Donald Trump’s call on Dec. 6 to enshrine Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by relocating the U.S. embassy there has evoked a chorus of denunciations — coming both from true outrage and as lip service. The main claim is that the president has wrecked the peace process. However, although his anti-Palestinian action deserves condemnation, Trump cannot destroy a “peace process” that doesn’t exist.
Israel was founded in 1948 by Zionists — promoters of an exclusively Jewish nation — after the UN partition of Palestine the year before. European Jews fleeing the rise of Nazism and the Holocaust made up the majority of the settler population.
The Israeli state has launched escalating campaigns banishing Palestinians from their land since its creation, which has sparked continual Arab rebellion against its occupation and brutality. After a series of UN resolutions calling for a two-state solution in the 1970s, the so-called peace process was created by the 1993 Oslo Accords. Overseen by the U.S. and signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the pact was ostensibly a major step toward settling the conflict based on mutual recognition and an agreement for future negotiations over how to codify Palestinian self-determination.
The apparent promise of their own separate state was the “carrot” that Palestinian leaders followed on an endless road without a destination. The accords established the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a “partner” in the two-state process and granted it limited self-governance of parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, the PA has used its circumscribed authority to collaborate with Israel and quell rebellion.
Meanwhile, Palestinians were beaten with the “stick” of unconditional U.S. support for Israel. Hiding behind the sham of progress toward peace, Israel has continued to drive Palestinians from their homes, replacing them with hostile and armed Israeli settlements. It has destroyed olive groves and built walls and checkpoints that block access to work, education, healthcare, and family members. This is apartheid, denying Palestinians’ right to political, social, economic, and cultural life and to freedom of movement, opinion, and peaceful assembly.
The two-state solution is a mirage, which constantly moves further away as you approach it. A truly free and independent Palestine adjoining Israel, a capitalist fortress, is impossible. Israel controls the economy, military might and water of the region and is backed up unstintingly by U.S. weaponry and billions of funds every year. A real answer would be a single, secular, socialist state where Arabs and Jews can live equally and in peace.
Now, President Trump has pulled aside the threadbare curtain on the longstanding pretense that Washington is an “honest broker” between Israel and Palestine. The battling heads of the secular PA in the West Bank and the fundamentalist Hamas in Gaza both loudly condemned Trump’s announcement and announced protests. Tragically, their lack of a viable program for winning Palestinian freedom, together with the emnity between them, fails to provide Palestinians with a unified leadership of their resistance movement.
No help is forthcoming from surrounding capitalist Arab regimes such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, who wish to maintain power over their seething and poverty-stricken populations and therefore are aligned economically and militarily with Israel and the U.S.
Despite this isolation, Palestinians demonstrate inspiring tenacity and repeatedly rise up to demand the right to their homeland, their right of return. They also have the passionate backing of Muslims internationally along with anti-Zionist Jews, Christians, secularists, socialists, and radical movements of people of color.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which was started in 2005 by grassroots Palestinian organizations and modeled on the apartheid-era South Africa boycott, is growing internationally. It shines a spotlight on Israeli atrocities and demands that Palestinians be granted the same rights as the rest of humanity. Corporations, entertainers, celebrities, trade unions, and students have voted to boycott. This is powerful, moralizing and educational. It provides a basis for a way out that can only be won from below, by people of every background who organize and fight together for a better life.
The Freedom Socialist Party, alongside millions of others, calls for self-determination for Palestinians, no U.S. aid or arms sales to Israel, and U.S. out of the Middle East!