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Trump Mideast plan backs Israeli apartheid, not peace

Protesting Trump plan in Gaza. Photo: Toameh.

The entire spectrum of Palestinian political and civil groups, from the Occupied Territories, to the diaspora to inside Israel, have rejected Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century,” and called for resistance against it. They are denouncing the so-called peace plan as annexation of Palestinian land, a declaration of war against Palestinian rights and a legitimization of Israeli settler colonialism and apartheid.

Trump calls the plan a “deal,” but this was no agreement between two parties. Palestinian groups neither participated nor were consulted in the plan’s construction. No Palestinian demands have been addressed or included. The plan is unilateral, and reads like a wish list of the most rabid rightwing elements in the Israeli ruling establishment.

The Trump plan sounds the death knell to the two-state solution—the concept that a contiguous Palestinian state would be created alongside a majority Jewish state. While Trump claims he is offering the Palestinian people a state, even the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, says the plan “will lead not to a Palestinian state, but to Israel taking full control of the entire West Bank.”

What the plan says

Trump’s plan calls for Jerusalem to be the undivided capital of Israel.

Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. Yet Trump’s plan allows Israel to annex all Israeli settlements that are spread throughout the West Bank, home to more than 2.5 million Palestinians.

The plan also allows Israel to annex the strategic Jordan valley. This, plus the settlement areas, comprise nearly a fourth of the West Bank. Once annexed what is left of Palestinian land will be entirely surrounded by Israeli territory.

The streets of all Palestinian cities, towns and villages, as well as the roads connecting them and the borders, will be under full Israeli control. Palestinian areas will be dissected by Israeli settlements that will remain as “enclaves” inside Palestinian territory and will be under full Israeli sovereignty. This means that Palestinian citizens of the future “state” could still be subjected to Israeli checkpoints–not just at the border between their state and Israel, but well inside their own state, between one town and the next.

Palestinian Israelis to be stripped of citizenship

The Trump plan also endorses the idea that large Arab towns in central Israel, clustered in an area known as “the Triangle,” where the inhabitants are Israeli citizens, will become part of the future Palestinian state because, it says, “many of the Arab Israeli citizens who live there define themselves as Palestinians.”

Ayman Odeh, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, tweeted that this is “a green light to revoke the citizenship of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arab citizens who live in northern Israel.”

Meanwhile, the 400,000 settlers living in-between Palestinian villages and towns within the future Palestinian “state,” and who define themselves as Israelis, will remain Israelis and enjoy full rights and benefits of Israeli citizenship.

The plan also states that, “There shall be no right of return by, or absorption of, any Palestinian refugee into the State of Israel.”

Plan deliberately sets unacceptable conditions

The plan sets conditions for the creation of this so-called “state” that are so harsh and insulting that no Palestinian group can accept them. For example, Palestinians can’t make complaints against Israel to the International Criminal Court. But the plan doesn’t offer the Palestinians any alternative arena for addressing abuses of their rights.

For Gaza to be included in any future peace agreement, it would have to be demilitarized and fall under the control of the Palestinian Authority or any other party that is recognized by Israel. Another condition is that the Palestinian Authority would have to disarm resistance organizations and demilitarize the Gaza Strip.

The plan asks for no concessions from Israel except for a temporary halt of new settlements.

The only part of the Trump plan that will assuredly be implemented is the annexation. In fact, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already announced that he will annex the Jordan Valley and large parts of the Israeli West Bank settlements.

Photo: Jewish Voice for Peace.

Palestinians, Jewish groups, regional allies denounce plan

Thousands of Palestinians have already demonstrated against the plan in the occupied territories. In Gaza, members of Fatah, Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine marched together in protest. In Lebanon, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon took to the streets, burned pictures of Trump  and asserted their right to return to their homes in Palestine.

Palestinian politicians, activists and community leaders, Jewish progressives and regional allies of the Palestinian people have have pledged to fight the plan which Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh called “nothing but a plan to finish off the Palestinian cause.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Washington’s deal “the final phase of the Balfour Declaration,” in which Britain granted land of the indigenous Palestinian people to the European colonialist Zionist movement in 1917, and referred to Palestinians who lived there dismissively as “existing non-Jewish communities.” Abbas held an unprecedented emergency meeting of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, which included West Bank-based officials from Hamas, and which pledged to “resist the deal in all its forms.”

‘Open war’ on Palestinians

PLO official, Wasel Abu Yusef, said Trump’s plan was tantamount to “waging open war” on the Palestinians.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum denounced the plan as a “Zionist-American plot to liquidate the Palestinian issue.” He called on the PA leadership to halt security coordination with Israel in the West Bank.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine condemned the plan as a “new conspiracy against the Palestinian people and their cause” and called for a popular uprising against the U.S. and Israel.

Yusef al-Hasayneh of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad said the U.S. administration was “acting with a mentality of piracy, legalizing the theft of the land of Palestine and its holy sites.”

The Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, calls it a “war plan” that “enshrines settler colonialism and Zionism.” In addition to hitting the U.S. and Israeli governments, this group called out Arab reactionary regimes that are supporting this plan. “Trump and Netanyahu boasted of the presence of the ambassadors of Bahrain, Oman and the UAE [United Arab Emerates] at the press conference, the latest reflection of the involvement of these reactionary regimes and their kings and princes not only in slaughtering the people of Yemen but in wholeheartedly siding with their imperialist sponsors to attack the Palestinian cause, at the heart of any movement for Arab liberation.” Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar also supported the plan designed to undercut the Palestinian struggle.

Regional implications of plan

Lebanon’s Hezbollah called the plan a “deal of shame,” that would have negative consequences on the region’s future. This group also pointed out that the plan would not have happened without the “complicity and betrayal” of several Arab states.

Yemen’s Houthi leader Mohammed Ali al-Houthi said Trump’s plan was “blatant U.S. aggression on Palestine” and “a deal funded by Saudi [Arabia] and the UAE [United Arab Emirates] to cement Israeli occupation.” Large demonstrations are planned in Yemen opposing the plan and supporting Palestinian rights.

Iran’s foreign ministry said the proposal was not the “deal of the century” but the “treason of the century” and bound to fail.

South Africans hit Israeli apartheid

In South Africa, Mandela Mandela, Nelson’s Mandela’s grandson, and the group Boycot Divest Sanction South Africa, condemned the plan. Mandela called it a ‘hoax…designed to justify the continued illegal occupation and expansion of Apartheid Israel settlements.”

BDS South Africa added, “we painfully recall how Apartheid South Africa tried to impose its own plan during the 1980s where white people would own South Africa and the indigenous Black South Africans needed to be happy with small enclaves called Bantustans. We rejected this then in Apartheid South Africa and we, today, join those in rejecting it in Palestine-Israel.”

Jewish opposition to the plan

The Israeli peace organization B’Tselem has compared the Donald Trump U.S. plan to Swiss cheese. In their press statement from today, they explain: “The cheese is being offered to the Israelis and the holes to the Palestinians.”

Miko Peled, a well-known Israeli-American backer of Palestinian rights, tweeted that the plan was “Just like the Balfour declaration, one white racist giving another white racist land that belongs to someone else.”

The anti-Zionist group Jewish Voice for Peace said, “We know that no peace can come without justice for Palestinians, and that means building and supporting a broad-based effort that allows for self-determination and equality.”

If Not Now, an U.S.–based anti-occupation Jewish group, is circulating a petition opposing the plan.”Trump’s entire strategy has been to disenfranchise Palestinians and deny their rights, their agency, and even their identity,” the petition says.

Democratic Party complicity

Several U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidates, including Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg have criticized Trump’s plan. Democratic Party opposition in the Middle East is often based upon differing with the approach of the Republicans rather than on substance. While changes of views are always welcome, none of these seasoned politicians has supported Palestinian self-determination. Over the course of Israel’s existence, the Democratic Party has, in fact, been the biggest cheerleader for the repressive Zionist state, and a major funder of the military apparatus used by Israel to attack the Palestinians and other Arab people, and has been complicit in Israel’s gradual undermining of the 1993 Oslo Accords.

Palestinians will continue the struggle

The Palestinian people have withstood many imperialist-Zionist attacks, including the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the Nakba of 1948, the occupation of the rest of historic Palestine in 1967, and repeated arrests, bombings, assaults and displacement. They have never given up their struggle to regain their national rights. As serious as this attack is, it will not stop the struggle either. Their fight  needs and deserves the unconditional support of all who value freedom and equality.

In the words of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, a group of activist Palestinians living in the U.S.,“The Palestinian people will continue to resist, by any and all means necessary, U.S./Zionist plans for the liquidation of our rights. And the international community will continue to organize BDS campaigns across the world and isolate Israel as the criminal, apartheid state that it is.”

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