Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Trump have finally achieved together what both of them sought for Israel-Palestine: namely, the death of the two state option that would have created a politically and economically viable Palestinian state.
The primary victory belongs to Netanyahu and the policies he pursued as prime minister of Israel. Through his persistent encouragement of the expanding settlements in the West Bank, he managed to encourage hundreds of thousands of new settlers to create a reality in which Israeli Jews would ignore the liberation struggle of the Palestinian people and settle on land often stolen from neighboring Palestinian villages.
Meanwhile, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), that once prided itself on being the most ethical in the world, and the Israeli judicial system have together transformed themselves into instruments of occupation and oppression. The Israeli Human Rights organization B’tselem has documented this process over the course of several decades. In a B’tselem report in January 2018 documenting how two new settlement outposts in the northern Jordan valley are being created, B’tselem reflects on how these particular settlements are typical of the way the current Israeli government manages to expel local Palestinian communities through a combination of military orders, administrative and planning measures, and military activity. In this context the settlers function as the long arm of the state.
“The impact of the settlement outposts far exceeds their built-up areas. The settlers living in them put a great deal of effort into blocking Palestinian shepherds from accessing their land… To this end, they use intimidation tactics, such as patrolling the area on horseback or driving ATV’s, armed with guns and clubs, and driving away Palestinian shepherds. B’Tselem has documented incidents in which settlers rode into a herd of sheep to disperse them, ran over livestock or threw stones at them….Settlers take over pastureland and use it to pasture their own cattle and flocks, while keeping Palestinian shepherds from using the land. In doing they seriously harm the Palestinian shepherds’ main source of income. We have also documented threats and violence against the shepherds themselves.
“Members of the affected communities have complained to the Israeli military and police about the routine of violence they have been subjected to, but Israeli law enforcement agencies systematically avoid taking any measures against settlers. Palestinian residents report that even when soldiers are on the scene during attacks by settlers, they stand by, taking the part of the settlers.
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Tikkun 2018 Volume 33, Number 3:3-5