Israel-Palestine: a settler colonialism case PACIFIC PRESS VIA GETTY IMAGES

The Jewish State is a unique case of how a diaspora created a nation-state (Clifford 1994, 307). However, the arrival of the Jewish diaspora to Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel has been contested by Arab states for continuing to ignore the UN partition plan (Eldar 2017). The Jewish immigrant-settler colonial movement (Jamal 2011, 48) have been expelling the Palestinian population from their homeland. Even today, Israel refuses to recognise the right of the Palestinians to self-determination and continues its border-work in the occupied territories through the creation of settlements. The international community turns a blind eye to this situation.

Israel can be described as a ‘colonial settler-state’ (Rodinson 1973) that has been implementing a ‘logic of elimination’ since the first Jewish settlement in 1967 (Wolfe 2006, 387; Gordon 2008, 28). For Wolfe, genocide is not far from the settler-colonialism debate (2006, 387). However, he uses the term logic of elimination to explain settler-colonialism and places the access to territory as the primary motive for elimination (Wolfe 2006, 387, 402). We can see this logic in the Israel-Palestine case. The illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is meant to expel the native society and replace it by the colonial society, in order to exploit the territorial resources. By doing this, Israel created a Palestinian archipelago in the West Bank which has consequently ghettoised the Palestinians (Gordon 2008, 36, 40). The Gaza Strip is an example of a ghetto, used as a laboratory for the Israeli security industry, where they test security solutions for the threats faced by neoliberal states (Lloyd et al. 2015, 2, 5). It can be argued that settler-colonialism is meant to come and stay. By saying this, it looks impossible to find a solution for the Israel-Palestine case. Despite its complexity, improvements and ways forward can be found.

For the improvement of Palestinian lives, Israel needs to respect the sovereignty of an Arab State in Palestine. Nowadays, Palestinians live in enclaves surrounded by Israeli checkpoints, facing borders and security controls everywhere. This holds back economic development in Palestine, and consequently contributes to the suffering of Palestinians. The development of Palestine depends on a Human Rights based approach, as development is not about statistics, but it is about empowering people (Jönsson 2010, 393). Thus, Israel should allow the access of Palestinians to neighbouring countries, in order to improve their economic situation by opening the Palestinian economy to other markets. Furthermore, Israel should stop/withdraw the Jewish settlements from the occupied territories.

By using settlements instead of mass murders, Israeli actions are not a direct affront the rule of law (Wolfe 2006, 402). Nevertheless, these settlements are illegal under international law as they violate the 1947 UN partition plan. The elimination of Palestinians can be understood as a ‘structural genocide’. In this case, genocide is disconnected from mass murders (Wolfe 2006, 398, 403). Wolfe claims that “structural genocide should be easier to interrupt than short-term genocide” (2006, 403). However, what we see is that, since the independence of Israel, nothing has been done to stop Israeli settler-colonialism in order to prevent a Palestinian genocide.

Israeli violations have become trivial for Western societies. The West takes special caution and sensitivity in this case due to its legacy of colonialism (Donnelly 2007, 29), but I would claim that it is also due to atrocities committed to Jewish people since the Holocaust. In this case, when states and the international community fail to defend Human Rights from violations, non-state actors may take a further role in advocating Human Rights against abuses committed by Israel (Shelton 2002, 322). Still, it looks as though any transitional collective action in favour of Palestinian self-determination will be a failure. This failure is mainly due to the USA-Israel affinity as both share a settler-colonial history (Lloyd et al. 2015, 3), evident in Trump’s ‘Israeli speech’ upon his decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem (Bishara 2017).

In order to find a solution before it is too late, the international community should work with respect to the 1947 UN partition plan. An Arab State should be recognised in Palestine, and there should exist a territorial contiguity between the West Bank and Gaza (Roy 2004, 395-6). Israel by dismembering the Palestinian society and economy has been able to prevent the establishment of an Arab State (Roy 2004, 372; Gordon 2008, 34). When there are no more natives and all resources are expelled from the occupied territories, it will be too late to act and the international community will be responsible for another genocide. The creation of a reconciliation forum, such as a truth commission, is essential to investigate and report the Human Rights abuses committed by Israel and Palestine during the last 70 years. The truth commission could create an accurate historical record of Human Rights abuses, moreover, it could lead to restorative justice and reconciliation of both sides (Kelsall 2008, 11-13).

In sum, it can be argued that the solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a political solution that will recognise an Arab State and a Jewish State in Palestine. By consequence, this would provoke the end of the Israeli settler-colonialism. The Human Rights should be respected and a creation of a truth commission would help the transitional justice process, that could push for acknowledgement and conduct the situation to a peaceful end. However, political ontology should be taken into account, in order to understand everyone involved (Blaser, 2013, 559).

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