Last month, the world was treated to a spectacle by the impeached and the indicted, proudly basking in the glow of what was supposed to be a coming together of two parties; a bit like a wedding, in fact. The White House and its guests were in a celebratory mood; the tables were set, replete with a bridal party of the ambassadors of three Middle East dictatorships in Oman, Bahrain and the UAE, and the groom, Benjamin Netanyahu, grinning at the altar. Only the bride and her family were absent; they were not actually invited and will have nothing to do with it. This shocking irony was apparently lost on matchmaker in chief Donald Trump who, in a fit of self-delusion, shamelessly officiated over this farce that has now been widely exposed as a conspiracy to bury the Palestinian Question and liquidate Palestinian aspirations for freedom, justice and peace.
Unlike former US Presidents, Trump has cast off the decades-long pretence that Washington is an honest broker for peace. What sets Trump apart is not his unconditional support for Apartheid Israel's ethnic cleansing project, but his unilateral imposition of a "final solution" on the Palestinian Question and his gall to announce this fact to the world.
The glaring "coincidences" and timing of this announcement were not lost on anyone, coming a day after Netanyahu was formally indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate cases of corruption, and in the midst of Trump's impeachment by the US Congress and facing an impeachment trial in the Senate the following day. Furthermore, both men face re-election within months in their respective countries. It doesn't require any great stretch of the imagination to arrive at the logical conclusion that Trump and Netanyahu are using the Palestinian Question as a pawn to bolster their ultra-right, fanatical constituencies as a hedge against their legal troubles and to give them an advantage over their political rivals.
The Trump-Netanyahu "Peace Plan" amounts to an announcement of Israel's annexation of an additional 40 per cent of the occupied West Bank, including the illegal Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley, all of which constitute the land that was supposed to be part of a Palestinian State. It allows Israel to transfer 350,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel to Palestinian Authority control, which amounts to further ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Arab population. It also calls for a Palestinian "State" with no army and hands Israel exclusive control over its borders and airspace, and absolves Israel of its moral and legal obligations as an occupying power, as well as its historical debt to 7.2 million Palestinian refugees, and all for a promise to Palestinians of a Bantustan sometime in the future.
At its core, the Trump-Netanyahu conspiracy is aimed at legalising the Apartheid status quo through attempting to impose on the Palestinians what Israel has sought to achieve through sheer force of arms since 1948. They would have done so too, but for the heroic endurance and resistance of the Palestinian people who, for the past seven decades, have borne the brunt of Israeli racism and brutality.
The fact is not lost to objective observers that Trump, gripped by illusions of grandeur, has arrogated to himself the non-existent title of L'Empereur du monde with the authority to take chunks of foreign territories and hand them to Apartheid Israel. That is what he did with the Syrian Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, notwithstanding the fact that these territories were and remain declared to be "illegally Occupied" by the UN Security Council, the General Assembly and the International Court of Justice amongst others, and that such behaviour by States is proscribed by the UN Charter.
Furthermore, Israel's occupation of these territories is a violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the 1907 Hague Regulations and international criminal law, as Israel has committed countless gross violations which constitute war crimes. In this context, through this and many other acts of aggression and banditry over many decades, the United States has defined itself outside the constraints of global consensus, the UN Charter and international law. It is the quintessential embodiment of a rogue state.
For Palestinians, none of the so called "peace plans" of former US Presidents have delivered freedom or hope. Consequently, they have had no peace but plenty of process and the US establishment consensus on Israeli settler colonialism remains deeply entrenched.
It should be obvious that the UN system is paralysed and unable to enforce its own resolutions and unable to deliver on Palestinian aspirations, let alone hold Israel to account for its daily murder, maiming and unjust imprisonment of Palestinians, especially women and children. Europe, despite its mild and often mocked muffles of feigned condemnation, is just as complicit in Israel's settler colonial project. In stark contrast to popular sentiment in their countries, Arab and Muslim governments in North Africa and the Middle East have mostly been brought to heel by US pressure or are more invested in an adversarial regional power competition against Iran, than in Palestinian freedom and justice. In Africa, Israel is deploying technology and arms sales to bribe governments into silence about its despicable human rights violations. In Latin America, democratic left-wing governments are being removed in violent coups and the remainder are being destabilised at the behest and with the help of the US and Israel, to be replaced by right-wing, pro US-Israel puppets.
Meanwhile, for all freedom and peace-loving people around the world, the task is what it has always been: to oppose all forms of discrimination and dehumanisation; to oppose Israeli Apartheid and ethnic cleansing; and to uphold the principles of respect for human rights, justice, equality, dignity and democracy.
To that end, Palestinians have called for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it behaves like a normal state and abides by the peremptory norms of international law. BDS, as was adopted by the international community against Apartheid South Africa, is a legitimate non-violent tactic which is aimed at defunding the Israeli occupation and bringing to bear sufficient pressure on the regime to meet the basic demands for freedom and justice for Palestinians. South Africans, as beneficiaries of international solidarity ourselves, bear a historic obligation to support Palestinians in their fight for freedom, justice and peace.
Tisetso Magama is the Spokesperson and a board member of BDS South Africa.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.