The colonized Palestine

Palestine Update 276

The colonized Palestine
By Ramzy Baroud*

By today’s standards, Israel’s presence in Palestinian territories is rank colonialism and colonialism is always rooted in racism. The term “occupation” sounds a bit timid when compared to what the reality is. An occupation is meant to be a post-war interim phase at the worst. Israel has made it a state of permanence. It confirms the original intentions of Israel to stealthily annex Palestinian territory bit by bit and eventually make it their own.  Israel has violated the rules of occupation as stated in international law. They have moved the rules of engagement and 50 + years later, the occupation has turned into long-term colonization.

So, as the bluff designated ‘the occupation’ is called, and the two-state solution passes on, Palestinians begin their search for a revised and transformed political construct; one which gives them a road map to access equality and justice, and where political aspirations and outcomes are shared equitably in a collective land.
Re-designating occupation as colonization is getting politics defined according to the facts-on-the-ground. It will also mean that the responses and strategies for resistance, from within Palestine, and from sources of solidarity outside, must meet a new paradigm of justice.

Read this article below (excerpted) from Ramzy Baroud for more insight and analysis.

Ranjan Solomon
————————————————————————————————–Palestine is not Occupied, It is Colonized (Excerpts from an article)
By Ramzy Baroud

The unsurprising death of the ‘peace process’ and the inevitable demise of the ‘two-state solution’ has shifted the focus from ending the occupation per se to the larger, and more encompassing, problem of Israel’s colonialism throughout Palestine. Grassroots mobilization in Gaza and the West Bank, and among Palestinian Bedouin communities in the Naqab Desert, is, once more, widening the Palestinian people’s sense of national aspirations. Thanks to the limited vision of the Palestinian leadership those aspirations have, for decades, been confined to Gaza and the West Bank.

In some sense, the ‘Israeli occupation’ is no longer an occupation as per international standards and definitions. It is merely a phase of the Zionist colonization of historic Palestine, a process that began over a 100 years ago, and carries on to this day. “The law of occupation is primarily motivated by humanitarian consideration; it is solely the facts on the ground that determines its application”. It is for practical purposes that we often utilize the term ‘occupation’ with reference to Israel’s colonization of Palestinian land, occupied after 5 June 1967. The term allows for the constant emphasis on humanitarian rules that are meant to govern Israel’s behavior as the occupying power. … Israel has already, and repeatedly, violated most conditions of what constitutes an ‘occupation’ from an international law perspective, as articulated in the 1907 Hague Regulations (articles 42-56) and the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention.

‘Military occupation’ is not the sovereignty of the occupier over the occupied; it cannot include the transfer of citizens from the territories of the occupying power to occupied land; it cannot include ethnic cleansing; destruction of properties; collective punishment and annexation…Israel is an occupier that has violated the rules of occupation as stated in international law. 50 + years later, the occupation has turned into long-term colonization.
Israeli politicians have, for years, openly debated the annexation of the West Bank, especially areas that are populated with illegal Jewish settlements, which are built contrary to international law. Those hundreds of settlements that Israel has been building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are not meant as temporary structures. Dividing the West Bank into three zones, areas A, B and C, each governed according to different political diktats and military roles, has little precedent in international law.

Israel argues that, contrary to international law, it is no longer an occupying power in Gaza; however, an Israel land, maritime and aerial siege has been imposed on the Strip for over 11 years. From successive Israeli wars that have killed thousands, to a hermetic blockade that has pushed the Palestinian population to the brink of starvation, Gaza subsists in isolation. Gaza is an ‘occupied territory’ by name only, without any of the humanitarian rules applied.

The Palestinian Occupied Territories have, long ago, crossed the line from being occupied to being colonized. But there are reasons that we are trapped in old definitions, leading amongst them is American political hegemony over the legal and political discourses pertaining to Palestine.

One of the main political and legal achievements of the Israeli war – which was carried out with full US support – on several Arab countries in June 1967 is the redefining of the legal and political language on Palestine. Prior to that war, the discussion was mostly dominated by such urgent issues as the ‘Right of Return’ for Palestinian refugees to go back to their homes and properties in historic Palestine. The June war shifted the balance of power completely and cemented America’s role as Israel’s main backer on the international stage.

Several UN Security Council resolutions were passed to delegitimize the Israeli occupation: UNSCR 242, UNSCR 338, and the less talked about but equally significant UNSCR 497. ..But Israel is operating with an entirely different mindset. Considering that anywhere over 750,000 Israeli Jews now live in the ‘Occupied Territories’.

Israel is a settler colonial project, which began when the Zionist movement aspired to build an exclusive homeland for Jews in Palestine, at the expense of the native inhabitants of that land in the late 19th century. Nothing has changed since; only facades, legal definitions, and political discourse. The truth is that Palestinians continue to suffer the consequences of Zionist colonialism and they will continue to carry that burden until that original sin is boldly confronted and justly remedied.

*Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine Chronicle
Further readings:

  1. “We cannot liberate Palestine with colonized minds”
  2. Israel and Palestine: a story of modern colonialism