Despite a century of foreign intervention, Palestine will prove indivisible

Despite a century of foreign intervention, Palestine will prove indivisible
Comment: With Trump effectively killing off the 'peace process', we can focus on the real solution: Grassroots activism and global solidarity, writes Nada Elia.
4 min read
12 Dec, 2017
Palestinians in a show of unity on the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, Gaza [Anadolu]
The pretense is over. For decades, the US had tried to present itself as an honest broker, a fair mediator, committed to justice, to peace. 

But such pretense was hard to keep up, as we gave billions of dollars in annual aid to a country we knew was violating international law, and the basic human rights of the Palestinian people. 

It was hard to keep up as we brazenly provided Israel with a diplomatic shield against any UN resolution critical of its egregious actions. And it was hard to keep up, as we threatened to violate our own constitutional First Amendment, our freedom of speech, in order to criminalise the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which allowed civilians to express their disapproval of Israel by engaging in an otherwise time-honoured non-violent resistance strategy.

Meanwhile, even as the "peace process" was considered "stalled", it proved anything but ineffective. In reality, it was the gift that kept giving, to Israel, even as it kept stealing, from the Palestinians.

Starting with the illegal occupation in 1967, Israel has been driving Palestinians from their own land in the West Bank in order to build 200 settlements now housing some 600,000 settlers. And its master plan for Jerusalem calls for an ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population, to result in a 70 percent Jewish majority. 

And then, in his trademark infantile, global bully fashion, President Trump took off the mask, tore off the last fig leaf.

Trump's announcement is a declaration that negotiations are unnecessary

Trump probably cannot spell the word "diplomacy"’ and he certainly does not know how to practice it. With his declaration on Wednesday that the US recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Trump ended the lie.

He has not quite "killed" the peace process, which would have resulted in the two-state solution, but he is finally paving the way for its burial. Trump cannot kill the two-state solution because that so-called "solution" is a still-born imperial chimera, which 70 years of "negotiations", various "accords", and the infamous 1994 Oslo Accords failed to resuscitate.

I say 70 years, not 20, because the UN partition plan of 1945 was already an attempt at dividing Palestine into two states. Britain could not quite accomplish that, so the US stepped in, and has been wading in the quagmire since.  But Palestine is proving indivisible.

Despite a century of foreign intervention, beginning with the 1917 Balfour Declaration, and seven decades of settler-colonialism, there is only one country in historic Palestine.

Londoners protest Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel [The New Arab]

Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, which it claims to be "temporary", has become an ensconced reality, effectively making Israel one contingent entity, from the river to the sea. With over 65 Israeli laws that discriminate against Palestinians within Israel, as well as in the Occupied Territories, that country, superimposed upon historic Palestine, is a prime example of an apartheid society. 

Gaza - which according to international law is still occupied, even though Israel does not allow its citizens to reside there - is a Palestinian Bantustan, and that term is generous, considering the genocidal conditions in the besieged strip. 

Read more: Trump's gambit harmful, but not fatal for Palestinian Jerusalem

The West Bank is chopped up by a network of Jewish-only roads leading to ever expanding Jewish-only settlements that further dispossess Palestinians. The settlements are considered "facts on the ground" that would be taken into consideration, when the "negotiations" resume.

But Trump's announcement is a declaration that negotiations are unnecessary. With an imperial hubris reminiscent of Lord Balfour's declaration a full century ago, Trump has declared that the US "views with favour" Israel's land theft, its expansionism, its settler-colonialism.

The Balfour Declaration had an impossible caveat, namely "it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine". Trump's announcement has a similarly preposterous one, namely that the agreement should it be "acceptable to both sides".

Despite a century of foreign intervention and seven decades of settler colonialism, there is only one country in historic Palestine

The 1917 Balfour Declaration inflicted immense harm to the Palestinian people, and Trump's 2017 declaration that the US recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is also a severe blow to all Palestinians.   

This time, however, Palestinians have a vision, a strategy, and the global tide is turning against apartheid, against imperial intervention, against a redrawing of organic boundaries to serve settler-colonial states.

With the burial of the "peace process," we can focus on the real solution: Grassroots activism and global solidarity. 

Nada Elia is a Diaspora Palestinian scholar, writer, public speaker and BDS organiser.

Follow her on Twitter: @nadaelia48

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, its editorial board or staff.