Annexation exposes the political isolation of Palestinians

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The international community’s refusal to consider alternatives to the two-state paradigm plays into the US plan for Israel and Palestine that Trump dubbed the ‘deal of the century’. For decades, the UN issued non-binding resolutions and condemnations regarding Israel’s colonial expansion over Palestinian territory. As Israel gears towards implementing its annexation plans, which will see around 30 per cent of territory from the occupied West Bank falling under Israeli sovereignty, Palestinians stand to continue the cycle of territorial loss, internally forced displacement, and a deterioration of what remains of their rights.

Main image: Mahmoud Abbas speaks at United Nations (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

This additional theft of land, which is illegal under international law, is not truly of concern to the UN; it did, after all, recognise a settler-colonial enterprise in Palestine and voiced no opposition to its designation as a state, despite being built upon the ethnic cleansing of the Indigenous population.

Much of the arguments against annexation come from a pro-Israel or ‘friend of Israel’ perspective. Some critics within this spectrum of perspectives have spoken out against annexation on grounds that it will make Israel bigger but not necessarily more secure. Since Israel possesses the superior military edge in the region, financed by the US, it is unlikely that annexation will impact in this manner.

Additionally, security coordination, which is the bulwark of what supports the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) power in the occupied West Bank, is unlikely to cease completely, in part because of the impact this would have on all aspects of Palestinian life and economy. Security coordination also helps the PA stay in power by crushing any possibilities of Palestinian resistance. By working with Israel in terms of security coordination, many times funnelling Palestinian detainees between Palestinian and Israeli prisons, the PA is also protecting itself and its political status. By contrast, it has failed to protect Palestinians and with annexation, the population is set to become even more vulnerable.

In May, the PA declared it would end security coordination with Israel, supposedly in a direct challenge to Israel’s formalisation of its colonial land grab. However, on several occasions, it was made known that security coordination is ongoing, which ties into what the PA leader Mahmoud Abbas defines as ‘sacred’.

Officially, the PA absolved itself of all agreements with Israel. However, security coordination continues behind the scenes. Israeli officials have confirmed that Abbas assured them of security cooperation to thwart any Palestinian resistance activities.

 

'The international community may have reached international consensus on the two-state paradigm, as well as funding the PA’s security coordination with Israel. However, these political decisions do not protect or further Palestinian rights under international law.'

 

Such an agreement is beneficial to Israel, but also for the PA. It is not just resistance activities that the PA targets — the PA security services have, on occasions, violently disrupted protests against Abbas’ policies, in particular when sanctions were imposed upon Gaza in a bid to force Hamas to cede power in the enclave. This ties directly into the illusion of state building which international donors have been funding, or rather, enabling the PA to retain political power.

Annexation has exposed these contradictions in Palestinian and international politics. It is safe to say that since the 1947 Partition Plan, Palestine became an international project, and the Palestinian people as pawns in the political game enabling Zionist settler-colonialism to thrive.

Amnesty International has drawn up the scenario for Palestinians living under annexation, showing how the move would violate international law. While the organisation does not specifically mention how annexation is the latest phase in Israel’s colonisation of Palestine, it does show how Israel will be committing additional war crimes if the plan is implemented. Israel has already been accused of committing war crimes through settlement expansion by the International Criminal Court. It has also stated that annexation must be rejected by the international community. Rejecting annexation, however, is not enough.

Like other institutions speaking out against annexation and the US deal of the century, Amnesty International falls short of also calling out the injustices which are part and parcel of the two-state compromise, and which have facilitated Palestine’s disappearance. The organisation recommends, 'The international community should also reject the so-called "deal of the century” and any other proposal seeking to undermine Palestinians’ human rights, including the right of return of Palestinian refugees.'

The international community may have reached international consensus on the two-state paradigm, as well as funding the PA’s security coordination with Israel. However, these political decisions do not protect or further Palestinian rights under international law. On the contrary, international law has been substituted for consensus, resulting in stronger impunity for Israel’s violations and war crimes against the Palestinian people.

Most likely, the forthcoming annexation will create additional bondage for Palestinians, which the international community will pretend to address through an insistence upon the defunct two-state compromise. Unfortunately for the Palestinian people, the PA will be upholding this political charade.

 

 

Ramona WadiRamona Wadi is a freelance journalist, book reviewer and blogger. Her writing covers a range of themes in relation to Palestine, Chile and Latin America.

Main image: Mahmoud Abbas speaks at United Nations (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Topic tags: Ramona Wadi, Palestine, Israel, US, annexation, Mahmoud Abbas, Donald Trump, UN

 

 

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Existing comments

It is not only Israel that is making life intolerable for Palestine. Egypt, Syria and Jordan remain suspicious of Palestinian independence: all three might make claims to parts of an independent Palestine. Further, Israel regards Jerusalem as its capital. For the Palestinians Jerusalem is also an important religious centre. Compromise, as we have witnessed, is extremely fraught. In a highly volatile region peace looks to be remote.
Pam | 14 July 2020


This failure to achieve justice for the Palestinians will leave a ticking time bomb behind. Who knows what the ultimate consequences will be? I fear they will not be good. It is a sobering thought.
Edward Fido | 16 July 2020


It would be a graced development if Israel relinquished its dubious 'by divine right' claims to all the land and its self-ascribed status as a theocracy and, with Palestine, committed to creating one free, self-determining nation which thrives on ethnic, cultural and religious diversity. This could create a noble, harmonious country, witnessing the true godliness of humanity to a fractured world.
Caroline Ryan | 17 July 2020


Democracy works only where democracy works (and the same applies to diversity). If the Muslim Palestinians in the West Bank were given a free vote by Abbas, they would vote in Hamas. If democracy produces perverse results such as in Turkey, why would Israel (where democracy actually produces a delightfully functional system of fractured parliamentary politics) want to take risks with its future? The spectre of Hamas holds Israel hostage and the undemocratic Abbas is comfortably coddled by Israel as a result. If Palestinians were Orthodox, there would never have been a problem. Imperial Islam is the reason for the messiness in the Holy Land. As long as the imperfect United States remains guarantor for Israel, the imperfect United States is guaranteeing the lineage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Holy Land.
roy chen yee | 20 July 2020


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