How international law fails Palestine

During the Coronavirus outbreak, “normal” Middle Eastern politics are less discussed in the media and yet Israel’s occupation of Palestine is just as brutal as ever.

My interview with US outlet Fair Observer about Trump’s recent Middle East “peace deal”, the reality on the ground in Palestine and possible points of leverage for Palestinians.

Here’s an extract:

Ziabari: You said the Americans knew from the beginning that Palestinians would reject the peace plan. In the interim, the White House published a map, delineating the future composition of Palestinian lands and Israeli territory. The Palestinian response has been stringent, saying they’ll not accept this deal under any circumstances. Considering the map has been published, do you think that is the green light for Israel to annex more Palestinian lands, including the Jordan Valley, and to build more settlements in the West Bank?

Loewenstein: I think it’s almost inevitable and, in fact, one of the things that is important to remember is, in some ways, that Israel doesn’t even need this deal. I mean they’re annexing territory to an extent now anyway. There’s currently in Israel and Palestine a “one-state” solution. It’s an apartheid state for Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and the Jordan Valley, but what it means practically on the ground is that Israel has the freedom to do what it wants. There is one civilian law for Israeli Jews in the West Bank and one law for Palestinians, which is a military rule, and that’s discriminatory and apartheid by definition.

So, does the map guarantee Israel will continue on its part? I think the answer is: yes. But Israel doesn’t need the Trump plan or the Trump map or the Trump deal to do that. They’re doing it anyway and, frankly, they’ve been doing that for years.

The problem with this issue is not Donald Trump. Donald Trump is a terrible, racist president, but he has only accelerated the trends that were happening here already. These problems were created long before Trump — for decades, in fact — by the Republican and Democratic presidents who allowed Israel to occupy and discriminate against Palestinians without any punishment, including Democratic presidents such as [Barack] Obama. So, Trump is really not the problem here; Trump has merely made the problem worse, for sure, but when he leaves office, Israel would almost certainly continue behaving as it does because there’s literally no international pressure on them to stop them.

Read the whole interview.

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