Asked by an interviewer on 23 April whether his “plan” for Israel-Palestine, due to be announced after 4 June, will culminate in “two states”, Trump aide Jared Kushner said, “If people focus on the old traditional talking points, we’re never going to make progress.”
The plan, says Kushner, will emphasise “economic benefits” for the Palestinians and “security” for Israel. His aides pass it on: don’t use the phrase “two-state solution.”
David Friedman, the pro-Netanyahu US ambassador to Israel, is said to be central in shaping Trump policy. He wants Israel to maintain “security control” over the West Bank.
Trump’s hope is that Saudi Arabia and maybe even Egypt will green-light the shelving of “two states”. Netanyahu’s — that the Palestinians will be isolated in rejecting Trump’s plan and he can go ahead with declaring “Area C” of the West Bank to be not only Israeli-occupied, but part of Israel.
“Area C” includes the Jewish settlements, the roads connecting them, and a small scattering of Palestinian population.
Almost all the centres of Palestinian population are in “Areas A and B”. There is some Palestinian autonomy there. But Areas A and B are made up of over 160 patches of land (cities, towns, villages), each one surrounded by Israeli checkpoints. Area C is over 60% of the land area.
On 18 April, Workers’ Liberty, with the Worker-communist Party of Iran (Hekmatist — Official Line) and others, protested at the Israeli Embassy under the slogans: “Israel out of the West Bank. An independent Palestinian state alongside Israel”.
We will be on the streets again on 11 May, noon at the BBC, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA.
We are gathering at the same place as the protest called by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and will be talking and arguing with PSC supporters.
We do not support the slogan of the PSC protest: “Exist! Resist! Return!” The “return” of six million Palestinians to repossess what is now Israel is not workable. It could become workable only by conquering and overrunning Israel. That won’t happen in the foreseeable future. If it could happen, it would be a bloody exercise in revenge, not a democratic settlement opening the way to peace and workers’ unity.
The PSC (mimicking Hamas) focuses on such revanchist rhetoric, and on efforts like boycotting the Eurovision song contest, and ignores the Trump-Netanyahu plan as a detail.
That shows the need for a new campaign on Israel-Palestine, based clearly on “two states”.
Sixteen year old Osama Hajajeh survived, but by luck. His story tells us, in a capsule, why the Palestinians want their own state, and the Israeli military out of the West Bank.
The Israeli army had blocked all but one path to Hajajeh’s village. A local teacher was killed in a road accident at the dangerous junction between that path and the main road.
After the teacher’s funeral on 18 April, young villagers protested at the roadblocks, some of them by throwing stones at military vehicles.
Israeli soldiers ambushed Hajajeh and handcuffed and blindfolded him. He was kneeling on the ground, soldiers surrounding him.
He got up, maybe just for relief from thorns on the ground, maybe to flee. Soldiers could easily have grabbed him. They shot him in the legs.
An Israeli army paramedic gave first aid. But a major artery had been hit. Villagers rushed up and demanded Hajajeh be taken to hospital. One soldier, waving his gun, screamed that he would shoot anyone who came near.
The soldiers relented, and the villagers were able to get Hajajeh to hospital just in time.
The Israeli daily Haaretz reports: “This week the [local] area... looked more than ever like a collection of prison compounds. Towns and refugee camps alike were blocked and sealed with iron gates”.
Just to point out, the 'Right of Return' for Palestinians doesn't necessarily involve six million people migrating en masse to Israel. The Geneva Accords for example speak of a much more limited and negotiated right of return. What it would mean in practice would be dependent on negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. By insisting on the most extreme caricature, the AWL does itself no favours.