Palestinians putting out fire set by Zionist settlers to sabotage West Bank crops. Such sabotage is a common occurrence. | Photo: twitter.com/ShababAgencyEn

The U.S. media is full of stories of the “undemocratic regime” in Venezuela and a sudden “concern” for the human rights of everyday Venezuelans. If the U.S. government and the corporate media were really concerned about a lack of democracy and violations of human rights, they would focus on the Zionist policy of actual violence and murder in the territories occupied by Israel after the 1967 war.

Over the past few years, the rightward shift in Israeli society, in which the most extreme expressions of Zionism now occupy the center of Israeli politics, has manifested itself in many ways. The passage of the “Jewish Nation-State Law,” defining only Jewish people as having the right of self-determination, is the legal expression of this open embrace of racist and colonial thinking. Increased violence by Zionist settlers in the Occupied Territories is another reflection of the extreme and racist hatred towards Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular.

On the ground in the Occupied Territories, greater and greater acts of violence, including murder, by Zionist settlers against unarmed Palestinians are occurring. Even the pro-Israel New York Times published an article this month in a modest rebuke of settler actions entitled, “As West Bank Violence Surges, Israel Is Silent on Attacks by Jews.” While the title implies general violence in the West Bank is up, the only “surge” reported was that settler violence was up 50 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year. In this 2,000 word article, there was never any mention that the settlements themselves are violations of international law and are illegal.

The article recounts how armed settlers recently attacked the Palestinian village of Al Mughayir with live-fire weapons. Palestinians who appealed to Israeli soldiers to stop the assault were told to call the local police. After the residents organized to defend the village, “soldiers arrived and fired tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets and possibly live bullets in the air while settlers shot live ammunition.” Hamdy Nassa was killed while helping to evacuate other Palestinians who had been wounded during this terrorist assault by Zionist settlers.

Settlements violate international law

The settlements are just one of the standard illegal practices carried out by the Zionist occupation forces. Under the Fourth Geneva Conventions of 1949, it is illegal if the occupation force “transfers of the civilian population of the occupying power [Ed.-Zionist setters] into the occupied territory. …” Other routine violations of international law include removing Palestinian prisoners from the West Bank to prisons in Israel and the demolition of a civilian structure as collective punishment for the acts of the Palestinian resistance.

Unlike the native Palestinians, the Zionist settlers rarely face punishment for their actions. According to The Electronic Intifada, “ … data from the human rights group Yesh Din show that just three percent of a Israeli police investigations of “ideologically motivated” crimes (Ed.-hate crimes) against Palestinians by Israeli civilians result in a conviction.

In a Feb. 6 report, the Maan news agency reported that in the Jenin area of the West Bank Israeli settlers are setting up mobile settlements on Palestinian-owned land. Settlers were escorted in by heavily armed soldiers. According to a Maan article, “ … in August 2018, the Jerusalem District Court ruled that if Israeli settlers built a settlement on private Palestinian land with ‘good intentions’ then it should not be removed.”

None of the criminal and illegal terrorist actions by the settlers, the IDF, and the Israeli government could be possible if it were not for the political protection and economic and military resources provide by U.S. imperialism.

The United States routinely uses its veto power on the United Nations Security Council to block even the mildest of resolutions condemning any of the dozens of war crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinian people. From the massacre in Jenin to the construction of the internationally condemned wall around Gaza to the ever-expanding construction of settlements, the U.S. shields the Israeli government from any real consequences of its actions.

Money raised for settlements in US is tax deductible

While the United States officially does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank and nominally opposes the settlements, the concrete actions and laws of the United States tell a different story. The U.S. government has pledged $38 billion in U.S. military and economic aid over the next 10 years to the state of Israel. Beyond that, U.S. tax laws provide for tax-deductible donations to organizations funding the settler movement. A Huffington Post article revealed, “Between 2009 and 2013 alone, more than $220 million of tax-exempt money was funneled into settlements and Israeli nonprofits by at least 50 American organizations acting under the guise of charitable nonprofits. …”

Over 600,000 Zionists settlers live in over 200 official and unofficial settlements in the West Bank. Living among more than 2.5 million Palestinians, these occupiers represent some of the most rabidly racist and violent elements of Israeli society. Fifteen percent or 60,000 settlers are U.S. born. Settlers regularly terrorize the indigenous Palestinian population, destroying olives orchards, vandalizing with racist graffiti, firebombing property, and conducting marches through Palestinian communities chanting racist slogans like “Death to Arabs.”

Zionism, the ideological foundation of the state of Israel, is a colonial project of occupation and displacement. From Theodore Herzl, the father of modern political Zionism, to Ze’ev Jabotinsky to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, all the central leaders of Israel have had a hostile view of the native Palestinian population. These racists’ vision of a Jewish-only state necessitates a policy of forced removal of all Palestinian people from Palestine. The settler movement represents the shock troops of this policy.

On the question of Israel, the hypocrisy of the Trump administration and the leaders of the Republican and Democratic Parties on the issues of “freedom, democracy and human rights” could not be better contrasted with the policies and actions taken by the U.S. government against the Venezuelan government

In Venezuela, the Bolivarian government has greatly reduced poverty, made health care accessible to the poor, and built 1.5 million free or low-income housing units. In the West Bank, illegal settlements are funded by U.S. tax-deductible donations, and the occupation forces use administrative detention to arrest and imprison Palestinians for attempting to rebuild illegally demolished homes. IDF soldiers routinely stand by and watch as armed settlers brutalize, shoot, and in some cases murder Palestinians without consequence.

The United States and its junior partner Israel are the greatest violators of human rights on the planet, from the exploitation of human labor and the Earth’s resources to the brutal occupation and subjection of whole nations and peoples. The Palestinian people are heroic fighters resisting imperialism, the state of Israel, and the settler movement.