Update | 1.31.2020
Two days ago, US President Donald Trump released his long-anticipated “Deal of the Century,” a proposal that bolsters the position of Israeli politicians like Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz while failing to address the root cause of the issue – settler-colonialism and structural inequality. Rather, this plan further entrenches both flaws by prioritizing Israeli hegemony, sovereignty, and ethnocracy at the expense of Palestinians’ right to self-determination, security, democracy, and access to resources. Palestinian civil society has made its collective rejection of this “peace” plan clear through protest and a resounding refusal to continue to accept another conception of the future which fails to secure individual and collective needs and rights.
Trump’s “peace” plan includes extending Israeli sovereignty over the principal settlements throughout the West Bank and the Jordan Valley – the fertile region of Historic Palestine. Palestinian spaces would, in effect, turn into bantustans, joined by bridges (or a 25 mile long tunnel, connecting Gaza to a disjointed West Bank), over which Israeli security would reign supreme despite any pretense of an independent Palestinian state. This, like other “peace” proposals which have come before it, illustrates the settler-colonial mentality present in those making these proposals. This mentality leads to endless claims that one group of people’s right to “security” supersedes another group’s claims to the most basic of human rights, including safety. We at GSC reject this notion, rooted in the knowledge that we are all equal and thus deserve the same opportunities and access to rights, freedoms, and resources without privilege to one ethnicity, religion, race, sex, orientation, or based on any other arbitrary feature.
On the other hand, this proposal highlights a shortcoming of our own movements of justice: the continued belief that citing international bodies of law and the organizations intended to uphold them will bring about radical change. While many cling to the hope of rights, protections, and decisions outlined in international law and United Nations decisions (and rightly so to a certain extent, as they outline the minimal guarantees we should all enjoy), it is important to acknowledge that international mechanisms based on state sovereignty and the expectation that politicians will hold each other accountable for violations are simply not expressed in practice.
We cannot simply continue to react, to be on the defensive – we must shift our approach to be more proactive, choose reasonable targets, and change the law to protect all of our interests, rather than privilege some of us over others. In order to mobilize for change, we must remember our own power as organizers on the ground, sharing our resources among grassroots networks and building diverse coalitions usher in the future we all deserve.
As an organization based in the South Hebron Hills, where many of the most heinous acts of indigenous elimination occur, GSC is grounded in the belief that unless our plans for justice center decolonization and an equal priority for the rights of Palestinians and Jewish Israelis, they will not work toward any lasting peace. We will continue to mobilize rooted in this knowledge, and call on our local and international partners to join us in working toward real justice for all people.
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