Israel’s choice is clear: Give Palestinians equal rights, or leave their territory

The most direct route to attaining equal rights is for occupied Palestinians to acquire Israeli citizenship, but this would be a bitter pill for both sides

A Palestinian flag overlooks an illegal Israeli settlement and the old city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank on 4 September 2020

Ghada Karmi writes in Middle East Eye:

Does US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” spell the end of the Palestinian cause internationally?

When I first read it, I was inclined to laugh; it was so transparently an Israeli wish list of demands, dressed up in pretentious prose. “The state of Israel is not a threat to the region whatsoever,” it says, ignoring a history of five major Arab-Israeli wars and ongoing conflict since 1948.

The deal asserts that Israel has “valid legal and historical claims” to the 1967 territories, contradicting international law and people’s living memory, and tells us that the plight of Gaza, from poverty to lack of potable water, is the fault of “terrorist organisations” such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

The document’s tone towards Palestinians is insufferably patronising, as if they were recalcitrant children with the US and Israel acting as their wise parents. A map of the “State of Palestine”, as envisioned in the deal, shows a complicated network of bridges, tunnels and roads supposed to connect the disparate Palestinian enclaves in the West Bank and Gaza. They look like small islands in an Israeli sea, haphazardly organised and unviable.

No one could take this plan seriously, I thought. It should be dismissed out of hand. Yet, the Trump deal poses a real danger for Palestinians – not because it has some hidden merit, but for the license it gives Israel to implement its plans. And, judging by past experiences, the international community will stand by and do nothing.

…. ….

Today, the land between the Mediterranean and the River Jordan is effectively one state under Israel’s rule. Approximately half of its population has citizenship and rights, and the other half has neither.

Israel’s choice is clear: either it grants equal rights to the disenfranchised people, or it vacates their territory. Since it will not withdraw, it must grant Palestinians equal rights with its other citizens.

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