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Legitimizing Palestinian Bantustans
T he Occupation has a “new” scheme to ensure Palestinian rights continue to be negated and violated: the “Convergence Plan.” Offering the media as much excitement as the “Disengagement Plan,” it aims to legitimize the annexation of all territories and resources west of the apartheid wall, including Jerusalem. Palestinians are to be left under siege in Bantustans, sealed in from the east and dissected by settler highways. Meanwhile, the refugees are supposed to vanish from political discourse.
The propaganda is hinged on two key themes: the relocation of 68 to 74 settlements and the convergence of Israeli forces and settlers to some 10 percent of the West Bank. The reality, however, shows that the plan will lead to a 20 percent increase of settlement capacity and the systematic imprisonment of Palestinians on their own land. “New” plans for Jerusalem are based on the ethnic cleansing of the city, isolating even more Palestinians from their capital, institutions, and historical and religious centers by building the apartheid wall around them.
Under the plan, the Bantustans will allow more Palestinian administrative responsibility over the Jordan Valley. At the same time it ensures that Palestinians will have no access to the River Jordan, borders, and water and agricultural resources along the river.
In the western West Bank, the wall is integral to the plan. Plans to move the wall to ghettoize a dozen more Palestinian West Bank villages in the Bantustans are under way. So are discussions over the annexation of Na’ale and Nili settlements to grab additional Palestinian land and further dissect the West Bank. These adjustments ensure the wall’s path is more effective in grabbing as much land with as few Palestinians as possible. The international community dwells on these “modifications” of the wall’s path, instead of denouncing the fact that Zionism encloses an entire people behind cement blocks and razor wire.
A fundamental ramification of this plan is the Judaization of Jerusalem and the loss of Palestinian metropolitan areas which produce 90 percent of national GDP and are the pillars on which to build a modern national economy. However, Palestinians will be shut out from Jerusalem, which currently generates 40 percent of all Palestinian economic activity and hosts the most important and ancient Palestinian institutions. The Occupation plans to use the apartheid wall to isolate even more of the 230,000 Palestinians living in Jerusalem from their capital. The few Palestinians within the center of the city will be cut off from the remnants of their shops, factories, clients, and markets. The tourism industry, constituting a large part of the area’s economic activity, is to be taken over by new settler constructions and industries in the new settlement bloc.
Some 15,000 Palestinian homes have been declared illegal and threatened with demolition under the Occupation’s racist permit system. Those still resisting within the city face ongoing and systematic revocations of “residency rights.” Since 1967, over 60,000 Palestinians have been expelled from their capital.
In addition to the destruction of the capital, the districts of Salfit and Qalqiliya will be completely dissected by walls and settlements, with urban areas unable to sustain significant economic activity. Remaining Palestinian cities in the north and south of the West Bank will be barred from expanding in the metropolitan core of the West Bank.
Meanwhile, water resources and farming lands that provide livelihoods to 17 percent of the population, and are central to food sovereignty, will be stolen from the Jenin district all the way to the south of Hebron. The apartheid wall will directly affect almost 200 villages, which will lose access to part or all of their lands. In the northwestern route, 50 wells have been isolated or destroyed, while 162 wells along the River Jordan remain unusable.
This is the price Palestinians pay for the Occupation to “reshape” its crimes. Behind the “relocation” of settlers from evacuated settlements to others that are expanding, a net growth of settlement capacity parallels the settler boom during the Oslo years. Only 8.6 percent (36,322 settlers) of the total settler population in the West Bank will be relocated while the Occupation plans to build new industrial zones and housing units for at least 79,646 settlers in the colonies upon which it will “converge.” The strategy secures an initial net increase of over 20 percent in settlement capacity.
The revival of Allon’s vision is grounded in the racist paradigm of a Jewish state in Palestine. Jewish colonizers are to replace the indigenous Palestinian population, or at least outnumber them by large majorities, in order to dominate them. The plan goes hand-in-hand with the decade-old vision of a new Middle East that prioritizes economic over military domination. A Bantu-state will be in the vice of new economic and financial mechanisms of control applied by the Occupation and backed by the international community. Further conquest of Palestine will be dressed up as a “solution,” furthering the path of normalization with the Occupation. Agreement to the Bantu-state by Arab and Muslim countries could thus secure for the Israeli economy new markets and fresh investments.
The international community, for its part, looks at ever-bleaker economic scenarios of ghettoized Palestinian life. Even if Israeli and international measures to starve the Palestinian population were suspended, the poverty rate in the West Bank and Gaza would reach 51 percent in 3 years. If the current situation persists, poverty will hit 74 percent. While these prospects are disastrous for Palestinians, for the world the non-sustainability of the Bantustans are measured by other criteria.
How much money are we forced to pay to support the Occupation? When will people realize that Palestinians are not facing a humanitarian crisis, but a political attack on their lives? How can we continue to shun our responsibilities to uphold Palestinian rights and international law?
Prime Mininster Olmert’s plan allows all actors to gain a facade of economic “viability” amid Israeli “concessions.” Brushing aside the ICJ decision on the illegality of the wall, international law, and dozens of UN resolutions, the Convergence Plan represents yet another wave of colonization to be resisted.
The Occupation might want to “converge” or to “disengage,” but it is doing so in pursuance of racist and colonial interests to ensure all that remains for Palestinians are enclaves without sovereignty. “Disengagement” from Gaza resulted in social and economic suffocation, continuous shelling and killings of “liberated” people within their prison walls. It shows that redeployment of settlers cannot be equated with liberation and justice. Border crossings with Egypt are not under Palestinian control while the population has become an easier target for military attacks and policies of starvation. Finally, 80 percent of Gaza’s population are still left struggling for the return to their homes destroyed in 1948. These plans not only target Palestinians within the West Bank and Gaza, they target the Palestinians in the Diaspora. The establishment of a Palestinian Bantu-state is to ensure that a liberation movement is turned into a dispute over borders.
It is important for people across the world to understand that we have struggled for generations to live in freedom, dignity, and selfdetermination, to see our refugees return and our homeland free from colonialism, oppression, and exploitation. Olmert’s plans may be hailed as an “historic” offer in some quarters, but for Palestinians and their supporters they signal the need for sustained resistance to Israeli apartheid and occupation.
Jamal Juma works with the Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (www.stopthewall.org). Drawing is a child’s view of the wall.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; email@example.com; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; firstname.lastname@example.org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: email@example.com; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; email@example.com.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; email@example.com; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: email@example.com; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.