How could Palestinians beat Trump’s deal? They need a new strategy. Part 3
They need a new strategy. Mounting popular support for the Palestine cause, like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, is encouraging, but will take too long to become effective. Meanwhile, Israel’s drive to annex most of the West Bank and build more settlements, and its campaign of slow Palestinian ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem and the other occupied territories will continue apace. To counter this, what Palestinians need is a strategy that keeps them on their land, stops their cause from being further eroded by “peace” concessions, and can pave potentially the way for the return of the refugees.
The only strategy that could conceivably achieve this is a campaign for Palestinian equal civil and political rights in the entirety of Israel-Palestine. There is nothing unreasonable in this demand. Israel-Palestine is currently one state under Israeli rule. The population is divided into 6.6 million Israeli Jews with citizenship and rights, 1.8 Palestinians with citizenship and restricted rights and 4.7 million Palestinians without citizenship or rights.
Demanding equality of rights in this unequal situation is natural and inevitable. Had the Palestinian Authority not existed to provide an illusion of independent rule, equal rights would have been demanded long ago. The advantages of an equal rights system are many: equal legal status, equal government representation – with which refugee repatriation could become policy – equal access to education, employment and social services, and the myriad benefits that come with a normal civic life.
As Israeli journalist Gideon Levy has pointed out, only a system of equal rights for everyone can qualify Israel to be a true democracy, with a Palestinian president and a Jewish prime minister or vice versa. Attaining equal rights in Israel-Palestine should be an unexceptionable aim. Zionists and all those still wedded to the idea of two states would inevitably reject it.
However, the biggest problem would be its implementation. So, how can such a concept be accepted by Jewish Israelis, reared on a diet of supremacy and entitlement and conditioned to hate and fear Arabs? Or by Palestinians with lives blighted by Israeli occupation and oppression, convinced they need to separate off into their own state?
Distributed by PAJU (Palestinian and Jewish Unity)