Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?
In kicking off the new year, the central committee of the right-wing, governing Israeli party—the Likud—unanimously adopted a resolution calling for the annexation of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Though this was technically an advisory opinion, most observers recognize that this represents the views of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s administration.
For years, the Israeli government has been doing a dance where they have, on the one hand, increased the illegal settlement of Palestinian territories while, on the other hand, claiming that they uphold the ultimate goal of a two-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian dispute. The announcement of the Likud resolution puts to bed any further pretense; Likud seeks to eliminate Palestinians from the occupied territories by seizing the best land and forcing the Palestinians into a situation that is further reminiscent of the Bantustan settlements established by apartheid South Africa, pre-1994.
The Israeli political establishment has made it impossible for a realistic two-state solution to come into existence. If Israel goes forward with this annexation, there will conclusively be no cohesive territory that the Palestinians can exist upon. Their land will be formally—rather than de facto—divided according to the wishes of the Israeli government; the Palestinians will have no access to the sea; and little assurance of access via the air. While the Palestinians may have a flag, they will have little else.
Coming shortly after Trump’s unilateral decision to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem—a decision that was publically condemned by dozens of world leaders—the Israeli political establishment has thumbed its nose at the international community, once again. To add insult to injury, the Israeli political establishment and their allies in the United States continue to relentlessly pursue efforts to suppress non-violent opposition to Israeli government policy, i.e., opposition to boycott/divestment/sanctions, as a tactic to pressure groups fighting for Palestinian rights.
For those of us who consistently oppose racism, annexations and apartheid, 2018 must represent a continuation of the struggle for Palestinian rights and freedom. There is no room to back down. The Israeli government has made its stand more than clear: there are no Palestinian rights that they feel bound to respect.