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January 31, 2020

The ‘deal of the century’

Opinion

January 31, 2020

Despite its often pretentious moralistic language, a careful reading of the Trump Plan for Palestine and Israel is nothing short of creating for the Palestinian people Bantu homelands that had been created for black South Africans to bolster Apartheid. black ‘Homelands’ were created and blacks were no longer regarded as South African citizens of one of the ‘self-governing’ territories.

Now the Netanyahu-Trump Plan for Palestine seeks to create Palestinian homelands under the overall control of a large Israeli state – the Zionist agenda’s completion. Some of the main features of this plan include Israel annexing the Jordan Valley, which presently comprises about one third of the Occupied West Bank as well as the Golan Heights. Jerusalem would be solely under Israeli control and would be its ‘undivided’ capital. All the settlements on Occupied Palestinian territory would also become part of Israel.

The plan states: “the State of Palestine shall be fully demilitarized and remain so” and it would receive territory, mostly desert, near Gaza to compensate for the loss of about 30 percent of the West Bank. Justifying the complete control over the Palestinian State by Israel, including over its territorial waters and airspace, the plan states: “If the State of Israel did not maintain control of the West Bank’s airspace, it would not have adequate time to defend against incoming hostile aircraft or missiles. For that reason, in any peace arrangement, the State of Israel must have operational control over the airspace west of the Jordan River.”

Nor is that enough for Israel! The plan states “the State of Palestine will not have the right to forge military, intelligence or security agreements with any state or organization that adversely affect the State of Israel’s security, as determined by the State of Israel. The State of Palestine will not be able to develop military or paramilitary capabilities inside or outside of the State of Palestine.”

In typical Trump ‘logic’ that defies all rationality, the plan states: “Every country spends a very significant sum of money on its defense from external threats. The State of Palestine will not be burdened with such costs, because it will be shouldered by the State of Israel.”

Effectively, the plan offers Palestinians a truncated state with no army, under complete Israeli security control and as a precondition for this ‘largesse’, Palestinians would have to fulfil some conditionalities including the “complete dismantling of Hamas”. The possibility of stripping Israeli citizenship from tens of thousands of Arab-Israelis who live in 10 border towns, with those towns and their residents being included into any future state of Palestine.

Palestinian refugees would also be denied ‘right of return’ to their homes that Israel occupied in previous conflicts.

If there was any doubt at all about the Zionist intent of this whole plan, Netanyahu, speaking to reporters after his joint press conference with Trump, stated that he would seek to take steps to annex the Jordan valley as soon as next week. He made clear that Israel only intended to agree to “conditional, limited sovereignty” for the Palestinians.

That this plan is in violation of all UN resolutions on the Palestinian issue and international law is abundantly clear. The plan itself admits that, since 1946, there have been close to 700 United Nations General Assembly resolutions and over 100 United Nations Security Council resolutions in connection with this conflict.

Perhaps amongst these the most critical are: the UN GA Resolution 181 of 1947 that called for the partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states, with the city of Jerusalem as a “corpus separatum” (“separate entity”) to be governed by a special international regime; the UN SC resolution 242 of 1967 which called for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the occupied territories, acknowledged the claim of sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the region and called on the UN secretary general to appoint an envoy to facilitate an acceptable solution to the conflict; and, UN SC Resolution 2334 of 2016 which reaffirmed the two-state solution.

The Trump Plan contravenes all these resolutions. It also directly contravenes the Fourth Geneva Convention, which categorically regards any alteration to an Occupied Territory and its demography as a war crime. So effectively this plan, if implemented, would be a war crime, as previously discussed by the International Court of Justice in its Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory case.

The irony is that Trump believes that a money deal will overcome the decades of struggle by the Palestinians for their right to a functional Palestinian state and a recovery of their Occupied Lands by Israel. With this ‘money buys all’ mindset, the economic portions of the plan would apparently lead to one million new jobs for Palestinians over the next 10 years, an investment of $50 billion in the new ‘state’ and tripling of its GDP – if the Palestinians do what Israel wants of them.

For us in Pakistan, such a plan should be an issue of major concern because with Trump wanting to ‘resolve’ conflicts including in Kashmir, the pattern of conflict resolution that he seeks is contrary to UN resolutions and international law. Trump is to visit India next month – and undoubtedly the fascist Modi regime will be bolstered by the unveiling of the Trump-Netanyahu Plan, especially given the strategic cooperation between India and Israel including on India’s Ballistic Missile Defence programme.

Pakistan needs to adopt a clear position rejecting this plan or we may find ourselves at the receiving end of another Trump ‘peace plan’ – this time on Kashmir – similar to the Plan for Palestine, which really seeks to establish the Zionist dream of Greater Israel.

The writer is the federal minister for human rights.

Twitter: @ShireenMazari1