By Andrew Korybko
The US’ new stance on “Israeli” settlements is condemnable from both the legal and ethical standpoints, but it doesn’t change the reality that Tel Aviv’s colonial policy won’t be curtailed unless the international community summons the political will to impose real costs upon the self-professed “Jewish State”, which doesn’t appear likely anytime soon.
There’s been near-universal outrage all across the globe except from “Israel” and some of Trump’s supporters over the US’ new stance on “Israeli” settlements after Pompeo declared last month that his government now believes that “the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law”. This overt backing of the self-professed “Jewish State’s” colonial policy of preparing the groundwork for its potentially long-planned annexation of part or all of occupied Palestine is likely meant to facilitate the forthcoming unveiling of the political dimensions of Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century”, which have been kept secret pending the formation of the next “Israeli” government. After all, it’s been previously reported that this proposal will see the US suggesting “Israel’s” annexation of the colonially settled areas along the lines of what it did several decades ago with the entire occupied Golan Heights, so it’s not exactly far-fetched to interpret this latest development as conforming to that possible scenario.
One of the reasons for the world’s vocal opposition to the US’ new stance on the settlements issue is because it literally contradicts international law, to say nothing of it being completely unethical in principle for many, both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. That said, there’s nothing that they can do to convince the US to reverse its recent policy shift, especially seeing as how the lack of any tangible pushback regarding its earlier decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of “Israel” two years ago in December 2017 likely emboldened its latest move. There was a loud outcry at the time and many Palestinians did indeed protest, but everything eventually quieted down exactly as the Trump Administration predicted that it would because the “inconvenient truth” is that there are practically no forces apart from Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Syria (mostly in the past tense regarding the latter nowadays after the ongoing conflict decimated that country’s ability to challenge “Israel”) that have the political will to impose real costs on the self-professed “Jewish State” for what it’s doing in Palestine.
Whether it’s establishing settlements, killing civilians, or imposing a modern-day system of apartheid on the indigenous population there, few forces are willing to proverbially “put their money where their mouth is” and prove that they truly stand with the Palestinians. Practically everyone else apart from those four-mentioned actors (and excluding activist groups like BDS of course) just pay lip service to the Palestinian cause at the UN or in dramatic statements by their representatives elsewhere but don’t do anything to support it other than that. Even Turkish President Erdogan, who’s been portrayed by some media outlets as one of the most passionate supporters of the Palestinian cause, still retains his country’s multibillion-dollar trade ties with “Israel”. Whether Palestine’s supporters agree with it or not, the objective truth is that Turkey and the over 160 countries like it have their own self-interested reasons in doing so, which isn’t to endorse their decisions but just to point them out in order to counteract the Alt-Media Community‘s wishful thinking which oftentimes imagines that the world is rising up against “Israel”.
It’s not, and that’s precisely the problem that the Palestinian cause faces. It doesn’t matter whatsoever in any significant sense what countries vote on at the UN General Assembly when those same states that condemn “Israel’s” actions in Palestine aren’t willing to cut, or at least curtail, their ties with it until the issue is finally resolved. To the contrary, more countries are establishing relations with “Israel” and expanding their preexisting ones than ever before, especially in Africa, so the trend is actually that the international community is increasingly de-facto “legitimizing” it despite still “de-jure” sticking to its position that some of its most notorious actions such as settlements are worthy of condemnation. There’s little that can be done at the moment to change that since all of the world’s leading powers are on extremely close terms with “Israel” and would likely look unfavorably upon those below them in the international power hierarchy who buck this trend for principle’s sake, and some of the most zealous among them might even exert different forms of pressure upon those potentially “iconoclastic” states to reverse their decision the moment that it’s made.
As such, it can be said that most of the world actually accepts the reality of “Israeli” settlements in occupied Palestine even if they don’t endorse it at international fora, with the US being the only one willing to openly “call an ace an ace and a spade a spade”. International law means nothing unless violations are credibly enforced, and since practically no force of significance has the political will to impose costs upon “Israel” for its settlements and other illegal activities, the self-professed “Jewish State” basically gets off scot-free doing whatever it wants. This naturally means that its possible annexation of the colonially settled territories per the reported suggestion of Trump’s “Deal of the Century” will probably proceed apace pending an official decision in this respect since nobody except for the previously mentioned four actors have anything approaching the political will to meaningfully oppose it. What the US therefore did was once again expose the hypocrisy of the international community for condemning “Israel” but rarely taking any serious actions to punish it, thus showing that most of the world is de-facto “legitimizing” its actions whether they realize it or not.
This article was originally published on OneWorld.