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While the US interprets international law for Israel, the world opts for ambiguity

May 12, 2020 at 2:53 pm

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Prime Ministry Office in Jerusalem on 20 March 2019 [Kobi Gideon/Anadolu Agency]

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Israel tomorrow for discussions with its leadership about annexation, among other issues. After politically facilitating the annexation process for Israel, Pompeo is attempting, and failing, to divert attention away from the role the US played in the recent colonial decision.

During the meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and leader of the Blue and White Party Benny Gantz, Pompeo will just be “sharing views” on the annexation process. “I have said previously that this is a decision that the Israelis will make. I want to understand how the new leadership, the soon-to-be new government, is thinking about that,” Pompeo declared when asked about the purpose of the visit.

The so-called “deal of the century”, which Israel said it will implement unilaterally as benefits its political agenda, was described by Pompeo as meeting “the core requirements of both the Palestinians and the Israeli people.” The Palestinian leadership, albeit lacking any political vision, rejected the US-Israeli scheming. As Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas scrambles for peace conferences, Pompeo’s visit to Israel is set to consolidate the annexation plans, despite US rhetoric attempting to sound cautious.

In an exclusive interview with Israel Hayom, Pompeo echoed US Ambassador to Israeli David Friedman, saying that the decision to extend sovereignty over settlements in the occupied West Bank is “Israel’s decision”. This decision, however, falls within the parameters of the international law manipulation which the US concocted for Israel’s demands.

READ: The EU helps Israel export its colonial violence

In November, Pompeo refuted international law as regards Israel’s settlement expansion. “Calling the establishment of civilian settlement inconsistent with international law has not advanced the cause of peace,” he had stated.

Further asserting Israel’s contempt for international law, Pompeo reiterated that Israel’s decision-making reigns supreme. The US, according to Pompeo, is merely aiding in purported clarification. “We have clarified what we believe international law permits. And we recognise Israel’s right to make its own decisions.”

Putting it briefly, the US is clarifying what international law means for Israel and now framing the politics as being solely an Israeli decision. The international community, on the other hand, remains largely silent on the planned land grab and dispossession of the Palestinian people. Warnings, which are what the UN has issued so far, hold no political sway over Israel’s violation of international law. EU countries France, Belgium, Ireland and Luxembourg are among the most prominent in advocating that Israel’s annexation of the occupied West Bank should be challenged. Yet there is also a considerable chance of the bloc capitulating to Israel as evidenced by the words of an unnamed senior EU official: “There is clearly a need to look at what annexation means in the context of international law and we do need to know our options.”

This lack of assertion is unfortunately a bonus point for Israel. So far there is little to suggest that the international community will take a harsher approach. While the US and Israel plan unhindered, the international community has not even been able to unequivocally articulate its definitive rejection of this latest phase in Zionist colonisation.

READ: International insistence on ‘two states’ endorses US-Israeli annexation plans 

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.