The little dirty secret of the of the UN’s resolution on Israeli settlements is that It is useless, despite all the noise and the fury coming from the israeli prime minister office. The building of settlements and the transfer of population from the occupier country to the occupied land is illegal according to international law, and all the resolution does is reminding that fact. When it pledged to the Quartet’s road map (yes, It still exists!) Israel committed itself to freeze the building of settlements on occupied Palestinian land, something that, of course, it did not happen and will not happen.
The resolution condemns the settlements not only because they are illegal, but because they are a major obstacle for the Two States Solution living side by side in peace and security. This solution is dead, a goal that only exists on paper, because the Israeli occupation killed the two states solution a long time ago. Today, there is , de facto, one state from the river to the sea , from the Golan to the Sinai. One state with first class citizens with full rights of citizenship (israeli jews), second class citizens (Palestinians with Israeli passport), third class (Palestinians “residents” of East Jerusalem), fourth class (Palestinians from the West Banks) and fifth class (Palestinians from Gaza ). A State with different laws for different people depending on their ethnicity. That legal framework, that network of different kind of violence, is called occupation. Settlements are only a part of the whole.
So, the UN’s resolution only refers to one part of the problem. Furthermore, the text does not refer to Israel as the responsible party in the building of the settlements. The resolution condemns the settlements, not the State that for 50 years has built them, financed them, provided with services and used them as the front line of the occupation. The settlements are not a Binyamin Netanyahu’s invention, nor his far right wing government’s. The settlements are a pillar of the Zionist project to which all Israeli governments since the 1967 war have dedicated huge efforts and resources. If you read the resolution, you could think that the settlements are an act of nature, like an earthquake or a hurricane, and not what they are: a premeditated State (not of a single government) policy. The way the resolution is written is not innocent. If you blame the settlements and not Israel, you abort the next logical step: sanctioning the state that does not comply with the resolutions and, therefore, commits illegal acts. That, of course, will not happen.
In the heat of frustration by the impossibility of promoting a serious peace process, the US Secretary of Sate, John Kerry, said: “A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a single state will end up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens—or it will end up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state”. That was a piece of advice from a true friend. In the same way, the US abstention in the Security Council was the last act of friendship towards Israel from the Obama administration, a true and extraordinary friend of Israel despite everything that has been said and written. The path that Israel is walking has made many people, specially in the US, engaged in the campaign Saving Israel from Itself. This has been Kerry and Obama’s main job during all these years. It has been a failure, because It is impossible to separate Israel from the occupation (and its effects no only on the occupied people, but also on the occupier). It is not true anymore that Israel is at risk of becoming an apartheid State; It already is. The last UN’s resolution is the last warning from a loyal friend: be careful, my dear Israel, you are very close to the disaster. The truth is, the disaster is already here.
Netanyahu’s reaction to the resolution is by the (israeli) book: Disproportionately angry, furious. Now, the script says that Israel will authorize immediately the building of thousands of units in some settlement and that will punish in some symbolic way to the Palestinian Authority. Tel-Aviv will say that the resolution hurts the peace process and that is another example of the UN’s obsession with Israel. It is always the same routine, because Israel is allowed to behave always in the same way. The real consequences of the resolution will be bigger settlements and a dry warning to any country which dares to move forward any kind of diplomatic initiative. The message is: If Israel gets this angry because of a useless resolution, what would happen with a really important resolution?
Whilst the BDS movement is raising in American campuses and all across the board, and the so-called friends of Israel, those who never criticize anything and never say the hard trues, concentrate themselves in the ranks of the far right wing, of the racist, islamophobia, White supremacists, new fascists and, yes, open anti-semitics. Being pro-Zionist and anti-semitic is not incompatible.
Since nobody seems to care about saving the Palestinians, the only hope of peace and justice is that somebody decides to save Israel from Itself.
Traducción al inglés del artículo ‘Salvar a Israel de sí mismo’ publicado en El Periódico de Catalunya el 26 de diciembre del 2016