Israel makes no effort for peace
The Minority Report
The minority facing the most adversity in our country is the group of people with common sense. Yes, people with common sense are sadly a minority, and yes, they often face the greatest difficulties to simply survive in our culture, with its highly frustrating close-mindedness and fervent conviction that its ignorant beliefs are always right. The people of this overlooked minority are often the ones hopelessly fighting against the Goliath of American media and lobbying, which are shaping country policies and brainwashing the masses to satisfy their own agendas.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not as complicated as pro-Israel advocates try to make it seem just because they don’t like hearing the simplicity of its resolution. In fact, many aspects of the conflict can be addressed with pure common sense. For instance, it is an undisputed and universal common sense that Israel should cease and reverse its illegal colonization of the Palestinian territories, including and especially its construction of Israeli settlements.
That is especially common sense when said settlements are inhabited by violent extremists, as the world realized last Friday when a group of Jewish vandals desecrated both Muslim and Christian graveyards, calling for “death to all Arabs.”
The colonization of Palestine did not only begin with the illegal establishment of Israel on Palestinian land in 1948, but has continued to eat away at the already meager and unsubstantial Palestinian territories throughout the six decades of the conflict. The Palestinian territories of today are only a fraction of what they started as due to the unyielding expansion of Israel. By the end of 2004, there were almost half a million settlers living in the West Bank in the government’s attempt to annex the land as part of Israel. It is beyond a doubt that that number has increased substantially by now due to the countless settlement construction projects since then.
The construction of settlements in Palestinian territories has been Israel’s ploy in establishing “facts on the ground,” or planting a Jewish population in the West Bank to gain a claim over the land. That way, when Palestinians grieve that they have been uprooted from their homes in Palestine, Israel can accuse the world of doing the same thing to Israeli settlers if they are demanded to remove their settlements.
It is for this reason that it is imperative for Israel to halt the construction of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories. Every second that Israel stalls engaging in peace talks until the Palestinians withdraw their demand of halting Israeli settlement construction on their land, Israel is gaining more of a foothold in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims that Israel will only engage in peace talks “without preconditions.” However, the demand to halt Israeli settlements is not a precondition, but rather a universal standard that Israel complies with international law if it wants to engage in civil negotiations. Labeling the demand to halt Israeli settlements as a “precondition” is hiding a bigger and more dangerous issue — that an international transgressor is blatantly disobeying international law and refusing to be held accountable for its actions.
Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states, “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
Israel is breaking international law on the issue of settlements alone. This does not count the countless war crimes and possible crimes against humanity that Israel has been accused of committing by the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict in 2009 or Israel’s failure to abide by the numerous Security Council and General Assembly resolutions calling for the security of the Palestinian people.
To say that Palestinians are just trying to make excuses from engaging in peace talks by demanding the halt of settlements is a grave oversight. The creation of Israeli settlements is an attempt to shift the demographic of the Palestinian territories, an issue that is the whole point of the conflict in the first place. When Jews are being bussed into Palestinian territories to create illegal settlements and then those Jewish settlers incite relentless violence and attacks on the Palestinian population, the only result is more Palestinian deaths, more Palestinian refugees and a greater Israeli presence with more land that isn’t theirs. The Israeli government doesn’t care about engaging in peace talks with the Palestinians or not, because either way, it will continue doing exactly what it wants to do.
And then as Israel continues to colonize Palestinian land while the Palestinians watch with their hands tied behind their back, the American government criticizes the Palestinians as being stubborn and uncooperative for not simply complying with what Israel wants to do.
Amani Al-Khatahtbeh is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in political science and Middle Eastern studies with a minor in French. Her column, “The Minority Report,” runs on alternate Wednesdays.