On January 28, president of the United States (US) Donald Trump announced his ‘deal of the century’ alongside Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. According to Trump, the deal will end the “Israeli- Palestinian conflict.” Prepared by his son-in-law Jared Kushner and others, the deal calls for a two-state solution and ‘promises’ economic support for Palestinians in return for recognition of Israeli sovereignty over all the illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. As per the deal, Palestinians can have their capital “somewhere in Eastern Jerusalem ” while undivided Jerusalem would be the capital of Israel. The deal also proposes Israeli control over the Jordan Valley and all Palestinian borders for security reasons, but promises to maintain territorial continuity through highways for the Palestinians.
Peoples Dispatch talked to Palestinian political activist Hala Marshod, who is associated with feminist and anti-occupation movements in the region. She is based out of Jerusalem.
Peoples Dispatch (PD): What does Trump’s deal mean for the Palestinian people?
Hala Marshod (HM): The plan is yet another manifestation of the reality that Palestine is already undergoing. This reality was possible due to a process that started in 1993 upon the signing of the Oslo Accords (a deal signed between the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the Israeli government which created a Palestinian Authority (PA) in the occupied territories and divided them into areas A, B and C). It is impossible to separate the plan from the wider political discourse and the neo-liberal “peace” frameworks that have intensified the dependency on Israel and led to increased cooperation with the occupying power – a situation that has been benefiting our colonizer. The plan does not add anything to the reality that the settler-colonial system has already forced on Palestine, but it only grants Israel more possibilities for control, adding yet another layer of “legal” legitimacy to Israel’s expansionist goals in Palestine.
PD: How do you analyze this ‘peace plan’ in the context of Palestinian history?
HM: The plan is another method to cripple and fragment the Palestinian people and cause, a dark and ongoing reality that has dismantled the Palestinians’ aspirations for true and radical liberation. Through the plan, Israel is also aiming to crush the Palestinians’ will to resist by providing them with material necessities, a process that will enable it to intensify its control over occupied lands without facing resistance. Furthermore, the plan aims to maintain the “security” of Israel by facilitating more measures of “counter terrorism” to be practiced on Palestinians, measures that are already being implemented by the PA to oppress Palestinian voices. Piece by piece, the plan, as others, is providing Israel with more power, and putting an end to any discourse on Palestinian liberation.
PD: What is the future course of action for the Palestinians?
HM: The Palestinian cause is a cause for true liberation and justice, one that encompasses all of the historic Palestine, and the return of Palestinian refugees. After narrowing the Palestinian discourse to mere “statehood”, it is time to re-shape our political discourse in Palestine and bring it back to its core. Our aspirations and hopes for liberation are being oppressed by Israel and its Palestinian agents, and it is the people’s time to force and shape a new reality in Palestine.