Speaking against settlement expansion is just a chore for the EU

Palestine Update 341
About this issue

In this issue of Palestine Updates, we share two articles which are ‘must-reads’. The first is a recurring theme over the years in the pages of Palestine Updates – the hypocrisy and double standards of EU States.

The second is about the desperation of a corrupt and racist Israeli leader, Binyamin Netanyahu, whose desperate attempt to cling on to power is mainly to save himself from the ignominy of time in jail. And yet, the only ‘real democracy’, as it is claimed by Israeli’s has been unable to produce a result after two rounds of elections. Israel  is a deprived and depraved democracy rooted in anti-democratic political principles. How, we may ask, can an apartheid State claim to have any democratic credentials at all?

Ranjan Solomon 

Speaking against settlement expansion is just a chore for the EU

Israel is accelerating settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank.

By Ramona Wadi*

The European Union’s fluctuations on Israel’s colonial settlement expansion are more prominent since the bloc’s refusal to issue a statement regarding US President Donald Trump’s so-called deal of the century. In response to Israel’s announcement that it would be building additional settlements in Har Homa and Givat Hamatos, the EU and its member states have issued several statements condemning the move and saying that it impedes the (already obsolete) two-state compromise from being implemented. France’s statement, in particular, exposes its own as well as the EU’s duplicity on the issue: “Colonisation is illegal in all its forms under international law.” Colonization is illegal under international law, and yet the EU persists in supporting Israel by advocating the two-state paradigm and offering preferential trade and other deals.

The extent to which settlement expansion has been dissociated from Israeli colonization has made it possible for the EU to condemn parts of colonization while obliterating the process. Until a purportedly opposing paradigm comes up, the EU — at least for the time being — feels obliged to refer to international law in order to give the impression that it is against annexation which will, of course, will be the next US-Israeli move against the Palestinian people and their legitimate political rights. The EU statement points out how the new Israeli settlements would affect territorial contiguity and reminds us that it will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders. However, Israel has moved past needing any formal recognition, partly due to US backing for its unilateral declarations at opportune moments for advancing the Israeli colonization of Palestine. Prior to the emergence of this dynamic, the EU and the international community provided the foundations from which Israel could and still does act without any serious repercussions beyond mere condemnations.

European credibility on the issue of decolonization is non-existent. In November 2019, the EU’s delegate to the UN, Andrea Pontiroli, delivered a statement to the international organization’s Fourth Committee on Decolonisation which affirmed the bloc’s commitment to the two-state compromise. The underlying message highlights the corruption evident at an international level: a committee tasked with decolonization has normalized the ongoing colonization of Palestine. This has been achieved through the international refusal to distinguish between Israeli colonization and military occupation, the latter simply being a derivative to consolidate the Zionist state’s colonial expansion in Palestine.

Failing Palestinians is high on the agenda in Europe and internationally. The narrative is still that of Trump’s deal juxtaposed against the two-state compromise. Yet the EU and the international community are doing nothing to halt the political implications of the unilateral implementation of the supposed “peace plan”, as has already been hinted by Israel regardless of the election result next month. If the EU merely reiterates its stance regarding the two-state compromise after delaying its response, Israel reaps reassurances at both ends. Colonization is illegal, which makes the Palestinian anti-colonial struggle legitimate. A stance that supports Palestinian resistance would have more political resonance than the rhetoric that makes headlines solely due to the EU’s international positioning and prominent role in the “peace building” farce.

France’s statement on the illegality of colonialism will not be followed up with action. More likely, the EU will issue a statement on annexation and how it harms the two-state illusion while refusing to acknowledge the colonial process that, in reality, it supports explicitly. Speaking against settlement expansion and, no doubt, annexation, is simply a chore for the EU.
*Ramona Wadi is a staff writer for Middle East Monitor.

Beyond Israeli Elections: Israel at the Cusp of a Bleak Era

Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, must be channeling the spirit of Houdini as he continues to plot his escape from one of the most convoluted political dilemmas in Israel’s history. It is no secret that Netanyahu’s political behavior is almost entirely shaped by his desire to survive in office for as long as possible in order to avoid possible jail time.  But how long will the Israeli escape artist manage to survive, now that a date for his trial has been set?

 After months of bargaining with the country’s political elite, on the one hand, and pleading to his own right-wing constituency on the other, Netanyahu has failed to create the necessary momentum that would render him immune from prosecution and secure his position at the helm of Israeli politics.  Failing to form a government after the April 2019 elections, Netanyahu masterfully linked his fate as prime minister to all of Israel’s affairs, internal and external. Nevertheless, there is little evidence to suggest that Netanyahu’s diplomatic and financial conquests have yielded his hoped-for result of augmenting his support among ordinary Israelis, especially as Benny Gantz, who heads the Kahol Lavan (Blue and White) party, has continued to venture further to the right, thus slowly undermining Netanyahu’s support in every facet of Israeli society. The September 209 election demonstrated Gantz’s ability to overcome the Likud leader’s various political advantages in the eyes of Israeli voters.

On 2 March, Israelis are scheduled to return to the polling booths to vote in their third general election in less than one year. In that short period of time, Gantz, a former chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, managed to repeatedly alter his political positions to be even more right-wing than they had been, while still presenting himself as a centrist who is willing to engage with the ‘left’ in order to build a future government coalition.
Source: Afro-Middle centre Briefs
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