By Ahsan Qazi
Palestinians are in extreme danger with the return of Benjamin Netanyahu who has aligned himself with the ultra-nationalist Religious Zionist Party (RZP), which also includes the far-right Kahanist Otzma Yehudit Party and the Noam Party.
With RZP securing 225,000 votes in the recent election, RZP is now in power and proudly asserts its hyper-nationalism and extremist religious ideology. With Netanyahu back in power and his coalition with the ultranationalist Religious Zionism party, Netanyahu and his administration should be put under the microscope of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and many other major international organizations who must mobilize and not allow the ultranationalist Religious Zionist party to carry out their aggressive extremist agenda against the Palestinians and other minorities. RZP’s every move should be watched and scrutinized under international human rights laws and international criminal laws.
This is an urgent appeal to the international community and the human rights watch organizations to monitor and act on any injustices done to Palestinians under Netanyahu and his extremist administration. The signs that an aggressive and brutal agenda will be carried out against the native Palestinians with RZP in power are abundantly clear, and all major news channels are reporting and documenting Netanyahu’s agenda.
The signs are as follows. Netanyahu formed a coalition government with the ultra-nationalist Religious Zionist Party (RZP), which also includes the far-right Kahanist Otzma Yehudit Party and the Noam Party. BBC’s Yolande Knell & David Gritten report in “Netanyahu’s hard-line new government takes office in Israel” that Netanyahu addressed the Knesset in Jerusalem that his administration will “restore governance, peace, and personal security to the citizens of Israel.” What does this mean for the native Palestinians? By singling out the citizens of Israel, this clearly demonstrates racism and prejudice against the Palestinians who won’t have any rights under the ultranationalist Religious Zionism party. In fact, Netanyahu’s new government includes Itamar Ben-Gvir who is the leader of the Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party.
Itamar Ben-Gvir is a known settler and ultranationalist politician. He has been convicted of racism and aiding a terrorist organization. He was convicted of supporting a terrorist group known as Kach, which adapted Kahanism, an extremist religious Zionist ideology. Under Netanyahu’s coalition government, he will be a national security minister, responsible for managing police. What peace and security will the Palestinians have under a racist and someone who was aiding a terrorist organization? Palestinians are in extreme danger and the international community needs to be more alert and the international criminal court need to keep a microscopic eye on Netanyahu and RZP members.
Furthermore, despite Netanyahu being on trial for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, he clearly declared that “the Jewish people have an exclusive and unquestionable right to all areas of the land of Israel,” which includes the West Bank. Knell and Gritten state, “The first guiding principle of the new government, published on Wednesday, declares that “the Jewish people have an exclusive and unquestionable right to all areas of the land of Israel.” His promise to “advance and develop” settlements in the West Bank is a real threat for Palestinians’ existence. For advancing and developing, who did Netanyahu form an alliance with? He chose Bezalel Smotrich, who is a Religious Zionism leader and a West Bank settler. He will serve as a finance minister and oversee the Civil Administration, which is tasked with approving settlement-building projects in the West Bank and controlling important aspects of Palestinians’ lives. Palestinians have no voice. The Religious Zionism leader, Bezalel Smotrich had been arrested previously on the suspicion of organizing violent Jewish nationalist activity. Can one really believe that Palestinians will be any safe under such an individual who proudly holds dangerous radical values and has been arrested for leading with his extremist values?
Why this is a real threat to the Palestinians? Approximately 140 settlements have been built since Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 1967, evidence that this activity will take place much faster now under the Religious Zionism leader, Bezalel Smotrich. Netanyahu further plans to annex the West Bank, a move that is illegal under international law and cannot be justified with Netanyahu’s desire to act in the national and international interests. This raises two key questions here. One, who are the international parties who favor Netanyahu’s decision, and despite his political activities being illegal under international law, what are the international interests that he is attempting to accomplish? According to the international community and international law, Jewish settlements are illegal. Israel is the only country to dispute the international laws and the international community that attempts to question Israel’s actions.
Netanyahu’s audacious stunt of striking a deal with the ultranationalist Religious Zionism Party (RZP) that he will retroactively legalize the outposts is real and extremely dangerous. This will escalate ethnic conflict to a seriously dangerous level. Who gives Netanyahu the right to make such political moves despite his breach of international law, which he disrespects continuously? Why are Netanyahu’s government policies not scrutinized under international law where Palestinians’ land and rights are completely taken away from them? Amnesty International reports in “Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians: a cruel system of domination and a crime against humanity,” that their report “demonstrates that Israeli authorities treat Palestinians as an inferior racial group who are defined by their non-Jewish, Arab status. This racial discrimination is cemented in laws which affect Palestinians across Israel and the OPT.” Furthermore, Amnesty International’s report indicates that “Since its establishment, the Israeli state has enforced massive and cruel land seizures against Palestinians and continues to implement myriad laws and policies to force Palestinians into small enclaves. Since 1948, Israel has demolished hundreds of thousands of Palestinian homes and other properties across all areas under its jurisdiction and effective control.”
Netanyahu has given a clear direction of what his agenda is, and this carries the indication of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and the total end of the little piece of land where the native Palestinians are living. The fact that West Bank where Palestinians have been settled for many decades has to be referred to as the “Occupied West Bank” suggests an ominous tone. By aligning with the ultra-nationalist Religious Zionist Party (RZP) and bringing in two extremist officials, both settlers in the West Bank, one a Zionist leader who is granted the duty to further steal land from the Palestinians and another ultranationalist politician, previously convicted of racism and supporting a terrorist organization, who will administer policing, Netanyahu’s administration has all the individuals to escalate ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and extreme marginalization of Palestinians within the country and before the international community, such the term Palestinians will eventually disappear.
The time is now for the international community and human rights organizations, their respected leaders who still have a true sense of justice and peace to start questioning the actions of Israel, especially Netanyahu who continues to use Iran to play the victim and to divert the international community’s attention away from the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and stealing Palestinians homes. Israel’s government has been in clear violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that “Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.” Additionally, Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention mentions, “The Occupying Power undertaking such transfers or evacuations shall ensure, to the greatest practicable extent, that proper accommodation is provided to receive the protected persons, that the removals are effected in satisfactory conditions of hygiene, health, safety and nutrition, and that members of the same family are not separated.” To remove a population that has been native in a certain geographical location for many years is a major crime, and to leave them homeless, in danger, and without any rights is a greater crime, a crime against humanity.
The time is now for the United Nations, Humans Rights watch organizations, the International Criminal Court, and anyone who has an atom’s size understanding of justice and fairness to stand with the Palestinians and protect them from the extreme danger looming over them, to shield the Palestinians from ethnic cleaning, from genocide, and from getting pushed out of their homes unjustly. International law and the criminal court are to stop the perpetrators from committing heinous crimes such as ethnic cleansing, genocides, and destroying the dignity of Palestinians in their own homeland. Netanyahu who has aligned himself with the ultra-nationalist Religious Zionist Party (RZP), this puts Palestinians in extreme danger, in the middle of a brutal ethnic conflict, leading to the complete ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Palestinians are in extreme danger, and they require support from the international community, human rights organizations, and the world criminal court to intervene and protect the Palestinian community from ethnic cleansing.