With two months left until Trump is likely to leave office, Israel is rushing to advance its violations of international law.
Rabat – Only the US and Israel opposed the renewals of UN resolutions that support Palestinians on Wednesday. The Special Political and Decolonization (Fourth) Committee at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) again raised concerns over continuing Israeli human rights violations and repression of Palestinians and Syrians in the occupied Golan Heights.
The UN resolutions condemning Israel met opposition from no other states, with the country’s new “normalization” partners all voting in favor of the resolutions. Bahrain, Sudan, and the UAE backed the resolutions, along with most of the global community.
Gilad Erdan, Israel’s new ambassador to the UN, decried the resolutions during the UNGA debate. He accused the United Nations of “wasting UN resources” and “sabotaging future peace” by considering the resolutions against documented Israeli oppression and violence.
He took aim at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The UN agency that provides relief to Palestinian refugees was “one of the biggest reasons for the UN’s failure in ending the conflict,” Erdan stated.
Erdan seemed to imply that supporting Palestinian refugees undermines Israel’s systemic campaign to make life difficult for Palestinians in the region. “Simply put, UNRWA’s very existence makes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict unsolvable,” Erdan stated, adding, “I don’t intend to allow business as usual anymore.”
The renewal of UN resolutions opposing Israel’s rights violations came amid a record number of approvals for new settlements in the occupied territories. Israel has approved 12,000 new settlements this year, despite the UN and international law considering such construction illegal.
Peace Now, an NGO focusing on Israeli human rights violations and illegal settlements, announced on October 15 that Israel has dramatically ramped up new approvals for the highly controversial illegal settlements. The UN says that Israel’s continued building of illegal settlements is creating “widespread hopelessness” among local youth.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that he sees US President Donald Trump’s tenure as a historic opportunity for Israeli ambitions in the region. With Trump’s first term coming to a close, and reelection looking highly unlikely, Israel is rapidly expanding its settlement approvals before a new administration gains power in the US.
To allow for illegal new settlements, Israel has increased idemolitions of Palestinian homes in territory where it has declared it “illegal” for Palestinians to live. The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) stated Israel demolished 76 structures on Tuesday — election day in the US — alone. The UN humanitarian organization on Twitter said that Israel is currently pushing “the largest demolition in years” in the West Bank.
Israel destroyed homes, animal shelters, latrines, and solar panels in the occupied territories. The current Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, Yvonne Helle, described the act as “extensive destruction of property and the forcible transfer of protected people.” Helle stated these were “grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”
According to Helle’s statement, Israel destroyed 689 structures in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2020, the highest number since 2016. Such demolitions render hundreds of families homeless and are “designed to coerce Palestinians to leave their homes,” according to Helle. The demolitions further increase locals’ vulnerability to COVID-19, she stated.