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Netanyahu's new Middle East map cannot erase Palestine

US plan is about disbanding the dream of a free Palestine by distorting geography. Such a farce can never bring peace
Palestinian protesters stick their footwear on posters depicting US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Gaza on 3 February (AFP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not the solution for Israel. He might appear so in times of strength, but history shows that strength is never eternal. 

Netanyahu might feel strong with the support of other right-wing world leaders - such as US President Donald Trump, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro - but he should worry about a day when Israel’s strength is diminished, worn out, defeated. 

Israel should worry about a day when Palestinian children grow to lead a more vigorous and painful fight for independence - a day when, after decades of pain, the map of shame presented by Trump is transformed into a new phase in history, fuelled with more and more hatred.

Disappearing Palestine

A new map of the Middle East is in the making, simply to satisfy the greed of Netanyahu and the ego of a US president who has no connection to the land or its history - one who cannot even differentiate between al-Aqsa and “al-Aqua”, when referring to the holiest mosque of Jerusalem. 

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Turning Palestine into a patchwork of enclaves connected by tunnels and bridges is about eliminating once and for all the national rights of the Palestinian people. The Trump administration is endorsing the longstanding positions of the architects of Israel’s occupation, turning whatever is left of Palestine into a “state” that isn’t a state.

Under international law, the Trump plan will prolong the illegal situation that denies Palestinians their inalienable right to self-determination

The Trump plan is about disbanding the dream of a free Palestine by distorting geography. Such a farce can never bring peace.

A deal is not legitimate when one of the parties to the deal rejects it. The “deal of the century” aims to make Palestine disappear.

In preparing the plan, Trump adviser Jared Kushner said he read 25 books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I would invite him to reveal which books justify such a formula for disaster, playing with the lives and rights of millions of people as though this was just another real-estate purchase. 

Perpetuating apartheid

Under international law, the Trump plan will prolong the illegal situation that denies Palestinians their inalienable right to self-determination, by perpetuating occupation, colonisation and apartheid. 

Palestinians have only one option left: Stay and fight
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In 1917, the Balfour Declaration began this clock of injustice. If decades of hate, killing and maiming have not been enough to reverse course, what will be?

As Netanyahu embarks on a journey of political survival, he does so at the expense of the most basic rights of the Palestinian people. He has hijacked not only the future of Israel, but the future of the whole region - particularly the resilient people of Palestine - for the sake of his own political survival. He has been supported on this path by groups drunk with power: illegal settlers, Christian Zionists and right-wing populists.

Our challenge is tremendous, but we are not alone. As the Trump team has mobilised millions of dollars to ensure Israel remains an apartheid state, our cause has mobilised millions of people to ensure that justice and peace prevail.

The Trump team is again becoming isolated from the rest of the world, having chosen the path of the settlers over the path of international law and multilateralism.

A sea of injustice

With the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation rejecting Trump’s plan, alongside strong criticism from the European Union, Turkey, Jordan and others, Palestine will take its case once again to the United Nations Security Council, which has a responsibility to act.

This will be a moment of tough internal decisions, yet our morale is very high, as we know that our work today is not only about protecting Palestine, but also about preserving the basic principles of the international community.  

In biblical times, responding to the pressures of survival, Moses used his stick to part the seas and create a safe pathway. Today, there’s no Moses and certainly no stick, but rather a sea of injustice that needs devout peacemakers to break through its unending waves.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Sabri Saidam is the deputy secretary general of the Fatah Central Committee and former minister of education and higher education.
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