(RINF) – It’s unlikely that the world has ever seen building and construction used as a weapon on this scale before, but Palestinian land is currently being colonised by over 600,000 Israelis in the West Bank and East Jerusalem areas, and the settlers have openly voiced that they fully intend to eradicate Palestine – or Judea and Samaria, as they call the region, through their illegal construction.
Israel have a systematic process to their goal. They first occupy the land, then settle and steal it. They have no intention of a peace process, their intention is to fully colonise the country in direct contravention of Article 49 of the Geneva Convention which specifically forbids an occupying power from transporting its own population into the occupied territory. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is simply sitting back and watching it happen.
During just the last month, 29 Palestinians and at least 7 Israelis have lost their lives in Gaza and the West Bank, and countless more have suffered injuries as a result of the hundreds of episodes of gunfire, raids and detentions that have broken out in the region, with up to 200 incidents of settler violence having been reported.
J-Street, the political voice of Americans who are both pro-peace and pro-Israel, have even spoken out on this subject, even though they would not normally be regarded as Palestine’s traditional allies. Their representative, Alan Elsner, declared that these attacks were purely as a result of frustration among the Palestinian people who feel that after almost 50 years of Israeli occupation they need to pass on a message expressing their feeling of hopelessness to the Israeli government. The only way in which they are able to express their powerlessness is to ensure that if they cannot experience peace or happiness, the Israeli people will not be able to either.
J-Street’s spokesman even pointed out that it is clear that these recent conflicts are as a direct result of the Israeli government’s failure to offer a two-state peace solution to the Palestinians, and blame can be placed squarely at the door of the Israeli prime minister who publicly stated that a Palestinian state would never be created during his time in power. It is now becoming clear to the Israeli government that they are now paying the price for their continued expansion of settlement within the West Bank region.
Although foreign governments, including Britain, have endlessly condemned Israel for their continued building of settlements in the occupied zone, there has, as yet, been no foreign intervention on Palestine’s behalf to save lives among the Palestinian population and put a stop to Israel’s blatant flouting of international law.
Europe is putting up lack of consensus as their excuse for failing to get involved, while the USA are citing the Israel lobby. Meanwhile, Britain is focusing on attacking Palestinian supporters, with recent government announcements that council rulings will be altered to prevent them divesting from Israeli companies.
The government’s approach is to attack those who adopt non-violent protest methods of supporting Palestine instead of issuing sanctions and putting international pressure on Israel to force their compliance with international law. Even though the government’s very own website condemns the illegal settlements, they are bringing in rulings to prevent councils from divesting from those firms like Hewlett Packard and G4S which are complicit with the illegal occupation.
There is a lack of consistency in policy here. Yes, of course it is right that measures should be taken, both in Europe and worldwide, to keep money out of the hands of terrorists and other criminal organisations, but by the same token, surely local authorities ought to be encouraged to ensure their investments comply with international laws rather than banning them from such scrutiny of their investments.
In fact, this government policy is actually appearing to condone the atrocities being committed by Israel against Palestine, and is tantamount to giving the Israeli government the go-ahead to continue illegally expanding its settlements further into Palestinian territory. It is also clear that this attempt to block the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the British public are being denied their rights to protest and freedom to speak out against this breaking of the Geneva Convention laws.
It is even obvious that the British government’s attempt to block the BDS movement signifies a tacit agreement to the sale and purchase of arms regardless of the fact that they will be used against innocent civilians in the occupied territory. It is also essentially giving the nod to banks and financial institutions to fund illegal Israeli settlements by providing the money and financial resources that they need. It is even saying that investing in those companies that support Israel’s occupation and colonisation of Palestinian land is absolutely within the boundaries of what is considered to be acceptable.
It is scarcely any wonder that the British people, and indeed countless other people worldwide, have now felt the need to protest at the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, which has been both brutal and violent, especially in recent times. The time has now come for the British government to cease its hypocritical attitude, and to take urgent steps to bring Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank to an end.
The lack of sanctions against Israel is merely encouraging the Israeli government to push the boundaries and to see exactly how far they will be permitted to go in their pursuit of the eradication of Palestine. While Britain, and other countries, fail to speak out when atrocities are committed, we are effectively condoning them. It is almost unbelievable that the world can remain silent while Israeli military are permitted to use live ammunition to disperse Palestinian protests and demonstrations and therefore indiscriminately effectively execute innocent Palestinian men, women and children.
It seems clear that the time has finally arrived to put a stop to the arms trade and to introduce sanctions against Israel. There is no time left for talking – action needs to be taken before more illegal settlements can be introduced into Palestinian territory.