This pathetic statement places a two-state solution further out of reach.
Ori Nir says it much better in the following
op-ed he did for the Washington Jewish Week. I wanted to share it with
you -- it is that good.
I also would be remiss not to mention that APN has a matching challenge
taking place now, and any donation you give will be matched by our Chair of
the Board, Jim Klutznick. He agreed to give up to $25,000, and we have just
about $10,000 more to go. In honor of Ori Nir, let's
do this. PLEASE DONATE
HERE and max-out Jim's pledge.
Thank you to Ori, thank you to Jim, and thank you to all of you.
Trump nods to the Israeli dissenting interpretation
by Ori Nir, APN Director of Communications
November 20, 2019
Had Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joined me and my APN colleagues on
our West Bank study tour last week, we would have shown
him how fraught with illegality and illegitimacy West Bank
The international community considers the establishment of Israeli
settlements in the Israeli-occupied territories illegal under
international law, violating Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention
of 1949, which states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or
transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it
occupies.” Virtually all international law experts concur that Israeli
settlements in the West Bank are a violation of the Fourth Geneva
Convention. Israeli governments came up years ago with legal acrobatics
to refute the global consensus interpretation of international law.
Now, it seems that the Trump administration is giving a nod to the
Israeli dissenting interpretation.
That nod, yet again pandering to the Evangelical religious right and to
hardline conservative donors, as Trump has done in the past, does not
change the facts.
The facts are that Israel’s settlement enterprise is fraught with
illegality. It is politically illegitimate and damaging both to
Israel’s national security and to America’s interests in the region. It
is an obstacle to peace. And it is a flagrant violation of Palestinian
human rights. Israeli settlements don’t only violate international law,
as almost all legal experts worldwide concur.
Many of them violate
Israeli law. More than 100 settlements in the West Bank have been
built in violation of Israeli law, often on stolen, privately owned
Palestinian land. Extremist settlers break the law on a daily basis,
illegally taking land that does not belong to them, attacking
Palestinian civilians and even Israeli soldiers and police officers
who guard them.
I have spent years in the West Bank, covering, as a reporter for an
Israeli newspaper, the Palestinians and the Israeli settlers who chose
to live next to them — often as an act of provocation or defiance. I
have witnessed up close the lawlessness that characterizes the actions
of ideological Jewish settlers in the wild West Bank.
But the real problem with the settlements is not their legal status,
but rather their political legitimacy. And the real potential damage of
the Trump administration’s statement regarding the legality of
settlements is its effort to legitimize the settlements by stating that
they are “not, per se, inconsistent with international law.”
West Bank settlements are politically illegitimate because they
prejudge the final status of the West Bank. U.S. administrations,
Democratic and Republican, have followed a policy, for the past two
decades, which envisioned the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as the
future Palestinian state. West Bank settlements have been used by
Israeli politicians as a tool to either torpedo Palestinian statehood
or to prejudge the future contours of a Palestinian state.
That is why Pompeo’s predecessors, Republican and Democratic alike,
have worked diligently to curtail settlement construction and why they
referred to settlements as illegitimate.
The two-state solution has never been popular with religious and
nationalistic zealots — whether Evangelicals in the United States,
ideological settlers and their hardline allies in Israel, or, for that
matter, Islamists and nationalist extremists in Palestinian society.
The Trump administration has apparently decided to side with those who
oppose the only realistic scenario for Israeli-Palestinian peace and
work to impede it. Legitimizing settlements is yet another step that
Donald Trump and his foreign policy team has taken — one in many — to
wreck prospects for a two-state Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement.
Hardline Israeli politicians, moments after Pompeo’s statement Monday,
declared it a green light to annex the West Bank and bury the two-state
This latest measure may cynically serve the narrow electoral agenda of
President Trump — and that of his political twin Benjamin Netanyahu,
who is fighting to survive political challenges and multiple imminent
criminal indictments. But the price of the Trump administration’s
callous policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be paid by
Israelis and Palestinians who yearn for peace and so dearly deserve it.
I write these lines at my mother’s home in West Jerusalem, at the foot
of Mount Herzl, where thousands of Israeli soldiers are buried, and
victims of the conflict are commemorated and honored. Israelis come
here to pay tribute to the fallen and to pray for peace. Last week, on
a visit to Ramallah and the adjacent towns, I passed by monuments
honoring Palestinian victims of the conflict. All of us, Israelis and
Palestinians, have suffered too much death and destruction.
Past U.S. administrations — albeit with limited success — have taken
positions and actions aimed at terminating the conflict and advancing
peace. It is tragically alarming that the Trump administration is
acting to further entrench and perpetuate the conflict, and to make
peace between Israelis and Palestinians even harder to attain than it
already is. Ori Nir is director of communications for Americans for
Peace Now in Washington.
Ori Nir is director of communications for Americans for Peace Now