For a quarter of a century, particularly since the establishment of the PA in 1994, the Palestinian cause has subsisted in its darkest and most demoralizing periods, one that is defined by extreme Israeli violence, rapid expansion of the illegal Jewish settlements, unhindered corruption among Palestine’s political elite and unprecedented disunity among Palestinians everywhere.
The PA’s scheme would have continued longer were it not for US President Donald Trump’s decision to disengage from his predecessors’ previous strategies in the Middle East — foremost among them, the fruitless ‘peace process’.
However, it was not the Trump administration that opted for an American retreat from the Middle East, in general, and Palestine, in particular. Trump merely accelerated what was becoming the new American foreign policy doctrine. During the two terms of former President Barack Obama, Palestine featured fleetingly in US calculations: in the early months, and again, when the ‘lame duck’ administration refrained, in December 2016, from vetoing UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which condemned Israel’s illegal Jewish settlements.
For many years, the ‘peace process’ existed nominally. On the ground, the Oslo accords were transformed to that of technical security and financial arrangements between the PA’s upper echelon and the Israeli government.
When, in February 2019, Washington decided to cease its financial assistance to the Palestinian leadership, Abbas and the PA understood this decision as a political declaration that Washington and Tel Aviv no longer saw their ‘moderate’ Palestinian allies as assets.
Bewildered by the abrupt American policy shift, Abbas sought alternatives. Instead of offering an unconditional apology to the Palestinian people for his leadership’s corruption, his personal failures, the factionalism and the squandered opportunities to unify Palestinians around a new national liberation strategy — one fueled by popular resistance and global solidarity — Abbas continued with the same old discourse, unhindered.
At his UN speech on Friday, Abbas insisted on referencing the peace process calling, again, for an international peace conference, among other fantasies. Abbas’ references are both outdated and unfeasible, for Washington is now turning to a new phase, one that is predicated on the complete disregard of international law and the de facto acceptance of Israel’s colonialism and occupation.In Lieu of a Liberation Strategy: Palestinian Elections Are Designed to Buy Time