Wednesday, February 26, 2020

With the American peace plan, "the language of colonialism is shamelessly restored in the 21st century"

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What would the annexation of the Palestinian territories change for Israel when the Trump administration gives it the green light? An Israeli lawyer and human rights defender, Michael Sfard is one of the finest experts in the workings of the Israeli occupation, which he details in his book, The Wall and the Door (672 pages, 25 euros), published these days in France by Zulma editions. In an interview with Le Monde, he gives his reading of the Trump plan and its implications.

What does the Trump plan inspire in you?

It is not a peace plan, but an annexation plan, which could lead to war. If implemented in its entirety, it would create an apartheid. I don’t use the word provocation. There would be a perpetual domination of Israel over the Palestinians, who would eventually have an entity without the power to enter into alliances, to sign certain treaties, to control the entry and exit of people and goods. An entity entirely surrounded by Israel, more temporarily than under the occupation regime, but permanently. With two groups: the first with full civil rights, and the other with no.

Then let's talk about the content: Israel gets everything right away, and the Palestinians maybe something at the end. Let's talk about style. The presentation yesterday made me think of a thug who would harass the weakest kid in the class, to the applause of the audience. Two western countries, the United States and Israel, have concluded that the primitive Palestinians are not ready for independence. They will have to complete intermediate tests, of which these two countries will be the judges. We restore without shame, in the XXIe century, the language of colonialism.

What about the law?

We are witnessing the annihilation of several pillars of the international order built after the war. The first states that one does not acquire by sovereignty by force. The second pillar is the right to self-determination. It is not a trophy or a prize for good conduct. It takes the form of a State in the full sense, one among its equals.

What would be the consequences of annexing settlements in the West Bank?

These lands would no longer "Disputed", as the Israelis said, or "Occupied", according to the international community, but simply Israeli. This shift from government by the military to territorial extension of the prerogatives of all Israeli institutions would not happen overnight. These institutions would no longer be formally responsible for two populations, but only for the Israelis.

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