Donald Trump’s so-called deal of the century, launched yesterday, represents not a deal for peace but a demand to the Palestinian people to surrender, sugar-coated with the illusion of economic prosperity.
It reflects the vision that Israel has sought to map out on the ground for decades, accelerating since Trump’s election, and the steps he has taken over the past 2 years to help implement that vision.
This vision means no viable state for the Palestinians but a series of Bantustans, no capital in Jerusalem, instead sovereignty over the outlying districts of East Jerusalem, and no right of return for the Palestinian refugees.
The deal does not even attempt to pay lip service to international law. Missing from Trump’s speech was any mention of illegal settlements or occupation. Instead Israel is given the green light to annex further swathes of the West Bank, which the US would then recognise.
The message to the Palestinians from Trump and Netanyahu as they stood beaming together was clear – we do not regard you as a people with core collective rights but as individuals with economic needs.
This message is underpinned by a racist colonial mindset that asserts “we are better placed to know your needs then you are yourselves. We do not even need you in the room as we present the map of your future”.
Whilst Palestinians want to prosper and live ordinary lives in common with people across the world, they know that they cannot do so until Israel’s illegitimate control over their lives is ended. They seek liberation; not to be made more comfortable in their chains. There is no deal which is acceptable that is not rooted in respect for the rights of all and for international law. Trump’s deal fails on both counts.
Kamel Hawwash, Chair of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “Last week in Bethlehem Prince Charles expressed his support for the Palestinians’ quest for freedom justice and equality. Trump’s so-called ‘Deal of the Century’ delivers none of these but merely entrenches the reality of Palestinians living under one apartheid state that denies them their core rights, including the right of return. The UK Government must make clear its rejection of a plan that rides roughshod over international law and, given Israel’s stated intentions to continue to violate that law and Palestinian rights, apply pressure through the implementation of sanctions. This must begin with an end to arms trade with Israel and a ban on import of settlement goods.”