Under Trump’s unveiled plan, much like black people in apartheid South Africa, Palestinians will be physically, politically and emotionally separated and controlled.
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday unveiled his controversial ‘Peace Plan’ for the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict, alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Declaring that Jerusalem — planned to be the capital city of Palestine — will be Israel’s “undivided capital”, Trump added that a non-contiguous territory would be the future Palestinian state if “the conditions for statehood are met”.
The announcement is part of the Trump administration’s hardline pro-Israel stance which has seen it unilaterally promote a set of policies backing Israeli occupation and undermining all previous internationally-recognised two-state solution proposals.
The map that both Trump and Netanyahu proudly presented, might be a perfect plan to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if the only two stakeholders were Americans and Israelis, however, for everyone else, the map looks disturbingly familiar. It’s a lookalike map of Bantustan in Apartheid South Africa.
Bantustan or Bantu homelands were former territories designated by the white-dominated Apartheid regime of South Africa as quasi-independent homelands to settle majority black Africans.
Bantustans were a major administrative tool for the territorial and political separation of racial groups, specifically the exclusion of blacks from the white-dominated political system under the Apartheid regime.
Through the implementation of the Land, Self-Government and Citizenship acts, the indigenous black people who made up at least 75 percent of South Africa, were disfranchised, uprooted, treated as sub-human, labelled as foreign and forcibly relocated to non-contiguous, densely populated, underdeveloped Bantustan territories.
When uprooted and impoverished young blacks travelled to the areas called “white South Africa” to simply find work, regime police arrested and deported them to the Bantustans, which eventually became dumping grounds for people, regardless of their original hometown.
Under Trump’s unveiled plan, much like black people in South Africa, Palestinians physically, politically and emotionally are separated, placing them in non-contiguous enclaves in the West Bank and Gaza.
According to the plan, they will be able to choose their leaders but will have no involvement or say in the politics of Israel, the state that has direct control of every aspect of their daily lives.
Much like Bantustan, the Palestinians will be given autonomy in those areas over civil matters like education and healthcare, but the critical areas of administration such as trade, security and external relations will be under Israeli control.
Under the plan, Israel, like the Apartheid regime in South Africa, will maintain unlimited security and military control over Palestinian areas. Moreover, the Israeli state will control Palestinian borders, airspace and maritime territories. The plan also recognises the illegal annexation of the Jordan Valley and illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Similar to South Africa’s white-dominated Apartheid regime, Trump’s plan defines Israel, a state that rules and occupies more Muslim Palestinians than Israeli Jews, as a Jewish state.
The Trump administration seems to be taking the settler-colonial approach by saying that if indigenous Palestinians prove they are ready to rule themselves, self-governance will be given to them.
In this sense, Trump’s plan simply legalises the status quo in Israel and Palestine.
Israel has long been described as an apartheid state by those within the United Nations system, human rights groups and even Israeli politicians.
Critics highlight Israel’s strict control of West Bank and Gaza, illegal Jewish settlements, military checkpoints that limit the freedom of movement of Palestinians, and laws that differ based on ethnicity and religion and access to land and resources between Palestinian and Israelis.
The report that was presented to the UN Human Rights Council stated that Israel is guilty of racial discrimination, apartheid and torture in its “systematic oppression” of the Palestinian people.
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination censured Israel in 2012 for establishing “two entirely separate legal systems and sets of institutions for Jewish communities grouped in illegal settlements on the one hand and Palestinian populations living in Palestinian towns and villages on the other hand”.
The Committee said it was “particularly appalled at the hermetic character of the separation of two groups, who live on the same territory but do not enjoy either equal use of roads and infrastructure or equal access to basic services and water resources”.
It urged Israel to eradicate all policies and practices of “racial segregation and apartheid” affecting the Palestinian people.
Reuven Rivlin, the current President of Israel, spoke out in 2017, opposing the law that uproots Palestinians to settle newly arrived settlers, saying the law “will cause Israel to be seen as an apartheid state”.
In 2010, Ehud Barak, Israel’s former prime minister admitted that Israel was becoming an “apartheid” state. Barak said: “If millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.”
Five million Palestinians living in West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza territories, whose daily lives have been controlled by Israel for decades, are not allowed to vote in Israeli elections.
"January 28, 2020, will mark the official legal stamp of approval from the United States for Israel to implement a fully-fledged apartheid system,” said Husam Zomlot, who previously served as head of the Palestinian mission to Washington and as a strategic advisor to President Mahmoud Abbas.
"It's the Bantustan-isation of the people of Palestine and the land of Palestine," Zomlot said.