Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, joins with our Palestinian sisters and brothers in Palestine and in exile and all people of conscience around the world in expressing our strongest rejection of U.S. President Donald Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century.” This “deal” is not a “peace plan” – it is a colonial document and a modern-day Balfour declaration designed only to enshrine apartheid, subjugation, racism and ethnic cleansing.
It casts aside any reference to international law and basic human rights, attempting to legitimize ongoing Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated against the Palestinian people for over 70 years. Specifically, it endorses the annexation of illegal Israeli settlements on colonized Palestinian land, the denial of the right of return of millions of Palestinian refugees, the ethnic cleansing or “transfer” of Palestinian cities in 1948 occupied Palestine, and the permanent Bantustanization of Palestine. It attempts to give the name “state” to something that bears no resemblance to a state: no sovereignty, no control over borders, resources, land, water or air, no control over building, no right to self-defense and military armament, no right to control imports and exports.
In reality, Trump’s “deal of the century” is an attempt to legitimize the current status quo in Palestine by giving the title “statehood” to these apartheid Bantustans, precisely the same tactic attempted by the apartheid South African regime and rejected by the world. It is as clear as ever, and perhaps more than ever, that the United States as an imperialist power and the Israeli entity as a colonizing regime have declared identical interests in the continued colonization of Palestinian land and destruction of Palestinian rights.
Palestinian refugees and their right to return, upheld by international law, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and UN Resolution 194, come under particular attack in this document. Not only do Trump, Netanyahu and Kushner seek to deny Palestinians their right to return to their homes and lands from which they were expelled in 1948, it encourages their resettlement, specifically in “Muslim countries.” It also demands that Arab regimes fund this “resettlement project,” while calling for the elimination of UNRWA, the UN Relief Works Agency responsible for providing services to Palestinian refugees.
This is an attempt to erase Palestinian refugees and – the majority of the Palestinian population – from the narrative and enshrine the Nakba as a permanent condition through the liquidation of the Palestinian cause. The voices of Palestinian refugees have risen loudly and clearly in response, as they have for nearly two years as they marched weekly to the colonially imposed “borders” of the Gaza Strip in the Great March of Return, demanding their inalienable rights despite all of the miseries of siege.
Of course, the announcement of the “Deal of the Century” was largely an electoral sideshow for both Trump, under impeachment in the United States, and Netanyahu, indicted on corruption charges in Israel. The support of Benny Gantz of the so-called Israeli “opposition” party, Blue and White, simply underlines the racist nature of the Zionist project in Palestine that continues, no matter which party is directing the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. It is a shameless attempt to win votes and distract from corruption charges on the backs of the subjugation and blood of the Palestinian people.
One of the most disturbing and shameful elements of the so-called “Deal of the Century” is the complicity of Arab reactionary regimes. The ambassadors of Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates attended the announcement and were praised by the colonialist authority, Trump, for their presence. Egypt under Sisi and Saudi Arabia’s monarchy issued statements welcoming the plan. Meanwhile, the streets of Sanaa, Yemen, teemed with hundreds of thousands rejecting this deal, reflecting the true spirit of the Arab people who are so bitterly misrepresented by these reactionary regimes and monarchies. Of course, the Yemeni people have themselves suffered under brutal bombardment and siege directed by these very same forces that line up with imperialism and Zionism in their war on the Palestinian people.
We note that this is not, unfortunately, a sharp break in U.S. policy. It is a direct line of destruction and liquidation that proceeds from the Oslo accords of 1993. Trump’s “Deal of the Century” is precisely the same as numerous Israeli proposals at the so-called “peace talks” over the decades, reflecting the apartheid reality on the ground that has been constructed in the name of the liquidationist “peace process.” The Palestinian Authority’s leadership is speaking against the “Deal of the Century,” but it is continuing the same policies of security coordination with Israel that imprison and suppress Palestinian resistance that are cemented and strengthened in Trump and Netanyahu’s text. The first step toward meaningful opposition to Trump’s plan is ending security coordination and releasing all political prisoners from PA jails.
Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, calls on our community and all supporters of justice in Palestine to raise your voices even louder and higher against Zionism, colonialism, racism and apartheid: to boycott Israel in all forms, demand its international isolation and work for the prosecution of its officials in the International Criminal Court, and take to the streets to uphold Palestinian rights.
The Palestinian vision remains clear: self-determination, continued resistance to colonization and occupation, the return of all Palestinian refugees, the liberation of Palestine, full rights and equality for all of our people, dismantling Zionism, Jerusalem as the capital of one liberated Palestine, from the river to the sea. Palestinians have been struggling for over 100 years, and Trump, Netanyahu, Kushner and their “deal” will never liquidate the cause and the rights of the Palestinian people.
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