Top Palestinian Authority official says Israel is trying to replace the two-state solution with a one-state/two systems ‘apartheid’
The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) informed the press on Monday that its Executive Committee will hold a meeting at the beginning of August to confront what many Palestinians see as a series of U.S.-supported Israeli legislation that weakens the two-state solution and “Judaizes” Palestinian lands.
“We [PLO members] are holding an urgent meeting of our Central Committee to discuss ways to confront the latest Israeli violations,” Rawhi Fatouh, a member of the PLO Central Committee, told The Media Line.
“What is required now is to end Palestinian division and forge a united national spirit in defeating [U.S. President Donald] Trump’s ‘deal of the century.’” Fatouh added that the peace process does not exist anymore since the American administration has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital late last year.
“The American administration ended its mediator role and the whole peace process by taking that step.” He explained that Israeli attempts to “Judaize” Palestinian lands, especially those around Jerusalem, aim to divide the West Bank into two parts.
Last week, dozens of Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists tried to block Israeli bulldozers and other heavy equipment from dismantling Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin village east of Jerusalem. Israel says that houses in the village were constructed without the relevant building permits and pose a danger to village residents because of their proximity to a highway.
But activists contend that Bedouin villagers have lived at the site since the 1950s after the state evicted them from their Negev homes. The villagers had no alternative but to build without Israeli construction permits, which Palestinians say are difficult to obtain.
Khan al-Ahmar is located in “Area C” of the West Bank which comprises privately owned Palestinian land as well as areas under Israeli administrative and security control based on the 1993 Oslo Accords. While the U.S. and international community have long pressured Israel not to build in Area C, many Palestinians feel that the Trump administration has eased up on this policy.
This means, Fatouh contended, that Israel does not stand by either a two-state or a one-state solution. “That is crystal clear based on Israeli actions on the ground. Israel wants to expel Palestinians from their lands and Judaize these areas while continuing the occupation.”
In response, he added, “solidarity and international support are the only two options Palestinians have.”
Earlier this month, Israel passed into law the “Anti-Pay-for-Slay” legislation which slashes funds to the Palestinian Authority by the amount Ramallah pays out to Palestinian security prisoners and those who died in clashes with the Israeli army, as well as their families.
In response, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for the PA, slammed the law, saying it amounted to a “declaration of war against the Palestinian people, their fighters, prisoners, and martyrs.”
Palestinians are also incensed about a bill in the Israeli parliament that would allow Jewish Israelis to purchase land in the West Bank, land that Palestinians deem vital for a future state. The bill would allow any non-Arab or foreign citizen to purchase land in Area C.
Saeb Erekat, the head of the PLO Executive Committee, told The Media Line that Israel and the U.S. are implementing Trump’s “deal of the century” on the ground. The aim, he contended, is to destroy the two-state solution and replace it with a one-state/two systems arrangement, “which is apartheid.”
“This Israeli-American project will fail as it won’t lead to any viable solution; it will only cause more chaos and tension.”
Erekat blamed Israel for taking advantage of Palestinian division by offering the Gaza Strip “humanitarian” projects designed to drive a wedge between the Palestinian leadership in the enclave and the West Bank.
“We started by cutting off all communication with the current American administration as it is no longer part of the peace process,” Erekat said, adding that the Palestinian leadership is now concerned primarily with eliciting support from the international community.
“We approached the Security Council, the International Criminal Court, the United Nations Human Rights Council and the U.N. General Assembly, as well as different international organizations for support.”
Gonen Ben Itzhak, a former official in Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, told The Media Line that the PA finds itself in a very difficult position: It’s in a direct clash with the American government while Arab countries remain silent. “It seems like the less attention the PA gets, the louder and harsher its statements become.
But Ben Itzhak also warned that the Israeli leadership is exploiting the situation by making an effort to destroy whatever is left from the Oslo agreement. “The old Middle Eastern approach of sticking a finger in your opponent’s eye will backfire against Israel’s interests,” he added.
“The Palestinian leadership is a lame duck, while the Israeli leadership is a hungry wolf,” he added. “Both Palestinians and Israelis are victims of two terrible leaderships.”
He concluded that Palestinians now feel the weight of issues that did not cause excessive concern in the past. “Now, there is a growing sense of genuine threats because of the attitude and actions of the Trump administration.”
Palestinian resentment toward Washington spiked when Trump declared Jerusalem as Israel’s capital late last year and made good on the pledge when he relocated the U.S. Embassy to the city in May.