Adalah: Plan is no more than joint U.S.-Israel effort to impose Israeli government’s vision for territory in flagrant violation of international law, and Palestinian right to self-determination.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century” gives a green light to permanently establish an Israeli apartheid regime in the West Bank, including illegal annexation of massive swaths of the occupied Palestinian West Bank that negates the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel stresses that Trump’s deal – drawn up in close coordination with Israel’s administration – is no more than an attempt to bypass international legal barriers and to ignore Palestinians’ right to self-determination, as well as United Nations resolutions, and recent statements from the International Criminal Court.

Many aspects of the deal – announced on 28 January 2020 in a live televised press conference by Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – are of grave concern and resemble South Africa’s apartheid government in place between 1948-1994, including: the recognition of historic Palestine as the homeland of the Jewish people only; no recognition of the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people based on the UN charter; and the creation of “self-governing” Palestinian enclaves and bypass roads.

The Trump plan completely fails to recognize the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, violating the principles of the UN Charter. The plan does not envision statehood but a series of enclaves under Israel’s permanent military effective control. All basic pillars of self-determination – including control of border crossings, air space, the sea, territorial integrity and full sovereignty – are denied in order to create “self-governing” enclaves.

The plan envisions Israeli annexation of massive swaths of the occupied Palestinian West Bank; the forced transfer of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel – a racially-motivated form of demographic engineering; and the negation of the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Forced Transfer of Palestinian Arab Citizens of Israel

Trump’s plan proposes the forced transfer of over 260,000 Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel living in 10 towns in the Triangle region in the center of the country to a future enclave of Palestine. According to the plan, the residents of the earmarked communities would remain in their homes but Israel’s borders would simply be redrawn to leave them outside its borders:

“Land swaps provided by the State of Israel could include both populated and unpopulated areas. The Triangle Communities consist of Kafr Qara, Ar’ara, Baha al-Gharbiyye, Umm al Fahm, Qalansawe, Tayibe, Kafr Qasim, Tira, Kafr Bara and Jaljulia. These communities, which largely self-identify as Palestinian, were originally designated to fall under Jordanian control during the negotiations of the Armistice Line of 1949, but ultimately were retained by Israel for military reasons that have since been mitigated.

The Vision contemplates the possibility, subject to agreement of the parties that the borders of Israel will be redrawn such that the Triangle Communities become part of the State of Palestine. In this agreement, the civil rights of the residents of the triangle communities would be subject to the applicable laws and judicial rulings of the relevant authorities.” (Trump Plan, p. 13)

This marks the first time a U.S. administration has ever given a green light to the transfer of Israeli citizens to the authority of another state entity.

Adalah sees this move as a racially motivated attempt to forcibly transfer Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, strip them of their Israeli citizenship, and place them under perpetual Israeli military occupation.

This kind of population transfer, which has been consistently rejected by Palestinian citizens of Israel when proposed by a variety of Israeli right-wing political leaders in the past, is blatantly illegal under international law and attempts to widen the demographic scope of racially-motivated separation.

Israel Annexes West Bank

The Trump administration’s plan grants Israel a stamp of approval to go forward with the annexation and continued colonization of massive areas of the occupied Palestinian West Bank and imposes full Israeli sovereignty over further Palestinian territories.

The UN and other international tribunals have consistently confirmed the status of the West Bank and Gaza as occupied territories and the illegality of Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank, including UN Security Council resolution 2334 (2016), the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Wall (2004), and most recently, in late December 2019, the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor announced that ongoing Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank constitute war crimes:

“There is a reasonable basis to believe that in the context of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, members of the Israeli authorities have committed war crimes under article 8(2)(b)(viii) in relation, inter alia, to the transfer of Israeli civilians into the West Bank…”

No Right of Return for Palestinian Refugees

The plan explicitly states that there shall be no right of return for any Palestinian refugee to the State of Israel, in blatant violation of UN Resolution 194.

The plan lays out three options for these refugees:

1. Absorption into the State of Palestine (subject to the limitations provided below);

2. Local integration in current host countries (subject to those countries consent);

3. The acceptance of 5,000 refugees each year, for up to ten years, in individual Organization of Islamic Cooperation member countries that agree to participate in Palestinian refugee resettlement.

The plan de facto establishes Israel as the sole full sovereign regime in Israel and in the 1967 Palestinian occupied territories – mandatory Palestine – effectively controlling Palestinian enclaves in that territory, and granting no political rights for most of the Palestinians living in self-governed bantustans in the West Bank and Gaza, and now, also in the Triangle region.

Read the full plan here.