The U.S. mainstream media, with the New York Times in the lead, is covering up a shocking feature of the Netanyahu/Trump annexation plan that would strip 350,000 to 400,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel of their citizenship. The “denationalization” proposal is a crime against humanity, but the American press is ignoring it.
Thabet Abu Rass lives in the affected area, a predominately Palestinian part of northeast Israel known as “The Triangle,” where he heads an organization devoted to promoting peace between Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens. Here’s how he translated the denationalization proposal:
Just imagine if today Donald Trump would tell Hispanic Americans living in the southwest, in territories annexed to the United States from Mexico in the 19th century, that they are Mexican citizens now and no longer American citizens. . . That is exactly what they are trying to do to us.
Abu Rass’s comments appeared in the independent Israeli daily Haaretz, as part of an excellent report by Judy Maltz. She visited The Triangle, and listened to him and other Palestinian Israelis talk about their fears. Eyed Amer, a high school principal, explains that “there is no contradiction between identifying as Palestinian and being a proud holder of Israeli citizenship.”
You can be proud of your ethnicity and religion, and still want to be Israeli — even if you don’t necessarily identify with all the symbols of the state.
None of this has appeared in the New York Times or anywhere else in the U.S. mainstream. A few days after Trump announced the annexation plan at the White House, Times reporters David Halbfinger and Isabel Kershner took what is for them an unusual step — they contacted a few Palestinians and asked for their views. The two barely hid their satisfaction at the resignation and despair they heard, but every Palestinian they quoted was from the occupied West Bank.
In fact, the Times consistently erases the 20 percent of Israelis living within the 1967 borders who are Palestinian. They have still not done a profile of Ayman Odeh, the leader of the Joint List, the third-largest force in Israeli politics. Nor has the paper ever interviewed Issawi Frej, another Palestinian who actually served in the Israeli Knesset for 6 years as part of the small, left-wing, mostly Jewish Meretz party.
Haaretz continues to do the reporting that the Times hides from. Amir Tibon and Noa Landau found that it was Benjamin Netanyahu himself who pushed the proposal to denationalize The Triangle’s residents, in a conversation with Jared Kushner back in 2017. The two somehow had no problem eliciting a comment from Ayman Odeh, who denounced what he called Netanyahu’s
dangerous attempt to revoke the citizenship of 400,000 Israeli Arab citizens, who were born here. . . [Netanyahu] is conveying a clear message to all of Israel’s Arab citizens: ‘You are not welcome here and your turn will come when the next plan is released.’