The Settler Colonial Present: Palestinian State-Building Under Apartheid

  • Ben WhiteEmail author
Part of the Middle East Today book series (MIET)


Significant anniversaries for Israel and the Palestinians during 2017–2018 were an opportunity to take stock of the current situation on the ground in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), and, in particular, to acknowledge how Israeli authorities have created a de facto, single state in all of Mandate Palestine. This status quo—which is being increasingly identified as matching the definition of apartheid in international treaties and conventions—is unlikely to change soon, as none of the Israeli political parties who either currently hold power, or who could conceivably form an alternative government, recognize the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination or sovereignty. Given these realities, the Palestinian Authority leadership in Ramallah, and Palestinian political factions more broadly, are facing difficult and significant questions, including whether a focus on “state-building” under occupation has, in fact, laid the foundations for a Bantustan.


  1. Adalah. 2016. “State Opposes Final Appeal Against Demolition of Umm al-Hiran; Bulldozers Set to Move on Bedouin Village Tomorrow.”, November 21.
  2. AFP. 2017. “NGO: Israeli Settlers in West Bank Top 421,000.”, February 10.
  3. Ain, Stewart. 2016. “‘Cut a Deal with the World’ on Settlements.” New York Jewish Week, October 11.
  4. al-Masri, Hani, Noura Erakat, Jamil Hilal, Sam Bahour, Jaber Suleiman, Diana Buttu, Wajjeh Abu Zarifa, and  Alaa Tartir. 2016. “Palestine After Abbas: Potential Scenarios and Coping Strategies.” Al-Shabaka, November 22.
  5. Amichay, Rami. 2017. “Likud Party Calls for De-Facto Annexation of Israeli Settlements.” Reuters, December 31.
  6. Arutz Sheva Staff. 2017. “Celebrating 50 Years Since Liberation of Judea and Samaria.” Arutz Sheva, March 28.
  7. Association for Civil Rights in Israel. n.d. “50 Years—A State Without Borders.”
  8. Azarova. Valentina. 2017. “Israel’s Unlawfully Prolonged Occupation: Consequences Under an Integrated Legal Framework.” European Council on Foreign Relations, June 2.
  9. Beinin, Joel. 1993. “Money, Media and Policy Consensus: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.” Middle East Report, January/February.
  10. Benari, Elad, and Ido Ben Porat. 2014. “Bennett: First Gush Etzion, Then All of Judea and Samaria.” Arutz Sheva, May 30.
  11. Berger, Yotam, and Barak Ravid. 2016. “U.S: Israeli Demolition of Palestinian Village Sussia Would Be ‘Very Troubling.’” Haaretz, August 10.Google Scholar
  12. B’Tselem. 2017a. “East Jerusalem.” B’, November 11.
  13. B’Tselem. 2017b. “Statistics on Settlements and Settler Population.” B’, May 11.
  14. B’Tselem and HaMoked. 2005. “One Big Prison: Freedom of Movement to and from the Gaza Strip on the Eve of the Disengagement Plan.” Joint B’Tselem and HaMoked Report, March.
  15. Cheshin, Amir S., Bill Hutman, and Avi Melamed. 2001. Separate and Unequal: The Inside Story of Israeli Rule in East Jerusalem. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Domb, Yoel. 2017. “Elkin: Declaring Sovereignty Now Would Be a Mistake.” Arutz Sheva, March 7.
  17. du Plessis, Max, Fatmeh El-Ajou, Victor Kattan, Michael Kearney, John Reynolds, Rina Rosenberg, Iain Scobbie, and Virginia Tilley. 2009. Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid? A Re-assessment of Israel’s Practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territories Under International Law. Cape Town: Human Sciences Research Council.Google Scholar
  18. Edelman, Ofra. 2017. “Lapid Drops Demand for Palestinian State.” Haaretz, March 26.
  19. Friedman, Thomas. 1987. “How Long Can Israel Deny Its Civil War?” New York Times, December 27.Google Scholar
  20. Gordon, Neve. 2013. “Yair Lapid: The Southern Man and His Cosmopolitan Ghetto.” Al Jazeera, February 12.
  21. Gross, Aeyal. 2017. The Writing on the Wall: Rethinking the International Law of Occupation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Haaretz Staff. 2016. “Only Four of 20 Israeli Ministers Openly Declare Support of Two-State Solution.” Haaretz, June 27.
  23. Herzog, Isaac. 2017. “Isaac Herzog Details His 10-Point Plan for Israeli-Palestinian Peace.” Haaretz, February 23.
  24. Hoffman, Gil Stern. 2015a. “Isaac Herzog: I Don’t Say the Word ‘Peace’ so I Don’t Raise Expectations.” The Jerusalem Post, March 1.
  25. Hoffman, Gil Stern. 2015b. “Zionist Union Platform Aims to Set Israel’s Final Borders.” The Jerusalem Post, March 8.
  26. Human Rights Watch. 2015. “Israel: Court Permits Discriminatory Evictions.”, May 19.
  27. Human Rights Watch. 2016. “Occupation, Inc.: How Settlement Businesses Contribute to Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Rights.”, January 19.
  28. i24NEWS Staff. 2015. “Netanyahu Slams French Proposal for Foreign Observers in Jerusalem.” I24NEWS, October 18.
  29. i24NEWS Staff. 2016. “Give Palestinians Autonomy but Not State, Bennett Says.” i24NEWS, June 5.
  30. International Criminal Court. 2014. “Situation on Registered Vessels of Comoros, Greece and Cambodia.” Article 53(1) Report, November 6.
  31. Keating, Michael, Anne Le More, and Robert Lowe, eds. 2005. Aid, Diplomacy and Facts on the Ground: The Case of Palestine. London: Chatham House.Google Scholar
  32. Klein, Menachem. 2017. “Trump Is Just What Netanyahu Needs to Annex the West Bank.” +972 Magazine, February 10.
  33. Lazaroff, Tovah. 2016. “Netanyahu Was Right, Transferring Jews Is Ethnic Cleansing.” The Jerusalem Post, November 23.
  34. Lieber, Dov. 2016. “UN: Israel ‘Systematically’ Emptying Area C of Palestinians.” The Times of Israel, July 28.
  35. Lis, Jonathan. 2016. “Labor Adopts Herzog’s Plan for Separation from Palestinians as Party Platform.” Haaretz, February 8.
  36. Lubell, Maayan. 2015. “Netanyahu Says No Palestinian State as Long as He’s Prime Minister.” Reuters, March 16.
  37. Lustick, Ian. 1985. The ‘Irreversibility’ of Israel’s Annexation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip: A Critical Evaluation. US Defense Intelligence Agency.Google Scholar
  38. Mamdani, Mahmood. 2015. “The South African Moment.” Journal of Palestine Studies 45 (1): 63–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. McCarthy, Rory. 2010. “Barak: Make Peace with Palestinians or Face Apartheid.” The Guardian, February 3.
  40. Misgav, Uri. 2017. “Israeli Lawmaker Miki Zohar Wants to Annex the West Bank, What on Earth Is People’s Problem with Him?” Haaretz, March 9.
  41. Morag, Gilad. 2015. “Netanyahu: Left Knows If Likud Is in Power, No Concessions Will Be Made.” Ynetnews, March 15.,7340,L-4637305,00.html.
  42. PCBS. n.d. “Estimated Number of Palestinians in the World by Country of Residence End Year 2015.” Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.
  43. Penina, Eilberg-Schwartz. 2016. “There Is No Green Line When It Comes to Home Demolitions.” +972 Magazine, August 17.
  44. Ravid, Barak. 2017. “Israeli Minister to Present Cabinet with Proposal to Annex Dozens of Jerusalem-Area Settlements.” Haaretz, January 22.
  45. Rogin, Josh. 2014. “Exclusive: Kerry Warns Israel Could Become ‘An Apartheid State.’” The Daily Beast, April 27.
  46. Said, Edward. 1998. “A Real State Means Real Work.” Al-Ahram Weekly, October 1–7.
  47. Salamanca, Omar Jabary, Mezna Qato, Kareem Rabie, and Sobhi Samour. 2012. “Past Is Present: Settler Colonialism in Palestine.” Settler Colonial Studies 2 (1): 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Shalev, Chemi. 2014. “Should Abbas’ Peace Talks Deadline Be the Last Chance for a Two-State Solution?” Haaretz, September 3. Google Scholar
  49. Sheizaf, Noam. 2017. “The Settlers’ Goal Is Not the Settlements.” +972 Magazine, June 8.
  50. Sherwood, Harriet. 2013. “Naftali Bennett Interview: ‘There Won’t Be a Palestinian State Within Israel.’” The Guardian, January 7.
  51. Spetalnick, Matt. 2016. “U.S., Israel Sign $38 Billion Military Aid Package.” Reuters, September 14.
  52. Tartir, Alaa. 2015. “The Evolution and Reform of Palestinian Security Forces 1993–2013.” Stability: International Journal of Security and Development 4 (1): Art. 46.Google Scholar
  53. Tartir, Alaa, and Jeremy Wildeman. 2013. “Can Oslo’s Failed Aid Model Be Laid to Rest?” Al-Shabaka, September 18.
  54. Tilley, Virginia, ed. 2012. Beyond Occupation: Apartheid, Colonialism and International Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  55. Tilley, Virginia. 2015. “After Oslo, a Paradigm Shift? Redefining Sovereignty, Responsibility and Self-Determination in Israel‐Palestine.” Conflict, Security and Development 15 (5): 425–453.Google Scholar
  56. United Nations. 2009. “Security Council Calls for Immediate, Durable, Fully Respected Ceasefire in Gaza Leading to Full Withdrawal of Israeli Forces.” UN Press Release, January 8.
  57. United Nations. 2011. “Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly [on the Report of the Second Committee (A/65/443)]: Permanent Sovereignty of the Palestinian People in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab Population in the Occupied Syrian Golan Over Their Natural Resources.” A/RES/65/179, March 22.
  58. UN OCHA. 2009. “Restricting Space: The Planning Regime Applied by Israel in Area C of the West Bank.” UN OCHA Special Focus, December.
  59. UN OCHA. 2016. “East Jerusalem: Palestinians at Risk of Eviction.”, November 3.
  60. UN OCHA. 2017. “Record Number of Demolitions and Displacements in the West Bank During 2016.”, February 10.
  61. UNSCO. 2017. “Report to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.” Report to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, Brussels, May.
  62. US State Department. n.d. “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016: Israel and the Occupied Territories.”
  63. Vile, Shlomo. 2016. “Lapid: ‘I’m the Only Alternative to Netanyahu.’” Arutz Sheva, December 11.
  64. Weizman, Eyal. 2007. Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  65. White, Ben. 2015. “The Zionist Union’s Plan for a Palestinian Bantustan.” Middle East Monitor, March 10.
  66. White, Ben. 2017. “Exclusive: Amnesty Pledges to Consider If Israel Is Committing Apartheid.” Middle East Monitor, November 21.
  67. White, Ben. 2018. Cracks in the Wall: Beyond Apartheid in Palestine/Israel. London: Pluto Press. Google Scholar
  68. White House. 2017. “Remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel in Joint Press Conference.”, February 15.
  69. Yesh Atid. n.d. “Security and Foreign Relations Platform.”
  70. Yiftachel, Oren. 2009. “‘Creeping Apartheid’ in Israel/Palestine.” Middle East Report, Winter.
  71. Zreik, Raef. 2004. “Palestine, Apartheid and the Rights Discourse.” Journal of Palestine Studies 34 (1): 68–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Zur, Yarden. 2018. “Israel’s Creeping Annexation: Knesset Votes to Extend Israeli Law to Academic Institutions in the West Bank.” Haaretz, February 12.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations