Point-blank: A settler state

Mohamed Salmawy
Friday 7 Jul 2023

For many years, Israel played along with the international community’s demand for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state living side-by-side with it in peace.

 

Meanwhile, it encouraged Jews to emigrate into the territories designated for the Palestinian state. In fact, it supported their efforts to build illegal settlements on land acquired through expropriation, demolition, intimidation and violence.

Today, as we know, the occupied territories are packed with illegal settlements and now Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has openly explained to the Knesset what has always been his policy, namely the Israeli opposition, and the establishment of a Palestinian state. 

The Knesset’s foreign policy and defence committee recently held a closed session that was attended by Netanyahu. Some days ago, the Hebrew language Kan Radio revealed some of what transpired during that session, the substance of which the government deliberately leaked to the press in order to underscore the points. Most of the committee’s questions to the prime minister focused on the two-state solution to which Israel has formally committed itself by treaty. Not that this made a difference to Netanyahu, who told committee members that the Palestinians’ “ambitions for the establishment of a state must be crushed.”

Netanyahu’s remarks appeared just as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres released a statement harshly condemning Israeli settlement expansion. The settlements “are a flagrant violation of international law,” he said. “The expansion of these illegal settlements is a significant driver of tensions and violence and deepens humanitarian needs. It further entrenches Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory, encroaches on Palestinian land and natural resources, hampers the free movement of the Palestinian population, and undermines the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and sovereignty.” 

Expressing his alarm over the anticipated advancement of plans to construct over 4,000 new settlement housing units, Guterres urged the Israeli government “to halt and reverse such decisions and to immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and to fully respect its legal obligations in that regard.” 

He reminded Israel that the settlements “are a major obstacle to the realisation of a viable two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.” 

But as Netanyahu has just made clear, this is not what Israel is after. It has always pursued a duplicitous strategy, concealing its intentions as it stealthily puts the pieces in place, until suddenly it presents us with the de facto reality. It should come as no surprise that after years of reiterating its commitment to the two-state solution, Israel should finally admit that what it has been working on all along is the creation of a single Israeli settler-colony state. 


* A version of this article appears in print in the 6 July, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

Short link: