The UN has contributed another contradiction in its assessment of Palestinian prospects following the "Peace to Prosperity" summit. Instead of highlighting how and why the UN has failed Palestine, a recent statement from Michael Lynk, the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Palestine, emphasised the absence of an international law framework as the reason why peace plans have failed.
While reminding that the two-state compromise enjoys international consensus, Lynk stated: "Without the framework of international law, any peace plan, including the forthcoming proposal from the United States, will crash upon the shoals of political realism."
Peace plans have failed, he declared, "because they did not seriously insist upon a rights-based approach to peace between Israelis and Palestinians."
US President Donald Trump has clearly demonstrated he is concerned with Israeli supremacy, not Palestinians rights. Yet, the UN has also advocated and supported a similar outcome. The question, therefore, is not about the absence of an international law framework, but how that framework, when applied, has been used to divest Palestinians of their rights to land and return.
Trump's "deal of the century" and the two-state paradigm are all about enforcing Palestinian absence from the political process. The only difference is that the latter has been normalised and accepted by the international community to the point that legitimate anti-colonial resistance, which also falls under an international law framework, is eliminated.
It is not enough to insist that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law – another 2,000 settlements have recently been authorised by Israel in the occupied West Bank. The UN must take responsibility for allowing the creation of a colonial settlement enterprise, which means directing questions of illegality at Israel itself. It is the international community which facilitated the prevailing depletion of Palestinian territory by recognising Israel over Palestinian rights. If international law allows such violations, it is unreasonable to expect Palestinians to abide by legislation that has transformed them into a perpetual humanitarian project against their own will and determination.
US Envoy Jason Greenblatt has called settlements "neighbourhoods and cities". Is this any different to the international community's acceptance of Israel as a state, despite it being a colonial entity established through the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population? Greenblatt's comments are a misrepresentation that ties in directly to US policy when it comes to Israel, but the international community, as always, has laid the foundations for the Zionist narrative to thrive.
International law has failed Palestine – a look at the two-state hypothesis, declared obsolete but still considered the only purported solution by international consensus, is more than enough proof. It was also international consensus that decided the Palestinian people's fate to be colonised in 1947 through the Partition Plan. Pointing fingers at the US, as abhorrent as its complicity with Israel is, will not be enough to undo the violence approved by the international community when it accommodated the Zionist colonial ideology. So far, international law has done nothing to stop the violations which the international community encouraged and supported. It has become a tool supporting the imposition that is the two-state compromise and any other framework that promises the continuation of Palestinian dispossession and displacement.
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