US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel consolidates five decades of US foreign policy that has steadily facilitated Israel's settler-colonial encroachment into East Jerusalem and the West Bank generally.
While the Lyndon B Johnson administration was among the global consensus opposing Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967, successive US administrations have spoken out of both sides of their mouth.
On the one hand, they have insisted that settlement expansion in Occupied Territory is a violation of international humanitarian law and counterproductive for establishing permanent peace. On the other hand, it has provided Israel with unconditional military, financial, and diplomatic aid allowing Israel to complete its settler-colonial expansion without suffering any serious legal or political consequences.
“In the US, we are living in a time that is worse than the few years after the September 11th attacks,” said Rasmea Odeh to nearly 1,000 people gathered at the Chicago Teachers Union Hall to commemorate International Women’s Day on March 8. “Israeli and U.S. policies make it easy to target our people,” she continued, “but Palestinians are resisting these attacks in Palestine, and here in the U.S., we are all resisting Trump’s attacks on immigrants, Black people, Arabs and Muslims, and others.” The audience responded with a standing ovation.
Rasmea Odeh is among the eight women who endorsed the Women’s March call to strike in commemoration of International Women’s Day. Her co-signatories included trailblazing intellectuals, activists, and leaders like Angela Davis, Barbara Ransby, Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor, Linda Martín Alcoff, Cinzia Arruzza, Tithi Bhattacharya, and Nancy Fraser. Yet not everyone has been enthusiastically receptive to Odeh or her message. No other signatory received the same scorn and scrutiny in both mainstream outlets—like theNew York Times and the Chicago Tribune—and right-wing rags like Breitbart and Legal Insurrection, as well as some in between. These stories attacked Odeh as a “convicted terrorist” and an “illegal immigrant,” mercilessly disparaging her character and with it, everything Odeh stands for—and everyone who stands for her.
Odeh is a Palestinian woman. She is a former political prisoner and has been a leading immigrant rights and women’s rights advocate in Chicago since 2004. She is also a survivor of sexual violence. In 1969, Israel accused her of placing an explosive device in a supermarket and killing two university students in Jerusalem.
Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney and activist. As of Fall 2014, she is an Assistant Professor at George Mason University. She has taught international human rights law in the Middle East at Georgetown University since Spring 2009. Noura is a Co-Editor of Jadaliyya. Read more . . .
I am currently working on a book-length manuscript that narrates the Palestinian-Israel conflict through critical junctures in international law. My research interests include the laws of war, human rights law, humanitarian law, refugee law, national security law, social justice, Palestine, the Palestinian-Israel conflict, and the Middle East in general. Read more . . .
As a co-editor of Jadaliyya, I have the privilege of working with a remarkable team of scholars and analysts who have their hand on the pulse of dynamic change and historical perspective in the Middle East.
Legal Agenda is a Beirut-based NGO established in 2010 dedicated to legal reform throughout the Arab world through civic and judicial empowerment including the interdisciplinary study of law and society.