Trump plots to keep Palestinians Stateless forever

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

The Trump-Netanyahu Show on Wednesday was par for the course in American and right wing Israeli discourse about the Palestinians.

Nobody brought up that the British colonialists conquered Palestine during World War I and instead of preparing it for statehood, as they promised the League of Nations they would do, they set the Palestinians up for destruction as a people. These actions contrast with Iraq, e.g., which the British did bequeath to the Iraqi nation.

No one brought up that 60% of Palestinian families were kicked out of their homes in 1948 by militant European Jewish colonialists brought there by colonial Britain, and that these families are still homeless and stateless whereas the Israeli perpetrators have never paid a dime in reparations for the billions of dollars worth of property they stole from the Palestinian people.

No one brought up that Europeans who committed the Holocaust have not borne the cost of that monstrous crime against humanity but rather the innocent Palestinians have.

The fact is that by about 1300 AD there were virtually no Jews in Palestine. And yes, there was a Palestine– a recognized geographical concept, coins with “Filistin” written on them, diaries of Palestinian travelers who said they missed ‘Palestine;’ and a distinctive Palestinian dialect of Arabic. The people who lived there were almost all Christians and Muslims, 1300-1850. My recollection is that the French found about 3,000 Jews there in 1799 when Bonaparte invaded, when the general population must have been around 200,000.


No one brought up that the Palestinians are the largest stateless group in the world, lacking basic human rights and lacking rights of citizenship. Their private property is daily and brazenly stolen from them by Jewish squatters coming over into Palestine from Israel proper. This grand larceny on a cosmic scale is secretly encouraged and sometimes even funded by the Israeli government. Militant armed settlers have murdered dozens of Palestinians and routinely commit sabotage against their olive orchards and crops.

Israeli propaganda depicts Palestinians as violent, but Israelis killed nearly 7,000 Palestinians 2000-2014 whereas Palestinians in that period were responsible for about 1,000 Jewish deaths. Given what is being done to the Palestinians by the far right wing squatters, they have reacted with amazing forbearance and peacefulness.

The only resolution of the conflict is for Palestinians to attain the rights of citizenship in a state and the right firmly to own property and to control their land, air and water.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has pledged that the Palestinians will have no such rights as along as he is prime minister.

So what is Trump going to do about this human rights travesty?

Here is what he said:

TRUMP: As far as settlements, I’d like to see you hold back on settlements for a little bit. We’ll work something out but I would like to see a deal be made, I think a deal will be made. I know that every president would like to — most of them have not started till late because they never thought it was possible and it was impossible because they didn’t do it but Bibi and I’ve known each other a long time.

Smart man, great negotiator, and I think we’re going to make a deal. It might be a bigger and better deal than people in this room even understand. That’s a possibility so let’s see what we do.

I predict that Netanyahu will not in fact pause land theft by the Israeli squatters. I also predict that Netanyahu will keep his campaign promise to keep the Palestinians stateless and little better than prisoners in their own land. The only deal to be had from Netanyahu is to screw the Palestinians over even harder than ever before.

Then a journalist posed a question:


Thank you very much. Mr. President, in your vision for the new Middle East peace, are you ready to give up of the notion of two-state solution that was adopted by previous administration? And will you be willing to hear different ideas from the prime ministers as some of his partners are asking him to do, for example, annexation of parts of the West Bank and unrestricted settlement constructions? . . . And Mr. Prime Minister, did you come here tonight to tell Mr. — the president that you’re backing off the two-state solution? Thank you.


So, I’m looking at two-state and one-state and I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one. I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two but honestly, if Bibi and if the Palestinians — if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.

We know that Netanyahu, who has boasted about destroying the Oslo Peace accords and has pledged no Palestinian state, does not actually want a two-state solution.

But Netanyahu does not want a one-state solution in the sense of having to give Palestinians citizenship rights in Israel.

He wants a continuation and expansion of the status quo, with the Palestinians under the Israeli jackboot and helpless and stateless. So for Palestinians, a ‘no-state solution.’ I.e. he wants Apartheid. Just as the white nationalists of South Africa took citizenship rights away from the Black African majority and tried to consign them to artificial Bantustans, so Netanyahu wants to keep Palestinians in Bantustans.

In offering to relinquish a two-state solution, Trump shredded decades of American policy. But since there isn’t going to be a two-state solution, it is just as well. Realistically, there is no place to put a Palestinian state any more.

What Trump was really offering was some polite fiction where the Palestinians could be parceled out to Jordan, Egypt and Israel itself, even as they remain stateless, and economic investments would seek to depoliticize them and improve their per capita GDP. The white nationalists in South Africa tried something like that with their Black African population. It didn’t last.

In other words, it would be Apartheid, but an attempt would be made to implicate Egypt and Jordan in it. I predict failure in that regard.


Later on, the Israeli prime minister said this:


“I told you what are the conditions that I believe are necessary for an agreement. It’s the recognition of the Jewish state and Israel’s — Israel’s security control of the entire area. Otherwise, we’re just fantasizing. Otherwise, we’ll get another failed state, another terrorist Islamist dictatorship that will not work for peace, but work to destroy us, but also destroy any hope for a peaceful future for our people.”

So there you have it. Netanyahu insists on Israeli security control of neighboring Palestine, insists that the Palestinians be kept stateless, and even goes so far in typically racist fashion to allege that Palestinians are congenitally incapable of erecting a state.

And since Trump seems to believe whatever the last person he talked to alleged, likely Netanyahu will win out.

The only problem is that there is no scenario in which millions of Palestinians are kept under martial law and deprived basic citizenship rights and go on being stolen from– there is no scenario in which this story ends well.

Juan Cole


Related video:

Trump, Netanyahu Hold Joint Press Conference

29 Responses

  1. What was so outrageous about yesterday’s love fest was that a lying, deceptive, war criminal and a U.S. president whose only qualification for dealing with the Arab-Israeli conflict seems to be that he has a son-in-law who is an orthodox Jew and a daughter who has converted to Judaism, get together and decide the fate of millions of Palestinians and other people in the Middle East with no concern for international law, Security Council resolutions, or the opinion of the vast majority of mankind, including a growing number of Europeans, about the justice of the Palestinian cause.

    What was more ominous about that charade is that the United States and Israel are going to bypass the Palestinians altogether and devise some form of a shady deal that involves Israel and her new-found ally Saudi Arabia, which initially proposed the 2002 Arab League resolution that Israel totally ignored. It seems, as you point out, that Israel will annex the whole of the Palestinian territory and either push the Palestinians, with the connivance of a few shaky Arab regimes, to Jordan or keep them as second-class citizens or even non-citizens in some Bantustans.

    What we saw yesterday was the total subversion of international law and the confirmation of an apartheid regime by the “leader of the free world”, which claims to play the role of an honest broker in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Israelis may think that they will get away with it as they have done in the past, but such an apartheid regime is bound to fail even if blind US support for Israel continues under some more enlightened future governments, which is unlikely.

    Another bizarre fact about yesterday’s meeting was that, instead of concentrating on the Arab-Israeli conflict, Netanyahu spent most of his time talking about Iran’s “nuclear arsenal” and the threat that it posed to nuclear-armed Israel. I am sure that even non-experts who know nothing about the details of the landmark nuclear agreement that was reached between Iran and six world powers that blocks all the paths to Iran acquiring even a single nuclear weapon will see that this is merely a devious tactic to divert attention from Israel’s continuing illegal settlements and the oppression of the Palestinian people.

    • A very good observation. There is something definitely sinister about all this.
      This Trump/Kushner/Friedman/Netanyahu alliance will be plotting to play the Palestinians out of their freedom, statehood, and their territories. The UN, EU and the rest of the world, especially the Arab world, will simply let them.

      • I suspect the Arab dictators and royals are cozying up to Israel and USA because they soon may need protection from their subjects.
        BTW, Juan: What do you make of the CIA head meeting with Abbas?

      • The French initiative is not just a medieval morality play. It must have a strategic objective and belief in the means to accomplish it. What a vast waste of time and effort it will have been absent securing that objective, i.e., Palestinian independence. It’s just that the other shoe has yet to fall.

        Economic sanctions have not before been seriously applied and without them Israel will continue enjoying her power over the U.S. and to a lesser extent Europe.

        We now know that American leadership simply can not sanction Israel, but that European leadership through the EU may well summon up the strength do so. All those foreign ministers are on the dotted line as to matters of principle.

        The politically courageous act by President Obama in refusing to veto the Palestinian Resolution in the USNC placed a solution which is consistent with international law on the table. The French initiative has formally committed Europe to the same solution in virtually the same format and the Israel Lobby in the EU has nowhere near the power as does AIPAC and its dozens of other organizations who work in our Congress without fear of constraint under American law.

        So what is likely to trigger sanctions by the European Union? It can easily make its choice. The provocations by Israel reported in the news appear continuously.

    • Thanks to Dr. Cole and Farhang Jahanpour for a good read.
      I would like to add to Farhangs comment that Iran only needs the right rocket, the nukes are already in Israel.

    • Good points. Although realize there’s no opposition to Israel and the criminal expansionist actions. Where was Robert Reich or Bernie Sanders to denounce the settlements yesterday or today?
      It’s too pathetic to even think how gutless the left/right is in this nation. Imagine Hillary was crowned, she would have likely had a very similar response as Trump. Although she could have floated the 2 state charade for another 4 years. The beltway is happy with that sideshow glam.
      No one seems to ask the obvious in Washington. What does Israel do for us? That answer is nada – we are their welfare check and weapons provider.

    • The 2002 Arab League resolution has been almost totally ignored in the US, too. Outside of people like the readers here, hardly anyone in the US even knows it exists. Everybody else still believes that old shibboleth that failure to recognize Israel is a major sticking point. This resolution should be mentioned in just about every article about the Israel-Palestine problem, but it almost never is.

  2. So what exactly is newsworthy here? Nothing has changed. This has been the plan of zionists for 100 years and the US and European gov’ts were/are never going to do anything about it. BDS in the long run en mass by ordinary citizens has the best chance of forcing the issue.

    • I think a great deal has changed. Discussions that used to turn on whether the Palestinians “deserve” a state are over; discussions turning over the question whether Palestinians, for Israelis, have rights- or are even human- can now begin.

      Israel was able to duck this question for generations based on the idea that some day, Palestinians would have a state. Now, the question of their membership in the community of the West arises. “All men are created equal.” Can a state that openly, now, defies this principle, be considered a member of the civilized world?

      When the answer to the question, “do you intend to keep these people as a permanent underclass” is answered with a resounding, “yes!” then their exposure as an outcast state is imminent.

  3. If they were so few jews (in proportion) ca. 1300 in Palestine, what happened to the jews living there at the time of Christ? Were they all killed or enslaved by the Romans, or did they (or some of them) convert to Christianity and/or Islam? The question is of some significance, because in the latter case, this would make the Palestinians the descendants of jews who converted. Don’t people have the right to convert? Will a jewish state then forbid conversion so it remains jewish? The israeli position makes no sense.

    • Most of the Jews in late antiquity converted to Christianity and later to Islam. I.e. they were ancestor’s of today’s Palestinians.

      • So then today’s Palestinians have a more legitimate claim to being the rightful heirs/inhabitants of not only Palestine, but of a Jewish state.

        Another one of the sickening ironies in this entire, colossal flustercuck.


      • And that can be proven by genetic analysis, so it’s something that can be established as fact. So that reduces differential status to purely a religious argument.

      • So, apparently changing your religion negates all your property rights?! Who knew?

        And conversely, claiming a particular religion gives you inalienable rights to other people’s property. Sigh.

    • Hello Bruno – I can at least speak a bit re: the Roman (and Greek) side of the fate of the Jewish people.

      The Jews rebelled in 66-70 AD – that’s when the Temple on Temple Mount was destroyed. Vespasian, who conquered the city the same year he became emperor, instituted the fiscus Judaicus or Jewish Fund – the traditional tithe that Jews gave to the Temple now went directly into the emperor’s purse. Today the Temple remains are the Wailing Wall – Joesphus is our main source for the rebellion, and it was very very bad – reading about the siege of Jerusalem is wrenching to say the least. The Jews rebelled yet again in 115-116 AD under Trajan, this time much more widely – the rebellion spread throughout Egypt into Cyrene in modern Libya, and was brutally suppressed. The big Kahuna though – despite the importance of the 66-70 rebellion (which Elaine Pagels argues heavily influenced the Gospel of Mark, the earliest gospel), was the Bar-Kokhba rebellion from 132-36 AD. It was under Hadrian, and he was old and grumpy. Enough was enough. He razed Jerusalem, renamed it Aelia Capitolina, and forbad Jews to enter the city. Many were carted off to Rome under Hadrian and Trajan to entertain Romans in the gladiatorial arenas. Our main and most reliable source for these rebellions is Cassius Dio, a Roman senator who wrote in Greek in the mid 3rd century AD.

      In the course of antiquity there was a large Jewish diaspora though – Rome has the Ghetto (where we get the name from) and as far as I know is the oldest continual Jewish community at least in Europe (and Roman Jewish cuisine is fabulous!). The diaspora is one of the reasons for the development and growth of synagogues, and they are everywhere. From Rome and Ostia, to Sardis in Asia Minor (which has an absolutely beautiful Roman era synagogue), to Dura Europas on the Euphrates in the Syrian desert (completely reconstructed in the National Museum in Damascus) which has something no synagogue should have, beautiful frescoed paintings of stories from the Old Testament. Alexandria appears to have had the largest diaspora community though.

      It was the presence of Jewish communities throughout the Greek and Roman world – in Corinth, Ephesus, Pergamum, Sardis, Athens, Rome – that help to spread Christianity as well (and resulted in Christianity being largely an urban phenomenon in its early formative years). Greeks in particular were interested in the highly ethical standards and codes of conduct of the Jewish people, and even patronized synagogues and became known as God-Fearers.

      Some years ago Prof. Cole had a good post about the historical claims to modern Israel and who, if we are going by length of occupation, who had the greatest claim on the land. It included, if memory serves, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans, but not in that order.

  4. In terms of settlements, one should add the role of American money. Many individuals and organizations in US some of them tax exempt fund settlements. Up to 70,000 of settlers are Americans who have immigrated. With all those UZI wielding American settlers, I can’t help to be reminded of the cowboy movies. In fact, the West Bank is the American wild west. To say otherwise is to delude oneself. America and Israel are the same, joined at the hip. Trump is the true face of America. No pretense, no hypocrisy like previous administrations pretending that they are unhappy with occupation but doing everything they can to enable the occupation. As Khamanei said, we should be grateful to Trump for showing the true face of America!

  5. The only positive thing here is that Netanyahu has coupled his car to the Trump train wreck. I thought he was cagier than that.

  6. I love the way Americans talk about the “peace process” as if such a thing had existed at any time in the last 20 years. The “peace process” is a rhetorical fig leaf for the slow-motion ethnic cleansing of the West Bank.

  7. “another terrorist Islamist dictatorship that will not work for peace,” as usual shows Netanyahu’s complete disregard for truth. Peace is the farthest thing from the minds of Zionist Israelis; it could allow actual meetings and even some form of understanding between Jews and Palestinians, which is anathema to Netanyahu, who thrives on seeing “antisemitism” everywhere.

  8. Nobody brought up that the British colonialists …


    No one brought up that the Palestinians …


    And, no one brought up the continuing moral degradation for Israel and the United States that accompanies Israel’s policies and U.S. complicity.

  9. From 1963 to 1967 Netanyahu attended and graduated from a US high school in PA. So he was present during the ongoing the civil rights battle to bring Jim Crow to an end. If he was politically curious at the time he couldn’t help but notice the highly structured racial segregation in the Southern States, and the proud adherence to, and defense of that structure by most southern whites.

    Not to suggest or imply a connection, but it sounds like he and Trump were visualizing an Israeli endpoint goal for the Palestinians very similar to the standing of blacks in any of the Jim Crow states. Of course you could say that the Palestinians are almost at that endpoint now. There are similarities between the racial attitudes of the ardent white segregationists, and the neo-Zionist Israelis attitudes towards Palestinians. Don’t have to go all the way to South Africa to find analogous behavior.

  10. Trump has broken the two state shibboleth and in doing so, has made more progress than Obama accomplished in eight years. Up to now, the US has regarded the situation of the Palestinians as temporary, tolerable because it forces them to negotiate with Israel over their new state. The fact the new state has always been out of reach for over fifty years has not stopped rounds of futile diplomacy. But now without the possibility of a new state, what is there to negotiate?
    The only question is how the Arab inhabitants of Greater Israel are to be treated. Citizens with full rights, a Jim Crow regime, or declared to be foreigners from a newly created Bantustan? Where does the US stand on civil rights?

  11. Trump comes off as a 4th grade student who didn’t read his history assignment (a brief introduction to the Israeli / Palestinian conflict), so he’s come up with something vague and amiable that he hopes will satisfy the teacher.

    Maybe Trump has never read a single thing about the Middle East. Maybe he hears “Israel and Palestine” and he thinks, “Oh, yeah, that region where they keep fighting over the land. Someone ought to fix that.”

    It is so hard for me to conceive of adults who never get beyond a 5-year-old’s comprehension of politics and history…

  12. Just some added details that people might find interesting. A good book on the situation from the birth of the Zionist movement to the 1967 War is The Arab-Israeli Dilemma by Khouri. It has a lot of useful statistics, summary of UN actions, etc. At the end of WWI, the number of Jews in the area was about 8% of the total population. There were more Arab Christians than Jews. The first terrorist attacks in the area were conducted by Jews by Irgun and the Stern Gang. Irgun, headed by future Israeli PM Menachem Begin, was responsible for the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946, which killed 91 people. It was one of the largest terrorist attacks anywhere up to that time. The Arabs mostly rioted. As per Robert Fisk, the first use of a car bomb was likely done by Israeli intelligence (Mossad or Shin Bet) as he found Hebrew letters on parts of the bomb that exploded.

  13. Odd that nobody else notes the disconnect between this line:
    Trump [about Bibi]: “Smart man, great negotiator, and I think we’re going to make a deal.”
    and this line:
    Trump: “So, I’m looking at two-state and one-state and I like the one that both parties like.”

    So, apparently, “both parties” are expected to be happy with the “deal”, even though one of those parties is going to be excluded from the “deal-making process”.

    A more apt description would be: it’ll be “a deal” between the Israeli/USA, and “a fait-accompli” for the Palestinians.


  14. trump is a bad extra in a horribly expensive and long hollywood movie fiasco. he is not the director. he is not the writer. he is not the movie company. he is an extra just reading a couple of lines poorly. hillary might have read the lines better but it would have been the same script. actually i am not sure she would have read the lines any better. give trump a break. cant blame him for everything.

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