Opinion |

Why Trump's Apartheid Peace Plan Is So Dangerous – and Not Only for Palestine

Last Palestinian envoy to DC: The Trump team endorsing a one-state Greater Israel isn’t surprising: they're diehard settlement supporters But their flagrant attack on international law have repercussions far beyond Palestine

Husam Zomlot
Husam Zomlot
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Donald Trump and  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talk in the midst of a joint news conference on a new in Washington, January 28, 2020.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talk in the midst of a joint news conference on a new in Washington. January 28, 2020Credit: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Husam Zomlot
Husam Zomlot

The Trump Plan was never about freedom and equality for Palestinians.

Instead, it was always about consolidating Israel's control over Palestinian lives, prolonging the status quo, and legitimizing Israel’s crimes under international law including colonization and annexation. Its authors are well-known supporters of Israeli illegal colonial settlements, and so this plan has the blessing of extremist Israeli politicians and settlers, as well as other apologists of the systematic denial of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

Trump’s Unreal Deal: No Peace, No Plan, No Palestinians, No Point. Listen to Haaretz's podcast

The Trump administration continues to reward Israel for violating Palestine's right to exist. At the same time, it portrays the recognition of a Palestinian "state" as a hard concession for Israel to make, in spite of the historic compromise by the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1993. For the sake of peace and cognizant of international legitimacy, we recognized Israel on 78 percent of our historic homeland.

The Trump plan serves the interests of the Greater Israel project that wants all the land of historic Palestine while treating the native people as aliens on our land, ultimately eroding international law and the national and human rights of the Palestinian people.

A general view of the Israeli settlement of Ma'aleh Hazeitim, inside the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al Amud, January 24, 2020.Credit: AFP

It takes over vital land for the development of the State of Palestine to benefit Israel's illegal colonial enterprise - and revokes Palestine's rights to its natural resources, borders, air-space, and maritime borders. No nation, let alone the dignified nation of Palestine that has been struggling for 100 years, would accept this formula of submission and giving up our rights.

What came out is a reflection of that goal. Perhaps inspired by Moshe Ya'alon - then a member of the Israeli cabinet - who stated dismissively in 2014, "Let them call it the Palestinian empire. It's autonomy." But the facts on the ground in occupied Palestine go beyond that. The one-state reality imposed by Netanyahu and his supporters is not mere autonomy; it’s a reality of apartheid.

Why apartheid? Because we have one state, Israel, that controls all the land and governs with two different sets of rights: one for those born to a Jewish family and another one for those born to a Palestinian, Christian or Muslim, family. The Trump administration has moved the whole discussion to a different level, where international law and the global order as a whole are irrelevant.

The international community is therefore obliged to respond with concrete measures; otherwise, it will be sending the Palestinian people a fatefully wrong message. That diplomatic efforts to create conditions for a meaningful peace process have utterly failed and no longer matter.

This is not about any blame game against the Palestinians. It is about the U.S.and Israel rejecting the basic requirements of peace - by implementating international law and the long-overdue UN resolutions. Saying no to the Trump Plan is saying no to apartheid. We can only say yes to freedom, justice, and peace - and not to the perpetuation of the immorality of Israel's control over our lives and the denial of our right to self-determination.

Israeli soldiers stand guard as Palestinian demonstrate ahead of Nakba anniversary, in Bethlehem, May 10, 2018.Credit: MUSSA ISSA QAWASMA/ REUTERS

What has been announced by the Trump administration is a flagrant attack against international law and the international system, and the repercussions do not only affect Palestine.

This moment requires the international community to not only condemn the U.S. and Israeli attempts to confound peace, but requires action to save the prospects of a just and lasting peace. The world now has an opportunity to act on its obligations and commitments: End Israel’s occupation of Palestine, to achieve the just and lasting peace we all deserve.

These international actions are doable, and part and parcel of the responsibility of the international community to peace and an international rules-based order: from the recognition of the State of Palestine, the release of the UN database of companies involved in the Israeli occupation, to imposing sanctions on Israel's colonization efforts.

This is not only about Palestine: it's about the future of the world as a whole.

Husam Zomlot is Palestine’s ambassador to the United Kingdom. He was the last Palestinian envoy to Washington. Twitter: @hzomlot

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