The consequences of symbolic recognition of Palestine

Seeking recognition of Palestine has been one of the Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic strategies which lose significance when juxtaposed against Mahmoud Abbas’s collaboration with the Israeli occupation. Behind statements of recognition lies silence and the tacit acceptance of Israel’s colonisation of Palestinian land and forced displacement of the indigenous people. Other than the obsolete two-state paradigm, there has been little discussion of what such recognition actually means in practice, or whether it could generate a tangible outcome for Palestinians. On Monday, during an official visit to Spain, Abbas urged the Spanish parliament to recognise Palestine, “so that Palestine and Israel can live side-by-side in security, stability and good neighbourly relations, which will bring hope in a better future for Palestine and […]

The international community should prioritise Palestine’s security

The reconciliation agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas increasingly resembles other political miscalculations which the international community still upholds as significant reference points. As long as Israel and the PA stand to benefit, accolades from the international community will continue, despite the fact that such prominence usually does not bode well for Palestinian citizens. Upon Hamas returning control of Gaza’s border crossings to the PA, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, issued a statement that is flawed on many counts. Not only does it marginalise Hamas’s major political role in Palestine — it won the 2006 Palestinian elections very convincingly in both Gaza and the occupied West Bank, remember — by completely failing […]

The resumption of PA security coordination with Israel is no surprise

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is not one to miss an opportunity to collaborate with Israel. At sporadic intervals, the suspension of security coordination with Israel was implemented temporarily only when Palestinians were protesting over Israeli violence or, for example, surveillance at Al-Aqsa Mosque. Despite congratulatory statements regarding Abbas’s decision to suspend what he has called “sacred” coordination with the occupation authorities, there was still doubt over its implementation; there were even occasional comments that security coordination had resumed even as the PA was still congratulating itself over the “suspension”. Last week, all doubts were dissipated as the PA confirmed that it had resumed security coordination with Israel two weeks earlier. In terms of accuracy, the time frame can be […]

The latest EU and UNRWA campaign again falls short of guaranteeing Palestinian freedom

On Monday, the European Union and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) launched a joint campaign; “Healthy Living, Healthy Spaces” seeks to improve education and health facilities administered by the UN body. In order to do this, it looks to improve a total of 50 schools and 15 health centres in refugee camps across the occupied West Bank and Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan. According to the Deputy EU Representative to the occupied West Bank and Gaza, the EU partnership with UNRWA is “based on a mutual understanding of the need to support Palestinian refugees.” The campaign, explained Tomas Niklasson, “opts for better education, better health, and better futures – and this is exactly what we […]

Israeli manipulation mirrors Balfour’s endeavours

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to London for the centenary commemoration of the Balfour Declaration included an interview with the BBC. It was made clear that both the one-state and the two-state scenarios are not what Netanyahu envisages as an outcome. The statements given during the interview should provide ample proof that deliberate diplomatic procrastination is the only favourable option for Israel, as during such delays it consolidates its colonial expansion with the intent of eliminating Palestine completely. The two-state paradigm, which the international community has endorsed for the purported creation of “an independent, viable Palestinian state” was criticised by Netanyahu as vague. “The other state,” he explained, “if it’s not demilitarised, if it doesn’t recognise the State of […]

The normalisation of colonial violence is in tune with Balfour’s infamous letter

A century down the line from the Balfour Declaration, the obliteration of Palestine remains the aim of the Israeli colonial entity built on stolen land. On Wednesday, Israeli forces violently dispersed a protest in Bethlehem marking the anniversary of the infamous letter. The protestors marched to the Apartheid Wall, where they were confronted by Israeli police forces, who fired rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition at the gathering, injuring one person. Other protestors suffered from tear gas inhalation. The by now routine violence which, on several occasions, resulted in more severe injuries and deaths, has attracted little attention in the media. Several factors may account for this, but the silence is revealing. Historically, the Balfour Declaration achieved more than just […]

Despite his talk of ‘reconciliation’, Abbas continues to act in Israel’s interests

The gradual release of the details of the proposed Palestinian unity government has reached its inevitable outcome. According to Israeli media, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas will not include any Hamas ministers in the government unless they openly assert their recognition of Israel. According to Aljazeera, Abbas denied making such statements through a very brief notification on social media: “The presidency denies the remarks attributed to the president by Haaretz.” Nevertheless, both the Times of Israel and Israel National News reported that during a meeting in Ramallah with former members of the Israeli parliament, Abbas clarified the conditions for forming part of the unity government. Ex-Labour Chairman Amram Mitzna declared that Abbas “understands that it is in the Palestinian interest […]

Edward Said’s Concept of Exile: Identity and Cultural Migration in the Middle East

Unravelling the definition of exile presents one immediate question as to whether the concept is a burden, a transcendent state or a sliver of fate that opens up a new dimension of thought. Rehnuma Sazzad’s book “Edward Said and the concept of exile. Identity and cultural migration in the Middle East” explores the ramifications of exile juxtaposed against the notion of belonging, showing that a thought process beyond the immediate imagination shapes the exile’s intellectual expression. Departing from Edward Said’s life and works, in which exile is described as “a predominant narration”, Sazzad goes beyond what is termed the “cloistered intellectual view” to present an array of independent thought. To accomplish this, she applies Said’s views on exile to the […]

Drawing the Kafr Qasem Massacre

An important contribution to the preservation of Palestinian memory, Drawing the Kafr Qasem Massacre confronts Israel’s efforts to consign it to oblivion through the dimensions of textual narrative and art. Palestinian artist Samia Halaby describes her work in this book as “documentary drawing”; she has produced a work of immense importance which highlights the psychological repercussions experienced by Palestinians through her sketches and drawings depicting innocent victims of Israel’s murderous brutality. Progressing though a compelling foreword by Raja Shehadeh, an impeccable historical analysis by Salman Abu Sitta and the core of the book itself — which is a skilful weaving of testimonies, narratives, historical documents and compelling art — one notes a strong depiction of the divide between Palestinian memory […]

Palestinians stand alone in defending their land

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has relished the spotlight so far this year. In February, the PA launched the five-year National Policy Agenda which prioritised national unity and economic independence, among other plans. Meanwhile, Hamdallah was pushing for PA control over Gaza as the enclave succumbed to unprecedented humanitarian deprivation as a result of collective punishment inflicted by Israel and PA leader Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas’ relinquishing control over Gaza so far seems to be going according to Hamdallah’s plan. Last Wednesday at the annual olive picking festival in the district of Bethlehem, Hamdallah accused Israel of hindering Palestine’s economic growth. The rhetoric chosen by the Palestinian prime minister is weighed down by a multitude of facades – the most prominent […]