Netanyahu Commits to Colonizing East Jerusalem; First Palestinian Expelled under new Policy

The new Israeli policy of deporting Palestinians from the West Bank on arbitrary grounds has kicked in with Ahmad Sabah, who has just been deported to Gaza and separated from his family in the West Bank. The measure contravenes the Geneva Convention of 1949 on the treatment of occupied populations, and it also goes contrary to the undertakings Israel made toward the Palestine Authority in the course of the Oslo peace negotiations.

The episode underlines the ways in which their forced statelessness leaves Palestinians (almost uniquely among major world nationalities) completely vulnerable to loss of the most basic human rights. That he was forcibly moved to Gaza by the Israelis suggests that many of those singled out for potential deportation from the West Bank may be moved to the small slum along the Mediterranean, which the Israelis have cut off from its traditional markets and which they keep under a blockade of the civilian population (a war crime). The Israeli establishment has decided not to try to colonize Gaza, and its isolation and hopelessness make it an attractive place for them to begin exiling West Bank residents, thus making more room for Israeli colonists.

The new policy, which is illegal six ways to Sunday in international law, is the brainchild of the government of far rightwing Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu, an Israeli hawk and expansionist, slapped President Barack Obama in the face again Thursday when he confirmed that he refused to halt construction of new homes in Palestinian East Jerusalem, which is militarily occupied by Israel.

Netanyahu’s announcement is probably the nail in the coffin of any two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (in which the Israelis have thrown most Palestinians now living beyond the Green Line off their land and deprived them of citizenship in a state and all the rights that go with such citizenship). Palestinians are so despairing that only 57 percent even believe in having an independent Palestinian state any more. The rest are resigned to becoming Israelis in the distant future, when demographic realities and perhaps world-wide boycotts of Israel for its Apartheid-style policies toward the occupied Palestinian will force Israel to accept them.

At the same time, Netanyahu tried to throw sand in peoples’ eyes by talking about recognizing an ‘interim’ Palestinian state with “temporary” borders.

Palestinian leaders reject this formulation, which is intended to allow the Israelis to continue aggressively to colonize Palestinian territory while pretending that they are engaged in a ‘peace process.’ The Palestine Authority, established in the 1990s, was already a sort of interim state then, and Palestine’s borders were then ‘temporary.’ So temporary that Israel has made deep inroads into them through massive colonies and building a wall on the Palestinian side of the border, cutting residents off from their own farms and sequestering entire towns and cities.

Netanyahu’s various moves this week, from illegally expelling a Palestinian from the West Bank to Gaza– to blowing off the president of the United States and hitching his wagon to massive increased colonization of Palestinian land– all of these steps are guaranteed to mire Israel in violent disputes for years and perhaps decades. And the US, which has already suffered tremendously in Iraq and elsewhere from its knee-jerk support of illegal and inhumane Israeli policies toward the Palestinians, will suffer further.

Meanwhile, in the wake of a vicious attack on Barack Obama by New York senator Chuck Schumer, Steve Clemons of the Washington Note frankly wonders whether Schumer understands he is in the US Senate or whether he is under the impression he is serving in the Israeli Knesset.

23 Responses

  1. Dear Professor Cole

    This can only end in a lot of shooting and lot of people dead.

    Once Al Quds is surrounded the crazies can start fiddling with the Haram al Sharif.

    Sbig Brezinski talks about sending a NATO or EU force into the Jordan Valley. EU force is likely to be more non partisan and less open to the influence of the lobyists that Obama was talking about on TV last night.

  2. I have been reading Juan Cole for a couple of years. My needs are such that I print the parts of his articles that I’m interested in. Since you changed your format recently I can only print parts of his articles. Why’s that?

  3. Well said Professor. I think that “Apartheid-style policies ” is not accurate. Israel is in full blown apartheid practice and there’s no “style” to that whatsoever. For Israel to “deport” Palestinians from the West Bank is Likud’s ‘final solution’ to the problem. The practice is systematic ethnic cleansing and extermination.
    Lastly, Chuck Shumer is another of the Pavlovian Zionists that drool like rabid dogs any and every time Bibi whines in public about Iran or Syria or pre-1967 borders or Middle East peace.

  4. Your blog is the only available source of real information about Israel and the entire Middle East. There are no other progressive bl0gs in the U.S.A. that will even mention Israel and the Palestinian problems in any way, let alone ever criticize Israel for its attempts to purge the West Bank of its Palestinian population. Our supposedly ‘liberal’ media is not touching what Israel is doing with a ten foot pole. Israel could deport the entire Palestinian population to Gaza (making Gaza the largest open air prison in the world) and the U.S. Congress would vote for a resolution praising Israel for its forbearance. One has to go to Al Jezeera English or the Guardian newspaper in the UK to hear what Israel is attempting to do in Palestine. Theoretical progressive blogs in the US won’t discuss Israel in any way.

    • Oh, there are Mondoweiss; Richard Silverstein at Tikkun; Electronic Intifada; and Stephen Walt at Foreign Policy, among others. But it is true that there aren’t that many prominent people willing to brave the wrath of the fanatics.

      • Huffington Post is finally getting it, Democracy Now actually does good reports, Christian Science Monitor has written some decent articles, even Jon Stewart sort of, kind of gets it.

        We are making inroads, and Israel will lose the battle for public opinion…just not sure it will lose in time to save the Palestinians

      • firedoglake attempts to honestly portray I/P issues, particularly through a long series of Sunday posts there by Siun.

    • Jonathan Cook is an independent journalist living in Israel. His articles are as enlightening as they are disturbing.

  5. It is a little unfair to blame Israel for the problems that the USA has in the Middle East.
    This would seem to imply that the USA is guilty of being too good a friend.
    The reality is that there are several reasons for these “problems”, among which we could mention the Iran coup of 1953, the Iraq coup of 1958, support for authoritarian regimes and of course the invasion of Iraq.
    The proxy extra veto at the United Nations Security Council, has not helped.

  6. How can this conceivably end in any good way? And the whole enterprise is fueled by US money.

    Is there anyone strong enough to say, “If you want to fight a war, go ahead, but do it on your own money. We are stopping all our money, loan guarantees, credits, everything until you stop the fighting.”?

    • Amen to pragmatic realist. Someone should have the guts to stop sending money, supplies, anything, to Israel. We cannot afford to keep fighting wars for Israel. Isn’t it absurd that we send billions to Israel, while our own people are lacking food, shelter, health care, and our infrastructure is decaying. Sorry, there comes a time when we must say ” We can’t afford this anymore” As for Joe Lieberman, Jane Harman, and Charles Schumer, how about representing the USA ,for a change. You are not the senators of Israel. There will be no peace until the Palestinians are treated fairly. Our refusal to rein in Israel, was the real cause of 9/11, in my opinion.

      • Ask your Representative: Why are we rewarding with almost 3 billion dollars in military aid a country that insists on building settlements and on keeping Gaza under siege, without even allowing the necessary aid to reconstruct and heal?

        Ask you Representative: Why are you disbursing more money to Israel without first determining whether past aid has been used by Israel in the Gaza attack in direct violation of the Arms Export Control Act?

        Tell them: Israel’s current actions run contrary to the policies of our own government and constitute an obstacle to peace. For the sake of Palestinians and Israelis, don’t sign another unconditional blank check

        link to hq-salsa.democracyinaction.org

  7. The U.S. has no one but itself to blame with it’s nods and winks to Israeli expansionism for 20 to 30 years, with only occasional protests. They’ll be responsible for a conflagration in the Mid-East that’ll make these brush fires look like picnics. Hopefully the American people will realize the strategic disaster this blind support for Israel is and how it jeopardizes our national interests, and provide Obama the cover to balance our relationships there.

  8. He committed to this when he joined up with the lukid party to take over Parliament.

  9. Yes, well, the Americans are paying for this and will continue to pay and will pretend that it’s all justice incarnate. The Long War…

  10. You know, I wrote to Schumer complaining of his insistence in 1996 that Saddam’s arsenal of nukes were still to be found. Reply he did, underscoring that they certainly did exist and it would be only a matter of time before they were located! Alas, he’s the Senator from Tel Aviv.

  11. It’s called genocide. Genocide has nothing to do with numbers killed but with state intent. Israel commits all four of the parts of genocide. Let’s start calling what Israel does by its real name. ”

    Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

    (a) Killing members of the group;
    (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
    (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
    (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

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