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Trump’s plan legitimizes apartheid. Our task is equal rights for all.

Opinion
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The Trump “Deal of the Century” is nothing if not predictable. The product of a small group of Orthodox Jewish Americans willingly adopting the long-standing plans of the Israeli right, it merely reaffirms what Israeli policy has in fact done “on the ground” over the past 53 years. In fact, we in the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) made a map 15 years ago that corresponds closely to Trump’s map. Once we knew the route of the separation barrier, the Apartheid Wall, it was easy to draw the map that would eventually emerge. (See the maps below: the “two-state solution” on the left, the ICAHD map of 2005 in the center, Trump’s Plan on the right.)

Needless to say, the plan is a non-starter. Rather than even a mini-state on 22% of historic Palestine as proposed in the two-state option, the Palestinians — who are both the indigenous and the majority population in the country — will have to do with only 15% of their country, and that truncated into 4 cantons: three in the West Bank separated by Israeli settlements, and Gaza. The “refugee problem” will be solved by denying them the right to return to their homeland, or to somehow squeeze the 5-6 million strong refugee population to the tiny enclaves of the Palestinian “state.” Few, if any, of the 700,000 Israeli settlers in the OPT will be removed, nor will the matrix of control of massive settlement blocks, highways and military bases be dismantled.

While Israel expands from 78% to 85% of the country, the Palestinians are left with a sterile bantustan: no contiguous territory, no border with the Arab states, no control over water or other vital resources, loss of Jerusalem as a religious, cultural and political center, not to mention its loss as a tourist site — economically non-viable patches of barren land, whether you call it a state or a prison.

Israel, of course, continues to rule the entire country militarily, the Palestinians bereft not only of an armed force but even of the right of defending themselves, any opposition to Israeli repression being characterized by Trump (following Israel) as “terrorism.” He spent a lot of time, as Netanyahu does, condemning Palestinian terrorism and demanding security for Israelis, without mentioning Israeli state terror that has killed, maimed and terrorized the Palestinian public for over 5 decades. (Israel has, among other crimes, demolished about 130,000 Palestine homes since 1948, 55,000 in the OPT since 1967.) If anything, Trump’s Plan should have guaranteed the Palestinians their security.

Trump also threatened the Palestinians that if they did not accept his plan in four years, Israel would be allowed to build settlements in the land they would have received.

The "two-state solution" on the left, the ICAHD map of 2005 in the center, Trump's Plan on the right.

The “two-state solution” on the left, the ICAHD map of 2005 in the center, Trump’s Plan on the right.

One item that was missed because it was raised by Netanyahu and not Trump: before any negotiations, the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state, a demand that goes beyond the mere recognition of Israel by Arafat in the Oslo process. This not only prejudices the civil rights of the 25-30% of Israelis who are not Jewish, but forces the Palestinians to legitimize Jewish colonial claims over their country.

There is one silver thread to Trump’s Plan: it puts to bed once and for all the “two-state solution” that Israel never intended to implement and which it buried under its settlements decades ago. For Zionism never considered itself in a “conflict” with the Palestinians. As the native people, they were irrelevant to the Zionists’ goal of judaizing the country, of turning an Arab country into a Jewish one. They had to be displaced or confined or eliminated, but they were not a side” in a “conflict” with national rights equal to those of the Jews. 

Trump’s plan — which is actually Netanyahu’s plan (and agreed upon Gantz and 95 out of the 120 members of Israel’s parliament) — simply recognizes the judaization of Palestine begun 125 years ago, and gives the green light to completing it. Zionism is a settler colonial project. It can only be ended by a process of decolonization — not merely “ending the occupation,” but ending the colonization of the entire country and bringing the refugees back home. Transforming the one apartheid state created by Israel and given political legitimization by Trump into a single democracy of equal rights for all its citizens is the task before us all. 

This is urgent, and it demands Palestinian leadership beyond the bankrupt collaborationist policies of the Palestinian Authority. A new national leadership must emerge, and it must see its critical Israeli allies as crucial to our joint struggle against colonialism. That is what the Trump Plan imparts to us.

Jeff Halper

Jeff Halper is the Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and a member of the One Democratic State Campaign (ODSC). He can be reached at [email protected]

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10 Responses

  1. brent on February 1, 2020, 3:36 am

    Halper, “This is urgent, and it demands Palestinian leadership beyond the bankrupt collaborationist policies of the Palestinian Authority. A new national leadership must emerge, and it must see its critical Israeli allies as crucial to our joint struggle against colonialism. That is what the Trump Plan imparts to us.”——

    Hopefully, this call for elections will be appreciated and acted upon by a majority of Palestinians.

    This call for appreciating the imperative of developing more Jewish allies is of utmost importance. Jews are far better positioned to turn Zionism around. This is why the humiliated and angry who want to spill blood best be checked by Palestinians. It should be obvious violence has a great cost and little or no gain beyond revenge.

    This vision of Trump has put the PLO’s secular state high on the agenda. A couple of years back he surprised everyone with, “one state or two”. Perhaps he has concluded one-state is the deal of the century that will make him great. If Palestinians get out front, take the lead, Jewish allies will help make one-state doable.

    • Talkback on February 1, 2020, 6:14 pm

      Brent: “A couple of years back he surprised everyone with, “one state or two”. Perhaps he has concluded one-state is the deal of the century that will make him great.”

      When Trump spoke about “one state or two”, he just meant Greater Israel with a Palestinian bantustan. Zionists will see this as two states while everybody with common sense views this as one Apartheid state.

      • brent on February 1, 2020, 9:02 pm

        You have a point Zionists may call a bantustan a state. However, if Palestinian citizens campaigned for legal equality, that could challenge that. Suggest you go to CSpan on youtube and note Sen. Tim Kaine’s questions at David Friedman’s confirmation hearing. The Kaine (about 1:05 to 1:10 into)part is especially relevant here but I strongly recommend the full hearing to better grasp the political challenges.

        Note Trump said one-state or two, followed by something like, “if both sides agree, I’ll be good to go”. (Soon thereafter Abbas, in his defiant way, rebuked him in public.)

        Please help me understand if and why you judge the world, Americans and liberal Jews would long abide inequality under the law in a secular state. I should add after Palestinians set aside force and go with politics.

      • eljay on February 1, 2020, 9:41 pm

        || brent: … Note Trump said one-state or two, followed by something like, “if both sides agree, I’ll be good to go”. … ||

        Yup, Trump is all about both sides agreeing. That’s why without Palestinian agreement he moved the U.S. embassy to Jersualem, gave the Golan Heights to Israel and now has offered to give:
        – Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and pretty much everything else on- and off-shore that matters in geographic Palestine to Israel; and
        – scraps to the Palestinians.

        But the Palestinians have nothing to worry about. As long as they…
        – restate things he has said;
        – ask for clarifications;
        – don’t say ‘no’; and
        – NEGOTIATE* with him.
        …they’ll “outsmart” Trump and turn the tables on those dastardly Zionists and on Israel.
        _____________________
        (*It’s still not clear to me what it is they’re supposed to negotiate with.)

      • Talkback on February 2, 2020, 8:15 am

        brent: “Note Trump said one-state or two, followed by something like, “if both sides agree, I’ll be good to go”. ”

        This whole “deal of the century” scam is designed to be rejected by Palestinians from the get go. It’s just a way of politically legitimizing the recognition of yet another illegal annexation and to blame the Palestinians for this and future disenfranchising violations of international law and human rights.

        brent: “Please help me understand if and why you judge the world, Americans and liberal Jews would long abide inequality under the law in a secular state.”

        I don’t, but they have been doing it for almost 100 years. And
        “The Democratic Party is also devoted to Israel’s apartheid”
        https://www.972mag.com/democratic-party-israel-apartheid/

  2. echinococcus on February 1, 2020, 3:03 pm

    “This is urgent, and it demands Palestinian leadership beyond the bankrupt collaborationist policies of the Palestinian Authority. A new national leadership must emerge, and it must see its critical Israeli allies as crucial to our joint struggle against colonialism.”

    I wish (but don’t expect) that the sensitive souls with easily hurt feelings will excuse my saying it:

    No matter how noble, dedicated and good Mr Halper is, no matter the high value of his work,
    he is an American who has illegitimately established residence in invaded and occupied Palestine, against the clearly expressed will of its owners — and the forced absence of a valid plebiscite;
    he remains there in full knowledge of his transgression;
    his work creates a pretext for ordering the Palestinian people to
    “see its critical Israeli allies as crucial to” “our” “joint struggle against colonialism” — a joint struggle with some of the colonialist settlers themselves, no less!

    All in all, objectively seen, one more American settler, this time one who works for some Palestinian rights but also for an “equal right” of invaders and invader offspring to continue squatting in Palestine against the express wish of the sole owner of the country, the Palestinian people.

    One really wishes that the well-meaning among the occupiers would understand how untenable their status is. Uri Davis did, and obtained Palestinian citizenship. Many others did, even among the invader offspring, and emigrated. Staying as part of the Zionist invader is not really a solution.

    • brent on February 1, 2020, 9:14 pm

      Something I deal with is finding native American arrowheads on my property. I too am a usurper, an invader.

      When I look at the situation I think making lemonade is more realistic than evicting all invaders. Compromises need to be made to achieve positive neighborly relations. The Iraqis needed and now Iranians need the peace of Jerusalem.

      I understand you want more than a compromise, you want justice. You want to take it, demand it, perhaps kill for it. I don’t see your plausible path. Humanity is being impacted.

      • echinococcus on February 1, 2020, 11:38 pm

        Sure we understand what a compromise is; we are retarded but not stupid. Palestinians are neither.

        So when you see any Zionist or an American official that is certifiedly agreeable to compromise otherwise than with a knife to his throat, or even rarer, a Zionist or American official that is agreement-capable, call again.

        Rest now, you’ve already done more than your share to replace a screeching blackboard.

      • Talkback on February 2, 2020, 8:24 am

        It’s quite revealing that you use the language of conquest to frame the victims of conquest. As if the restoration of their rights was the original crime and not its violation. As if they have to make a move to stop their oppression. As if they have to compromise and subjugate to the oppressor.

        And it also seems to me that you continuously school the oppressed, but never condemn the oppressor. Instead I find compliments like this one:

        “Netanyahu did a brilliant job of humiliating Palestinian pride in his appearance at the White House and at first, blush accomplished his objective.”

  3. Talkback on February 2, 2020, 8:32 am

    Jeff: “This is urgent, and it demands Palestinian leadership beyond the bankrupt collaborationist policies of the Palestinian Authority. A new national leadership must emerge, and it must see its critical Israeli allies as crucial to our joint struggle against colonialism. That is what the Trump Plan imparts to us.”

    I fully agree, but if Palestinans could endure the whole situation a little longer so they try every route that’s possible for their state (and the Palestinian Authority) they could prove that the UN and international law has failed them more than a 100% and that they have EVERY right to choose ANY route, from non violent to the right to resist alien domination by any means with global support.

    But who am I to tell the victims of oppression to endure their suffering.

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