“Israel loves escalating tensions and has no qualms against violating international law,” he said.
“Escalating tensions only gives them another reason to confiscate land, but they can always create a reason,” he added.
Here’s the transcript of the interview:
Balkans Post: Israeli authorities recently decided to seize 130 dunams (32 acres) of private Palestinian land in the southern part of the West Bank, going ahead with land expropriation and settlement construction policies in violation of international law and UN Security Council resolutions. What’s your take on this development amid the escalating tensions between the two sides?
Paul Larudee: Israel loves escalating tensions and has no qualms against violating international law. From the beginning it has said, "OK, you don't like what we're doing, go ahead and stop us." You can probably count on one hand the number of times anyone has actually done so. Israel cares nothing for strong words from anyone, including the U.S. Strong words will not stop them. Escalating tensions only gives them another reason to confiscate land, but they can always create a reason.
Balkans Post: The European Union recently called on Israeli authorities to put an end to their illegal settlement expansion activities in the occupied West Bank. This is while the UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions. Why are these warnings and condemnations ineffective in practice?
Paul Larudee: Warnings and condemnations are merely words. When there is a blockade on Israel like the one on Gaza, we can expect its behavior to change. When their airplanes are no longer allowed to land in the airports of most or all of the countries of the world, it will reconsider its actions. When Israel becomes a pariah much like apartheid South Africa, Israel will be forced to change. But warnings and condemnations? Israel will merely add them to its collection.
Balkans Post: Hamas says it has shot down an Israeli drone over the Gaza Strip. It came after Israeli aircraft launched airstrikes on Khan Yunis and other areas in the besieged strip on Friday, killing a 27-year-old civilian and wounding two others. Meanwhile, Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar said on Sunday that Palestinian resistance groups were ready to confront any aggression as he dismissed a prisoner swap with Israel. What are your thoughts?
Paul Larudee: Hamas is one of the few groups that has gone beyond warnings and condemnations and who can sometimes get concessions, although often at great cost. Perhaps Israel is trying to find a pretext to do another major massacre in Gaza. In the view of many Israeli strategists it has been too long since the last one. They realize that they cannot do another incursion into Lebanon, because Hezbollah is too strong for them. But Gaza is always an easy target. I believe that Israel would prefer to make a deal for the prisoner swap, but it might be followed within a few months by a major attack on Gaza, because Hamas will be giving up a major deterrent.
Paul Larudee is a political activist who is a major figure in the pro-Palestinian movement. Based in the San Francisco Bay area, he is involved with the International Solidarity Movement and was a founder of the Free Gaza Movement and the Free Palestine Movement.