Sheena Anne Arackal has penned an important piece for the Global Research Centre on Globalization. There, she skillfully dissects Donald Trump’s and Benjamin Netanyahu’s new dead-on-arrival supposed “peace plan.” This plan will ostensibly settle, once and for all time to come, the heretofore intractable Palestine-Israel conflict.
Yes, and in his most Trumpian fashion yet, Trump could not resist declaring this one-sided, unilaterally arrived at “plan” the “Deal of the Century.”
According to the “deal,” concocted and conjured up by the freshly indicted Israeli prime minister and the impeached putative US president, Palestinians will be allowed a kind of pseudo-“independence” within strictly designated and enforced (by Israel) “homeland” territories. This faux independence is necessary, according to Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and point man in the deal, because Palestinians are simply not yet ready to run an actual nation-state of their own and on their own behalf.
The Palestinian “homeland,” therefore, will comprise multiple non-contiguous enclaves peppered throughout the West Bank and Gaza. The government of Israel, naturally, will control security within and over these “homelands,” including Palestinian borders, airspace, aquifers, maritime waters, and the electromagnetic spectrum.
And, tellingly, according to the Trump/Netanyahu/Kushner plan, Israel may annex the entire Jordan Valley and all heretofore illegal Jewish communities and settlements in the West Bank. Thus, all questions of Palestinian irredentism are hereby quashed and extinguished as per this “plan.” Indeed, even the “right of return” demanded by Palestinians ever since Israel’s invasion and occupation began (with European and American aid) in the late 1940's is “off the table.”
Although the Palestinians may choose their own leaders of their new “homeland,” they will have no political rights whatever in the state of Israel — the government which actually controls their lives.
Arackal dispenses with all of the political and diplomatic niceties and calls this arrangement, this “deal,” exactly what it is:
President Trump’s plan for racial control and segregation should sound disturbingly familiar. Indeed it should immediately bring to mind the Bantu homelands which were the cornerstone of South Africa’s “grand apartheid”.
While “petty apartheid” was the term used to describe racial segregation on buses and public facilities, “grand apartheid” referred to the many laws which enforced territorial and political separation between black and white South Africans.
Arackal then provides an abbreviated history as to exactly how this whole idea of “internal colonization” came into being:
The Bantu homelands [of South Africa], which were key to the territorial and political separation of racial groups, had their origin in the Land Acts of 1913 and 1936 which created reserves for the native black population.
Then in 1970 the Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act made the native population legal citizens of their Bantustans, denying black South Africans political rights in white South Africa. The South African government created Bantu homelands in order to claim that South Africa, a state with a majority black population, was actually a state with a majority white population.
As in apartheid South Africa, this “political sleight of hand,” as Arackal dubs it, in Palestine-Israel, is meant to provide cover for Israel’s (and by extension, the US’) true character and purpose: Israel’s complete and utter political, economic, social and cultural hegemony over what once was known as “Palestine.”
If there was ever any question or doubt before, this “deal” places Israel squarely in the center of the latest 500-year-old white, Imperial, European, racist, settler, colonial project. The main impetus and feature of this centuries-old project has always been the theft of the land and resources of dark-skinned peoples around the globe–leaving aside only for the purposes of this essay, the repression, suppression and oppression of those selfsame dark-skinned people whenever and wherever Euro-Americans encountered them.
South Africa’s grand apartheid scheme physically and politically separated the black majority from the interloping European white settler minority. Likewise for Palestinians under the Trump/Netanyahu so-called peace plan. Palestinians are herded into three non-contiguous (but already extant) “homelands”” (Areas A, B and Gaza). Taken together, Palestinians are now, according to Trump and Netanyahu, considered “citizens” of this trifurcated “homeland.”
And, just as in apartheid South Africa, the Trump/Netanyahu plan grants the Palestinians “sovereignty” only over civil matters, including education and healthcare. But issues and areas which actually define a “nation-state” — trade, immigration, and security — are all closely controlled by the US- and European-backed nation-state of Israel.
Again, this is political sophistry at its best: “a thinly veiled attempt to claim that Israel, a state that rules over roughly the same number of Jews and Palestinians, is actually a Jewish-majority state,” writes Arackal.
And, of course, just as South Africa did, the Trump/Netanyahu regimes claim that these “homelands” are only a “temporary” solution. You see, the indigenous Palestinians — like the native Africans of South Africa before them — must prove themselves capable of self-governance before one day being allowed to handle their own affairs without assistance from the Great White Father of the West.
The Trump administration and Israel, like apartheid South Africa once did to its black majority, will now attempt to force Palestinians to come to terms with this so-called “peace plan.” They will employ all manner of pressure to get them to announce and accept their “homeland’s” “independence” in the same manner that apartheid South Africa forced a faux independence upon the native black population within their hated Bantustans. Yes, some few black South African chiefs and leaders did accept the Bantustans (and the personal rewards and gifts and outright bribes from white South Africa that came with such acceptance).
Nevertheless, the whole scheme of grand apartheid ultimately came crashing down because of the unrelenting, alternately intensely violent and low-grade guerrilla warfare against South Africa’s Afrikaner government waged by the African National Congress and the then imprisoned Nelson Mandela. A simultaneous worldwide campaign of disinvestment in South Africa added the final touches necessary to render that white minority-ruled country “ungovernable.”
Likewise, Trump’s “Deal of the Century” in Palestine has only resurrected and dusted off an old racist political policy and system. And like the whole damnable idea of South African apartheid, this “Steal of the Century” in Palestine shall also pass.