by Jeff Klein
For more than 50 years, the UN and the international community have upheld in principle that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza had to end. In 1967, after Israel’s conquests (including also Egypt’s Sinai and the Syrian Golan) the UN Security Council adopted (with the US concurring) UNSC 242, which began by “Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” and affirmed that peace would require “Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”
Israeli settlements in the occupied territories were ruled as illegal by the UN and a host of other international bodies. These principles were reaffirmed many times over the years, but even as Israel moved to abrogate them by annexing the occupied parts of Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan heights and building hundreds of illegal settlements, they faced nothing more than empty clucking from the international community as the US consistently blocked any action to enforce the UN and International Court of Justice decisions. Now, under the ‘Trump-Netanyahu’ administration – together with the earlier recognition of Israel’s annexation of occupied Jerusalem and Syrian territory –the US has abandoned even the pretense of abiding by international law.
The proposed so-called “Palestinian state” is in fact an archipelago of disconnected islands surrounded and controlled by Israel; the Trump plan makes it clear that Israel would retain full control over security, airspace and radio spectrum, as well as all the “borders” of “Palestine.” Even the remaining territory of the Palestinian “state” would be riddled by Israeli-sovereign settlements and roads. The proposal would essentially ratify Israeli annexation of the entirety of historic Palestine west of the Jordan river – but without citizenship for the Palestinian inhabitants. It even raises the possibility of transferring Palestinian-inhabited areas of 1948 Israel to this pretend Palestinian state, thus depriving up to 350,000 people of their (effectively second-class) Israeli citizenship. No Palestinian would be prepared to accept this plan of surrender, which may be its point.
The maps tell the story.
In the above pair of maps of the occupied West Bank and Israel, “Current” shows the internationally recognized 1967 boundaries, while “Proposed” shows in red the settlements to be annexed to Israel, obliterating the original “Green Line” between Israel and the Occupied Territories.
It is notable that in the Middle East US vassal oil monarchies in the Gulf and the Egyptian dictatorship (also on the take from the US) – increasingly beholden to Israel — have responded positively to the Trump-Netanyahu plan, though they do not represent and are not accountable to public opinion; elsewhere, the proposal has been condemned by partly democratic states like Iran, Iraq and Jordan, plus Syria.
In the US and internationally, the proposed obliteration of Palestine is coupled with efforts to delegitimize or even outlaw dissent and resistance – even non-violent efforts like BDS to pressure Israel..
People have long compared the Israeli end game in Palestine to Apartheid with “Bantustans,” which is apt:
But there is another comparison much closer to home:
Originally published in Dorchester People for Peace e-newsletter, January 31, 2020