The Black Homeland Citizenship of 1970 completed the disenfranchisement of black South Africans by requiring each of them to become "citizens" of these fictitious states. This pseudo-state -- in reality, an achipelago of scattered islands populated by powerless people -- will serve the same purpose.
Pundits who say this proposal is "dead on arrival" are missing the point. This isn't a diplomatic gesture. It's a letter of intent. It will live on, not in negotiations, but as a military map for the next assault. Within hours of releasing this "peace plan," Netanyahu announced that he plans to annex the Jordan Valley.
Trump promised to throw a few coins at the Palestinians, saying "it is only reasonable that I have to do a lot for the Palestinians, or it just wouldn't be fair." Hey, you people like money, right? Oh, wait ...
Any such offer only reinforces the fact that this is "separate development" in everything but name. And its promise, like the apartheid offer that preceded it, will be broken.
There's nothing new in Trump's actions. Republicans and conservatives have long embraced the brutality of apartheid. Here, as elsewhere, Democrats and liberals are misguided when they think of Trump as an exception -- either in his party or among fellow conservatives. Ronald Reagan called Nelson Mandela a "terrorist" and called the apartheid state "a country that has stood by us in every war we've fought, a country that is strategically essential to the free world."
In 1986, 145 Republicans (and 45 Democrats) voted against a non-binding resolution asking the apartheid state to free Nelson Mandela. They included Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, Dan Coats, Pat Roberts, and newly-minted secular saint John McCain. The following year Jeff Flake -- who would later become a Republican senator and a #Resistance hero -- testified in support of South Africa before the Utah State Senate as a lobbyist for a Namibian mining company.
The National Review -- then, as now, eager to present the "civilized" face of white racism -- published an essay in the 1960s saying that victory for the African National Congress "would bring anarchy and the collapse of civilization" and the government "would be domination by witch doctors (still numerous and powerful) and reckless demagogues."
Thomas Friedman asked whether this announcement is a "diversion for two dirty leaders." Well, sure. They're both crooked and depraved, and eager to distract their people from their own corruption. But this isn't a diversion. It's an announcement, a proclamation that both nations intend to disregard international law and basic decency to jointly build new machineries of injustice.
While he gets the corruption right, Friedman wildly loses the beat when he declares that Palestinians should negotiate with this plan, with the suggestion that they consider it "a floor ... not a ceiling" and asking, "What have they got to lose?"
Well, for starters: a nation.
This isn't a "floor." It's a basement dungeon. And the Palestinians don't need any more advice, thank you very much. If they ever do, they can always look to the South African freedom struggle. It will remind them of the path forward, a path for justice they have long known lies before them, the only path that will lead to a decent future for the generations to come: no compromise on basic rights, no colonialism, and full nationhood for the Palestinian people.
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