In Israeli and Palestinian Voices: A Dialogue with both Sides I analyze what the current and past presidents have done about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Odds strongly favored Hillary Clinton to win. If she had what would her administration have looked like? Since her campaign pitched her as the natural successor to Obama, the Democrat who just unconditionally handed Israel a $38 billion military aid package, we can assume she would have continued the same policies into the future. She repeatedly marketed herself as a belligerent and violently hawkish ally of Israel and Netanyahu against the Palestinian people at a time when her party showed itself more open than ever to embracing Palestinian rights. When Bernie Sanders suggested an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, establishing mutually agreed-upon borders, pulling back settlements in the West Bank and ending the economic blockage of Gaza, Clinton threw him under the bus and forbade any such language in her party’s platform. She vowed to make blocking the nonviolent Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) a priority of her would-be administration.
But Hillary Clinton is not our new president. Donald Trump is.
What will his presidency mean for the Palestinians?
Earlier in his campaign he insisted he would be even-handed in dealing with Israelis and Palestinians, driving the more fanatical Israeli supporters into the Clinton camp. Facing backlash he quickly pivoted promising Netanyahu that he would recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel, something not even George W. Bush dared do. He has actively encouraged Israel to continue building colonial settlements in the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. During Obama’s eight years in office, settlement activity in the West Bank and Jerusalem increased by 100,000 new units. Apparently that is not enough.
Less than 48 hours after announcing his victory Trump invited Netanyahu to New York for a visit. This was to be expected since the Israeli settler community mobilized to support Trump’s campaign. Given this enthusiastic support it is unlikely Trump will ever recognize the State of Palestine even if 138 countries have also done so just as it is highly unlikely he will let a request for full UN membership for Palestine pass in the UN Security Council by voting in favor, or just by not vetoing the proposal.
The Palestinian struggle has already shifted to a struggle for equality against an entrenched system of Israeli occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid anchored and deeply rooted in support from the US bipartisan establishment. So Palestinians were not waiting for the results of the US election to decide which course of action to take.
Over the last decade support for Palestinian rights has been rising in the US particularly among the young, the Bernie Sanders base, and in the increasingly diverse Democratic Party base that has been utterly ignored by the establishment leadership. They understand that US support for Israel comes not only from the same places that support white supremacy, mass incarceration, unchecked police violence, militarization and imperialism are strongest. They know it also stems from the liberal circles that embraced Clinton, who more often than not and with callous indifference equate colonizer and colonized, oppressor and oppressed, occupation and resistance, settlements and suburbs.
This is why Palestinians will now insist on nothing less than a one-state solution.
They have no choice. They will keep organizing and demanding their rights. They will resist an apartheid system that spearheads segregation, inequality and subjugation, that enforces separate roads and highways for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank, that tolerates hundreds of attacks by settlers targeting Palestinian property, livelihoods and lives without convictions, charges or even suspects, that imprisons tens of thousands of Palestinians without trial, shot dead without trial, shot dead in the back while fleeing without just cause, where Israeli officials use the army, policy, military courts, draconian administrative detentions not only to heed off terrorism but to curtail nearly every avenue of non-violent protest available to Palestinian while enforcing a matrix of control that imposes subtle, bureaucratic restrictions that affect every fiber of Palestinian society.
So what will a Trump presidency mean for the Palestinians? Nothing new, just more of the same.
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