What about Israel’s Savage Actions?

Date posted: March 16, 2011 | By Ramzy Baroud | MIFTAH

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet announced the addition of several hundred units to four major colony blocks, news reports dutifully linked the decision to the stabbings of five members of a family in a remote colony in the West Bank.

Whatever the motivation behind it, the act was clearly horrendous, especially as it involved the killing of three children, including a baby, and their parents. But one can hardly understand the Israeli government’s rationale behind declaring major colony expansions in Gush Etzion, Maale Adumim, Ariel and Kyriat Sefer merely a day after the event.

The fact that colony construction is illegal under international law is, of course, of little or no concern to Israeli officials. Illegal colony expansion is being conducted in a systematic manner aimed at prejudicing any possible peace agreement with the Palestinians that might provide the latter with territorial continuity and thus true sovereignty over whatever state they have been promised.

According to The Associated Press, Netanyahu’s office confirmed this fact in a text message sent to reporters. The newly approved construction will take place in colonies which Israel plans to hold on to in any peace deal.

The announcement was cleverly timed, for few would strongly protest such act while listening to continual news relays documenting the slaughter of a family. Netanyahu, we are told, wants to send a stern message to the Palestinians — by bringing yet more colonists to live on stolen Palestinian land.

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) expectedly condemned the “decision of the Israeli government to speed up and increase the building of colonies”, as stated by Saeb Erekat, former chief Palestinian negotiator and a senior Palestinian Liberation Organisation official.

Alas, the PNA’s protests seem to count for nothing as the PNA and its officials have no real political sway either in Tel Aviv or in Washington. They also have little credibility among Palestinians.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s government in Ramallah was appointed by President Mahmoud Abbas with no mandate from the Palestinian legislative council. This was effectively cancelled out by joint Abbas-Israeli-American efforts, with many of its members either in Israeli prisons or under near-complete isolation in Gaza.

The credibility vacuum was filled by Abbas’ reliance on promised American support. Now, following the latest US veto at the UN Security Council, the myth of US President Barack Obama’s commitment to Palestinian rights has been irreversibly shattered.

If there was a time for the Obama administration to show an iota of credibility, it would have been on February 18, when the Security Council’s 14 members voted in condemnation of Israeli colony expansion as an obstacle to peace. The 15th member, the US, once again opted out of the international consensus. Israel, evidently, comes first.

Since the veto, the PNA, which is clearly reaching the end of an era, promised to “re-assess” its position regarding peace talks. While the PNA continues to ‘re-assess’, Israel continues to build.

The fervent colony construction received a major boost following the end of the supposed partial moratorium on September 26, 2010. Eager to win back frustrated colonists, the Netanyahu government immediately began laying the foundations for 1,629 housing units in 43 colonies, according to a Peace Now report on November 13, 2010.

Since then, more units have been approved, new foundations have been dug and old constructions have resumed. Large areas of occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank have turned into busy construction sites. Bulldozers seem to show an unrelenting determination to slice up and remake the West Bank. Colonist leader Danny Dayan has called the government’s decision “a small step in the right direction,” as reported in Bloomberg.

One can easily imagine what the fate of the West Bank will be once Netanyahu’s ‘small step’ becomes a larger one in order to live up to the expectations of land-hungry colonists. Meanwhile, violence by colonists is reportedly skyrocketing, as farmers hopelessly try to defend themselves before well-armed colonists, supported or protected by equally well-armed Israeli soldiers. Of course, such violence has received little media coverage.

For some, the killing of the Israeli family seems to be the only violence worth reporting. Even the well-documented war crimes in Gaza in 2008-09 had hardly inspired such terms as those used by the Scotsman on March 14: ‘Israel promises more West Bank building in wake of savage murders’.

It was savage indeed, but it was also one single episode of savagery when compared to the savage war unleashed against Gaza, the siege, and the uninterrupted brutal occupation and daily violations of human rights suffered by Palestinians. However, turning a single event into an expression of collective Palestinian ‘savagery’ is all the justification Israel appears to need to deepen its violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, of the advisory decision of the International Court of Justice in 2004, and a whole list of UN resolutions.

With no challenge to its action on the ground — save desperate Palestinian farmers — Israel is now free to do as it deems suitable. However, what suits Israel is by no stretch of the imagination suitable for the Palestinians and their dream of a sovereign state.

Ramzy Baroud is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story.

Source: Gulf News, 16 March. 2011

MIFTAH – What about Israel’s Savage Actions?.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: