Israel is cynically exploiting the international community’s focus on protecting humanity and the world economy from the devastating consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic to implement its extraterritorial and expansionist colonial agenda. Israeli politicians are busy negotiating a coalition agreement centered on permanent colonization and annexation at the expense of Palestinian lives, land, and rights.
While the world is preoccupied with combating COVID-19, the joint Israeli-US committee set up to implement the US administration´s disastrous so-called plan has found the time and energy to work on annexation and prioritize it over saving lives. The clear support and sponsorship of the US administration of these dangerous plans is further proof of the disruptive and irresponsible role of the Trump administration at all levels.
Israeli annexation is not a possibility the world should be worried about. It is a reality unfolding on the ground to the grave detriment of future generations in the region and at the expense of the standing and relevance of multilateral efforts and international law. Israel is taking practical steps to permanently and irreversibly undercut the realization of the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights to freedom and independence, thus ensuring permanent conflict in the region.
Israel has scaled up land grab, settlement and Wall construction, nightly raids and other illegal measures and crimes to satisfy the insatiable appetite of colonial expansion. This agenda is now the common ground on which unity government discussions are based, dissolving any pretension that main Israeli political actors have differences in the policies of ensuring permanent colonization, enacting annexation, and enforcing apartheid-like policies. This dangerous agenda is neither new nor surprising.
It is what the Palestinian leadership has warned for years. Regrettably, the international community has abdicated its responsibilities to hold Israel accountable for its pervasive illegal actions and shameful impunity. This inaction has emboldened and empowered the Israeli political establishment to abandon all pretense of commitment to the internationally agreed-on solution of two states on the basis of international law and relevant United Nations resolutions.
The current US administration’s ideological and practical partnership with Israel on the issues of annexation and permanent occupation has made the situation completely untenable.
Despite its focus on combating the COVID-19 pandemic, the international community is well aware of what is transpiring on the ground, including Israel’s obstruction of Palestinian efforts to combat the virus effectively.
This was evident in the recent European Union statement announcing increased assistance to Palestine to help fight the virus. However, the rhetorical diagnosis of the threat to peace and international obligations will not be enough to avert the complete breakdown of the world agenda for peace. Serious and deterrent international action is required to stop Israeli actions and plans. Time has run out on complacency and platitudes.