2 Jan

[Prefatory Note: A shorter version of this essay was published on the Middle East Eye website on 31 Dec 2021, as one of six pieces in a section called “Middle East Debate” with thetitle “More Traditional Diplomacy, but no stability.” This is a title conferred that I would not have chosen, and so here where I have autonomy, I use a title that I think is more descriptive.]

What’s Ahead for Palestine in 2022

Even before COVID people everywhere were living at a time of great complexity, uncertainty, and confusion. The future is always opaque when it comes to predictions other than near-term projections of current trends, which often turn out to miss occurrences that shatter mainstream expectations. For the Middle East, even modest predictions are often upset by a sudden swerve of events, and in relation to the Israel/Palestine struggle even more so. Putting aside this disclaimer, there are some expectations about 2022 that are worth expressing and sharing.

To begin with, we will witness a growing awareness that traditional diplomacy will not bring stability, much less peace with justice to this struggle that has gone on for more than a century. 2022 is likely going to experience an overdue funeral that finally pronounces the death of Oslo Diplomacy along with its reliance on direct negotiations between the two sides and supposed to end with the establishment of a sovereign Palestine. Throughout the process the U.S. was cast in the role of neutral intermediary, sometimes half ironically identified as ‘honest broker.’ This might have seemed plausible enough in Netflix TV series, but in the real world Oslo from the outset set a trap for the Palestinians, served as an expansionist opportunity for the Israelis, and continued to allow Washington to persist in its theater role of projecting a false sense of good will to all, a peacemaker rather than a geopolitical manager.  

It has by now dawned on everyone with even half open eyes that the political leaders of Israel don’t want a political compromise of the sort embedded in the Oslo process even, as was assume, its contours would lean heavily in Israel’s favor. Israeli has long shrugged off international pressures to comply with international law or to pretend support for a peace process guided from Washington. It is evident that Israel has for some years felt confident enough to stop pretending that it supports a diplomatically arranged solution. No foreseeable surge of Palestinian armed resistance is perceived as posing much of a threat, especially as neighboring Arab regimes have become distracted or detached from the conflict, with some governments displaying a willingness to accept normal diplomatic relations and join openly with Israel in confronting Iran.

This image of dead-end diplomacy when it comes to Palestine is reinforced by the U.S. posture post-Trump. On the one side, the Biden presidency has signaled that it will not challenge Trump’s signature moves, including relocating the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, confirming Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, endorsing the ‘Normalization Accords’ and even actively promoting their expansion, capped by reassurances to Israel that it will collaborate regionally, especially when it comes to Iran. At the same time, Biden seeks to appear moderate in tone, which explains Washington’s renewal of public avowal of support for a two-state solution and the issuance of mild rebukes when Israel uses excessive violence against Palestinian civilians or moves to expand Jewish settlements in the West Bank. I would suppose that even Biden realizes that the two-state solution has long been a Zombie fix that allows Israel to let the unresolved conflict with the Palestinians continue indefinitely while verbally holding onto a commitment that includes acknowledging a Palestinian right of self-determination. In this sense, the best guess is that when it comes to substance Biden will go along with Trump’s, while adopting a public stance that is less shrilly partisan than was his predecessor in the White House. As matters now stand the Biden presidency is weak, unable to push forward its domestic agenda, which has disappointed the American public, tanking Biden’s approval ratings. Under these circumstances, the last thing Biden wants in 2022 is even the mildest break with Israel of the sort that occurred toward the end of the Obama presidency. The fear of Israeli wrath knows no bounds when it comes to mainstream American politicians.

At the international level, it seems likely that no meaningful additional pressure will be placed on Israel to seek a sustainable peace or even to uphold its obligations under international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The UN Human Rights Council will continue to issue reports critical of Israel’s behavior and Israel will continue to disregard the basic human rights of Palestinians living under occupation, and suffer no adverse consequences for doing so, and yet hysterically complain about Israel-bashing at the UN. The General Assembly will pass more resolutions in 2022 condemning Israel’s policies, and calling for censure and possibly an arms embargo, but nothing will happen except that UN will stand further accused, with implications that Jews are once again the victims of anti-Semitism. The only internationalist hope is that the International Criminal Court (ICC) will proceed next year with its investigations of Israeli flagrant violations of international criminal law since 2014, but this is a slender reed. The ICC has a new UK prosecutor who is thought to be receptive to US/Israeli opposition with going forward, and may prove susceptible to strong back channel geopolitical efforts to induce the ICC to drop the case. He has certainly taken his time to announce plans to carry forward the investigatory process. In my view there is less than a 50/50 chance that even should investigation be resumed, it will be allowed to reach the indictment stage despite overwhelming evidence of Israeli criminality. However, if the ICC jumps ship altogether, it will likely provoke widespread outrage, encouraging Palestinian resistance and global solidarity.

In my view, the most notable developments in 2022 will flow from the impacts of disillusionment with any hope that constructive action can follow from the peace diplomacy of the past or new UN pressures. Palestinian resistance will continue to send signals to the world that the struggle goes on no matter how hard Israel works to convince the public opinion that it has prevailed in the struggle, and that the best that the Palestinians can hope for are economic benefits to be bestowed following a Palestinian political surrender in the form of an acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state along with a pledge not to oppose Zionist Ambitions to conquer what remains of the ‘promised land.’ In other words, the year ahead will likely announce to the world that Israel is opting for a one-state unilateral solution based on Jewish supremacy along with a Palestinian refusal to swallow such toxic Kool Aid.

Given this line of thinking, the most encouraging development for the Palestinians in the year ahead is in the symbolic domain of politics, what I have previously called the Legitimacy War dimensions of political conflict. It is here the Palestinians are winning even in America, especially among younger Jews, along with some signs that the bipartisan consensus in the U.S. Congress is splintering, at least at the edges.

We all need to keep reminding ourselves of four salient features of the present context: (1) the Palestinians are fighting an anti-colonial war against an apartheid government in Israel; (2) the major anti-colonial wars have been won, not by the stronger side militarily, but by the winner of the Legitimacy War as the U.S. discovered in Vietnam, and more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan; (3) as Israel is a settler colonial state with racist overtones, such struggles should be understood as the most vicious and pronounced and more difficult to bring to an end that ordinary anti-colonial wars; (4) the Palestinians will be increasing seen by the informed global public and media as winning the Legitimacy War; this impression will  be supported by continued fact-finding at the UN and possibly by further engagement on the part of the ICC.

2022 will in all likelihood not bear witness to any transformative event bearing on Palestinian prospects for achieving their basic rights, but the anticipated shift from investing false hopes in inter-governmental diplomacy to civil society activism will become better understood, giving rise to patterns of stronger non-violent solidarity efforts. The analogies to apartheid South Africa is becoming more widely appreciated. This makes South Africa’s alignment with the Palestinian struggle by its support of BDS, advocacy of an arms embargo, and other initiatives has great symbolic significance during the year ahead in relation to the all-important Legitimacy War. Israel’s attempt of a few months ago to destroy the vitality and funding base of Palestinian civil society by branding six leading human rights NGOs as ‘terrorist’ entities should be seen as not only a severe violation of its obligations as Occupying Power under the Geneva Conventions, but more significantly as a desperate sign of weakness in the ongoing Legitimacy War.

6 Responses to “WHAT’S AHEAD FOR PALESTINE IN 2022”

  1. Beau Oolayforos January 2, 2022 at 5:25 pm #

    Dear Professor Falk,

    Many thanks…rather breath-taking, especially the last paragraph, which echoes sentiments you’ve expressed before, about when people start re-calculating their true interests, and the walls of apartheid and injustice come tumbling down. All the best in ’22 & beyond……………

  2. gtm303 January 2, 2022 at 6:18 pm #

    Hello, Richard. The three members who I recall the most fondly, and with the most respect, from the Hawaiian Tribunal in 1993 are Moana Jackson, Asma Khader, and you. Although seeing this article brought a certain sadness, it also brought me wonderful, beautiful memories, of which you are an integral part. I thank you for your continuing principled example and inspiration. Glenn Morris glenn.morris@ucdenver.edu

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Richard Falk January 3, 2022 at 11:43 pm #

      Gllenn: your affirming words are great gifts at the beginning of the new year! Hope your life goes as well
      as possible in this new year. Warm greetings of solidarity, Richard

    • Richard Falk January 3, 2022 at 11:50 pm #

      Glenn: your affirming words were a great gift at the beginning of the new year. Hope your life flourishes despite the difficulties.
      Warmest greetings of solidarity. Richard

  3. Ray Joseph Cormier January 2, 2022 at 9:27 pm #

    I generally agree with your assessment for the near term, Richard.
    Israel is so terrified the People of The World wake up to the Israeli version of Apartheid, it declared six Palestinian civil society groups supported by the international community as terrorist organizations, in blatant criminalizing of Democratic Free Speech we are constantly told is the only Democracy in the Middle East. (had to correct a Freudian slip/typo typing “Missile” East)

    This week I came across a ‘United With Israel The Global Movement For Israel TM’ article with this header, ‘Israeli Embassy in Rome outraged by Italian MP’s invite to Palestinian NGOs accused of terror ties’ in the 1st sentence above.

    Like an allegory or metaphor for Daniel in the Lion’s Den, I posted the following comment,

    Israel is the Terrorist-Apartheid State attempting to SILENCE any questioning of the immorality of Zionist Policies toward the Colonized and Conquered indigenous Muslims and Christians of Occupied PALESTINE.
    The Chutzpah!

    Netanyahu bypassed President Obama and went directly to the US Congress in 2015, telling the delirious majority bi-partisan Republicans and Democrats, to not sign the Iran Nuclear Deal. Trump effectively killed it in 2018.

    There is ALWAYS a majority bi-partisan Block of Republicans and Democrats on any issue concerning Israel, but that bi-partisanship is non-existent for the many serious issues facing Americans. Americans should question, How come it’s like that?

    From the 1939 British White Paper on the Commission looking into the Realities of PALESTINE.

    Section I. “The Constitution”
    It has been urged that the expression “a national home for the Jewish people” offered a prospect that PALESTINE might in due course become a Jewish State or Commonwealth.

    His Majesty’s Government do not wish to contest the view, which was expressed by the Royal Commission, that the Zionist leaders at the time of the issue of the Balfour Declaration recognized that an ultimate Jewish State was not precluded by the terms of the Declaration.

    But, with the Royal Commission, His Majesty’s Government believe that the framers of the Mandate in which the Balfour Declaration was embodied could not have intended that PALESTINE should be converted into a Jewish State against the will of the Arab population of the country.

    That PALESTINE was not to be converted into a Jewish State might be held to be implied in the passage from the Command Paper of 1922 which reads as follows “Unauthorized statements have been made to the effect that the purpose in view is to create a wholly Jewish PALESTINE.
    Phrases have been used such as that `PALESTINE is to become as Jewish as England is English.’

    His Majesty’s Government regard any such expectation as impracticable and have no such aim in view.
    Nor have they at any time contemplated …. the disappearance or the subordination of the Arabic population, language or culture in PALESTINE.

    They would draw attention to the fact that the terms of the (Balfour) Declaration referred to do
    not contemplate that PALESTINE as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be founded IN PALESTINE.”

    But this statement has not removed doubts, and His Majesty’s Government therefore now declare unequivocally that it is not part of their policy that PALESTINE should become a Jewish State.
    They would indeed regard it as contrary to their obligations to the Arabs under the Mandate, as well as to the assurances which have been given to the Arab people in the past, that the Arab population of PALESTINE should be made the subjects of a Jewish State against their will.

    After that 1939 White Paper, the British started to restrict European Jewish emigration to PALESTINE. That’s when the Zionist Terrorists appeared to terrorize the British and Arabs.

    Israel didn’t exist when Jesus walked through Occupied PALESTINE some 2000 years ago.
    With all that Time gone by, with all the Crusades of History to that BLOOD SOAKED, allegedly ‘Holy Land’ the Occupation of PALESTINE is still an unresolved, open wound in the Middle East and This World as Zionist Israel tries to eliminate and erase it from History.

    Armageddon was derived from Har Megiddo in Occupied PALESTINE when Jesus taught the Ways to Peace.
    Har Megiddo/Armageddon still exists, but now it’s in NUCLEAR ARMED temporal Israel recreated from the Bible after an absence of some 2700 years.

    That Day may be closer than most People dare think if the MASS Media projecting onto the Minds of the MASSES is to be believed reporting on the Iran Nuclear Deal these Days, with Israel threatening to attack Iran in OUR Generations.


    I have to commend the United With Israel site. While there is not 1 comment in reply, the comment is not deleted.

    Over the years, I made at least 10,000 comments and analysis of the Revelation in the unfolding News Events reported in The Washington Post..
    Just this week, in the usual anti-Russia/Putin Propaganda intensified since 2014 over the US Tug of WAR with Russia over Ukraine, US Propaganda has too many SINS of Historical OMISSION in their articles obfuscating any balanced, Objective, Integrity driven, presentation of the realities in the proper Time sequence leading to the latest threats of WAR.
    I spelled out many of the SINS of OMISSION, painting the picture the US is the aggressor and instigator making more WAR Threats.
    The BLIND US Patriots made the typical inane comments, but The Washington Post deleted the comment and whole discussion thread.

  4. Schlüter January 3, 2022 at 4:00 am #

    All the best for the New Year!

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