US president Donald Trump has released his so-called deal of the century, a Middle East “peace plan” that dictates the terms for a complete Palestinian surrender. By his side at the 28 January announcement stood Israeli interim prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who hours earlier had been indicted on charges of bribery and fraud resulting from a series of corruption cases.
Trump’s plan, drafted by advisers of his son-in-law Jared Kushner in close collaboration with Netanyahu, proposes that a series of enclaves spread across the West Bank and Gaza constitute a Palestinian state. The non-contiguous territory would be hemmed in on all sides by Israeli settlements and all the infrastructure of a military occupation.
The plan bears much resemblance to apartheid-era South Africa, when Bantustans (Bantu homelands) were declared independent by the racist state, thereby disenfranchising their Black residents of any civil rights within South Africa. The policy, as Sheena Anne Arackal observes on the news website Mondoweiss, was “the cornerstone of South Africa’s grand apartheid”. It sat side by side with a policy of petit apartheid: racial segregation on buses and public facilities, as well as “pass laws” to restrict the freedom of movement of Blacks.
Trump’s declaration of support for Israel’s territorial ambitions amounts to formal acceptance of Israel’s apartheid policy. Beaming with joy, Netanyahu told a crowd of hard-right Israeli supporters at the Washington launch: “For too long the very heart of the land of Israel, where our patriarchs prayed, our prophets preached and our kings ruled has been outrageously branded as illegally occupied territory. Well today, Mr President, you are puncturing this big lie”.