Written by Dr. Ibrahim Rabia
In recent weeks, the internal Israeli conflict has intensified over judicial reforms and the far-right government coalition, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, seek endorsement on it. The other parties in the opposition, society, economy and security interpret that this reform undermines the state's institutions, the separation of authorities and the rule of law. This led to a polarisation within Israeli society and resulted in large protests.In fact, Israeli political elites pay close attention to the rule of law and separation of authorities as a guarantor of the cohesion and strength of the political system. However, in stark contrast, it does not share the same understanding of its occupation of Palestine. Nor is it reflected in the reports and recommendations of the international institutions and international laws. In the Palestinian context, this political elite focuses on one main goal: To annex larger Palestinian lands with a smaller population, isolated by besieged and restricted cantons.
On the other hand, the Palestinians continue to invest in the international community to their fullest extent. The last of these efforts was the success of filing a request for a decision from the International Court of Justice on the Israeli occupation with the continuous filling of cases in the International Criminal Court. In addition, civil society had many efforts to boycot Israel and its institutions internationally.
The importance of the Palestinian actions, which are supported by an international network of allies and friends, cannot be denied. Perhaps Israel's response to every Palestinian international step indicates the importance of this act. The Israeli responses included internally prosecuting Palestinians by imposing sanctions on the Palestinian National Authority and externally by accusing critics of Israel of antisemitism. This directly affected the boycott campaign and restricted its work in many countries.
However, what matters to Israel internationally is its image. This is an official international effort by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Strategic Affairs and the Prime Minister's Office. The Israeli government has sought to present itself as a reliable partner in addressing the century's challenges and developing the fields of technology, water and agriculture. In addition, there is much effort to reach communities through its effective digital diplomacy. In parallel, there is neglect and evasion when raising the Palestinian issue with continuous attempts to stigmatise the Palestinians as terrorists.
The interest in the image extends to Israel denying that it is an occupying power through the official political discourse and the media. Through the search for political projects that give legal cover to settlements, the most recent was the "Deal of the Century" project, which gave the Palestinians a superficial state lacking rigid foundations.
However, the transformations that the current Israeli government coalition may impose by internally bypassing the judiciary and the rule of law may reflect on Israel's understanding of its relationship with the Palestinians by no longer caring about its image and becoming openly aggressive without justifications.
Indicators on the ground show that the settlers' state in the West Bank is nearing completion. It is geographically linked to occupied territories and has its own regulating and governing institutions. In contrast, Palestinian cantons are clear and complete with Palestinians being confined in blocks. Israel can still punish them by opening and closing a checkpoint. The settlement ideology is governed by the religious discourse that categorises Palestinians as temporary residents on this land who must abide by the rules and regulations of the occupation. This surpassed any opportunity for a political solution.
This reality indicates that the international option alone is no longer commensurate with the situation. The international community criminalising the occupation and defining it with its illegitimate characteristics does not mean anything without true impact on the ground. On the other hand, the Palestinians stand with limited tools, shackled by the political division that prevents building a unified national programme and vision. There are also setbacks of Arab and international solidarity and support. These are challenges the Palestinian political elites face. Discussing them is no longer a luxury in light of the limited options and the absence of any political horizon. Instead, it has become an absolute necessity in light of the existential threat to the Palestinian national cause.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's views and not necessarily the Association's or donor's opinion.