Source: The Guardian
By Yousef Munayyer, is the executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights
US proposals always treat Palestinians as second-class citizens. But this time Trump has said the quiet part out loud, and it’s ugly indeed
This week Donald Trump, in the company of the scandal-mired Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, finally released his long-promoted vision for “peace” between Israelis and Palestinians. The plan itself was unsurprising, and consistent with the Trump administration’s Middle East policies and the personnel in charge of executing them.
In the US president’s vision, which might as well have been drawn up by Netanyahu himself, Palestinians are “offered” a truncated and dismembered archipelago of Bantustans connected by bridges and tunnels and subservient to the Israeli state, which will retain security control over the entirety of the land. The Israelis will keep all of Jerusalem. No Palestinian refugees will be able to return to their homes.
But wait, there’s more! Palestinians will only receive this sorry excuse for an offer, which fails to meet even basic human rights, once they satisfy several conditions “proving” they are ready for statehood.
To call this a nonstarter would be to glorify it with negotiation language it doesn’t deserve. The “offer” is little more than a calculated insult, oozing with the most colonial-minded racism, and cynically designed to elicit a rejection.
What is most striking to me about Trump’s plan, however, is not how different it is from previous American and western proposals, but rather how similar it is. Members of the peace process industry might object over the nuances, percentages of land swaps, and so on, but in the final analysis the Trump plan is born of the same bankrupt principle underlying all other American and western proposals regarding Palestine for the last hundred years: the rights of Palestinians, both individually and collectively, are inferior to the rights of Jewish Israelis in the land.
Time and again, western proposals have divided, dismembered and discarded Palestinians in an effort to gerrymander a Jewish majority
It is this principle that leads Trump and others before him to support policies and plans in which the Palestinian entity will never have true or equal sovereignty, where the rights of Palestinian refugees are ignored, where the equality of Palestinian citizens of Israel is easily and quietly dismissed. Trump’s plan is merely the latest iteration, fashioned around the current realities on the ground – themselves conditions created by Israel and supported by the United States.
For a century, western powers, formerly led by Britain and now by the US, have shaped their policy toward Palestine in deference to the demands of Zionism. Time and again, western proposals have divided, dismembered and discarded Palestinians in an effort to gerrymander a Jewish majority in a land that has historically been overwhelmingly populated by Palestinians. There is no amount of negotiation, no slick diplomacy, no cadre of state department bureaucrats that can turn this racist principle into a formula for peace.