عملية دهس جنود صهاينة في القدس.. التوقيت والرسائل

يوليو 9, 2019

حسن حردان

ان العملية الجديدة التي نفذها، مقاوم فلسطيني، اول امس في القدس المحتلة، بدهس مجموعة من جنود الاحتلال، بسيارته، لحظة نزولهم من حافلتهم العسكرية، وأدت إلى إصابة أربعة جنود بينهم ضابط، تشكل استمراراً لعمليات شبان الانتفاضة الفلسطينية المتواصلة على نحو متقطع، نظراً للظروف الموضوعية التي تواجه الشعب العربي الفلسطيني تحت الاحتلال والمتمثلة في تقطيع أوصال المناطق الفلسطينية، وإقامة جدار الفصل العنصري، وانتشار مئات الحواجز العسكرية الصهيونية.. الخ وهذا يؤكد مجدداً فشل كل الإجراءات الأمنية الصهيونية المتخذة والمتجددة في أعقاب كل عملية فدائية، في وقف مثل هذه العمليات لعدم القدرة على امتلاك معلومات مسبقة عنها.. غير أن ما يميز العملية الجديدة إلى جانب كونها تأتي في سياق المقاومة الشعبية ضد الاحتلال ومستوطنيه، التوقيت، واختيار المكان، والرسائل التي تبعث بها في هذا الظرف بالذات التي تواجه فيها قضية فلسطين مخططاً خطيراً يستهدف تصفيتها..

على صعيد التوقيت، تأتي العملية لتشكل ردا مباشرا على صفقة القرن الأميركية الصهيونية الهادفة الى مقايضة الحقوق الوطنية للشعب الفلسطيني بحفنة من الدولارات، والقول بأن المقاومة الشعبية بكل أشكالها هي السبيل لمواجهة مثل هذه الصفقات الاستسلامية، وان شعب فلسطين وفي المقدمة الجيل الذي نشأ في ظل اتفاق أوسلو، لم تتراجع عزيمته أو يقبل التعايش مع الأمر الواقع ويسلم بالتخلي عن قضيته وحقوقه في وطنه..

وعلى صعيد المكان، فإن حصول العملية في القدس المحتلة يأتي في سياق ازدياد المقاومة في مواجهة اشتداد الهجوم الصهيوني الاستيطاني على الأرض والمقدسات في المدينة في محاولة لإحداث تغيير في هويتها العربية والوضع الديمغرافي فيها..

أما لناحية الرسائل التي أريد توجيهها من خلال هذه العملية فهي:

الرسالة الاولى: التأكيد بأن المقاومة والانتفاضة الفلسطينية متواصلة ولن تتوقف كما يراهن الاحتلال من خلال تشديد عملياته القمعية والإرهابية، وان أمن جنود الاحتلال والمستوطنين لن يتحقق ولن ينعم الكيان الصهيوني بالاستقرار طالما أن الشعب العربي الفلسطيني مسلوبة حقوقه ويفتقد للأمن ويحرم من حقه في تقرير مصيره على أرضه..

الرسالة الثانية: موجهة ضد الأنظمة الرجعية العربية المنخرطة في مخطط التآمر على قضية فلسطين، والقيام بمساعدة الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب ورئيس حكومة العدو بنيامين نتنياهو على محاولة تمرير صفقة القرن وتمكن الكيان الصهيوني من حسم الصراع لمصلحة روايته المزيفة، وتشريع وجوده كدولة يهودية عنصرية على أرض فلسطين المحتلة ونفي وجود الشعب الفلسطيني وحقوقه فيها، وبالتالي إقامة العلاقات الطبيعية مع هذا الكيان الاحتلالي وتمكينه من التسيّد على المنطقة وإلغاء هوية وعروبة الأمة العربية.. فالعملية تسقط محاولات هذه الأنظمة بث ثقافة الاستسلام والتسليم بالأمر الواقع وعدم الجدوى من مقاومته، وهي توجه صفعة قوية لهذه الأنظمة الخائنة لقضية الأمة المركزية، مؤكدة بأن شباب فلسطين متمسكون بالمقاومة الشعبية بكل أشكالها في مواجهة المحتل، وان ثقافة المقاومة ستبقى هي السائدة لتحرير فلسطين لا سيما أن التجارب أثبتت أن هذه المقاومة هي الوحيدة القادرة على تحرير الأرض واستعادة الحقوق وحماية عروبة فلسطين، من جنوب لبنان إلى قطاع غزة، فيما الدخول في مسار التفاوض وتوقيع الاتفاقيات مع المحتل لم يعد أرضاً محتلة ولا حقوق سليبة، بل على العكس فإن الاحتلال ازداد غطرسة وسرقة للحقوق والأرض في ظل اتفاقيات أوسلو ووادي عربة وكامب ديفيد.. التي شجعته على التمادي في استيطان وتهديد الأرض الفلسطينية وتنفيذ مخططاته لاغتصاب الحقوق الوطنية للشعب العربي الفلسطيني..

الرسالة الثالثة: فهي موجهة إلى ترامب ونتنياهو، بأن شباب فلسطين يرفضون الاستسلام والتخلي عن حقوقهم مقابل حفنة من الدولارات، وهم مستعدون لمواصلة المقاومة وتقديم التضحيات في سبيل الحفاظ على الحقوق ورفض التخلي عنها..

الرسالة الرابعة: الرد القوي على الممارسات الإرهابية التعسفية للاحتلال وسياساته القائمة على التنكيل والعقاب الجماعي والتي كان آخر فصولها ضد سكان بلدة العيسوية في القدس المحتلة حيث اقدم الاحتلال على محاصرة البلدة ونشر الحواجز على مداخلها والقيام بعمليات قمع واعتداء وإعدام أحد شباب البلدة إثر مواجهات اندلعت بين شبان العيسوية وجنود الاحتلال.. كما جاءت العملية الفدائية رداً مباشراً على مشاركة السفير الأميركي الصهيوني الانتماء فريدمان، في افتتاح طريق تحت بلدة سلوان في القدس المحتلة بما يمكن المستوطنين الصهاينة من الوصول إلى المسجد الأقصى، نظمته جمعية ايعاد الاستيطانية والتي حمل خلالها فريدمان مطرقة بيده للمشاركة مع قادة الاستيطان في هدم الجدار لفتح طريق العبور للمستوطنين.. بما يؤكد تماهي إدارة ترامب مع اليمين الصهيوني المتطرف.. الأمر الذي دفع صحيفة هآرتس الصهيونية إلى وصف هذا التصرف للسفير الأميركي بانه «انفصال مقلق عن الواقع»…

خلاصة القول، إن عملية الدهس في القدس جاءت لتؤكد من جديد بأن مقاومة شبان الانتفاضة لم تتوقف وهي تتكامل مع مسيرات العودة المتواصلة على حدود قطاع غزة مع الأراضي المحتلة عام 1948.. وترسم المشهد الفلسطيني في مواجهة الاحتلال واستهداف قدراته.. وإفهامه بأن المقاومة الفلسطينية لم ولن تستكين وهي مستمرة دفاعاً عن الحقوق وعروبة فلسطين والمقدسات، وأن الاحتلال مهما تجبّر وارتكب الجرائم ضد الفلسطينيين لإخماد مقاومتهم وإخضاعهم، لن ينجح في تحقيق اهدافه، لأن إرادة المقاومة لدى أبناء فلسطين أقوى من جبروت وإرهاب المحتل..

كاتب وإعلامي

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Trump Admin Dangles $50Bn Bribe for Palestinian Surrender

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Finian Cunningham
July 3, 2019

President Trump’s senior aide on Mideast affairs Jared Kushner tried last week to sell his much-vaunted “deal of the century” for a Palestinian-Israeli peace settlement. The core of it was a purported foreign investment plan worth $50 billion.

The sales pitch made at a conference in Bahrain amounted to a $50Bn bribe dangled at the Palestinians to accept permanent illegal occupation of their ancestral lands in exchange for foreign investment. Kushner rebranded it as the “opportunity of the century”.

He claimed that political peace depends on a viable economic plan. Others would see that formulation as back-to-front: economic development and prosperity depends on a political solution to decades of injustice against Palestinians.

American diplomacy has been an utter failure for decades with regard to settling this bitter dispute. It would therefore be impossibly naive to expect the Trump administration to succeed. More likely, its blundering and bias will only make this historic problem a whole lot worse.

That’s no doubt why so many regional players decided to give the Bahrain event this week a clunking big miss.

Like his father-in-law in the White House, Kushner comes from a real estate background before Trump appointed him as his top aide on the Palestinian-Israeli issue. For the past two years, Kushner has been working on a “master plan” to end the eight-decade-old conflict. That conflict has been at the center of most other disputes and tensions in the region. Trump has billed his son-in-law’s peace plan as the “deal of the century”.

In Bahrain, the Trump administration gave the first-ever preview of its peace plans. Skeptics of Kushner’s ability to deliver a realistic, workable framework were not to be surprised. The boyish-looking Kushner looked way out of his depth as he presented his vision of business and investment as the supposed key to peace. He invited the audience to “imagine” Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza bustling with enterprise and trade. That entrepreneurial “promised land” would arrive if the Palestinians accepted Kushner’s vision of a $50Bn foreign investor fund.

What that boils down to is Palestinians accepting the present status quo of illegal occupation by Israel and in effect surrendering their historic claims for sovereign statehood. Moreover, the $5oBn in investments that Kushner was swooning about are not existing funds. They are only promises of potential investment, which may never actually be delivered.

Nowhere in the Trump administration’s “deal of the century” is there any attempt to redress historical violations of Palestinian national rights. There is no mention of the right of return of millions of Palestinians displaced by the 1948 war that established the sate of Israel. Nor of returning land annexed during the 1967 war. Illegal occupation is merely a fact on the ground that needs to be officially recognized as Israeli territory, according to the Trump administration. In the same way that Trump earlier this year officially recognized the occupied Syrian Golan Heights as part of Israel.

Kushner’s bias in a supposedly peace mediator role is flagrant. He is Jewish and a family friend of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Kushner’s wife, Ivanka, Trump’s daughter, is a convert to Judaism. Last year, she personally unveiled the controversial new American embassy in Jerusalem, which Trump had promised to Netanyahu on his election in 2016 in recognition of the city as the capital of Israel. That move was seen by Palestinians as a betrayal of their historic claim to East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

During the past two years, the Trump administration has cut off development aid and diplomatic links with Palestinian authorities. Respected Palestinian negotiators like veteran envoy Hanan Ashrawi have been denied travel visas to the US. The consultation conducted by Kushner with the Palestinian side in formulating his peace plan has been minimal.

During a recent interview in the US, Kushner revealed his colonial-type mindset when he asserted that the “Palestinians were not ready yet for self-government”. In other words, in this supposed mediator’s view, he is saying that there will be no foreseeable state of Palestine. That is, the Palestinians must accept their inferior status as an occupied people while the state of Israel is permitted to continue annexing more and more of their ancestral land. Indeed, Kushner is believed to have personal business investments in the construction of new Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

It’s no wonder then than his so-called “deal of the century” amounts to a shallow business plan bereft of any deep historical, political issues. Palestinians are expected to shut up and surrender their historic rights for statehood by accepting a quixotic vision of economic wonders descending on them while living under permanent marginalization and deprivation. A UN report last year found that Gaza will no longer be habitable in a few years due to water and power shortages.

The Trump-Kushner proposal is the sort of con job that real estate agents excel at. Everything is reduced to the value of money while prospects are talked up with the most ludicrous glamor. Unscrupulous real estate agents would have the temerity to sell a cardboard box as if it were a penthouse suite. Trump and his son-in-law would seem to be of that same wheeler-dealer ilk.

After two years of bragging about its big Middle East “vision”, what people saw this week was little more than a glossy brochure of hype over historical realities. Indeed, it would seem that the purpose of the hype is to bury the hard historical problems that underly the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The excessive emphasis on billions of dollars of investment by Kushner is an attempt to seduce Palestinians into relinquishing their political and moral rights.

This week, however, while the Trump administration was making its sales pitch in Bahrain, it was notable that there was no Palestinian delegation present. All across the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinians shut their businesses in protest and took to the streets to burn effigies of the “deal of the century”.

Israeli government representatives were also not in attendance. That was only after the White House belatedly pulled their invitations in the weeks before the Bahrain conference took place. No doubt that hasty move by the White House was meant to minimize the embarrassing spectacle of a Palestinian boycott by also not having an official Israeli delegation.

Russia and China also gave the Kushner presentation a miss. Some Arab countries, such as Iraq and Lebanon, did not attend either. Iran, a major regional player and supporter of the Palestinian cause, was not represented. The European Union sent only technical-level officials; EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini was not present.

The glaring absences reflect the lack of international credibility of this White House’s peace efforts for the Middle East. The “deal of the century” is more seen as the “con of the century”.

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The “Let Em Eat Cake” Deal of the Century: Trump’s “No Peace Deal Peace Plan” for Palestine and the Middle East

Global Research, June 28, 2019

A peace conference without participation of warring sides is an affront to what the process is supposed to be all about.

Trump’s no-peace/deal of the century peace plan was partly introduced at the so-called June 25-26 “Peace to Prosperity Workshop” in Bahrain.

A fascist dictatorship was appropriately chosen to host a scheme Palestinians, the Arab street, and activists for peace, equity, and justice categorically reject.

The common theme of participating nations was their abhorrence of rule of law principles and democratic values. Representatives from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Oman and Morocco attended.

So did reinvented war criminal Tony Blair, along with US officials, others from the predatory World Bank and IMF, business interests as well showing up.

Palestinians boycotted the conference. Israel didn’t attend because of their absence. Nor Iraq and Lebanon.

Many participating representatives were mid-level officials, indicating lack of enthusiasm for the Trump regime’s dog and pony PR show — a scheme going nowhere.

Deceptively billed as “a vision to empower the Palestinian people to build a prosperous and vibrant Palestinian society,” the plan is all about serving privileged US/Israeli interests at their expense.

It has nothing to do with peace, equity and justice for long-suffering Palestinians, nothing to do with resolving irreconcilable Israeli/Palestinian differences, nothing to do with fundamental Palestinian rights affirmed under international law.

The economic portion of the plan discussed is all about serving US-led Western and Israeli monied interests, neoliberal harshness intended for Palestinians – how ordinary people are mistreated throughout the West and for the majority of Israeli Jews.

UK-based Palestinian academic Kamel Hawwash said holding the workshop without Palestinian participation showed its true goal — exploiting, not helping them, adding:

Palestinian self-determination and other rights affirmed under international law are fundamental.

Without achieving them, the peace process is stillborn — the way it’s been for the past half-century, the greatest hoax in modern times, along with the US global war OF terror, not on it.

Trump’s no-peace/deal of the century ignores fundamental final status issues, including Palestinian self-determination, illegal Israeli occupation, settlements, borders, air and water rights, other resources, the right of diaspora Palestinians to return to their homeland, and East Jerusalem as exclusive Palestinian capital.

The plan ignores US/UK responsibility for over a century of harshness imposed on Palestinians, over 70 years of Israeli viciousness, and over half a century of militarized occupation — their land stolen, their fundamental rights denied.

Longstanding Israeli land theft is fundamental, what the Trump regime supports, including Jewish state annexation of West Bank settlements on stolen Palestinian land.

The plan treats Palestinians as “customers,” not afforded the right to be citizens of their own country, free from oppressive occupation.

The scheme involves securing a $50 billion investment fund for infrastructure and business projects. It’s unclear where most of the money is coming from and under what terms — whether it’s a gift, a loan, or combination of both, and what return on investment donors/lenders expect.

Without resolving key political issues, the economic proposal is meaningless. Who’ll invest billions of dollars for development in a de facto war zone?

Undeclared Israeli war on Palestinians remains ongoing throughout the Territories, no end of it in prospect.

The Trump regime showed contempt for their rights by illegally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s exclusive capital, moving the US embassy there, and cutting off all funding for millions Palestinian refugees considered nonpeople.

Over $200 million in US aid for the West Bank and Gaza was “redirected” elsewhere “to ensure these funds are spent in accordance with US national interests (sic) and provide value to the US taxpayer (sic).”

The Trump regime’s vision of “a new reality in the Middle East” is old wine in new bottles — Palestinians still denied their right to live in peace on their own land in their own country, Israel’s repressive boot no longer stomping on them.

The bottom line of what went on in Bahrain and may follow is that Trump’s no-peace/deal of the century peace plan was dead before arrival — leaving oppressive Israeli apartheid rule in place.

 

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

The Day After: What Happens If Israel Annexes the West Bank?

The Day After: What Happens If Israel Annexes the West Bank?

Annexing the West Bank, along with millions of Palestinians, will multiply the very ‘demographic threat’ Israel has been dreading for years.

Calls for the annexation of the Occupied West Bank are gaining momentum in both Tel Aviv and Washington. But Israel and its American allies should be careful what they wish for. Annexing the Occupied Palestinian Territories will only reinforce the current rethink of the Palestinian strategy, as opposed to solving Israel’s self-induced problems.

Encouraged by the Donald Trump administration’s decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israeli government officials feel that the time for annexing the entirety of the West Bank is now.

In fact, “there is no better time than now” was the exact phrase used by former Israeli Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked, as she promoted annexation at a recent New York conference. 

Certainly, it is election season in Israel again, as Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, failed to form a government following the last elections in April. So much saber-rattling happens during such political campaigns, as candidates talk tough in the name of ‘security’, fighting terrorism, and so on.

But Shaked’s comments cannot be dismissed as fleeting election kerfuffle. They represent so much more if understood within the larger political context.

Indeed, since Trump’s advent to the White House, Israel has never – and I mean, never – had it so easy. It is as if the rightwing government’s most radical agenda became a wish list for Israel’s allies in Washington. This list includes the US recognition of Israel’s illegal annexation of Occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem, of the Occupied Syrian Golan Heights, and the dismissalof the Palestinian refugees’ right of return altogether.

But that is not all. Statements made by influential US officials indicate an initial interest in the outright annexation of the Occupied West Bank or, at least, large parts of it. The latest of such calls were made by US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.

“Israel has the right to retain some  … of the West Bank,” Friedman said in an interview, cited in the New York Times on June 8.

US Israel Pompeo Friedman West Bank Annexation

Pompeo and Friedman next to the dedication plaque at the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, March 21, 2019. Jim Young | AP

Friedman is deeply involved in the so-called ‘Deal of the Century’, a political gambit championed mostly by Trump’s top advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. The apparent idea behind this ‘deal’ is to dismiss the core demands of the Palestinians while reassuring Israel regarding its quest for a demographic majority and ‘security’ concerns.

Other US officials behind Washington’s efforts on behalf of Israel include US Special Envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, and former US Ambassador to the UN, Nicki Haley. In a recent interview with the Israeli rightwing newspaper, Israel Hayom, Haley said that the Israeli government “should not be worried” regarding the yet-to-be fully revealed details of the ‘Deal of the Century.’

Knowing Haley’s love-affair with – and brazen defense of – Israel at the United Nations, it should not be too difficult to fathom the subtle and obvious meaning of her words.

This is why Shaked’s call for the annexation of the West Bank cannot be dismissed as typical election season talk.

But can Israel annex the West Bank?

 

More than a pipedream?

Practically speaking, yes, it can. True, it would be a flagrant violation of international law, but such a notion has never irked Israel, nor stopped it from annexing Palestinian or Arab territories. For example, it occupied East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights in 1980 and 1981 respectively.

Moreover, the political mood in Israel is increasingly receptive to such a step. A poll conducted by the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, last March revealed that 42% of Israelis back West Bank annexation. This number is expected to rise in the following months as Israel continues to move to the right.

West Bank Annexation Poll

Credit | Haaretz

It is also important to note that several steps have already been taken in that direction, including the Israeli Knesset’s (parliament) decision to apply the same civil laws to illegal Jewish settlers in the West Bank as to those living in Israel.

But that is where Israel faces its greatest dilemma.

According to a joint poll conducted by Tel Aviv University and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in August 2018, over 50% of Palestinians realize that a so-called two-state solution is no longer tenable. Moreover, a growing number of Palestinians also believe that co-existence in a single state, where Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs (Muslims and Christians, alike) live side by side, is the only possible formula for a better future.

The dichotomy for Israeli officials, who are keen on maintaining Jewish demographic majority and the marginalization of Palestinian rights, is that they no longer have good options.

First, they understand that the indefinite occupation of Palestinian territories cannot be sustained. Ongoing Palestinian resistance at home, and the rise of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement abroad is challenging Israel’s very political legitimacy across the world.

Second, they must also be aware of the fact that, from an Israeli Jewish leaders’ point of view, annexing the West Bank, along with millions of Palestinians, will multiply the very ‘demographic threat’ that they have been dreading for many years.

Third, the ethnic cleansing of whole Palestinian communities – the so-called ‘transfer’ option – as Israel has done upon its founding in 1948, and again, in 1967, is no longer possible. Neither will Arab countries open their borders for Israel’s convenient genocides, nor will Palestinians leave, however high the price. The fact that Gazans remained put, despite years of siege and brutal wars, is a case in point.

Political grandstanding aside, Israeli leaders understand that they are no longer in the driver’s seat and, despite their military and political advantage over Palestinians, it is becoming clear that firepower and Washington’s blind support are no longer enough to determine the future of the Palestinian people.

It is also clear that the Palestinian people are not, and never were, passive actors in their own fate. If Israel maintains its 52-year old Occupation, Palestinians will continue to resist. That resistance will not be weakened, or quelled, by any decision to annex the West Bank, in part or in full, the same way that Palestinian resistance in Jerusalem did not cease since its illegal annexation by Tel Aviv four decades ago.

Finally, the illegal annexation of the West Bank can only contribute to the irreversible awareness among Palestinians that their fight for freedom, human rights, justice and equality can be better served through a civil rights struggle within the borders of one single democratic state.

In her blind arrogance, Shaked and her rightwing ilk are only accelerating the demise of Israel as an ethnic, racist state, while opening up the stage for better possibilities than perpetual violence and apartheid.

Feature photo | US National Security Advisor John Bolton (L) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) guided by Israeli army Major General Nadav Padan (L) at the Qasr al-Yahud baptism site at the Jordan Valley near the Palestinian city of Jericho, West Bank, June 23, 2019. Abir Sultan | EPA via AP

Dr. Ramzy Baroud is a widely published and translated author, an internationally syndicated columnist and editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story (Pluto Press, 2018). He earned a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter (2015), and was a Non-Resident Scholar at Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, UCSB. Visit his website at  www.ramzybaroud.net.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

Forget Trump’s ‘deal of the Century’. Israel Was Always on Course to Annexation

 • JUNE 20, 2019

When Israeli prime ministers are in trouble, facing difficult elections or a corruption scandal, the temptation has typically been for them to unleash a military operation to bolster their standing. In recent years, Gaza has served as a favourite punching bag.

Benjamin Netanyahu is confronting both difficulties at once: a second round of elections in September that he may struggle to win; and an attorney general who is widely expected to indict him on corruption charges shortly afterwards.

Netanyahu is in an unusually tight spot, even by the standards of an often chaotic and fractious Israeli political system. After a decade in power, his electoral magic may be deserting him. There are already rumblings of discontent among his allies on the far right.

Given his desperate straits, some observers fear that he may need to pull a new kind of rabbit out of the hat.

In the past two elections, Netanyahu rode to success after issuing dramatic last-minute statements. In 2015, he agitated against the fifth of Israel’s citizens who are Palestinian asserting their democratic rights, warning that they were “coming out in droves to vote”.

Back in April, he declared his intention to annex large chunks of the occupied West Bank, in violation of international law, during the next parliament.

Amos Harel, a veteran military analyst with Haaretz newspaper, observed last week that Netanyahu may decide words are no longer enough to win. Action is needed, possibly in the form of an announcement on the eve of September’s ballot that as much as two-thirds of the West Bank is to be annexed.

Washington does not look like it will stand in his way.

Shortly before April’s election, the Trump administration offered Netanyahu a campaign fillip by recognising Israel’s illegal annexation of the Golan Heights, territory Israel seized from Syria in 1967.

This month David Friedman, US ambassador to Israel and one of the chief architects of Donald Trump’s long-delayed “deal of the century” peace plan, appeared to offer a similar, early election boost.

In interviews, he claimed Israel was “on the side of God” – unlike, or so it was implied, the Palestinians. He further argued that Israel had the “right to retain” much of the West Bank.

Both statements suggest that the Trump administration will not object to any Israeli moves towards annexation, especially if it ensures their favoured candidate returns to power.

Whatever Friedman suggests, it is not God who has intervened on Israel’s behalf. The hands that have carefully cleared a path over many decades to the West Bank’s annexation are all too human.

Israeli officials have been preparing for this moment for more than half a century, since the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza were seized back in 1967.

That point is underscored by an innovative interactive map of the occupied territories. This valuable new resource is a joint project of the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem and Forensic Architecture, a London-based team that uses new technology to visualise and map political violence and environmental destruction.

Titled Conquer and Divide, it reveals in detail how Israel has “torn apart Palestinian space, divided the Palestinian population into dozens of disconnected enclaves and unravelled its social, cultural and economic fabric”.

The map proves beyond doubt that Israel’s colonisation of the West Bank was never accidental, defensive or reluctant. It was coldly calculated and intricately planned, with one goal in mind – and the moment to realise that goal is fast approaching.

Annexation is not a right-wing project that has hijacked the benign intentions of Israel’s founding generation. Annexation was on the cards from the occupation’s very beginnings in 1967, when the so-called centre-left – now presented as a peace-loving alternative to Netanyahu – ran the government.

The map shows how Israeli military planners created a complex web of pretexts to seize Palestinian land: closed military zones today cover a third of the West Bank; firing ranges impact 38 Palestinian communities; nature reserves are located on 6 per cent of the territory; nearly a quarter has been declared Israeli “state” land; some 250 settlements have been established; dozens of permanent checkpoints severely limit movement; and hundreds of kilometres of walls and fences have been completed.

These interlocking land seizures seamlessly carved up the territory, establishing the walls of dozens of tightly contained prisons for Palestinians in their own homeland.

Two Nasa satellite images of the region separated by 30 years – from 1987 and 2017 – reveal how Israel’s settlements and transport infrastructure have gradually scarred the West Bank’s landscape, clearing away natural vegetation and replacing it with concrete.

The land grabs were not simply about acquisition of territory. They were a weapon, along with increasingly draconian movement restrictions, to force the native Palestinian population to submit, to recognise its defeat, to give up hope.

In the immediate wake of the West Bank’s occupation, defence minister Moshe Dayan, Israel’s hero of the hour and one of the architects of the settlement project, observed that Palestinians should be made “to live like dogs, and whoever wants to can leave – and we shall see where this process leads”.

Although Israel has concentrated Palestinians in 165 disconnected areas across the West Bank, its actions effectively won the international community’s seal of approval in 1995. The Oslo accords cemented Israel’s absolute control over 62 per cent of the West Bank, containing the Palestinians’ key agricultural land and water sources, which was classified as Area C.

Occupations are intended to be temporary – and the Oslo accords promised the same. Gradually, the Palestinians would be allowed to take back more of their territory to build a state. But Israel made sure both the occupation and the land thefts sanctioned by Oslo continued.

The new map reveals more than just the methods Israel used to commandeer the West Bank. Decades of land seizures highlight a trajectory, plotting a course that indicates the project is still not complete.


Ultimately, Israel wants the Palestinians gone entirely, squeezed out into neighbouring Arab states, such as Egypt and Jordan. That next chapter is likely to begin in earnest if Trump ever gets the chance to unveil his “deal of the century”.If Netanyahu partially annexes the West Bank – Area C – it will be simply another stage in Israel’s tireless efforts to immiserate the Palestinian population and bully them into leaving. This is a war of attrition – what Israelis have long understood as “creeping annexation”, carried out by stealth to avoid a backlash from the international community.

A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net.

Nasrallah: Resistance Axis and Arab & Muslim Peoples will Never Forsake Palestine

The Saker

June 13, 2019

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on Friday, May 31, 2019, on the occasion of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) International Day.
Transcript:
I seek refuge with God against the stoned devil. In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds, and prayers and salutations be upon our Master and Prophet, the Seal of Prophets, Abul Qasim Mohammad b. Abdallah, and on his pure and noble family, his chosen and faithful companions, as well as all the Prophets and Messengers. Dear brothers and sisters, dear participants in this honorable protest, peace be upon you and God’s mercy and His blessings.I welcome you warmly for this celebration that is dear to us, and I thank you all for this massive participation, to commemorate this celebration full of jihad (effort towards God), faith, humanity, ethics, which stems from our religion, our doctrine, our belief, our struggle, our present, our future and our destiny, and our honor, our pride, our freedom and our holy places.

God the Almighty and the Exalted said in his Holy Book: In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. “O ye who believe! fear Allah and (always) say righteous and truthful words. That He may make your conduct whole and sound and forgive you your sins: he that obeys Allah and His Apostle has already attained the highest Achievement.” (Quran, 33, 70-71) I ask God the Almighty to make us utter words of truth, (especially) during these sensitive, difficult and decisive times for our future.
Today, 40 years have passed since Imam Khomeini, may his soul be sanctified, declared the International Day of Al-Quds (Jerusalem), the occasion (we celebrate every last Friday of Ramadan). Imam announced and called for this day in 1979. And for 40 years, the enemies of Al-Quds have placed their hopes in the disappearance, neglect or oblivion of this day with the passage of time, because in their eyes, such is the nature of people. But year after year, we have seen the importance bestowed upon this day by the peoples of the world and of the (Islamic) Community grow larger and larger, the occasion becoming ever more grandiose, despite attempts to present it as an Iranian day, give it a sectarian appearance, and describe it as a day (celebrated only by) Shiites.But the sincerity of Imam Khomeini, may his noble soul be sanctified, and the purity of his intentions, were stronger than all these conspiracies and all these shenanigans, as well as the sincerity and honesty of all those who have walked this path (of resistance) that will lead to the Liberation of Al-Quds (Jerusalem), which will return (to Muslims) with the Grace of God, managed to overcome every blockade. And that’s why we see (such huge demonstrations) today, this very day, but in reality (this celebration is such a success that) soon, this will be the week of Al-Quds (and not just the day).

Yesterday afternoon and last night there were rallies in many cities and many countries, and today as well, (there are celebrations) in our region, the Middle East —or Western Asia as Imam Ali Khamenei calls it—, in African countries, either in North Africa or the rest of the African continent, in Indonesia, Malaysia, in several European countries, in some cities of America, Australia and Latin America. (Many) peoples, currents of thought, various religious and political groups, and a huge & massive participation. And there will be people who will celebrate this occasion tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday, especially in certain European countries, because of the authorization they get to demonstrate in public squares or streets during their weekend. Thank God, (the celebration) of this Al-Quds Day is becoming increasingly important and increasingly massive. It is something quite natural and predictable.

Today, the summary of my speech (is this).

I / I will say two words about the event (we celebrate).II / The main part (of my speech) will concern Palestine and the Deal of the Century, our collective responsibility in this regard and our assessment of the current situation.

III / From there, I’ll talk —because the issues are related— about all that is said now or has been said in recent weeks, about a US war against Iran, which has become less likely in recent days.

IV / I will also comment on the recent Arab summit held in the holy city of Mecca.

V / And I will conclude my remarks with a Lebanese issue concerning the delimitation of (Lebanon’s land and sea) borders (with occupied Palestine), but there is a very sensitive and related issue in which the border demarcation is exploited to pressure the Lebanese, a sensitive issue (directly) involving the Resistance (Hezbollah) and Israel, and I will talk about it, because if I do not do it tonight, in a few days… Because this issue is beginning to spread behind particular scenes, and will soon be discussed in the media, and we will then have to respond. It is preferable to state now our position of principle, after which anyone who wants to write a comment about it could do so at will. We will state our position in this new hotspot (Hezbollah precision missile factories in Lebanon).

I / Regarding the Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day, today, we saw large protests in several countries. But the first thing we have to mention is the huge popular demonstrations in Iran, which brought together millions of people. In previous years, we didn’t mention it at length, because it was regarded as something quite normal (for Iran). This year, we’ll mention it somewhat, because the world needs (to know)… I saw that the Arab media, including those who support and help the Resistance Axis, failed to show the true extent of (the participation of the Iranian people to the event). I followed the Iranian media and television, and I could see cities (blackened with people), a large number of cities in which there were huge demonstrations.

This is a message to whom? Why do I dwell upon it? Iran, about which Trump pretends that every Friday, there are (major) protests against the regime of the Islamic Republic, that the Iranian people is rising against the State and the government, that Iran is in the process of collapse, and that Iran will soon contact him (to beg for mercy)… (But Trump) will wait for a very long time (if he hopes to see such a thing). It is true that the Iranians were busy reciting the invocations of Al Jawchan al-Kabir and Abu Hamzeh al Thumali (specific to Ramadan, and extremely long), but Trump had to wait (for an Iranian response) until the end (of their long) prostrations. This is a message to whom? To all those who are betting on seeing this noble people eventually flinch, weaken, become discouraged, change his course, etc., etc., etc. And this people is not commemorating the victory of the Islamic Revolution or defending the Islamic regime in Iran, things that concern (directly) all Iranians. This people was demonstrating for the occasion of (the International Day of) Al-Quds (Jerusalem), for the Palestinian, Arab and Muslim cause, that is to say, for a foreign policy matter.

The Iranians demonstrated by the millions, while fasting, and for hours, and I saw on the television screens that all the officials of the Islamic Republic, the Presidents (of the Republic, of Parliament, etc.) and the other leading officials participated in the demonstrations. And I saw that at the protest of Qom (spiritual heart of Iranian Shiism), many of the main religious authorities in Qom participated, despite their advanced age. They were both great in their authority, and great by their age —80, 85, 90 years—, they came up with the crowd and expressed this position (unwavering commitment to the complete liberation of Palestine and to Israel’s disappearance). Anyway, this is a message addressed primarily to the United States, secondly to all governments in the region, and thirdly to anyone who follows the events, has hopes (for or against Iran and Palestine) or merely waits (to see what will happen, without taking sides).
Similarly, as for last year, we have to mention the scale of the huge demonstrations in Yemen, in Sanaa and in several Yemeni cities, this massive popular presence, and the eloquent and fiery speeches of the leaders in Yemen regarding Palestine, Al-Quds (Jerusalem), the struggle against Israel and the United States… Anyway, the Yemeni people, through his (massive) presence in the streets, as well as his (exploits) on the battlefield and in the fighting (against the Saudi-US coalition) —I’ll come back to this point in my speech to make it more clear—, has established himself strongly in the regional equation and all the struggles of the region.What happened in other countries of the world (should also be mentioned), as it becomes increasingly widespread and massive. We have a long list (of countries where protests commemorated Al-Quds Day): in Palestine and Gaza in particular, naturally, —there were martyrs in Al-Quds (Jerusalem)—, in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, Nigeria, Ghana, Malaysia, Indonesia, Belgium, the United States themselves, Russia, Oman, Tunisia, Algeria, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Senegal… That’s the list of countries identified by our young (Hezbollah members) for us (so far). Of course, tomorrow, things will be clearer.

I should also mention the popular demonstrations that took place last night in Bahrain, in the hamlets, villages and cities of Bahrain, and also today, and their slogan was “No to the Deal of the Century, and in the direction of Al-Quds (to liberate it).” Despite the fact that, unfortunately, the first operational step (of the Deal of the Century) must be launched from Bahrain (at the end of June 2019), the scholars of Bahrain took to the streets, as well as the people and political forces, to confirm that everything that happens on their territory (normalization with Israel) is illegitimate, and that Bahrain, its people, its scholars, its political forces, its present and its past are innocent of this abandonment (of Palestine), this submission and the servility of the Government of Bahrain towards the US administration. […]

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“Any amount counts, because a little money here and there, it’s like drops of water that can become rivers, seas or oceans…” Hassan Nasrallah

Lebanon Rejects US-Led Summit in Bahrain, Backs Palestinian Boycott

By Staff, Agencies

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil says his country is boycotting the forthcoming US-led conference in Bahrain in support of President Donald Trump’s controversial proposal for “peace” between the “Israeli” regime and Palestinians, dubbed the “Deal of the Century,” because Palestinians are not taking part in the event.

“We will not participate in the Bahrain conference [scheduled for June 25-26] because the Palestinians are not participating and we prefer to have a clear idea about the proposed plan for peace. We were not consulted regarding [the plan],” Bassil said on Tuesday.

The statement came after an unnamed senior White House official said Jordan, Egypt and Morocco had informed the administration they would send representatives to Manama.

The United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia announced in May that they would participate in the conference.

The Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO] and the Hamas resistance movement have called for an Arab boycott of the Bahrain conference.

Hamas, in a statement issued on May 20, also called on Arab countries to provide the Palestinian people with every support to confront and frustrate the US “deal of the century.”

“We are following with great concern the American announcement about holding an economic workshop next June in the Bahraini capital of Manama,” Hamas said, describing it as the first American conference in support of the so-called “Deal of the Century”.

The movement also denounced any Arab participation in adopting and executing the deal, saying any attendance in the American-led Bahrain conference would be considered a deviation from Arab and Islamic values.

Trump’s “peace plan” has already been dismissed by Palestinian authorities ahead of its unveiling at the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan and the formation of the new “Israeli” cabinet, most likely in June.

Speaking in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on April 16, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh lashed out at the initiative, asserting it was “born dead.”

Shtayyeh noted that negotiations with the US were useless in the wake of the country’s relocation of its embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds [Jerusalem], which Palestinians consider the capital city of their future state.

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