For decades, Palestinians have suffered under Israeli colonial occupation backed and empowered by US political, financial, and military support. This has allowed Israel to gradually expand its settlement and colonisation of Palestine, to the point that now only about 5 percent of historical Palestine’s land is actually controlled by Palestinians.
This process continued almost undisturbed by international scrutiny for years, under the cover of Washington’s “peace process” and its self-declared position as mediator between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.
When Donald Trump became US president in 2017, however, he disrupted this carefully crafted process of gradual colonialisation. He embraced the most racist and extremist Israeli agenda and eliminated the established practice of paying lip service to Palestinian rights.
Israel’s right-wing government was given the green light to do as it pleased, while the American president kept validating its illegal, criminal acts. This effectively accelerated the process of establishing “facts on the ground” – i.e. the usurpation of Palestinian land and subversion of any Palestinian political leverage to the point that Palestinian demands become impossible to fulfil and their rights irrelevant.
So what does Trump’s legacy mean for the Palestinians?
Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential elections in November seems to have brought some optimism in certain Palestinian quarters that the US will change its policy towards the Palestinians. Let us not forget that Trump’s policies were never really in contradiction to Washington’s traditional stance on Palestine, showing full and unconditional support for the Israeli state.
To expect Biden to change anything or compensate for the damage his predecessor has done is foolish. In fact, he and his team have made it abundantly clearly that they will not reverse Trump’s decisions, including the moving of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. His administration will not support the Palestinians’ struggle for justice; it will not seek their liberation, the end of the Israeli occupation, the dismantling of the Israeli apartheid regime, or the return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland.