This week an online site called “Honest Reporting” wrote an article alleging that my piece on the “Deal of the Century”
last Sunday was not based on facts, which is absolutely untrue and a desperate attempt to smear my reputation.
The managing editor of “Honest Reporting” is Simon Plosker, who has previously worked in the Israeli Defence Force’s Spokespersons Unit, and was also managing editor for NGO Monitor - which is dedicated to criticism of respected NGOs who criticise Israel.
The fact is that the Prosperity to Peace plan unveiled in Bahrain this week by Jared Kushner is considered the “economic prong” of the Deal of the Century, which has been outright rejected by the Palestinian people. The reason for its rejection is because Palestinian rights, land, and right of return cannot be given up in exchange for economic investment, aid and incentives.
As Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said this week, “Such a plan ends the Palestinian cause.”
The economic prong cannot be divorced from the political prong. While the political prong is not officially published, it has been leaked to some Israeli and other media, and Palestinian leaders are very aware of the tenets of the political plan. The political plan has already started to be implemented, without consultation with the Palestinians.
The parts already being implemented include the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the cutting of funding for Palestinian refugees, discussions around changing the definition of a Palestinian refugee to someone born before 1948, the expansion of more settlements in the Occupied Territories, and US recognition for Israeli illegal occupation of the Golan Heights.
Netanyahu made a pledge before the April election that all illegal settlements would be annexed to Israel, which would basically leave the Palestinians with 12% of historic Palestine - not 22%.
Leaks to the Israeli media on the contours of the Plan were made to Israel’s Channel 12 in May - that Israel would annex West Bank settlements. Leaks were also made to Israel’s Hayom newspaper (a paper close to Netanyahu) - that settlements would be annexed by Israel, and the area would be under Israeli military control. According to Israel Hayom, the plan was reported to have been circulated between officials in Israel’s Foreign Ministry. Leaks have been made to other media outlets as well, and Haaretz has reported on the political components of this Deal of the Century.
The prize-winning author and journalist Jonathan Cook has written about the tenets of the political part of the Deal of the Century in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs June/July 2019 concerning Palestinian areas comprising a series of cantons/bantustans, surrounded by a sea of Israeli settlements, with no army.
Kushner said recently “Palestinians are not capable of governing themselves.” This was the type of attitude that leaders in apartheid South Africa had towards black South Africans.
In order to verify this information, I interviewed at length Ahmed Majdalani, who is a senior executive in the PLO and also Social Affairs Minister in the Palestinian Authority. He personally verified the accuracy of these tenets of the Deal of the Century, as have other Palestinian leaders whom I met with recently.
Judging from the political situation which is being planned for the Palestinians, there are many who would argue that it is an attempt to concretise apartheid.
Such cantons were also created in apartheid South Africa in the form of bantustans that were also self-governing, but which were not afforded equal rights to white South Africans.
In the bantustans of apartheid South Africa, the areas were allowed to have their own army and provide for their own security from external threat, which the Palestinians will not even be allowed.
The idea that the Palestinians would be confined to self-governing disjointed cantons that are not contiguous, and that do not in any way reflect the components of a viable independent state is an attempt to convince the Palestinians to give up their rights to a state, and to huge tracts of historic Palestine in exchange for money and investment.
The leaked political components of the Deal, which are also those understood by Palestinian leaders, condemn Palestinians to endless apartheid with no end to Israeli rule nor end to policies of colonisation.
Apology: In an earlier version of this column, Shannon Ebrahim claimed that Mr SImon Plosker and his organisation Honest Reporting sent an article to all Ms Ebrahim's contacts on LinkedIn. IOL apologises and retracts any inference or statement that Plosker sent an article to all Shannon Ebrahim's contacts on LinkedIn.
* Ebrahim is Independent Media's Group Foreign Editor.