To recap: On December 23, 2016 the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved, save for the United States which abstained, a resolution representing a written condemnation of Israel’s policy of establishing settlements on Palestinian land.
Shortly before, the Barack Obama administration had signed an over 30 billion dollar military aid package with Israel, the largest in its history.
Thinking back, I remember the one and a half year old Palestinian boy who was burned alive on July 31, 2015, after Israeli drones bombed his home in the West Bank.
The act was met with outrage by the International community who described the attack as “Jewish terrorism.”
A neighboring house was also burned during the bombing. Days later, young Saed Dawabsha’s father died as a result of the burns he sustained to 80% of his body, followed a month later by his mother Riham Dawabsha, who also died with 90% of her body burnt.
Despite the incomprehensibility of the situation, the lack of attention and discussion around the colonization of Palestinian land, on which Israel continues to build thousands of illegal settler homes, is quite possibly the result of living in a 21st century world.
According to a BBC World report there are currently over 600,000 Israelis living in some 140 settlements since Zionist occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem began, an area where Palestinians wish to build their future state.
Far from abiding by the UN resolution and accepting international criticism, Israeli settlements in the West Bank have expanded by 123.7%, since 2012.
A study by the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ) revealed that Palestinian territory annexed by Israeli settlements increased from 62 square kilometers in 1990 to 194.7 in 2012; while the number of settlers grew from 240,000 to 693,000 over the same period.
In response to this colonial campaign, the UN Security Council has approved various resolutions condemning the construction of these settlements, to which Israel has paid no heed, continuing to expand across Palestinian territory.
Almost all of the documents issued by the UN or its associated bodies, describe Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory by force as unacceptable, and as such, the settlements established on occupied Palestinian land since 1967, including East Jerusalem, have “no legal validity, constituting a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the vision of two states living side-by-side in peace and security.”
Meanwhile, Tel Aviv has declared settlements as closed military zones, off limits to Palestinians, except those with a special permit.
According to analysts these settlements are proof of Israel’s unabashed intention to create the biblical Greater Israel exclusively for Jews, and which represents one of the great horrors of the 21st century.
It is clear from recent ongoing construction in Jerusalem that Tel Aviv is attempting to solidify the expansion of the Jewish state by isolating the city from the rest of the West Bank.
Finally, to recap just as I did at the beginning of the article, over recent weeks, coinciding with President Donald Trump’s inauguration in the United States, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government announced the construction of some 6,000 new settler homes on Palestinian land.
If that weren’t enough, shortly before the announcement, Israel’s Congress had approved a controversial bill authorizing the construction of further 3,800 new buildings on private Palestinian property.
In this context, the Israeli Prime Minister traveled to the United States to meet with the new U.S. President, who declared his strong support for the country.
In its first official statement on this issue, the White House said that "While we don't believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal."
As can be seen, the Trump administration’s statement takes on more or less the same tone as those of past U.S. governments, which Israel interprets in its own way, while construction on Palestinian territory continues, perhaps now more rapidly than before.
The UN on the other hand has emphatically stressed, “Settlements are considered illegal under international law and represent one of the greatest obstacles to peace,” according to Nickolay Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
It is obvious therefore that a clear divide exists between what is right on the one hand, and Israel’s actions, supported by Washington, on the other. What a shameful world we live in!