Joseph Dana writes: After two decades of relentless settlement building and domination over Palestinian life, Israel has rendered its footprint on the West Bank indistinguishable from the terrain itself. From street signs to motorways, the dividing line between where Israel ends and the West Bank begins has slowly been erased on the ground. The only borders are walls, checkpoints and fences – none of which correspond to the internationally recognised demarcation line that resulted from the 1967 war.
Pessimism is a tempting reaction to just about everything in Israel and Palestine these days. So what could a toothless United Nations resolution do to reverse the years of colonisation? There have been other resolutions and they never forced any real change. What is different today?
A reasonable question, yet there is some hope on the horizon, even if the short-term future looks bleak. Throughout Israel’s colonisation project in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Tel Aviv has been shielded from biting backlash by the United States in forums such as the UN.
Late on Friday afternoon, however, a crack in the partnership appeared. The US abstained on a Security Council resolution that reaffirmed the illegality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The resolution itself was nothing new; it merely confirmed decades of international consensus on the conflict. In fact, many analysts felt it was far too little, far too late.
After eight years of snubbing and inappropriate behaviour from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US president Barack Obama could have done much more to assert the illegality of Israel’s actions against Palestinians to send a clear message to Israel as to who the superpower in the alliance is. But Mr Obama acted with restraint, and that might prove to be a good thing in the long run. [Continue reading…]