On the legalization of Israeli settlements

A Palestinian man walks past a graffiti depicting US President Donald Trump on the controversial Israeli separation barrier in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on August 4, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Musa AL SHAER

On Monday, November 18, 2019, The United States, in rejection of the 2016 United Nations resolution, declared Israeli settlements “not, per se, inconsistent with international law.” Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, said that President Trump’s administration would no longer be acting in acknowledgement of a policy established by the 1978 State Department that stated that the settlements were inconsistent with international law.

This move comes alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s struggles to remain in power and could serve as a major factor in his re-election campaign as he uses this decision as a springboard for his bill to further annex land within the West Bank on the border between Jordan and Palestine.

Mike Pompeo and Benjamin Netanyahu in a meeting in Jerusalem, October 18, 2019. Retrieved from Reuters.

Although it is a statement that has caused (and will continue to cause) much controversy amongst Palestinians and their supporters, the position of official acknowledgement of settlements on Palestinian land has been the American practice for decades.

The blatant use of the term “settlements” is strongly implicative of possible aims Israel and the US have, as it is used to describe a group of people whose goal is to intentionally and permanently occupy indigenous lands. Their aims are to completely eradicate the people who are indigenous to the lands in order to gain control and establish jurisdiction over the lands.

The fundamental motive of settler colonialism is not to create a state to govern indigenous people, but to establish an absolute state. This move explicitly eradicates any pretenses, under which the United States administration were previously acting, of a two-state solution. The US has now sent a clear message; they will be acting alongside Israel to, essentially, totally eliminate the state of Palestine.

The term “state” is a loose word used to define what has been often described as the “world’s largest open-air prisons” connected to each other by roads that are under express Israeli control. The West Bank in itself is encircled by a wall that almost completely isolates the two regions that remain under Palestinian control from each other. The West Bank Wall is a wall that racially,economically, socially, and politically segregates between the two peoples living upon the lands of Occupied Palestine – Israelis and Palestinians; settlers and indigenous peoples.

This instance is not the first time that the US illegally performs what is considered a war crime unto the Palestinians. The West Bank Wall itself was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004, alongside demands for reparations. This was, unsurprisingly, dismissed. This disregard for International Law is completely unacceptable, and can no longer be overlooked.

The Israeli objective is clear; settler colonialism does not aim to eventually decolonize or settle amongst natives, but to establish an absolute state on indigenous lands by eliminating the people. Israel has been continuously pursuing this by quietly and consistently ethnically cleansing Palestinians for decades.

False narratives have been perpetuated by Israelis and Zionists tying them to the lands. They have been claiming Palestinian culture, history, foods, and traditions as Israeli as an easy escape route to lay claim over the lands. Despite this, the Zionist aim is now clear and undeniable – it is a colonial force that is trying to completely ethnically cleanse and expunge indigenous people.

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