The 1996 election of Benjamin Netanyahu, and the failure of Israel and its American patron to stop settlement growth, however, curdled Palestinian sentiment. Many Jewish Israelis believe that Ehud Barak, who succeeded Mr. Netanyahu, offered Palestinians a generous deal in 2000. Most Palestinians, however, saw Mr. Barak’s offer as falling far short of a fully sovereign state along the 1967 lines. And their disillusionment with a peace process that allowed Israel to entrench its hold over the territory on which they hoped to build their new country ushered in the violence of the second intifada. In Mr. Shikaki’s words, “The loss of confidence in the ability of the peace process to deliver a permanent agreement on acceptable terms had a dramatic impact on the level of Palestinian support for violence against Israelis.” As Palestinians abandoned hope, Hamas gained power.
After the brutal years of the second intifada, in which Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups repeatedly targeted Israeli civilians, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and Salam Fayyad, his prime minister from 2007 to 2013, worked to restore security cooperation and prevent anti-Israeli violence once again. Yet again, the strategy failed. The same Israeli leaders who applauded Mr. Fayyad undermined him in back rooms by funding the settlement growth that convinced Palestinians that security cooperation was bringing them only deepening occupation. Mr. Fayyad, in an interview with The Times’s Roger Cohen before he left office in 2013, admitted that because the “occupation regime is more entrenched,” Palestinians “question whether the P.A. can deliver. Meanwhile, Hamas gains recognition and is strengthened.”
As Palestinians lost faith that cooperation with Israel could end the occupation, many appealed to the world to hold Israel accountable for its violation of their rights. In response, both Democratic and Republican presidents have worked diligently to ensure that these nonviolent efforts fail. Since 1997, the United States has vetoed more than a dozen United Nations Security Council resolutions criticizing Israel for its actions in the West Bank and Gaza. This February, even as Israel’s far-right government was beginning a huge settlement expansion, the Biden administration reportedly wielded a veto threat to drastically dilute a Security Council resolution that would have condemned settlement growth.
Washington’s response to the International Criminal Court’s efforts to investigate potential Israeli war crimes is equally hostile. Despite lifting sanctions that the Trump administration imposed on I.C.C. officials investigating the United States’s conduct in Afghanistan, the Biden team remains adamantly opposed to any I.C.C. investigation into Israel’s actions.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, or B.D.S., which was founded in 2005 as a nonviolent alternative to the murderous second intifada and which speaks in the language of human rights and international law, has been similarly stymied, including by many of the same American politicians who celebrated the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction South Africa. Joe Biden, who is proud of his role in passing sanctions against South Africa, has condemned the B.D.S. movement, saying it “too often veers into antisemitism.” About 35 states — some of which once divested state funds from companies doing business in apartheid South Africa — have passed laws or issued executive orders punishing companies that boycott Israel. In many cases, those punishments apply even to businesses that boycott only Israeli settlements in the West Bank.