By Nadya Tannous and Cat Knarr
While the Israeli regime continues to inflict massive and routine violence in order to steal Palestinian land and remove the native Palestinian people from it, the U.S. Congress is actively enabling Israel’s settler-colonialism.
H.R. 2748 is the Israel Relations Normalization Act of 2021—or as the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights names it, the Normalizing Israeli Ethnic Cleansing Act—and just passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday evening and the Senate late on Thursday. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer shamefully sneaked it into the House omnibus government funding bill at the last second, along with a record $4.8 billion in deadly military funding that will fund horrific Israeli state violence.
The Normalizing Israeli Ethnic Cleansing Act is a harmful, anti-Palestinian bill, and was set to be the only vote on Palestine- related legislation this year. Its greenwashing propaganda feels all the more vicious at a time when Israeli forces, paired with insidious organizations such as the Jewish National Fund (JNF), are ethnically cleansing Palestinian Bedouins from Al-Naqab, in the name of planting trees, establishing National Parks, and deeming Palestinians trespassers in their own homeland.
Here’s a breakdown of why the bill is so harmful—and how it enables Israel’s green colonialism.
What Is H.R. 2748, the Normalizing Israeli Ethnic Cleansing Act?
H.R. 2748, the Normalizing Israeli Ethnic Cleansing Act, expands the Abraham Accords, Trump-era weapons and business deals between apartheid Israel and other authoritarian regimes. These deals bribe Arab countries in the region to both ignore Israel’s settler colonialism and constant human rights violations and, indeed, to regionally align with the US and Israeli policy and aspirations for the region in exchange for large weapons packages.
The Abraham Accords also allow Arab regimes to establish their own military aspirations in the region, all through U.S.-backed and funded violence, militarism, and coordination. For example, the Abraham Accords green-lighted the United Arab Emirates, a country with extensive human rights abuses that has played a key role in the devastating war in Yemen and attacks against civilians in Libya, to negotiate for advanced F-35 fighter jet weaponry from the U.S and purchase stockpile munitions. Meanwhile, the Abraham Accords gathered political cover for Israel to continue its theft of Palestinian land unabated, through policies like annexation and ongoing ethnic cleansing, and to remained unchallenged by the signatory countries of these Accords.
When we hear the phrases Normalizing and Israel, we should always read Normalizing Israel’s impunity and violence. On top of enabling this violence, H.R. 2748 also includes language that limits free speech in support of Palestinian rights and threatens to censor or defund international organizations that may not support “normalization” (read: Israeli impunity and violence) as defined by this bill and through the intent of the Abraham Accords.
It’s ridiculous that such a bill touts so-called regional cooperation on climate change, technology, water scarcity, and healthcare, while erasing Israel’s brutal oppression on each front. But none of this rhetoric can hide Israeli settler colonialism. Israel’s violence continues to expose itself.