The Trump Plan’s Vision for the Palestinians: Israel’s Security Slave

The humiliating metaphor of the Palestinian Authority as the “subcontractor” for the Israeli security agencies is out. “Israel’s security slave” is in: This is what the plan named after Donald Trump demands of the Palestinian quasi-state-to-be.

And thus the “deal of the century” entraps the Palestinian leadership in the sections on “security,” simply because they’re based on the logic of the security coordination with Israel that PA leaders, most notably President Mahmoud Abbas, have adhered to for many years, and openly.

– Haaretz Weekly Ep. 59

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The leaders justified this as a vital measure for progress toward an independent state, based on their naively positive interpretation of the Oslo Accords early on, and baseless reasoning later. This perseverance is precisely what enabled senior Fatah officials and their associates to become a nomenklatura (a select class that bequeaths its preferred status to its children) and to lead a comfortable life – in some cases ostentatiously so – under the heel of the Israeli boot and with Israel’s patronage.

Aside from the usual diplomatic tactics and outcries to the institutions of the Arab, Muslim and neutral states, this leadership has no solid plan in the drawer against the immediate and long-term dangers of the Trump plan. The Palestinian security services have been trained to operate against their own people, not defend them from settler attacks or nighttime army raids. Even though it’s a society not great at keeping secrets, it’s hard to extract much information from Palestinians about the details of the security coordination, but the Israeli security establishment’s desire to preserve it (as Yaniv Kubovich has written in Haaretz’s Hebrew edition) shows how much it values it.

The nomenklatura and the security coordination go hand in hand and are interdependent. The nomenklatura has gotten so used to its lifestyle that it’s hard to imagine it ever giving it up. And even if it tried, it’s hard to see how it could regain the people’s trust – which by now has been thoroughly shattered – even if Abbas ordered a halt to all security cooperation today. And that’s far from a certainty, too. In Israeli security circles, which are in constant contact with the Palestinians, the sense is that he won’t do this (Kubovich again).

Restoring the Palestinian public’s trust in its leadership is to jointly switch gears from “security coordination” to a plan of “unarmed civilian rebellion” (similar to what was proposed a few years ago by Qadura Fares, a Fatah member among those pushed to the margins by Abbas). Restoring this trust is also vital to halt the delusions of armed struggle that are simmering in organizations like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, as well as among Fatah supporters and the youth.

Leaders who want to block the Trump plan must convince the public that it mustn’t set out on a Pavlovian response of armed attacks against (armed and unarmed) Israelis. After all, the experience of the last 20 years shows that armed actions simply make it easier for Israel to pursue its colonialist land seizures and weaken the dispossessed people.