Palestine Update 376
Israelis opposing the annexation has been increasing quite exponentially. A recent poll showed that 41.7 per cent of respondents now oppose the move, compared with just 31.8 per cent last month. Everything about the annexation is not as certain as it was even just a few weeks ago. The most influential blocs in global politics are unwilling to endorse Israel’s plans for annexation. Even the US wants Israel to considerably slow down its plans. The EU actually would like Israel to abdicate its plans for annexation. In many of the Settlements, people are doubtful because they don’t see the borders that will come out of annexation giving them the sense of security which they would really prefer.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Supreme Court has just deleted a 2017 law, which retroactively legalized Israeli settlements built on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank., The law would have authorized the existence of around 4,000 settlements in the region. It now lies frozen after three years awaiting legal appeals. Netanyahu and Gantz view this decision quite differently. Gantz sees political advantage in the Court’s decision while Netanyahu is unhappy.
The uncertainties are visible as are the political divisions both within Israel and in the international community. It remains to be seen how things will play out. But one thing is clear. Netanyahu is not getting a cake walk.
Israel’s One-state Reality is facilitated by International community
For several years, the call for a one-state solution has been part of the alternatives to the two-state paradigm which forms the backdrop to international diplomacy on Palestine. “One state” is generally described as a state with equal rights for all Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews, yet the power imbalance supporting the colonial process makes its implementation impossible. If it were to come into being, the danger of compromise when it comes to the rights of the colonized Palestinian population would still exist, given the international community’s dedication to generating impunity and power for Israel.
If the one-state concept is applied, there must be a complete overhaul of international diplomacy when it comes to Palestine, which is unlikely to happen even as Israel embarks upon the annexation of even more Palestinian land. In 2018, Israel legally defined itself as a Jewish state, an exclusionary move that entrenches colonialism and apartheid. The international community has not addressed either violation. On the contrary, the UN adopted Israel’s security narrative to justify tacitly its human rights violations.
UN’s Special Rapporteur on Palestine, Michael Lynk, describes the implications of the Israeli concept of “one state”. “When the dust settles… the world will realize that there’s only one state that’s operating between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, and that is Israel.” An apartheid state! The one-state solution as envisaged by some Palestinians is impossible without reversing Israel’s political decisions. It cannot build upon the current colonial system for inclusion and equal rights. Palestinian dependency on Israel is not foundations for a single state with equal rights for Palestinians.
The UN stating that it will not recognize any changes enforced by Israel does not alter the colonial process. Decolonizing Palestine remains the only option to reverse the damage that the Palestinians have suffered. This process is not based on compromise or building upon political decisions that validate the Palestinian Authority and its past and ongoing collaboration with Israel and the international community. As July and annexation approach, the international community needs to redefine itself as a facilitator of human rights violations, rather than an advocate for such rights.
*Ramona Wadi contributed this article to the Palestine Chronicle.
It might not take much effort to derail Netanyahu’s annexation plan
With less than a month to go until the date set by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the annexation of large parts of the occupied Palestinian West Bank to begin, politicians and diplomats are stirring. While Netanyahu insists on going ahead with his plan, his partner in government, Defence Minister Benny Gantz, leftist Israelis and even settlers’ leaders and right-wing officials insist that it will damage Israel. To this must be added changes in US policies and the EU’s position.
Gantz was against annexation as proposed by Netanyahu but eventually agreed to the plan as part of the deal for the power-sharing government. The plan will go before the Knesset (parliament) for assent on 1 July. Although he is not against annexation per se, Gantz is against a unilateral move because he is keen to maintain Israel’s good relationship with the international community and regional states. In his view, “Israel should only apply sovereignty… in coordination with the international community, apparently fearing the move could damage Jerusalem’s diplomatic ties with Jordan and other countries.” Israeli public broadcaster KAN reported Gantz as saying that his Blue and White party is not committed to annexation.
Settlers’ leaders do not want the annexation plan to go ahead because it might mean that the Palestinians eventually have an independent, albeit fragmented, state. According to Israeli journalist Roni Avraham, sources from the Foreign Ministry are saying that they have no answers about annexation for the journalists and diplomats who approach Israel’s Embassies around the world.
Israeli settlements built on private Palestinian land ruled illegal
The Israeli Supreme Court overturned a law on Tuesday that had retroactively authorized thousands of settlement homes built on land privately owned by Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. Eight out of the panel's nine judges voted to rescind the 2017 law, under which the settlers were permitted to remain on such land if they had been built "in good faith" without prior knowledge of Palestinian ownership, or if the government had ordered homes to be built there. The law "unequally infringes on the property rights of Palestinian residents while giving preference to the proprietary interests of Israeli settlers", Chief Justice Esther Hayut wrote on behalf of the majority.
Rights groups have long argued that the law, which was suspended soon after it was passed due to the legal action against it, had retroactively legalized over 50 settler outposts constructed without government approval. If approved, the law would have allowed the government to expropriate private Palestinian land where experts estimate 4,000 settler homes have been built illegally.
The law also stipulated that Palestinian owners would receive 125 percent financial compensation for the land. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party described the ruling as "unfortunate", saying the law has been "important [...] for settlement activity and its future" and that it would work to overturn it.
By annulling settlement law, is Israel sending a message to the ICC?
The move to annul law retroactively legalizing unauthorized settlements was aimed at deterring International Criminal Court scrutiny of the plight of Palestinians.
Israel’s Supreme Court has struck down a 2017 law, which retroactively legalized Israeli settlements built on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank., The law would have authorized the existence of around 4,000 settlements in the region but was frozen shortly after it was enacted three years ago pending legal appeals. Such illegal outposts take the form of isolated homes and hamlets, to extensions of existing larger settlements. Eight out of nine judges on the court deemed that the presence of the unauthorized settlements was unconstitutional.
The ruling does not affect settlements built ‘legally’ according to Israeli law with approval from the Israeli occupation authorities. Under international law the settlement of Israeli citizens on land that is considered occupied Palestinian territory is illegal.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rival, Benny Gantz, who leads the Blue and White Party that rules in coalition with Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc, welcomed the annulment of the law, promising his bloc would protect the court’s decision. “In order for us to be united as a society, we must respect the rule of law,” he wrote on Twitter. Netanyahu’s allies described the decision as a ‘left-wing extremist ruling’.
UK public figures call for Israel sanctions
More than 100 lawmakers, artists, trade unionists and activists in the UK on Monday issued a call for sanctions on Israel over its latest plan to annex Palestinian lands. It is the latest win for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. The public statement calls for sanctions, including a ban on sales of settlement goods and an end to the arms trade with Israel. Among the signatories to the call are: former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn; actor Maxine Peake; musician Brian Eno; lawmakers Ian Lavery, Caroline Lucas, John McDonnell, Bell Ribeiro-Addy and Zarah Sultana; trade union leader Len McCluskey; historian William Dalrymple and filmmakers Mike Leigh and Ken Loach.
The statement was organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in response to a call last month by Palestinian civil society – as coordinated by the BDS National Committee – for “effective measures” against the annexation plan. The BDS committee called for all states to adopt “effective countermeasures, including sanctions, to end Israel’s unlawful acquisition of Palestinian territory through use of force, its regime of apartheid, and its denial of our inalienable right to self-determination.”