From Smirking Chimp
The image on the left is from a map Donald Trump tweeted out with the label, "Vision For Peace: Conceptual Map/The Future of Palestine." The one on the right shows the "Bantustans" created by apartheid-era South Africa in 1970, a move designed to pen the country's black citizens into impoverished "homelands."
These maps look like the work of a mad artist, one who sees torment and death in every Rorschach inkblot. Trump and Netanyahu -- both bloated and corrupt leaders of failed democracies, twin avatars of colonial decline -- have coupled and brought forth a monster. As a treaty, their creature will die in the cradle. As a blueprint for future misery, it will live for a long, long time.
There was an outcry when former president Jimmy Carter conjoined the words "Palestine" and "apartheid" in the title of his 2006 book. How could anyone say such a thing? the good people cried. What an insult to the only democracy in the Middle East!
Look at the maps again. Who can deny it now?
You can call these plots of lands "Balfouristans." Just as the British colonial empire saw fit to give away Palestinian land with the Balfour Declaration, the United States has moved to give away Palestinian land in its role as the region's new colonial power. The Netanyahu government will happily take it from there, using its newfound power -- and the United States' seal of approval -- to create these new Bantustans in the Middle East.
And don't think for a second Bibi and his buddy will be disturbed by any comparison to the racist South African regime. "Apartheid" isn't an insult for Trump and Netanyahu -- not anymore. It's the blueprint for a new totalitarian order they plan to impose on Palestine, a dystopic network of camps where people will be separated, confined, and stripped of their rights because of their nationality and ethnicity.
All Bibi and Donald need to do to complete the South Africanization of the region is to rename Palestine's cities according to their own whims. Bethlehem could become "Sun City," a resort for the morally challenged. I'm sure Kanye West would be happy to perform there (although he might prefer Bethlehem, which he seems to think is his birthplace). And Jericho could become "Trumptown," since the American president is so fond of walls. (But take care, Mr. President. Walls have a way of falling when you least expect it.)
Make no mistake, the United States owns this planned dystopia, in true Balfour fashion. You could call it the "Kushner declaration" since, fittingly, it was brokered by someone who both is the dimwitted son of one corrupt property holder and the sycophantic son-in-law of another.
Say what you will about the Kushner and Trump families, they have a lot of experience evicting families from their homes.
Not that this is an entirely new tack for the US government. Previous American administrations stood by as Israel violated international laws and treaties: illegally annexing land, permitting settlers to violently seize the property of others, abusing prisoners, and gunning down peaceful protesters. A succession of American presidents maintained the polite fiction that they were working toward a "two-state solution," even as expanding Israeli settlements made such a solution increasingly impossible to carry out.
This is the first time, however, that the United States has participated so directly in designing the architecture of oppression. Never before has the United States so openly embraced the cartographic cruelty of apartheid. Like the Bantustans, the sole purpose of this mythical "state" is to deprive a people of their few remaining liberties by penning them into scattered confinement camps and calling them a "homeland." Needless to say, the plan leaves virtually all power -- military, economic, and political -- in Israel's hands.
This isn't a peace plan. It's a plan for permanent war.
The original Bantustans were created under the brutal regime of Hendrik Verwoerd and his National Party, building on the tribal "reserves" created in 1913 under British colonial rule. The "Bantu Self-Government Act" of 1959 sounds a lot like the rhetoric we heard from Trump as he announced his plan. It promised "fully fledged independent states" and a program of "separate development."
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