Since 1967, Israel has occupied Palestine, controlling the lives and destiny of Palestinians for 50 years.
The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) now regulates the movement of Palestinians within Palestine, their use of water, collects and distributes Palestinian taxes, has built parallel highways throughout Palestine to be used by Israelis and select Palestinians, controls the air space above Palestine, has built a 26-foot wall around Palestine (and in the process cutting Palestinian farmers off from their land and confiscating large portions of land), etc., etc.
This is clearly contrary to international law and our current president’s recent decision to move our embassy to Jerusalem introduces the likelihood of new levels of violence and the continuation of breaking international law.
According to international law, a country cannot invade another country and simply take it over!
In this case Israel has taken Palestinian land, built settlements (a more appropriate word is colonies) and moved in hundreds of thousands of Israelis. The fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 prohibits countries from moving population into territories occupied in a war.
Beyond this, every U.S. president (both Republican and Democrat) since the Israeli invasion of 1969 has condemned these Israeli moves. President Barak Obama, however, became the only U.S. president to abstain from a United Nations Security Council condemnation of Israel, subsequently letting the U.N. Security Council censure Israel — the vote was 14-0 with one abstention — the U.S.
Beyond this are two issues that should haunt Israel in the future. The first concerns the demographic question.
It seems clear that Israel has rejected the two-state solution and is moving toward a one-state existence. This raises the question of what will happen to the nearly 2 million mostly Palestinians who currently live in Israel and do not have democratic rights, and more importantly, what about the nearly two-and-a-half million Palestinians who live in the Occupied West Bank?
Will Palestinians reproduce at a faster rate and outnumber Jews? Many have already declared that Israel is an apartheid state, much like South Africa was at one time – a condition that Western nations refused to tolerate and helped destroy. (Shades of Ukraine?)
Another immediate issue is the nonviolent movement known as Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). Initiated by Palestinians in 2005 to end the illegal occupation of Palestine and the utilization of this land to produce goods for export.
This movement is especially inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement which was supported by a plethora of political. educational, religious, civic and even international business groups and corporation.
This is exactly what the nonviolent BDS movement hopes. Already church, educational, sports and entertainment groups have joined and the number is growing. Israel’s response is massive and calls the movement anti-Semitism and is urging groups in the U.S. to pass laws against BDS.
However, there is a long history of such nonviolent movements in the U.S. which were found to be legal and won wide support.
I personally stood on a busy street corner in Jerusalem’s downtown with the Women in Black (Jewish women protesting the occupation of Palestine by Israel) and held a placard supporting human rights for Palestinians.
It should not be assumed that the Jewish community in the U.S. supports the occupation or that all Jewish residents of Israel support the policy. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said in a strong statement in 2016 that Israel has become ‘infected by seeds of fascism.”