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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


Trump’s deal is no deal: Free Palestine!

TUESDAY saw the self-styled great deal maker Donald Trump launch his so-called called “Deal of the Century” for Palestine. As might be expected it is nothing of the kind, partly because the main party, the actual Palestinians, had nothing to do with it.

Trump claimed that: “My vision presents a win-win opportunity for both sides, a realistic two-state solution that resolves the risk of Palestinian statehood to Israel’ security,” when clearly it is nothing of the kind.

Abandoning even the faintest pretence that the USA was acting as an honest broker, Trump’s plan included saying that the USA would recognise Israeli sovereignty over occupied territory that Trump sees as being part of Israel. Jerusalem “will remain Israel’s undivided capital” he declared but claims that East Jerusalem, captured in the 1967 war, would be the capital of the future Palestinian state.

no Right of Return

His statement that “No Palestinians or Israelis will be uprooted from their homes” is a clear statement that existing Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank are to stay. Clearly no “Right of Return” for Palestinian refugees is intended. Whilst stating that Palestinians could “achieve an independent state of their very own” he gave very few details, in contrast he gave far more details about the finer points of continued access to holy sites. He laid down the law by saying that land allocated to Palestinians “will remain open and undeveloped for a period of four years”, during which time Palestinians would negotiate with Israel about the small print. Palestinians have decades of experience of negotiating with Israel to no good effect.

At the same time, Netanyahu is seeking to annex formally 30 per cent of the occupied West Bank to boost his support amongst the 400,000 Zionists who live there in defiance of international law.

not for sale

Predictably the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing fraud and corruption charges at home, welcomed it with open arms. The plan was largely drawn up by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. It met with a speedy denunciation from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who used a TV address to say it was a “conspiracy” before adding that “Jerusalem is not for sale, all our rights are not for sale and are not for bargain. And your deal, the conspiracy, will not pass.”

In Gaza thousands of Palestinians took part in a “Day of Rage” in protest when the announcement was made, whilst the Israeli military deployed reinforcements in the occupied West Bank. Islamist group Hamas, who control the Gaza Strip, also brusquely rejected the deal that it said was “to liquidate the Palestinian national project”.

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres merely restated the fact that the UN supports the concept of the two states within recognised borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 lines, and the European Union echoed this. The French foreign ministry also welcomed Trump’s vision. Reactionary Arab states that are in {de facto} alliance with Israel against Iran have remained silent.

In the House of Commons Boris Johnson on Wednesday dutifully followed suit, saying: “No peace plan is perfect but this has the merit of a two-state solution, it is a two-state solution, it would ensure that Jerusalem is both the capital of Israel and of the Palestinian people.”

Although he is obviously no friend of the Palestinian people, Turkish President Erdoğan hit the nail on the head when he denounced the plan that will “ignore the Palestinians’ rights and legitimise Israel’s occupation”. His foreign ministry said it was actually aimed at “killing the two-state solution and stealing Palestinian lands”.

The map Trump produced to advertise his plan show that the Palestine state he offered was a very small and fragmented one, about 15 per cent of the original country. Gaza on the coast would be linked to the West Bank by a tunnel. The planned Palestine would be totally surrounded by Israel, just like the Bantustans in apartheid South Africa. Some right-wing Israelis openly gloated that it marked the end of any possibility of a Palestinian state.

Zionist

The plan is primarily aimed at Trump’s most devoted domestic supporters. These are right-wing Jewish organisations in America who, like the Board of Deputies in Britain, do not represent all Jews. The other constituency he is seeking to please are fundamentalist evangelicals. Although they do not like having Jews as neighbours or members of their country clubs, they are firmly Zionist. The previous week Trump made another appeal to this reactionary group by being the first President ever to address the annual anti-abortion march in Washington.

The New York Times got it right on Wednesday when it sagely observed that this is just another one-and-half state solution aimed at ensuring Israeli domination over an allegedly autonomous Palestine.