The PA has no autonomy – it exists because the international community and Israel have use for it.
The Palestinian Authority’s “Political Horizon” Is An Extension Of Israel’s Colonial Violence
The Palestinian Authority is part of an intricate web of politics that shackles Palestinians permanently to Israel’s colonial occupation and the international community’s humanitarian agenda. Both work against the Palestinian people but pose no hindrance to the two-state compromise, precisely because the latter diplomacy exists to sustain Israel’s expansion.
Hence the PA’s international donors have no qualms about funding the leadership in Ramallah, even when a horrific crime is committed by the security services.
Nizar Banat, a prominent Palestinian activist whose criticism of the PA through Facebook was gaining traction among Palestinians, was hauled from his home by the PA’s security services and beaten to death within two hours. Palestinians protested and called for PA leader Mahmoud Abbas to resign, but Abbas is still at the helm of Fatah and the PA, and the international community’s concern with human rights does not extend to curtailing the entities it funds under the illusion of “state-building”.
Indeed, Abbas’s reliance on violence to quell Palestinian protests has largely remained unquestioned by world leaders. In the first week of July, Abbas met with Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau in Ramallah where, according to the PA’s official news agency, Wafa, Abbas “underscored the need to restore a political horizon towards ending the Israeli occupation, political deadlock, and hopelessness among the Palestinian people.” Abbas also pleaded with Canada to “halt all Israeli attacks against the Palestinian people.”
But what about the PA’s attacks on the Palestinian people? The PA has accumulated much to answer for since its inception, and its crimes cannot be considered any lesser than those committed by Israel.
Primarily, the PA’s security services work with Israeli forces through security coordination – an agreement that has oppressed Palestinians for decades. The PA has aided Israeli incursions under the pretext of security, funnelled hundreds of Palestinian detainees to Israeli jails, and left Palestinians without protection when calling for rallies against Israel’s colonial policies.
Now that Palestinians are rightly protesting against PA brutality – an extrajudicial killing, to be precise – Abbas has found no obstacles to his diplomatic endeavours. It is people like Banat, after all, which see through the farce of the two-state compromise and the so-called peace process, and those who voice their opposition to security coordination are not only a threat to the PA, but to the diplomatic fabrication of purported peace.
Abbas has orchestrated much hopelessness among the Palestinian people, and the increasing repression is only serving the purpose of political fragmentation, for now. Abbas’s dismissal of former culture minister Ehab Bseiso for openly criticising the PA’s role in Banat’s killing is indicative of a purge to allow no dissenting views. According to Palestinian media outlets, the PA “warned all officials not to condemn or comment on Banat’s murder or the violent suppression of peaceful protests that followed.”
For now, Abbas is confident of having the upper hand, having cancelled elections, got rid of Banat, dismissed critics, and violently suppressed peaceful demonstrations. Yet the simmering of anger against the PA, while triggered by Banat’s murder, is the result of decades of Israeli colonialism, and the more recent history of the PA acting as a subcontractor for Israel’s colonial violence in the occupied West Bank.
Abbas has proven incapable of inspiring political unity – holding on to a façade patched by violence is not sustainable, even though the PA may think that quashing dissent will allow it to retain the upper hand. But millions of Palestinians united under a common goal are far more powerful than a band of desperate politicians dependent upon external funding.
The PA has no autonomy – it exists because the international community and Israel have use for it. On the other hand, the Palestinian people have a purpose, and one that is dependent only upon their determination.