More than anti-democratic, the boycott law is indicative of Israel’s de facto annexation of the West Bank
Everyone who is up in arms about the passing of the boycott law this week has been emphasizing the severity of its violation of freedom of expression and dialogue. While this is of course true, what is even more alarming about the law, which has gone largely unmentioned in the press or by organizations opposing it, is what it says about the State’s relation to the territory under its control: The boycott law makes no distinction between Israel and the Occupied Territories and thus is in effect a legalization and normalization of the occupation, the total erasure of the Green Line and the moratorium on the two-state solution (in case this was not already clear).
No one should be alarmed that the boycott law passed because it is merely retroactive legislation for an already existing, de facto reality, just as the government’s recent expropriation of uncultivated Palestinian land was simply a formal approval of the daily reality of the settlement project.
The boycott law, like other laws, such as the Citizenship Loyalty Law that passed last March, as well as other imminent bills and remarks by government committee heads – such as Danny Danon’s recent demand that birthright trips “stop boycotting Judea and Samaria” – is the government’s way of taking advantage of its power to formally cement its hold on the West Bank, and with it the Palestinian people.
If Israel were in any way interested in a two-state solution, it would be legislating laws geared at diminishing Israel’s institutional presence in the West Bank, not further deepening it. Instead of the principles of democracy and the desire to remain a Jewish state dictating its actions in the West Bank, what we see is the discriminatory, militant practices of how Israel runs the West Bank seeping into Israel proper, turning the whole area into one giant mold of apartheid jello.
Instead of crying out about the violations of freedom of speech and the antidemocratic nature of the law, concerned entities, and first and foremost the US government, should be explicitly pointing out the message such a law clearly sends to the world about Israel’s intentions vis-a-vis the two-state solution: primarily that it has none.
The US State Department is incorrect in its assessment that the boycott law is an internal Israeli matter – how could a law that defines a civil offense from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River be an “internal matter?”
More than anything else, the boycott law is a clear indication of Israel’s diligent work at erasing the distinction between Israel’s 1948 and 1967 borders, so anyone under the illusion that there is a chance for a two-state solution should take note.