The Zionist movement continues its Judaisation battles which have been ongoing since 1948 all across the Palestinian territories, especially in the cities that maintained their Arab-Palestinian nature and character, despite being occupied and their inhabitants displaced. The Judaisation battles in the 1960s and 1970s in Galilee and the Triangle, as well as the ongoing battle in the Negev, have been the fiercest battles fought by several successive governments.
In the wake of the second occupation of the West Bank in 1967, the occupation authorities continued its Judaisation war in Jerusalem and some West Bank cities. They succeeded in imposing a temporal and special division of the Ibrahimi Mosque, a formula they are trying to impose in Jerusalem today in the Buraq Wall and Al-Aqsa Mosque. This is the fiercest ongoing battle, being fought within the Judaisation war that seems to be adopting various methods of imposition, coercion and intimidation, through the introduction of an arsenal of occupation laws in the Judaisation battles, in the hope of winning. This is all occurring in the shadow of suspicious silence, strange incompetence and even stranger and more dubious collusion.
The Israeli occupation authorities recently issued a military order granting settlers, who had taken over neighbourhoods and property in the centre of Hebron’s Old City, the right to form their own governing committees and granting them the authority to govern their own municipal affairs. This decision indicates the beginning of the process of establishing a state for the settlers after Israel succeeded in establishing and reinforcing its occupation. It now needs to establish the occupation of its settlers by granting them their own state with laws differing from those of the “mother country” and from the laws of the Palestinian municipalities.
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While this decision is the first of its kind since the 1967 occupation and is being issued in a legal form, it can be applied on a wider scale in order to distinguish the Judaised settlement municipalities from the Palestinian municipalities. In this case, the municipalities of Jewish neighbourhoods will be able to provide services only to Jewish neighbourhoods. This is an obvious racist approach that paves the way for an apartheid state that does not practice equality or justice, neither in service and municipal issues nor in political, social, or legal issues.
Several protocols and articles in the Declaration of Principles agreement with the PLO (Oslo Accords) have been dropped, as the Hebron order has dropped the city’s protocol regarding the redeployment of Israeli forces, signed in 1997. This stipulated complete Palestinian control over Hebron and Israeli security control on the H1 areas where settlers are located. The Israeli security control is being turned into a municipality and this reinforces the division of the city, which is the opposite of what is provided for in the Hebron protocol, which stipulates Hebron is an open, not closed city.
In light of this situation, we become more certain, day by day, that there is no Palestinian strategy of any kind and no tactics that enable the Palestinians, in their capacity as the indigenous people, to confront and resist the occupation’s policies that continue to enroot settlements and Judaisation in recent times, especially with regards to Jerusalem and Hebron. The Zionist settlement project is expanding and the Judaisation project is threatening everything outlined in the Israeli-Palestinian agreements, as Israel is clearly backing out of these terms considering the absence of a clear and organised Palestinian vision for what is happening. Israel continues to plan and implement settlement and Judaisation plans and its politicians are aware of their direct responsibility for their people’s affairs. This requires Palestinian reactions that go beyond the nature of statements addressing the international community, which does not have the means to put pressure on this “super state” protected by every means of known and hidden protection.
Are we on the verge of witnessing the establishment of a second Israeli state (the settlers’ state) on the land of the Palestinian state in the West Bank, in the same manner that the first Israeli state was established on the land of the Palestinians in 1948? Is it being built on the ruins of the “partition state” promised to the Palestinians but not yet achieved? This “Oslo state” is being taken away without being achieved. It is losing more of its natural geographic and demographic components to settlements and the settlers in light of a silence, helplessness and collusion (including self-collusion) without any of us batting an eyelash or shedding a tear for what we have lost. If the situation remains the same, we will not get back what we lost, even if it is an undisputed right in a world that denies rights and where those with rights are always the victim with no legal or human rights considerations. This is according to the experiences and history of how the world dealt with the Palestinian cause throughout its history; throughout the 100 years of the Nakba.
After all of these years, the Zionist mentality is coming up with more ways to “supress the Palestinian consciousness”, according to Deputy Knesset Speaker Bezalel Smotrich, in his plan, which he calls “the decision plan”. This aims to eliminate the hope of the Palestinians in achieving their national aspirations, focusing on the issue of consciousness and awareness and the need to supress it. According to the plan, this can be achieved by Israel announcing the annexation of the entire West Bank and embarking on a major settlement boom.
A striking matter is the alignment between what is being promoted by “the decision plan” and the military order regarding Hebron, as the deputy Knesset speaker proposes that Israel dissolve the Palestinian Authority and form self-governing bodies with limited authority. This is based on establishing six local councils in Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jericho, Nablus and Jenin. The plan also suggests that the at a later time, the Palestinians exercise their political rights by voting in the Jordanian legislative elections.
This strange mixture of proposals was not confronted by anyone, nor did anyone expose its real goals, which are based on further Judaising the West Bank, which is supposed to be the promised land of the Palestinian state. This is only believed by those deluded by the negotiations, and only negotiations; a plan without any alternatives. This eliminates the goals that are trying to be achieved and eliminates the foundation of negotiations. This allows the Israelis to approach negotiations without any motive to make any concessions to the Palestinians. This is evident in the domination of the extremist Likud party’s control over the government and its dragging of the Israeli consensus, as well as the right-wing, centre, and part of the left-wing towards the same Likudian platform that Netanyahu won on the basis of in the 2015 elections. He denied his promises of a two-state solution during the Bar-Ilan speech.
The Hebron order and “the decision plan” both confirm that we are facing a clear preparation for the establishment of a state with special laws for settlers, at the expense of a Palestinian state. Instead, they are given limited autonomy in whatever land is left over for them, over which they have no sovereignty. Is this the “deal of the century” that the Trump administration promised and is looking for someone to believe it and ratify it, to build castles of delusions on shifting sands?
This article first appeared in Arabic in Al-Araby Al-Jadeed on 22 September 2017
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.