Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory has now gone on for more than 50 years. Israel has systematically deprived Palestinians of their lives, land, and rights. The United States has largely abetted this process — and Israel could not continue what it is doing without U.S. support. It’s time for the United States to stop supporting Israel.
If all one does is casually watch any of the news networks regarding this issue, one will probably have significant misunderstandings of the causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One may believe that Israel is being picked on by Islamic radicals bent on its destruction or that “both sides” are to blame in some kind of thousand-year-old religious conflict.
It’s true some Palestinians have committed crimes against Israel. However, such incidents are usually a reaction to the greater crimes Israel commits against Palestinians on a regular basis. They should be viewed in context of the larger conflict, which is over land and territory.
Since the conclusion of the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel has occupied the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza. (Although Israel disbanded its settlements in Gaza in 2005, it maintains control over virtually all aspects of life in Gaza and is recognized as the occupying power by most international bodies and human rights organizations.)
Israel’s acquisition of these territories is illegal, and its occupation is the root cause of the conflict. The United Nations Security Council passed its first resolution against Israel’s occupation in 1967 by 15–0, in which it recognized “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” and called for “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”
Most recently, the Security Council passed another resolution in 2016 by 14–0 (with the United States issuing a rare abstention) reaffirming that “the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”
Israel ignores international law and has chosen expansion over security. Obviously, Palestinians don’t enjoy being occupied, and some resort to violence as a way of resisting the occupation. If Israel were serious about establishing a lasting peace, it would cease building settlements and end its illegal occupation. Instead, Israel continues to build more settlements in Palestinian territory.
The whole point is to slowly chip away at the prospect of any future Palestinian state until such an entity becomes impossible to establish. Israel’s ultimate goal is the annexation of Palestinian territory. “We are here to stay, forever,” as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told West Bank settlers last year.