Israel’s allies are fond of adamantly asserting that they will oppose any efforts to delegitimise the settler-colonial state, yet these “efforts”, apart from singling out the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) are barely specified. Who is trying to delegitimise Israel internationally, and how can that happen, when the UN itself opposed international law and legitimised colonial violence? Israel delegitimises itself daily – no one needs to lift a finger to even try, it is so accomplished in rising above international law with complete impunity.
However, such statements bolster Israel’s narrative that it is assailed with opposition. Recently, it was the US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield who accused the UN of delegitimising Israel’s existence. In tune with the fabrications expressed by Thomas-Greenfield, US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides declared: “I will oppose all efforts to isolate and delegitimise Israel internationally.” If this is Nides’ main concern, he can rest assured of a reduced workload. Unless he takes responsibility for illustrating to Israel how its illegitimate actions delegitimise it and have been doing so since the 1948 Nakba. If Nides does that, he will usher in alternative politics, but that is not Washington’s aim, of course.
Israel enjoys unrivalled international support. The international community has normalised Israel’s violence to the point that it has become a topic on the UN agenda, rather than war crimes that deserve punitive measures and justice. The UN has so far failed to thoroughly support the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) war crimes declaration, preferring the safety of its non-binding resolutions that chastise Israel while making a mockery of Palestinians’ political rights.
The multitude of non-binding UN resolutions which Israel has grumbled about and the Palestinian Authority glorified have only delegitimised the Palestinian people’s political struggle. Israel wins even when Palestinians deserve a legitimate triumph. The way the international community has neglected the already faulty resolution on the Palestinian right of return can be showcased as an example of how the UN legitimised Israel’s presence and actions at the expense of the Palestinian people. Not one single resolution has pledged to undo the harm inflicted upon Palestinians when UNGA Resolution 194 established Israel’s existence prior to the rights of the dispossessed. The 1947 Partition Plan, after all, set the precedent for Resolution 194 and the disastrous ongoing aftermath.
When US diplomats speak about this absurd conspiracy of delegitimising Israel, they should recognise that there is no plan for the simple reason that the international community caters to Israel’s colonisation plans. Such rhetoric is just embellishment for Israel’s plans, and the dangerous predicament Palestinians find themselves in is that the international community is willing to adopt the “delegitimising Israel” narrative to enable further Israeli violence against the Palestinian people. This is what Nides and his colleagues intend when they speak about Israel facing purported delegitimisation threats – do not chastise Israel for breaking international law and committing war crimes. It is the greatest misfortune for Palestinians that the same political actors have decided both Israel’s impunity and Palestine’s fate.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.