By Iqbal Jassat
How do you define a geographic location whose borders, security, natural resources, public planning, public works and infrastructure, trade, industrial development, air and cyberspace are not in its own control?
To name it a “Bantustan” would be being polite to those who retain effective or empirical authority over all these matters.
For in the South African context the concept of “Homelands” which resulted in ethnic autonomous zones known as “Bantustans”, while having many parallels with the Israeli model of a Palestinian “state”, is somewhat tame!
Indeed, the Zionist scheme for a Palestinian ghetto is far worse.
It is in fact far removed from basic characteristics that define sovereignty.
It thus astonishes one that the Palestinian Authority [PA] fails to comprehend what many first year students of political science would grasp with ease: a ghetto is a ghetto is a ghetto!
That the PA would still aspire for such a ghetto by insisting on a two-state solution knowing that any future Palestinian “state” will mirror “Bantustan” arrangements is equally amazing.
What is truly astounding and ironical though is that the PA leadership under Mahmoud Abbas expects full and unconditional support for this ghetto from a country such as South Africa whose ANC-led government rejected similar soft-options in the form of “Bantustans” and opted instead to remain focused on the defeat of apartheid through armed struggle.
Unfortunately for the Palestinians, the Fatah leadership under Yasser Arafat abandoned the armed struggle and prematurely accepted a soft-option whilst it remained a mirage. Fact is that this illusion remains in place until now. A “state” without sovereignty cannot be defined as such, nor can it be expected to function as one.
The ghetto or Bantustan arrangement will result in Palestinians remaining in perpetual political limbo while the Zionist regime will have attained its answer to their enduring nightmare of “demographic problem”.
None of this is new. In December 2003, Binyamin Netanyahu recycled David Ben-Gurion’s alarming statistics: “If the Arabs in Israel form 40 percent of the population,” Netanyahu said, “this is the end of the Jewish state.”
“But 20 percent is also a problem,” he added. “If the relationship with these 20 percent becomes problematic, the state is entitled to employ extreme measures.” Though he did not elaborate at the time on what these “extreme measures” were likely to be, it is now clear for all to see, including US President Obama, that it entails a continuity of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
Despite this it seems apparent that the PA is unwilling to reassess its failures and reverse a host of strategic blunders. It clearly has been co-opted through economic incentives for many of its elite resulting in them turning away from the challenges facing Palestine. That it has succumbed to the “carrot & stick” approach of the Zionist juggernaut is evidenced in the way Abu Mazen holds onto office despite the expiry of his Presidential term.
Author Jonathan Cook’s assessment of Arafat was that since returning to the Occupied Territories, his power depended entirely on Israeli goodwill. Just as dozens of Arab dictators had done in their own territories on behalf of Western colonial masters, Abu Mazen and his clique are no more than security contractors for Israel.
Arafat finally redeemed himself by standing up to Israel ultimately dying in mysterious circumstances and regaining his former status as a freedom fighter albeit posthumously. Events leading up to his death refocused the attention of the international community onto the dire plight of Palestine that he personified.
The message then as now is clear: Unless the PA makes fundamental changes to its futile policies, Israel will retain it as a partner, yes a partner, to keep Palestine fragmented and abandon the dream of Palestinian statehood over the entire territory including what is known as Israel.
– Iqbal Jassat is chairperson of the Media Review Network (MRN), an advocacy group based in Pretoria, South Africa. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Visit: www.mediareviewnet.com.