Donald Trump's so-called "deal of century" is premised on the assumption that Arabs, in general, and Palestinians, in particular, will be willing to normalize relations with apartheid Israel regardless of its colonial oppression of the three components of the Palestinian people. That is to say, a precondition for the success of the deal is Israel's acceptance in the Arab world and in Palestine. Hence, the need to address the concept of normalization.
It is extremely important for any Palestinian who wishes to engage in serious “dialogue” with an Israeli institution to be aware that a condition of utmost serious conflict exists between a colonial, apartheid occupying power, namely Israel, and the indigenous people. As part of a strategy for nonviolent resistance, we have issued an international call for BDS against Israel until it complies with international law and respects the universality of human rights.
The BDS call, endorsed by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian Civil Society sectors, sets out the following demands: Israel must end its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantle the West Bank wall declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004; respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194; and recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; “Palestinian Civil Society Calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel,” 9 July 2005).
The question we always raise whenever we get approached by such normalization projects that aim to provide Israel with a fig- leaf in the hope of helping it cover its severe violations of Human Rights and International Law is whether the Israeli partners in these projects are going to acknowledge the horror inflicted on their Palestinian counterpart? There are no two “equal” parties here: there is one side that has colonized both history and the land, ethnically cleansed most of the natives, and has been discriminating racially against the 1,4 million Palestinians who remain inside Israel as nominal citizens, as well as about 10 million more in the Occupied West Bank and the Besieged Gaza Strip and the diaspora. Are those proposed “dialogues” between the oppressor and the oppressed expected to take cognizance of the three demands endorsed by Palestinian civil society?
We have explicitly warned against projects that promote “false symmetry or balance.” In fact, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) condemns initiatives “based on the false premise that the colonizers and the colonized, the oppressors and the oppressed, are equally responsible for the ‘conflict,’” as “intentionally deceptive, intellectually dishonest and morally reprehensible” because they often seek “to encourage dialogue or ‘reconciliation between the two sides’ ” without ever acknowledging basic injustices and power imbalances. Thus, such initiatives serve to “promote the normalization of oppression and injustice.”
Under these guidelines, all “events and projects that bring Palestinians and/or Arabs and Israelis together, unless framed within the explicit context of opposition to occupation and other forms of Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, are strong candidates for boycott.”
Being the reference to BDS guidelines and the definition of normalization, the Palestinian-led BDS movement issued a statement in which it made it absolutely clear that the sham of the century is to be rejected by all Palestinians and Arabs; that our anti-apartheid and anti-colonial struggle is not the improvement of our oppression, but rather for freedom, justice and equality.