FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Funding and Denouncing Israeli Occupation

More bad news emerged from Israel in recent weeks. Indeed, good news is seldom associated with Israel and its military occupation and institutionalized discrimination and mistreatment of Palestinians.

But now even those international organizations that are often supportive of Israel’s militancy seem to be joining the consensus that Tel Aviv is on an irrevocably perilous course.

Few international law experts would defend Israel’s fervent settlement-building on occupied Palestinian land.

Yet the Western powers, led by the United States, have brought little pressure to bear on Israel to cease its illegal activities.

In fact, without US and European funding it would have been nearly impossible for Israel to build settlements and transfer over half a million Israelis over the years to live on stolen Palestinian land, in violation of numerous international laws including the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Worse still, trade with European and other countries sustained these illegal settlements, allowing them to flourish at the expense of Palestinians who have suffered massive ethnic cleansing campaigns since 1967.

But at last EU diplomats in east Jerusalem and the West Bank are speaking out in unequivocal terms.

In a report released at the end of last month, the diplomats declared that “settlement construction remains the biggest single threat to the two-state solution. It is systematic, deliberate and provocative.”

The report called on EU states “not to support … research, education and technological co-operation” with settlements and to “discourage” investing in Israeli companies that operate in the occupied territories.

Expectedly, the report is non-binding. And even if such recommendations are considered, Israel and its EU friends and lobbyists are likely to find loopholes that would deprive any EU action of substance and vigor.

Without civil society action focused on turning up the heat on European governments, especially die-hard supporters of Israel such as the British government, business with Israel is most likely to carry on as usual.

Not only is Israel flouting international law but the supposed guardians of international law are the very ones that are empowering Israel in carrying out its illegal acts, disempowering and bankrupting Palestinians.

Last January an Oxfam report said that the Palestinian economy, which is currently in utter disarray, could generate urgently needed income – $1.5 billion to be exact – if Israel eased its restrictions in the Jordan Valley alone.

But without suitable access to their own land and to water sources, Palestinians in the valley continue to struggle while the settlers are thriving.

Although the US government is well known to have done everything in its power to defend Israel at any cost and ensure Israel’s superiority and military edge over all of its neighbors, the EU has falsely acquired a more balanced reputation. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In a recent report the Palestinian rights group al-Haq emphasized that trading in produce grown in settlements had “directly contributed to the growth and viability of settlements by providing an essential source of revenue that allows them to thrive.”

The reported value of total EU trade with illegal Israeli settlements amounts to approximately $300 million a year. This may appear small compared with the $39bn of total trade between the EU and Israel reported in 2011, for example, but it does mean that “the EU has some room for leverage given it is Israel’s largest trade partner, and it receives some 20 per cent of total Israeli exports,” as pointed out by Dalia Hatuqa writing for al-Monitor.

The fact is that Europe is ultimately taking part in the subjugation of the Palestinians by funding Israel’s illegal occupation and its massively growing settler population. And no amount of diplomatic “recommendations” or newspeak can alter that fact.

But settlement growth cannot be considered in a vacuum. It makes no sense to talk about boycotting settlements while supporting the main organs that ordered or sanctioned the illegal settlements in the first place.

So differentiating between products made in Israel or those made in the settlements is absurd at best.

The settlers are not self-sustaining autonomous outposts. They are considered part and parcel of the so-called Israel proper.

In the eyes of the Israeli government there is little distinction between settlers from Ma’ale Adumim or residents of Tel Aviv.

Yigal Palmore of the Israeli Foreign Ministry responded to the EU report in withering terms.

“A diplomat’s mission is to build bridges and bring people together, not to foster confrontation. The EU consuls have clearly failed in their mission,” he said.

Nothing is random in Israeli planning. As is already the case in various parts of the occupied territories, Palestinians are becoming an unwanted presence on their own land.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s has decided to develop more settlements in an area known as E1, which is set to cut off east Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank.

There is unlikely to be a turning back from the construction plans, which include the building of 3,000 settler homes in the land corridor near Jerusalem.

Israel is unrelenting and seems to have no regard for international law. It is emboldened in its actions by the weakness of its neighbors, the unhindered backing of its friends, and the gutlessness of its critics, who all too often are consumed in intellectual tussles over the boundaries of language and proper ways to frame the discourse.

None of this wrangling is of any concern to Israel, which is merely winning time to achieve its own harrowingly ugly version of apartheid.

For those who still feel uneasy with this provocative term, consider the latest Israeli transport ministry’s initiative. It has designated bus line No 210, which shuttles cheap Palestinian laborers to and from the West Bank, to be “Palestinian only.”

Of course this is not an isolated policy but a continuation of a dreadful track record.

Bad news from Israel is likely to continue.

Almost every day there is a new disturbing development in Israeli practices against Palestinians.

All too often this is merely met with feeble international criticism without any substantial action.

Civil society organizations and groups must tell their governments that enough is enough.

While Israel should be held responsible for its own behavior, the EU and other countries should not finance the occupation while decrying the settlements. This hypocrisy can no longer be tolerated.

Ramzy Baroud is editor of PalestineChronicle.com. He is the author of The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle  and  “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story” (Pluto Press, London).

More articles by:

Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). His website is: ramzybaroud.net

June 18, 2018
Paul Street
Denuclearize the United States? An Unthinkable Thought
John Pilger
Bring Julian Assange Home
Conn Hallinan
The Spanish Labyrinth
Patrick Cockburn
Attacking Hodeidah is a Deliberate Act of Cruelty by the Trump Administration
Gary Leupp
Trump Gives Bibi Whatever He Wants
Thomas Knapp
Child Abductions: A Conversation It’s Hard to Believe We’re Even Having
Robert Fisk
I Spoke to Palestinians Who Still Hold the Keys to Homes They Fled Decades Ago – Many are Still Determined to Return
Steve Early
Requiem for a Steelworker: Mon Valley Memories of Oil Can Eddie
Jim Scheff
Protect Our National Forests From an Increase in Logging
Adam Parsons
Reclaiming the UN’s Radical Vision of Global Economic Justice
Dean Baker
Manufacturing Production Falls in May and No One Notices
Laura Flanders
Bottom-Up Wins in Virginia’s Primaries
Binoy Kampmark
The Anguish for Lost Buildings: Embers and Death at the Victoria Park Hotel
Weekend Edition
June 15, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Dan Kovalik
The US & Nicaragua: a Case Study in Historical Amnesia & Blindness
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Yellow Journalism and the New Cold War
Charles Pierson
The Day the US Became an Empire
Jonathan Cook
How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions
Ajamu Baraka
North Korea Issue is Not De-nuclearization But De-Colonization
Andrew Levine
Midterms Coming: Antinomy Ahead
Louisa Willcox
New Information on 2017 Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Deaths Should Nix Trophy Hunting in Core Habitat
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Singapore Fling
Ron Jacobs
What’s So Bad About Peace, Man?
Robert Hunziker
State of the Climate – It’s Alarming!
L. Michael Hager
Acts and Omissions: The NYT’s Flawed Coverage of the Gaza Protest
Dave Lindorff
However Tenuous and Whatever His Motives, Trump’s Summit Agreement with Kim is Praiseworthy
Robert Fantina
Palestine, the United Nations and the Right of Return
Brian Cloughley
Sabre-Rattling With Russia
Chris Wright
To Be or Not to Be? That’s the Question
David Rosen
Why Do Establishment Feminists Hate Sex Workers?
Victor Grossman
A Key Congress in Leipzig
John Eskow
“It’s All Kinderspiel!” Trump, MSNBC, and the 24/7 Horseshit Roundelay
Paul Buhle
The Russians are Coming!
Joyce Nelson
The NED’s Useful Idiots
Lindsay Koshgarian
Trump’s Giving Diplomacy a Chance. His Critics Should, Too
Louis Proyect
American Nativism: From the Chinese Exclusion Act to Trump
Stan Malinowitz
On the Elections in Colombia
Camilo Mejia
Open Letter to Amnesty International on Nicaragua From a Former Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience
David Krieger
An Assessment of the Trump-Kim Singapore Summit
Jonah Raskin
Cannabis in California: a Report From Sacramento
Josh Hoxie
Just How Rich Are the Ultra Rich?
CJ Hopkins
Awaiting the Putin-Nazi Apocalypse
Mona Younis
We’re the Wealthiest Country on Earth, But Over 40 Percent of Us Live in or Near Poverty
Dean Baker
Not Everything Trump Says on Trade is Wrong
James Munson
Trading Places: the Other 1% and the .001% Who Won’t Save Them
Rivera Sun
Stop Crony Capitalism: Protect the Net!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail