Palestinians marked the 71st anniversary of the Nakba in 2019. Seven decades of catastrophe, that has resulted in nearly wiping Palestinians out from the map. This year has seen the killing of 150 Palestinians and over 15,000 injured. Most of these injuries have incurred in Gaza, where Israel has been target shooting peaceful protestors in the legs. The result of the Israeli strategy has been an increase in the amputation of limbs. The case of Ahmed Badawi, a 48-year-old farmer, who provides for his wife and nine children is typical. Mr Badawi owns about two acres of land, located 400 metres from Israel’s Wall with Gaza. For many years, Israel has restricted the access of Palestinians to areas near the Wall. When Mr Badawi tried to protest against the restriction he was shot in the legs, making him disabled. Since 30 March 2018, when the Great Return March started, Israeli gunshot wounds has resulted in nearly 1,700 Gazaans requiring special treatment.
Incapacitating of the Palestinians has also continued in the economic sphere. Fisherman in Gaza has witnessed an increased incidence of shooting by the Israeli Gunboats depriving Palestinian fisherman with a subsistence. Farmers in West Bank, where the Olive crop has been better than most years have been impeded to harvest their fruits. It is estimated between 80,000 and 100,000 families rely on olives and Israeli restrictions are stifling their livelihood. Attacks on Palestinians in East Jerusalem have also increased and according to the United Nations figures there has been an average of 14 attacks on Palestinian per month in 2019. The arrest of Palestinians has also became arbitrary and at the end of October 2019, there there were 4,731 Palestinian security detainees and prisoners being held by Israel.
The strangulation of Palestinian lives and human right abuses is accompanied with the total disregard for international law. The contempt for law has been supported by USA, who announced in November, that Trump will no longer abide by a 1978 State Department legal opinion that Israeli settlements were inconsistent with international law. The Trump administration’s decision on settlements comes at the back of an announcement in March that considers Israel’s 1981 annexation of the occupied Golan Heights, as legal. The Trump administration flouting of international law needs to be understood in the context of creating new facts on the ground. The side-lining of law in international affairs is of great concern for resolving conflict and heralds a return of superpower dictatorship. It is in this American deluded psyche that Trump proposed in June the Deal of the Century. This is were the Palestinian financial investment fund of $50bn was to get the Palestinians to surrender their political rights to self determination. To Israeli, American and their allies dismay the Palestinians resisted the blackmail fund and boycotted the conference convened in Bahrain to discuss the Trump’s Deal of the Century.
Palestinians have become an obstacle to Israel and the Eurocentric world order to colonize Palestine. With the rights of the colonizer being championed over the colonized means the Palestinians are paying a very high price. Israeli is free to run riots against them. Netanyahu has put a stop to all the channels exploring negotiations for a two-state solution. Further, during the Israeli election, whose outcome is yet to be resolved, Netanyahu declared to annex the West Bank. To many international political pundits, this was a claim to far. However, for the Palestinians it was a reflection of what already exist on the ground. The West Bank is already dissected into three discontinuous areas called areas A, B and C. In area C, that is 60 per cent of West Bank – there are 300,000 Palestinian residents and 600,000 Israeli settlers – Israel has absolute control. In west Bank as a whole, every aspect of Palestinian life; education, health, economic, security, housing, transportation and trade is controlled by Israel. This is most poignantly reflected in the case of East Jerusalem. The reality is that Israel exercises total control over the Palestinians. It is at PalestineExpo, organised by FOA in July that the grandson of Nelson Mandela, Zwelivelile Mandela reflected on the Israeli control and stated that Israeli apartheid is the worst form of apartheid ever witnessed.
In this respect Netanyahu by annexing the West Bank would simple change a de facto case into complete colonization. In the present imbalance of power between Israel and Palestinians and the Israeli injustices permitted against the Palestinians by the international community the Israeli government, after annexing the West Bank, would most likely continue with their apartheid policies. However, they would also have to contend with the growing international civil pressure for equality and justice.
Israel is aware of the international community’s concerns against its belligerence and works relentlessly to ensure its atrocities against the Palestinians remain hidden from the world. In November it expelled the Israel and Palestine director of Human Rights Watch, Omar Shakir. In August Israel frustrated the entry into Israel of Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, the two US congresswomen. Israel fears the exposure of its deeds and is stifling democratic rights. Israeli politicians and its supporters are at the forefront of undermining the peaceful BDS movement. Boris Johnson, in the first few days of becoming the Prime Minister has announced to pass laws banning public bodies from undertaking BDS of Israel. The deportation of individuals, restricting official individuals entry and anti BDS campaigns are anti-democratic measures attempting first, to undermine holding Israel accountable. Second, a reflection of the fears Israel has of the truth of its atrocities being known worldwide.
As we enter 2020, the leadership of Boris Johnson, Trump, Salman, Modi and Sisi indicate the unreserved support for Israel to continue. In conjunction with the expanding Israeli colonization and Israeli disregard of human rights abuses has put the survival of Palestinian in jeopardy. If the world community wants to save itself from marking another memorial day of the Palestinian genocide, we need to redouble our efforts and challenge Israeli occupation and atrocities.