Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the sparked protests in occupied Palestinian territories, the Middle East, and across the globe. (1) Despite sharp criticism from some Democratic party leaders, the party has voted to support the move. In June of 2017, the Senate voted 90-0 to pass a resolution reaffirming support for Jerusalem as the “undivided” capital of Israel. The resolution was Co-sponsored by 17 senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D). Liberal darling, Bernie Sanders, voted for the measure. The resolution seeks to impose a “two-state” solution “through direct, bilateral negotiations without preconditions.” It would effectively force bantustan-like conditions on the Palestinian people. Bipartisan support for Jerusalem as the Israeli capital reflects the US ruling class consensus in support of the Israeli apartheid state and the dispossession of the Palestinian people. (2)
According to a United Nations study, home demolitions in the occupied territories “were continuing at the highest rate since the United Nations started collecting such data, and included the demolition of donor‑funded humanitarian facilities serving vulnerable communities.” The UN also reports that the construction of illegal settlements, built on stolen Palestinian land and in Occupied Syrian territory (Golan Heights), has more than doubled. (3) The continued construction of illegal settlements creates the facts on the ground to provide the Israelis with the rationale for annexation of land and the forced expulsion of Palestinians from the occupied territories.
As part of the backlash against Trump’s Jerusalem declaration the Palestine Liberation Organization withdrew recognition of Israel and unexpectedly endorsed Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). Trump has vowed to move the embassy by 2019.
Trump’s ultimatum at Davos
The Trump administration has already withheld $65 million in funds to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) which provides aid to the Palestinians in January. During the meeting of international capitalist interests in Davos, Switzerland, Trump threatened to cut off aid to the Palestinians “unless they sit down and negotiate peace.” This is clearly “negotiation” with a gun to the heads of the Palestinian people. (4)
The Trump administration and both ruling class parties are accomplices to an ongoing criminal action — to the systematic violation of the human rights of the Palestinians. This insistence that the Palestinians “negotiate” leaves aside the reality that the Israelis have continued to violate the terms of every peace agreement made with the Palestinians.
Israeli is a colonial-settler state — an imperialist and racist colonizing project — that was built on ethnic cleansing and theft of land. Following Israel’s declaration of independence, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forcibly expelled from the new state. Hundreds of communities were destroyed and replaced with Israeli towns. The so-called Palestinian citizens of Israel are an oppressed nationality who face a second class existence, denied equal access to resources and education. Jewish immigrants automatically receive citizenship under the “law of return” which defines Israel as a Jewish state, while Palestinians who were born in the country are barred from returning to their homeland. It is noteworthy that Jewish immigrants from European countries and the US are treated well by the state of Israel, while African and Middle-Eastern, or “Mizrahi,” Jews are discriminated against.
The People of Gaza live in what is effectively an open-air prison under conditions of a brutal blockade. In the West Bank, theft of land and water, home demolitions and toxic waste dumping continues. Settlers attack Palestinians and destroy crops.
A democratic Palestine
The notion of a “two-state” solution is increasingly discredited in popular opinion. While the imperialist powers excuse and back Israel’s actions, the apartheid state continues to violate the human rights of Palestinians and to create the framework for more ethnic cleansing and, eventually, the unlawful annexation of the rest of historic Palestine. The solution to this crisis is the building of a democratic, secular and socialist Palestine with equal rights for all. The right to return for Palestinians must be guaranteed. Only recognizing the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to self-determination can end this catastrophe.