As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Colombia for the inauguration of the country's new President, Iván Duque Márquez, the international community should clarify its role once and for all as an intentional accomplice working against Palestinian rights. The last few weeks have been fraught with comments regarding Israel's Jewish Nation State Law, yet the discrepancies between words and action have dominated the public sphere. While Israel is following a set schedule to advance its colonisation of Palestine, the international community and its organisations are still floundering over past decisions and seeking to make amends, even though it is clearly too late.
Last year, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) report — "Israeli Practices Towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid" — was withdrawn by Secretary General Antonio Guterres following intense lobbying by Israel and the US. Euro-Med Monitor has now published an Arabic version, "to raise awareness of the issue of apartheid, so that the outputs of the report will be present on the local and international scene."
Mainstream media heralded the EU as leading the criticism of the Nation State Law, yet its Foreign Affairs and Security Policy representative Federica Mogherini merely stated that any step which would hinder prospects for the two-state paradigm "should be avoided". This is criticism at its most ineffectual.
Meanwhile, since the US unilaterally declared its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Netanyahu has availed himself of the opportunities presented by the Trump administration, as well as the emergence of the right-wing in Europe and Latin America, to garner support for Israel's plans. The international community has preferred to fragment each step into a series of isolated incidents, rather than expose Netanyahu's trajectory. When Israel makes it clear that there is no turning back and that its colonial policies are enshrined in law, the international community even fails to admit its own failure, while damaging Palestinian rights further by repeating the same lack of action against Israel's political violence.
Netanyahu stands to gain further support from his visit to Colombia. It is no longer a question of traditional historic ties, but opening a direct channel, through diplomacy, for support of Israeli colonialism. Jerusalem was a stepping stone in the process. With the Jewish Nation State Law enshrining self-determination as an exclusively Jewish right, countries that seek to move their embassies to Jerusalem can no longer be seen as acting unilaterally. Israel's concept of unifying Jerusalem is the complete colonisation of the city and countries which move their embassies there are complicit in this illegal and immoral action.
Outgoing Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos had argued in 2012 that Israel should be recognised as the state of the Jewish people. During his election campaign, Márquez stated openly that he would not eliminate "the possibility of placing the diplomatic seat in Jerusalem." In line with international rhetoric, he also stated that he supports the two-state paradigm.
Countries lending their support to Israel also function as part of the international community that builds its politics upon demanding compromises only from the Palestinians; Israel never cedes anything, and is never asked to. Netanyahu is not interfering in such international dynamics as, ultimately, they serve him well. With a select group of countries, such as Colombia, openly flaunting their allegiance to Israel, while the international community acts as its guardian, the least the latter can do is to declare unequivocally that there is no collective intention, let alone an agreement, to safeguard Palestinians' rights. At least then we will all be spared the bleeding-heart rhetoric and hand-wringing which accompanies "criticism" of the self-declared "Jewish" Zionist state.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.