Israel’s then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak explicitly warned in 2010 that Israel would become a permanent “apartheid” state if it failed to reach a peace agreement with Palestinians that creates their own sovereign nation and vests them with full political rights. “As long as in this territory west of the Jordan river there is only one political entity called Israel it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic,” Barak said. “If this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.”
Honest observers on both sides of the conflict have long acknowledged that the prospects for a two-state solution are virtually non-existent: another way of saying that Israel’s status as a permanent apartheid regime is inevitable. Indeed, U.S. intelligence agencies as early as 45 years ago explicitly warned that Israeli occupation would become permanent if it did not end quickly.
All relevant evidence makes clear this is what has happened. There has been no progress toward a two-state solution for many years. The composition of Israel’s Jewish population – which has become far more belligerent and right-wing than previous generations – has increasingly moved the country further away from that goal. There are key ministers in Israel’s government, including its genuinely extremist Justice Minister, who are openly and expressly opposed to a two-state solution. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has himself repeatedly made clear he opposes such an agreement, both in words and in deeds. In sum, Israel intends to continue to rule over and occupy Palestinians and deny them self-governance, political liberties, and voting rights indefinitely.
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Whether despite this aggression and oppression, or because of it, the Obama administration has continually protected Israel with unstinting loyalty and lavished it with arms and money. This rewarding of Israeli behavior culminated in the administration’s announcement just three weeks ago that it has signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” to significantly increase the amount of money the U.S. gives to Israel every year, even though Israel was already by far the biggest recipient of U.S. aid. Under this agreement, the U.S. will give Israel $38 billion over ten years, by far a new record for U.S. aid commitments, even though Israeli citizens enjoy all sorts of state benefits which Americans (whose money is being given to Israel) are told are too costly for them, including universal health care coverage, as well as touting superior life expectancy and infant mortality rates.
This week, with their fresh new $38 billion commitment in hand, the Israeli government announced the approval of an all new settlement in the West Bank, one that is particularly hostile to ostensible U.S. policy, the international consensus, and any prospects for an end to occupation. The new settlement, as The New York Times put it this morning, is “one of a string of housing complexes that threaten to bisect the West Bank, is designed to house settlers from a nearby illegal outpost, Amona, which an Israeli court has ordered demolished.” These new settlements extends far into the West Bank: closer to Jordan, in fact, than to Israel.
In response to this announcement, the U.S. State Department yesterday issued an unusually harsh denunciation of Israel’s actions. “We strongly condemn the Israeli government’s recent decision to advance a plan that would create a significant new settlement deep in the West Bank,” it began. It suggested Netanyahu has been publicly lying, noting that the “approval contradicts previous public statements by the Government of Israel that it had no intention of creating new settlements.” The State Department invoked the aid package the U.S. just lavished to describe it as “deeply troubling, in the wake of Israel and the U.S. concluding an unprecedented agreement on military assistance designed to further strengthen Israel’s security, that Israel would take a decision so contrary to its long term security interest in a peaceful resolution of its conflict with the Palestinians.”
Much of that, while a bit more rhetorically clear than usual, is par for the course: the U.S. – in vintage Obama fashion – pretends with pretty, pleasing statement to be upset at Israel settlements while taking continuous actions to protect and enable the very policies Obama pretends to oppose.
Read the full article (with possible updates) at The Intercept.