It is a myth to think that the so-called Abraham Accords stopped, or waseven linked to, the Israeli annexation plan of Palestinian West Bank territories. The Israeli Prime Minister and the US Ambassador to Israel made it very clear that Israel’s annexation plan is still on the table. On September 14, The Israeli government approved the construction of a thousand new units in settlements and colonies, that are illegal according to international law. The Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories has been an on-going process since Israel was established in 1948, and therefore this annexation dimension should not be treated as "breaking news"; it is what a settler colonial project is all about as it is embedded in its DNA. Thefact that we are even discussing it testifies to our collective failure at the international level to tackle the root causes of the Palestinian-Israeli "conflict". If anything, the Israeli annexation plan, as it is currently unfolding, is directly linked to intra-Israeli politics and dynamics, and a stark violation of international law and even a violation of the obsolete Oslo Accords of 1993.
The US-backed Israel-Bahrain-UAE alliance offers the Israeli leadership, and its settlers in the occupied West Bank, an additional source of power and strength. In turn, that translates into more coercive physical and non-physical forms of violence. It is no surprise that over the past two months, the Israeli violence and settler terrorism have increased vis-à-vis the Palestinian people. These immediate implications of the Israeli-Bahraini-Emirati alliance are also accompanied with longer term effects, depending on how the different actors will be instrumentalizing them at the local, regional, and international levels, and also if they will lead to new additional "normalization deals". The implicit and explicit roles of Saudi Arabia are the most critical in this regard. But meanwhile, Israel is equipped with an additional card, thanks to the notion of Arab weakness and "sell-out". It will not spare in abusing that card, by establishing new facts on the ground that will only solidify the one-state reality: the state, system, and structures of apartheid.
Palestine was not part of the deal, and Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki announced the decision to quit the presidency of the Council of the Arab League as a sign of protest. What are the prospects of the Palestinian people and Palestinian leadership under these regional shifts?
The unfolding regional shifts and transformations can be seen as a double-edged sword, as far as the Palestinians are concerned. They can make the grim future prospects even grimmer, but they can also offer the Palestinian leadership another opportunity to shift gears and engage in a seriouss process of reforming the Palestinian national project.
Reacting to the US-Israeli-Bahraini-Emirati alliance by convening a leadership meeting to read and narrate empty slogans and rhetoric, or by announcing a nominal unity between Fatah and Hamas, or even calling (once again) for democratic elections, are not the panacea for this grand challenge and existential threat. These approaches are well-trodden and have failed multiple times before, and it is time to move beyond the tactically dysfunctional and short-sighted strategies, and indeed move beyond the existing obsolete political framework that the current Palestinian political leadership is fixated to. More meetings, declarations, committees and promises to unite are not what the Palestinian people are waiting for, nor are they satisfied with the old tactics, approaches, and failed strategies. Clear, operational, and tangible action plans to sufficiently address the question, "what to do?" are what the Palestinian people are waiting for and working hard towards achieving. Certainly, there are multiple constraints and obstacles along the way. But who said the road to achieving freedom, justice, equality, self-determination, and lasting peace is a smooth ride?
Copright: SAUL LOEB / AFP