declared a return to the status quo regarding the two-state compromise, with no thought of how Trump’s policies facilitate the exploitation of the paradigm to press on with annexation in due course.

For all its grandiose statements about principles, resistance, and unity, the PA has also reneged on its promise and plans to hold elections, thus creating a rift between the Palestinian factions which came together to oppose annexation and the repercussions of the US-Israeli scheming to encroach further on Palestinian territory. 

So far, Biden has insisted he will not relocate the US embassy to Tel Aviv, thus indirectly endorsing Trump’s unilateral declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Additionally, military and financial aid to Israel will not be conditional upon guaranteeing basic human rights for the Palestinian people, which means that Israel can count upon the Biden administration should it decide to engage in annexation or other forms of routine colonial violence that the international community has normalised. 

Unfortunately, the PA adopted the US narrative on Biden, which stressed the importance of Trump leaving office in order to undo the domestic policies hampering US society. For the Palestinian people, however, a Biden presidency does not translate to better prospects. Indeed, Trump has facilitated the US Democrats’ preferred stance as regards the two-state compromise through brokering the normalisation of relations between Gulf states and Israel. 

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A Biden presidency will tacitly endorse Trump’s concessions towards Israel. This is nothing new – the international community itself has also opted for this recognition. However, the PA’s refusal to see a Biden presidency for what it is – the opportunity to normalise colonial expansion and annexation through the two-state compromise – will result in an unprecedented loss of land and rights.

While Abbas facilitates the two-state diplomacy, in line with what the international community required, and what the Biden administration expects to create a purported divergence between its policies and Trump’s, Palestinians can expect a change in the status quo that has been depleting Palestine. With the focus set to be the continuation of normalising relations with Israel, a move which the PA is also guilty of, how can Biden be held accountable for furthering the Palestinians’ political losses when their leadership is in agreement with an incoming administration, despite its policies as yet being still unannounced? 

Let us not forget, in the haste to bid Trump farewell, what the US Democrats achieved for Palestine under the Obama administration, which gave its full support to Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in 2014 and only used its veto in 2016 in a non-binding resolution about the illegality of Israeli settlements. Trump’s overt politics have only brought to light the groundwork laid by the previous US governments.

The PA’s quest to hold on to its internationally-funded power, lacking any shard of political autonomy, is perhaps the only entity attempting a distinction where there is nothing but a deteriorating process for Palestine. 

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