Donald Trump is turning out to be one of Israel’s most dangerous foes; he’s doing everything possible to corrupt it, deepen its rot and make it increasingly more repugnant in the eyes of the enlightened world. To worsen the corrosion, his secretary of state went so far this week as to turn the Ten Commandments on their head.
From now on, say “Thou shalt steal,” and soon, “Thou shalt murder.” Absent any moral standing or legal authority – the last areas where the Trump administration can pass judgment – Mike Pompeo announced that the West Bank settlements don’t violate international law.
One could hardly think of a more bitter joke. A declaration by the United States that rape no longer violates the law is already in the works. Will rape then become legal or moral? Of course not. The same applies to the settlements.
Not one international jurist of stature would accept the U.S. declaration. So far, not one statesman around the world, except on the far right in Israel and the United States, would agree with it. The ideological intimacy between the Trump administration and Israel is but one more thing to be ashamed of. Trump and Pompeo, as well as most Israelis, don’t have the slightest idea about the settlements, the way they were established, their wild expansion and their aims, other than the propaganda spewed by Jewish, Israeli and evangelical Christian lobbies.
I visited the settlement of Psagot this week – it has surrounded itself with an electric fence so that within its confines settlers can forcibly take over hundreds of acres of private Palestinian land that have been enclosed within the fence, with the state not lifting a finger. It’s doubtful whether the way this settlement looks would change in any way the position of the ignorant U.S. administration.
But not one person of conscience throughout the world would remain indifferent upon seeing the brutal theft and expropriation taking place in Psagot, as in every other settlement. The claim that this isn’t a violation of international law not only reflects total moral bankruptcy and embarrassing ignorance, it has many implications internationally.
Pompeo has actually called for the restoration of colonialism and the recognition of apartheid. For him, there is nothing wrong with these systems. The United States has encouraged Israeli colonialism and will encourage it elsewhere. It has been a long time since the world has heard the term legitimate colonialism. The United States has now recreated it.