IF all goes according to plan, Israel will initiate the latest phase of its colonial land grab of Palestinian territory today by annexing West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley. While international opinion has roundly condemned this blatant illegality, the Israelis have little to fear as they have American support to back them up in this crime. In fact, were it not for Donald Trump’s widely panned ‘deal of the century’ — a euphemism for complete Palestinian surrender and an Israeli declaration of victory that spells the end of the two-state solution — those ruling Tel Aviv may not have attempted such a bold affront to international law. UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet did not mince her words when she said that “annexation is illegal. Period,” while adding that the move would be “disastrous for the Palestinians”.
Ever since the Nakba — the great Palestinian catastrophe, dislocation and mass exodus that accompanied the founding of the state of Israel in 1948 — Zionists have been gnawing away at Arab land. This expropriation gained considerable speed after the humiliating 1967 Arab-Israeli War, and today, if Israel and its powerful patrons go ahead with their grim plan, any hopes of a viable Palestinian state will be buried forever. What Mr Trump’s plan envisages is a bantustan, little more than a glorified concentration camp where the Arabs can be locked up, out of sight and out of mind, while Israel is free to devour choice Palestinian land and plant its flag on it. Both major Palestinian factions — Hamas and Fatah — have denounced Tel Aviv’s plan, with Hamas warning that annexation would be a “declaration of war”. The fact is that the Palestinians have no choice but to resist; accepting the imposition of an apartheid state on their land will spell the end of the Palestinian dream of a workable state with Al Quds as its capital. The international community must not remain silent in the face of Israeli impunity and speak up for the dispossessed Palestinians.
Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2020