South African civil society has roundly condemned President Donald Trump’s controversial Middle East peace plan, adding to the global outrage over the so-called ‘Deal of the Century’. On Monday, Trump unveiled what he believes is a “realistic two-state solution”, which accedes to nearly every major Israeli demand and has been unequivocally rejected by Palestinians.
One of Trump’s key announcements is that the Zionist state will retain control over an “undivided Jerusalem”. The battle for Jerusalem, at the heart of the Palestinian-Israeli issue, is considered a deal-breaker. Trump’s view on the disputed city was denounced by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who said: “Jerusalem was not for sale”. Globally, world leaders in support of Palestine have opposed the plan.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement in South Africa, one of the largest Palestine solidarity organisations, outright rejected the US plan. The movement compared Trump’s announcement to that of US President Ronald Reagan’s support for the apartheid regime and his divisive televised announcement calling on the indigenous black population to accept the status quo.
“We painfully recall how Apartheid South Africa tried to impose its own plan during the 1980s where white people would own South Africa and the indigenous Black South Africans needed to be happy with small enclaves called Bantustans. We rejected this then in Apartheid South Africa and we, today, join those in rejecting it in Palestine-Israel,” said BDS South Africa.
Across Palestine, the chorus of anger is growing louder with all Palestinian parties in agreement that the deal will never be accepted. Hamas has called for a ‘day of rage’ and mass protests are being planned in Gaza and the West Bank.
“We join our Palestinian friends from Fatah and the entire PLO, from Hamas, from the PFLP, from the DFLP, from Palestinian civil society and the entire Palestinian people in supporting their rejection of the proposed Donald Trump US plan for Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine. We join progressive Jewish Israelis, progressive Jews in South Africa and progressive Jews across the world who are rejecting Trump’s plan.”
The Media Review Network slammed the deal as an “elaborate scheme” designed to entrench Apartheid as a definitive policy of discrimination and racism against Palestinians.
“We are perturbed too at the fact that the “deal” unilaterally legalizes the annexation of Palestinian lands on which illegal settlements have been built. It is deplorable that the Trump administration is allowed to bulldoze UN Security Council Resolutions thus rendering the UN as irrelevant,” said MRN researcher Ibrahim Vawda.
“Donald Trump has, knowingly or unknowingly, legitimised the war crimes committed by Netanyahu. Covering up war crimes is worse than committing the crime itself. Behind every such deception is the nullification of humanity, the destruction of human dignity and the eradication of the human spirit. It will remain the eternal prison of the dark heart of totalitarian and despotic rule.”
Trump’s policy recognizes Israeli sovereignty over settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley and foresees a demilitarized Palestinian state that would meet Israel’s security requirements.
“The notion of it being a peace plan is quite ridiculous. Certainly, Palestinians don’t think so. It’s more like an annexation plan,” said Naeem Jeenah, executive director of the Afro-Middle East Centre.
The MRN called on the global community and South Africa in particular, to adopt a courageous stance by vehemently opposing the “Deal of the Century”.
BDS South Africa said it will be working closely with its allies in South Africa including the Embassy of Palestine, the ANC, other political parties and civil society groups to ensure that Israel is held accountable for its violations of international law.
“We join the South African government in demanding Israel end its occupation of Palestine.”
BDS said it would meet the Palestinian ambassador to South Africa this week to discuss what action will be taken.