The United States’ (US) declaring Israeli settlements on the West Bank not illegal rejects the 2016 United Nation’s (US) resolution that calls these settlements as a ‘flagrant violation’ of international law. Why is, then, Trump administration keen on such a blatant violation of international law? A look at Israel’s aggression against Palestinians in Gaza and the domestic political scene in the US helps us to understand the motives behind the move.

The first, the gratuitous slaughter in Gaza, was simply Netanyahu’s ongoing bid to retain power by demonstrating that he is ‘tougher’ and more brutal. He wants to convince the Israeli population to view him as the sole protector of Israel from ‘Palestinian terrorists’. The second factor that has played its role in the US shift is Netanyahu’s persuasion of Trump to proclaim that the internationally recognised illegal “Israeli colonial settlements” as legal have as much to do with American politics as it does with Israeli politics. Trump is in the middle of the impeachment hearings. He needs any opportunity he can get to mobilise his voting base in his defence. This includes essentially Christian Zionism, which is perhaps the most formidable force in the world in supporting the Israeli settler-colonial state.

Moreover, Trump wants the whole network of the Israeli lobby (media, intellectuals, lobbying groups - centrally AIPAC) to dump the Democrats and endorse him. Trump gives a damn about the Palestinians or even the Israelis for that matter. He cares only about himself. There is no other explanation of the US-Netanyahu plan to permanently annex all the Israeli settlements as a part of Israel proper but pleasing the most hardened fascist settlers. But the broader strategic mindset of at least the ‘neocon’ sections of the Israeli establishment is to not only make life unlivable in Gaza but also the West Bank.

But this strategy will be counterproductive. There is no way Palestinians will leave whatever little land they have left. This will sooner or later provoke a third intifada which, like Syria, maybe much more of a regional and global conflict this time. Israel is shooting itself in the foot. It has become a suicide nation. The annexation of large parts of Palestine will make the two-state solution meaningless. That means the only solution left will be a single, Democratic state where political citizenship of Palestinians and Israelis would be of equal value.