Middle East Monitor / June 18, 2020
Rhetorical opposition to Israel’s annexation plans has gained a rather futile momentum. The clearest example of this came at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva from Adalah, Al-Haw, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling, and Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights. These human rights organisations stated that annexation, “Will normalise Israel’s colonial project and will amount to apartheid via the continued expansion and construction of settlements, displacement and dispossession of Palestinians, and demographic manipulation.”
Another statement by 47 independent experts appointed by the UN warned that the Security Council can no longer criticise the plan without implementing punitive measures. “The lessons from the past are clear: Criticism without consequences will neither forestall annexation nor end the occupation.”
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad al-Maliki, meanwhile, “welcomed” the statement which simply stated the obvious. According to Wafa news agency, Al-Maliki expressed gratitude for highlighting the US role in “encouraging the occupation authority to commit crimes, including illegal plans to annex more lands, and granting the occupation and its officials immunity and impunity.”
Does we still need Israel’s colonial intent to be clarified? Does the UN need clarification about international law violations which its own charters and conventions clearly prohibit?
Al-Maliki’s approach, like that of other PA officials, is to acquiesce to a purportedly novel narrative regarding violations that date back to the initial Zionist colonisation of Palestinian land. Annexation will normalise colonialism, yet colonialism is constantly normalised by statements and organisations which fail to acknowledge that Israel is a colonial state.
It is thus essential for Israeli colonialism to be recognised as such before anything can really be effective against it. Annexation is simply the latest step in a colonial process which the UN has supported wilfully since 1947, six months before the Nakba. Speaking out about annexation now while still failing to hold Israel accountable for the whole colonial process simply allows the colonial state to act with even more impunity.
Furthermore, Israel has taken many steps to ensure the normalisation of the latest annexation, especially among Arab and Gulf states, and to fragment any remaining support for the Palestinian cause. Within the international community, Israel’s bogus security narrative has long served to justify its violations of international law.
On the verge of losing yet more territory, the PA is applauding statements of the blindingly obvious; it has no plan to counter the rhetoric that aids Israeli annexation. Al-Maliki has called for international responsibility, even while the international community demonstrates its allegiance to Israel. The UN’s prohibition of annexation, Al-Maliki added, is proof that the process incites wars and destabilisation. Yet, the PA must accept that the international community is not preventing Israel from annexing over 30 per cent of the occupied West Bank; it is merely standing idly by, and the PA, of course, is just another helpless spectator.
In two weeks, Israel’s theft of Palestinian land will become more aggressive. Within the UN, diplomats, officials and human rights representatives will point out yet again that annexation is against international law.
The world has had ample time to mobilise against Israeli colonialism, yet it chooses not to. All the UN has done is reinforce its historical concessions to Zionism and expose the fact that the PA’s recourse to the international organisation is nothing other than capitulation to Israel’s plans.
Ramona Wadi is an independent researcher, freelance journalist, book reviewer and blogger; her writing covers a range of themes in relation to Palestine, Chile and Latin America