The denial of Palestinian agency or culpability has been a long standing theme in NGO publications on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Examples include failing to hold Palestinian society responsible for electing a genocidal terror organization and the consequences that have resulted; ignoring Palestinian corruption, and minimizing the Palestinian choice to engage in violence to achieve political aims. Amnesty is now claiming that the PA is unable to enter into contracts of its own free will.
On Tuesday, October 27, 2009, Amnesty will be issuing a 112-page report (www.ngo-monitor.org/data/images/File/Amnesty_water_112.pdf), along with a glossy 12-page summary report (www.ngo-monitor.org/data/images/File/Amnesty_water_12.pdf) and a press conference, echoing this patronizing logic. Absurdly, Amnesty claims that Israel is violating the human rights of Palestinian because the Oslo Accords “codified inequality in access to water resources”. According to the authors, the PA and the Palestinian Water Authority have “extremely limited control over water resources in the West Bank. Under the Oslo Accords, [they] merely acquired the responsibility of managing an inadequate water supply…and for maintaining and repairing a long-neglected water infrastructure that was already in dire need of major repairs.”
In other words, Amnesty is saying, that when they entered into Oslo (1993-95), Yassir Arafat and the PLO were incapable of taking their own interests into account and lacked the ability to negotiate and enter into a deal to their own benefit (whether they actually stuck to the deal once entered into is another question). Under contract law, an agreement can be invalidated for a lack of capacity on the basis of infancy, mental illness, or drunkenness. Amnesty must think that the Palestinians involved in negotiating and agreeing to Oslo were children, insane, or wasted if it is advancing such an illogical and silly argument. If I was a Palestinian, I am not sure I would want this paternalistic organization advocating on my behalf.