Ahmad Tibi, Palestinian member of Knesset, spoke with J Street yesterday about the annexation plans for the West Bank that the Israeli government is set to begin in July. He said that annexation could bring “violence and deterioration” on the ground, because Palestinians are primed to react to the landgrab.
“The Trump plan is the worst American plan ever. It is not a peace plan. It’s a dictation. It’s a way to deepen the occupation. It’s unilateral. It’s a way to say there is no Palestinian nation, no Palestinian people. Strengthening the settlements. And with the annexation element, it is not only annexation, it should be called apartheid. When you are annexing these lands, you are creating more and more apartheid, more and more occupation. Netanyahu is willing to have this article alone from the Trump plan, which is a very bad plan, in order to keep his right base, he is thinking about the next election and that base….
“This annexation, if it will be implemented, it can cause violence and deterioration on the ground. There is a lot of anger and readiness to react on the Palestinian side. Many Israelis are very much concerned and upset about this possibility, but Netanyahu is insisting. It depends how the White House will deal with it, if he will continue to give him green lights.
“The most dangerous figure pushing for this annexation is the American ambassador… Friedman.. He is the most dangerous, and he is to the right of Netanyahu, he is much more Yemina and Settler Council than Likud even. He is playing a very, very dangerous role.
“I am not sure if it [annexation] will take place next July. But Netanyahu is insisting. Now he is talking about two states. Never mind– any minor annexation will cause violence and reaction. Both political, popular, and in the Arab world, and in the international community.
“Not only Netanyahu will be responsible but President Trump himself, who brought this plan with these articles of annexation. We are far from the two state solution. We are close more and more to deepening the occupation and creating real apartheid.”
Debra Shushan of J Street asked Tibi about the portion of the plan that calls for land swaps between Israel and a Palestinian entity that would transfer 100s of thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel to the status of West Bank residents. Tibi:
“I can’t imagine who is the racist stupid man behind the idea of putting this article of moving citizens to other entities. Yes, I want independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. I am from Taibeh, I am from the Triangle [Palestinian population center in Israel’s central plain west of green line]. I am not a chess [piece] to be moved from here and there. I am struggling in order to have equality in civic issues and in political national issues.
“This is the idea of Friedman versus Netanyahu and Lieberman. To have it written in an American plan is outrageous. Outrageous. That’s why we are most opposing this part of the plan… No I want to continue to be a Palestinian and Taibeh citizen struggling to be equal. If someone is talking about the resolution of 189 of the United Nations, let’s hear it. But this is something else.
“Netanyahu and Trump killed the two state solution and they are pushing for one state solution… We are close more and more to the apartheid system.
“But we will still continue to gather both Jews and Arabs, Arabs and Jews who are believing in peace, equality…. reconciliation. Together we can bring the change.”