The Palestinian people’s principal problem is their own leadership

Abbas at the UN

September 27, 2018

By Abdel Bari Atwan

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ address to the UN General Assembly was disappointing. It repeated the same phrases used in his last eight speeches. Nothing new at all. The same appeals for international sympathy. Even the wording of his complaints about Israel’s failure to respect agreements was unchanged. And his declaration that the US is not an honest broker but biased towards Israel we have heard a million times before.

So it was neither strange nor surprising that the chamber was almost empty of delegates and delegation heads, and that the warm applause came mostly from the Palestinian delegation.

US President Donald Trump will not heed Abbas’ demands that he rescind his recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel. Nor will East Jerusalem be capital of a Palestinian state, because there will be no Palestinian state at all. Not according to the US’ ‘Deal of the Century’, which has rapidly begun entering the implementation stage – with US support, the collusion of some Arabs, and Palestinian security coordination.

***

The US and Israel will not fret about Abbas’ threats regarding their non-compliance with the agreements signed with them. Nor will that arouse the sympathy of UN member-sates. So long as he continues talking Mother Theresa-like about peace, renouncing violence, and joining the fight against terrorism in any part of the world – as he affirmed in his speech – nobody will listen to him or take him seriously.

It was regrettable that the Palestinian president used the UN podium to discuss the agreements he signed with the Hamas movement and threaten not to abide by them. That is the only one of his threats he will actually carry out: to cut off what remains of the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s aid to the Gaza Strip. This amounts to around $90 million in electricity subsidies and salaries, the vast majority of which go to members of Fateh, the PA’s party. Is this the place to make such threats? Does the world benefit from hearing them?

The international community will not thank Abbas for promising not to resort to violence or revert to ‘terrorism” i.e. legitimate resistance to occupation. How could such thanks be forthcoming from UN delegates when so many of their countries gained their freedom through resistance, not by imploring and lamenting the loss of their rights at international forums.

Abbas has been saying for the past ten years or so that peaceful popular resistance is the only option. We ask:

Where is this resistance? Why do the PA’s security forces repress all political activists and throw them in jail, or inform on them to the occupation authorities to facilitate their arrest?  Enough lies and deception, please. Respect your people’s intelligence, and their martyrs and prisoners.

***

We ask President Abbas:

Why did the US administration cut off all aid to schools, hospitals, PA institutions and UNRWA, while increasing its aid to the Palestinian security forces, at a time when he announced a boycott of any meeting or dialogue with the US? What good did this boycott do in this case?

The fault does not lie with UN, the US, or Israel. It lies with President Abbas, his leadership and administration, his Authority, his security coordination, and his speechwriters and cheerleaders.

When Palestinian leaders chose the course of resistance and sacrifice, the US and Israel and the West in its entirety sought to meet and negotiate with them, recognized them, and feared them.

This farce needs to be ended at once, and the actors stripped of their masks. It has gone too far, and the Palestinian people, both in the homeland and the diaspora, must not remain silent about this situation.

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NYT: Trump’s Twitter Threats Put US Credibility on the Line

08-01-2018 | 13:24


US President Donald Trump has begun 2018 where he left off. Since the first of the year, he has attacked a variety of countries in Twitter posts, urging protesters to overthrow the Iranian government, threatening to blow up North Korea and calling for cuts in aid to the Palestinians.

Us President Donald Trump

Two things stand out about the foreign policy messages Trump has posted on Twitter since taking office: How far they veer from the traditional ways American presidents express themselves, let alone handle diplomacy. And how rarely Trump has followed through on his words.

Indeed, nearly a year after he entered the White House, the rest of the world is trying to figure out whether Trump is more mouth than fist, more paper tiger than the real thing.

Countries are unsure whether to take his words as policy pronouncements, or whether they can be safely ignored. If Trump’s threats are seen as hollow, what does that do to American credibility?

In a series of Twitter posts on Saturday, Trump reacted to questions about his mental fitness by calling himself a “very stable genius.”

Even if there is a recognition that Trump’s tweets may be largely intended to let off steam or reassure his domestic base, there is an increasing sense that the credibility of the administration, and the presidency itself, is being eroded.

However, Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, said the words of the US president matter, he added in a Twitter message: “That is why so many of this president’s tweets alarm. The issue is not just questionable policy on occasion but questionable judgment and discipline.”

The bottom line, Haass said, is that Twitter posts should be handled as seriously as any other White House statement, lest the currency of what the president says comes to be devalued.

But the Twitter posts have already devalued the president’s words, argues R. Nicholas Burns, a former career diplomat and ambassador to NATO.

“Even when Mr. Trump is right, … there’s always some excess or some objectionable statement that undermines American credibility, and it’s hard to win that back,” he said. “Allies and opponents invest in your judgment and common sense.”

He pointed to Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds [Jerusalem], however delayed or symbolic. That broke with years of international policy consensus, which called for the status of al-Quds to be settled in so-called “peace” talks.

“When you give away the status of Jerusalem [al-Quds] unilaterally and get nothing from ‘Israel’ and anger the Palestinians and challenge the world and then you lose, it’s a disastrous example of lack of US credibility,” Burns said.

The decision infuriated the Palestinians and the Europeans. Then, Trump and his United Nations envoy, Nikki R. Haley, threatened to cut off aid to any country that opposed the new US position in a vote in the General Assembly.

In the end, the vote was a humiliating rebuke of the US, 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions. Most European allies voted against the US, and even European allies in Central Europe, who consider Washington a key guarantor against Russia, did not vote with Washington but abstained.

A senior European diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly, called the al-Quds episode destabilizing and said it had come when the Middle East and the world did not need it.

As much as the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has annoyed Trump with his criticism of the al-Quds move, saying that it disqualified Washington from a serious role in any so-called “peace” talks, even the “Israeli” entity has urged Trump to abandon his threat to cut off aid to the United Nations agency that looks after millions of registered Palestinian refugees.

On North Korea, despite Trump’s Twitter posts, Pyongyang has gone ahead with tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles and has given no indication that it will agree to denuclearize in exchange for talks with Washington. Instead, it has gone around Washington to reopen talks with Seoul.

Even on Pakistan, where Trump followed through last week on threats to suspend aid over the country’s ambiguous support for the American battle against the Taliban, the president was for the Pakistanis before he was against them.

In one of his first calls with a foreign leader after being elected, Trump spoke with the Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, and gushed that he was a “terrific guy.”

“Mr. Trump said that he would love to come to a fantastic country, fantastic place of fantastic people,” Sharif’s office said in a statement describing the call. “Please convey to the Pakistani people that they are amazing and all Pakistanis I have known are exceptional people.”

More recently, Trump switched to threatening them, saying on Twitter that Pakistan had “given us nothing but lies & deceit” and accusing it of providing “safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan.”

The public humiliation outraged Islamabad, giving an opening to China, which moved within 24 hours to praise Pakistan’s fight against terrorism. Pakistan then agreed to adopt the Chinese currency for transactions, to improve bilateral trade.

François Heisbourg, a French defense and security analyst, commented tersely about Trump’s anger this way: “Pushing Pakistan into an exclusive relationship with China.”

Trump has been equally changeable with the Chinese, whom the president repeatedly threatened to punish for what he termed trade dumping and currency manipulation, only to say in December that he had “been soft” on Beijing, needing its help on North Korea.

Some suggest that Trump’s Twitter posts should not be taken so seriously. Daniel S. Hamilton, a former State Department official who directs the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University, said that Trump “uses these tweets and social media to secure his political base,” and “whether the tweets turn into a policy or not is a whole different question.”

While allies do not necessarily take his Twitter posts as policy pronouncements, they still create significant confusion, said Pierre Vimont, former French ambassador to Washington and former top aide to the European Union foreign policy chief.

Even in areas where allies agree – for example, on the threat posed by North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong-un – “we have a hard time understanding the real policy line from Washington,” Mr. Vimont said.

Source: NYT, Edited by website team

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The United States: Destroyer of Nations

The United States: Destroyer of Nations

WAYNE MADSEN | 30.12.2017 | OPINION

The United States: Destroyer of Nations

After the Donald Trump administration’s decision to recognize the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, the national aspirations of the Palestinian people to live in their own state have been severely dashed by Washington’s move. Ever since the formation of the United States, it has been American policy to destroy aspirant nations like the internationally-recognized State of Palestine.

The first nation destroyed by the United States was the Cherokee Nation, or Tsalagihi Ayeli, which, beginning in 1794, was slowly decimated by forced removals from territory in Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. If Tsalagihi Ayeli was given its rightful independence and sovereignty, it would be seated in the United Nations General Assembly between the delegations of Trinidad and Tobago and Tunisia.

In what was known as the 1830s “Trail of Tears,” the forced relocation of the Cherokee Nation and its dependencies of Lenape-Delaware, Natchez, Swan Creek and Black River Chippewa, Shawnee, and Cherokee Freedmen (freed African-American slaves of the Cherokee) sub-nations to “Indian Territory” in modern-day Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation was all-but-destroyed through disease, famine, and outright genocidal extermination. The Cherokee Nation was led by a chief, or “uku,” and maintained a functioning capital city in New Echota, a few miles north of what is present-day Calhoun, Georgia. The Cherokee Nation maintained a legislature called the Council House, a Supreme Court, and a Cherokee language newspaper. The Cherokee Nation maintained low-level relations with the United States, Great Britain, Spain, and France until the US government took over Cherokee foreign relations. After European-Americans — mostly ancestors of the present-day white racists who dominate Georgia and the Carolinas and wholeheartedly support Trump — began forcing to the west the Cherokee and protectorate tribes out of the southeastern United States, New Echota became a ghost town.

Re-established as an exiled government in Tahlequah, in the Oklahoma Indian Territory, the Cherokee Nation was disbanded by Washington in 1907. In 1938, the Cherokee Nation was reconstituted, however, its sovereignty was limited by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs. The bureau, influenced by corporate mining, oil drilling/pipeline, and casino interests, continues to suppress the sovereign tribal rights of hundreds of recognized Native American tribes. A successor state to the Cherokee Nation boasts of recognition by the State of Palestine, which is fitting given the similarities of American involvement in the genocide of the Cherokee and Palestinian peoples. The Cherokee and Choctaw Nations are legally entitled to non-voting delegates in the US House of Representatives. However, unlike the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guahan (Guam), American Samoa, and the Northern Marianas, the US Congress has taken no action to seat Native delegates.

The destruction of the Cherokee Nation was the first of many such actions taken by US imperialists, actions that continue to this very day in Palestine, Puerto Rico, Guahan (Guam), and other nations and territories around the world.

While not as distinct a nation-state as the Cherokee Nation, the Choctaw Nation, which mainly existed in what is now Mississippi, revolved around not a capital city, but a 600 BC religious mound, Nanih Waiya, or “Mother Mound,” built by the Choctaws’ ancestors in what is now Winston County, Mississippi. Like the Cherokee, the Choctaw were forcibly removed from Mississippi to Oklahoma Indian Territory by the US government, acting at the behest of European-American settlers who invaded and occupied their lands. Today, the descendants of these white occupiers constitute the pro-Trump Republican governing authorities in Mississippi. The Choctaw Nation maintained relations with Great Britain, France, and Spain. The first American president and arch-imperialist George Washington decided that the Choctaw and other Native American peoples should be “culturally transformed” to American citizens because their societies were “inferior” to European-Americans. President Thomas Jefferson continued Mr. Washington’s policies.

The Creek Confederacy was also systematically destroyed by the United States. Known as Este Mvskokvlke, the Creek or Muscogee Nation was forcibly removed from Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and the Florida panhandle to Oklahoma Indian Territory. There was not a single capital city of the Creek Confederacy but there were four major towns: Abihka, Coosa (Kusa), Tuckabutche, and Coweta. The Creek Confederacy consisted of a multitude of tribes banding together in a commonwealth of sub-nations. The Creek Confederacy consisted of the Yuchi, Koasati, Alabama, Coosa, Tuskeegee, Coweta, Cusseta, Chehaw (Chiaha), Hitchiti, Tuckabatchee, Oakfuskee, and several other tribes. In 1799, William Bowles, a native of Maryland who supported the British during the American Revolution, proclaimed the State of Muskogee, with its capital at Miccosuki, near present-day Tallahassee in Florida. Muskogee maintained relations with Great Britain, Spain, and First French Republic. Bowles, an agent for British King George III, was recognized by London as the Ambassador for the “Creek and Cherokee Nation.” Bowles later denounced Native treaties with the United States and Spain. Eventually, he was captured by the Spanish and died in a Havana prison in 1805.

The next major Native American nation to be destroyed by the United States was the Seminole Nation and its Miccosukee and Black Seminole dependencies in Florida. In 1821, the US Army began the forced removal of the Seminole people from Florida to the Oklahoma Indian Territory. Prior to its destruction by the United States, the Seminole Nation maintained relations with Great Britain and Spain. The Seminole Nation never signed a peace treaty with the United States, making it the only Native American nation to refuse a treaty with the federal government, one which would have eventually been violated by Washington, in any event.

Today, a US government-coopted Seminole Nation, many of its leaders being Republican supporters of Trump, exists in Oklahoma, with a capital in Wewoka. The Miccosukee Nation, however, continues to exist on a reservation bordering Everglades National Park in southern Florida. The unofficial capital is the Tamiami Trail Reservation. One thing that makes the Miccosukee Nation stand out from other tribal nations is the rightful absence of the US flag anywhere on the reservation. The Miccosukee flag of horizontal bands of white, black, red, and yellow is ubiquitous. The US flag is obviously treated as not only a foreign flag but the flag of an illegal occupier.

The Sac Nation (Thakiwaki) existed on and near the shores of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. Constantly relocated by the federal government, they joined the Black Hawk War against the European-Americans in 1832. The Sac and Fox Nation was eventually forcibly removed from the Upper Middle West to Oklahoma Indian Territory.

The Black Hawk or Sauk Nation, which dominated northern Illinois and Iowa along the Mississippi River, maintained a capital at Saukenuk, near present-day Rock Island, Illinois. The Sauk put up a spirited defense of their lands, fighting against the forces of the American genocidal president Andrew Jackson. US troops conducted their own scalping campaigns against Sauk refugees, killing those Native peoples attempting to escape the American Army during the Black Hawk Wars of the early 1830s.

The genocide of the Native American peoples would be repeated with wars against the Navajo, Lakota Sioux, Dakota, Ute, Hopi, Cayuse, Yakima, Klikitat, Mohave, Spokane, Apache, Comanche, Kiowa, Goshute, Nez Perce, and the Cheyenne Nation (Tsêhéstáno) and the Kingdom of Hawaii. European-American racism against Native Americans continues under Trump, who recently grabbed 85 percent of the Bears Ears and 50 percent of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah, both sacred to Native American peoples, to hand over to uranium mining companies and natural gas fracking firms. Trump and his supporters are no different than the genocidal Americans of the past who systematically destroyed peaceful Native American cultures and emergent nation-states. Americans should forever live in shame over their Holocaust of the Native American peoples and nations.

كلام باسيل وانزعاج ريفي

كلام باسيل وانزعاج ريفي 

ناصر قنديل

ديسمبر 29, 2017

– كلّ مؤمن بالقضية الفلسطينية كقضية حق قومي وإنساني، وبشرعية الحق الفلسطيني بما هو أبعد من قيام دولة على الأراضي المحتلة عام 1967 وضمان حق العودة للاجئين الفلسطينيين، بل بصفتها قضية شعب أُخرج من أرضه واغتُصبت دياره ليقوم عليها كيان عنصري يجب أن يزول وأن تعود الأرض لأهلها، لا يوافق كلّ كلام عن سلام مع «إسرائيل» ولا يقبل كلّ كلام عن تطبيع معها، ولا يقبل كلّ كلام عن أمن متبادل بيننا وبينها ولو طبّقت القرارات الدولية كلّها، ففلسطين من البحر إلى النهر لأهلها وأمّتها، و«إسرائيل» إلى زوال.

– كلّ مؤمن بهذا الحق الفلسطيني الثابت وغير القابل للتجزئة وغير الصالح للتفاوض، يرفض المبادرة العربية للسلام ومندرجاتها، وكلّ كلام ينبثق منها ويعبّر عن ثقافتها، وكلام وزير الخارجية اللبناني جبران باسيل ليس خارج هذا السياق، فهو كلام يدعو لتقبّل فكرة التساكن مع «إسرائيل» والتعايش مع وجودها، على قاعدة أنّ أمنها مضمون عندما تعيد الحقوق التي طلبتها المبادرة العربية للسلام. ولذلك فهو مرفوض كما هي حال المبادرة العربية جملة وتفصيلاً.

– كلام الوزير باسيل في الجامعة العربية وكلام الرئيس ميشال عون في القمة الإسلامية ينتميان لمنطق يقبل المبادرة العربية للسلام، بقدر ما هو إعلان انحياز للحق الفلسطيني في لحظة المواجهة الراهنة. وهذا السقف الذي تمثله المبادرة العربية للسلام لم يغِبْ عن كلمة الرئيس عون وكلام الوزير باسيل في تبنّي الحقوق الفلسطينية، وهو سقف الالتزام العربي الرسمي ومنه لبنان منذ العام 2002.

– المعترضون على كلام باسيل أصحاب حق إذا كانوا من رافضي المبادرة العربية للسلام ومن دعاة زوال «إسرائيل». فهل يقع كلام الوزير السابق أشرف ريفي ومَن ينتمون مثله لمعسكر العداء لحزب الله والمقاومة ضمن هذا السياق، والمبادرة العربية للسلام صناعة سعودية، وهم يصفقون لكلّ ما هو سعودي قبل الاطلاع عليه. ومشكلة الرئيس عون والوزير باسيل أنهما يقولان للسعودية وجماعتها، من موقع التمسك بالمبادرة التي تحمل اسم الملك عبد الله، تعالوا نضغط على «إسرائيل» وأميركا لنيل ما طالبت به المبادرة كشرط لتحقيق السلام والتطبيع، كما نصت المبادرة، بينما يقول وزير الخارجية السعودي عادل الجبير علناً، لا نزال نتعاون مع الأميركيين على مبادرة متكاملة لحلّ القضية الفلسطينية، ولم يسقط الأميركي كوسيط نزيه بنظرنا، ولدينا روزنامة متكاملة للتطبيع مع «إسرائيل» عندما تتحقّق فكرة الدولتين، ومن دون أن يضيف أنها مشروطة بالقدس الشرقية عاصمة لدولة فلسطين، ورغم كلّ ذلك لا يرفّ جفن ريفي ولا مَن مثله ولا مَن معه، وربما إذا أحرجوا بالسؤال عن الكلام، لقالوا هذا هو الموقف العربي الصحيح، فكيف أزعجهم كلام باسيل؟

– بعض منتقدي كلام باسيل من رافضي وجود «إسرائيل» والمؤمنين بالصراع الوجودي معها، يقفون في ضفة الحق، لكن لا يحق لهم القول تفاجأنا، فهو ككلّ قول منتمٍ لمنطق المبادرة العربية للسلام يقبل حلاً سلمياً تبقى بموجبه «إسرائيل» آمنة ومعترفاً بها، وبتطبيع شامل معها كما تقول المبادرة بصورة صريحة، شرط تطبيقها للقرارات الدولية، وما يحقّ لهؤلاء هو التساؤل عن جدوى هذا الكلام لباسيل في هذه اللحظة والتسبّب بالإحراج لقوى المقاومة، والتفوّه بكلمات توقيتها وساحتها قد يكونان في لحظة مختلفة وسياق سياسي مغاير. لكن لا جديد ولا مفاجأة، والخلاف بين صراع قانوني وحدودي أو صراع وجودي مع «إسرائيل» قائم، لكنه ليس بداهم، لأنّ «إسرائيل» ظاهرة خارج القانون، هكذا ولدت وهكذا تبقى، حتى تزيلها إرادة الشعوب ومقاوماتها، فليس أمامنا على الطاولة لا الآن ولا في المستقبل المنظور استعداد «إسرائيلي» للتأقلم مع القرارات الدولية والقانون الدولي كي نشهر الخلاف مع دعاة سلام على قاعدة القانون الدولي، بل المشكلة والخطر لهما مصدر آخر هو مشروع متكامل لإعلان وفاة المبادرة العربية للسلام، ليس لصالح مشروع التحرير الكامل، بل لحساب مشروع دولة فلسطينية بلا القدس، ولاحقاً بلا حق العودة، وتقف السعودية وراء هذا المشروع علناً، وأن ينبري مَن يُشهر بوجه السعودية مبادرتها التي تريد دفنها لحساب الرضى الأميركي «الإسرائيلي»، هو ما فعله الرئيس عون والوزير باسيل في الجامعة العربية والقمة الإسلامية واستحقا عليه التقدير.

– منتقدو باسيل من موقع الثناء على السعودية أو من موقع التمسك بالمبادرة العربية للسلام، مدعوّون أن يختاروا بين التصفيق لكلام باسيل كتعبير عن المبادرة العربية للسلام، أو أن ينتقدوه لأنه يدافع عن ميت والمطلوب السلام والتطبيع بدون القدس كما تقبل السعودية، وإذا ارادوا الانسجام مع أنفسهم وواصلوا الانتقاد أن يقولوا لا للسلام مع «إسرائيل» والتطبيع معها، ولو قبلت بالمبادرة العربية للسلام علناً، فكيف بما هو دونها وأقلّ منها، أما الذين يقولون إنهم فوجئوا بكلام باسيل ويستغربونه من حليف للمقاومة، أن يتساءلوا أليس هذا هو موقف لبنان الرسمي منذ العام 2002 مع ولادة مبادرة الملك عبدالله؟

– لم ولن نقبل بكلّ نوع من السلام والتطبيع مع «إسرائيل»، ولا يُريحنا كلّ كلام ينتمي لهذه الثقافة لو كان مشروطاً بالتزام «إسرائيل» ببعض الحقوق الفلسطينية، كقيام الدولة وعودة القدس وحق العودة للاجئين، لكن لا يفاجئنا صدور هذا الكلام عن كلّ ملتزم بهذه الثقافة لحلّ القضية الفلسطينية، ولا نخجل من دعوته للتمسّك بها وإشهارها بوجه مشاريع تضييع القضية الفلسطينية بثمن بخس وشروط أشدّ إذلالاً، كما تفعل السعودية، ولن يلعب بعقولنا الذين يعزفون على أوتار قلوبنا بصراع عقائدي وجودي مع «إسرائيل»، وهم يصفقون لمن يريد السلام والأمن لـ«إسرائيل»، وقد بدأ تحالفه المعلن معها، ولا يحرجه الكلام عن أنّ «قضية القدس ثانوية أمام التحالف الخليجي مع إسرائيل بوجه إيران»، كما قال وزير خارجية البحرين، الذي لم نسمع بحقه كلمة لا من السعودية ولا من جماعاتها، بل رأينا ما يلاقيه بالأفعال وبعض الأقوال ككلام الجبير عن مفهوم السعودية للدور الأميركي والتطبيع، وكما يُقال «خذوا أسرارهم من صغارهم» فعلها الوزير البحريني وفضحهم، كصغير كبير الحجم، فليُسمعنا ريفي رأيه، بما قال الجبير وتابعه الخالد من آل خليفة.

– تذكرنا حفلات الشاي في مرجعيون ونحن نسمع ريفي يحاضر بالصراع العقائدي مع «إسرائيل».

 

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Turkey’s Erdogan calls on all Islamic states to declare East Jerusalem capital of Palestine

Abbas says no future US role in peace process, threatens to void past agreements

 

PA president blasts Trump’s decision to recognize Israel’s capital; Turkey’s Erdogan calls on all Islamic states to declare East Jerusalem capital of Palestine

ed note–everyone needs to understand something very clearly about all of this.

The entire ‘peace process’ that has existed since Israel got her grubby hands on the Levant in 1947 has been the PRIMARY mechanism–outside of the obvious brutality and bloodshed which is her calling card–in grabbing/gobbling up more Palestinian land. Dangling the hopes for ‘peace’ in front of the Palestinians and the rest of the world has been the ‘bait and switch’ tactic she has used in creating ‘facts on the ground’ that she then utilizes in justifying her exerting military, political, and economic control over Palestinian land.

Trump’s Jerusalem ‘declaration’ and its immediate, predictable, and inevitable backlash has–at least in the near future–rendered Israel’s most lethal anesthesia, the prospect of a negotiated settlement using the US as the broker–obsolete. In this respect, as is now being said even by Palestinian commentators themselves, Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem was not as much a Hannukuh gift for the Jews as much as it was a Christmas gift for the Muslims and Christians who now have the one unifying issue needed in eviscerating all the artificially-created rifts and factions among them that Israel has used to great success–Jerusalem.

Times of Israel

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday that Palestinians won’t accept any future role for the US in the peace process due to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and threatened to pull out of existing agreements with the Jewish state.

Abbas told an emergency meeting of Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul that there could be “no peace or stability” in the Middle East until Jerusalem is recognized as the capital of a Palestinian state.

Turkey is hosting the 57-member OIC in the wake of the US decision — a move widely criticized across the world but hailed by Israel. The summit is expected to forge a unified position of Arab and Muslim countries.

“Jerusalem is and will forever be the capital of the Palestinian state… There will be no peace, no stability without that,” Abbas proclaimed.

He slammed Trump’s declaration as a “crime” and a “gift” to the “Zionist movement” — as if he “were giving away an American city” — and asserted that Washington no longer had any role to play in the peace process.

Abbas said the Palestinians had been engaged with Washington in a new push to reach a peace agreement with Israel, the “deal of our times.” But “instead we got the slap of our times,” Abbas said. “The United States has chosen to lose its qualification as a mediator … We will no longer accept that it has a role in the political process.” He suggested the UN should take over as mediator.

Abbas noted that the international community had nearly unanimously opposed Trump’s decision, calling it a “provocation” to Muslims and Christians and saying measures were needed to protect the identity of the divided city.

“We will tell the Israelis that we are no longer committed to any agreement from Oslo from today,” he threatened, asserting that the Palestinian Authority intended to return to the United Nations to gain full membership.

“We agreed with America we would not join international institutions on the condition that American does not transfer its embassy, does not initiate any action against our office in Washington, and orders Israel to freeze settlement building,” Abbas said.

He also called on all OIC countries to reassess their diplomatic relations with all countries in light of their responses to Trump’s decision.

“If there is no Palestinian state along the June 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, there will not be peace in the region, in the territories or in the world,” he said. “They must choose.”

Addressing the gathering before Abbas, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the summit’s host, urged the world to recognize East Jerusalem as the “capital of Palestine.”

“I am inviting the countries who value international law and fairness to recognize occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine,” he said, adding that Islamic countries would “never give up” on that demand.

Erdogan sharply criticized Israel, calling it a “terror state.”

Erdogan said in his speech that Jerusalem is a “red line” for Muslims, who would not accept any “aggression” toward its Islamic sanctuaries, and asserted that the “process to include Palestine in international agreements and institutions should be sped up.”

Unified Muslim voice on Jerusalem

In calling Wednesday’s special meeting, Erdogan, whose country holds the rotating chairmanship of the OIC, the world’s main pan-Islamic body, was seeking to marshal Muslim leaders toward a coordinated response to the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In his address last week, Trump defied worldwide warnings and insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace, a new approach was long overdue. He described his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality.

Trump stressed that he was not specifying the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in the city, and called for no change in the status quo at the city’s holy sites. The final status of Jerusalem is a key issue in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, who claim the eastern neighborhoods of the city as their future capital.

The move was hailed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum, but rejected by the international community.

In the Muslim and Arab world, Trump’s announcement prompted an outpouring of anger, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets to denounce the Jewish state and show solidarity with the Palestinians. The decision also sparked protests in the West Bank and Gaza, with four Palestinians killed in clashes or Israeli airstrikes in response to rocket fire from Gaza and hundreds wounded.

The Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip last week called for a new intifada against Israel and urged Palestinians to confront soldiers and settlers.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Jordanian King Abdullah II and Lebanese President Michel Aoun are among the heads of state attending the meeting.

Erdogan — who regards himself a champion of the Palestinian cause and has repeatedly described Israel as a “terrorist state” — is looking for a tough final statement against the decision.

Arab countries have so far condemned Israel without announcing any concrete measures.

Arab League foreign ministers in a resolution after an emergency meeting in Cairo on Saturday urged Washington to rescind its Jerusalem declaration and the international community to recognize a Palestinian state.

In intensive telephone diplomacy in the last days, Erdogan has sought to win support from leaders beyond the Muslim world. At a joint press conference after talks in Ankara late Monday, he said he and Russian President Vladimir Putin had taken a similar approach on the issue, accusing Israel of continuing to “add fuel to the flames.”

Jerusalem’s status is perhaps the most sensitive issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel sees the entire city as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians claim its eastern neighborhoods and the Old City as the capital of their future state.

If Trump Declares Al-Quds the Capital of ‘Israel’, Chaos Will Reign


06-12-2017 | 10:11

Amid three catastrophic Middle East wars, it would be difficult to imagine anything more provocative, dangerous – or just plain insane – than for the Americans to move their embassy from Tel Aviv to [Al-Quds] ‘Jerusalem’. Yet that is just what Donald Trump is this week thinking of doing. In a way, we should have expected this: mad presidents do mad things.
 

AlQuds


But is there no one in the White House able to restrain him? Not even Jared Kushner, who is supposed to be Trump’s Middle East hand? Or is Kushner too bound up in his latest scandal – just revealed by Newsweek that he failed to disclose his co-directorship of a foundation funding illegal Jewish colonies in the West Bank when he filed financial records with the Office of Government Ethics this year – to speak out?

For it’s not that the embassy itself is just a symbolic move. It means that the United States would acknowledge that the city of al-Quds, sacred to Muslims, Jews and Christians, is the capital of ‘Israel’, and that the Palestinians can never share it. The slovenly “peace process” – abandoned by the ‘Israelis’, then by the Palestinians and then by the Americans years ago, although “statesmen” still talk about it in the dream world in which they live – would no longer exist even in our imaginations.

That’s why everyone from Macron to Erdogan, from the Saudis to the EU, and of course the poor old Palestinians, have been variously criticizing and condemning Trump’s potential decision. If he doesn’t sign the old waiver – which has to be renewed every six months – to the US law to move the embassy, then he will indeed, to quote the Palestinian leadership, be risking an “ethnic” conflict.

Aren’t there enough wars in the Middle East to keep even the crazed White House busy? Trump has long ago taken the Sunni side in the Sunni-Shia conflict – but now he risks turning up the heat by infuriating both of them. The Arabs all know – and many ‘Israelis’ agree – that President Trump is bananas. But the ramifications of any movement of the embassy – or acceptance by Trump that al-Quds is indeed the ‘capital’ of ‘Israel’ – will be enormous. It will tell the Arabs, both Muslims and Christians, that their second most holy city belongs to the Jews of ‘Israel’ and not to them. It will tell the Iranians the same. It will mean the same to all the Muslim countries of the world.

Could Trump expect another warm welcome and traditional sword dance in Riyadh? Would the Saudis choose to buy all those billions of weapons from the US if it hands al-Quds to the ‘Israelis’? Muslims generally believe that the Prophet, born in Arabia, ascended from al-Quds to heaven.

In the West, it will further tear apart the relationship between Washington and the EU, it will damage Canadian-American relations – for Ottawa is surely not going to follow Washington’s move – and the EU, still fondly believing in the famous “peace process”, is certainly not going to respond by moving its own embassies to al-Quds. There are, of course, European consulates in al-Quds – but to cover the East al-Quds and the West Bank, not ‘Israel’.

Bibi Netanyahu and his extraordinarily right-wing ‘Israeli’ government will certainly be happy, for it will unleash a new and far greater expansion of Jewish colonies – which we still oddly call “settlements” – on Arab land, further aggravating the Palestinians. The ‘Israelis’ have been stealing land from their legal Arab owners for years, but President Trump would be taking from them even the hope of a capital in East al-Quds.

And how would the Palestinians of the refugee camps in Lebanon respond? There is scarcely a Palestinian home without a photograph of the al-Aqsa mosque on the wall. How will Hezbollah respond? Can they merely satisfy themselves with rhetoric – or will they need to fire some missiles over the ‘Israeli’-Lebanese border to express their fury?

And the Russians, the greatest ally of Syria – where Bashar al-Assad would surely declare his regime the standard bearer in a new battle for a “liberated al-Quds” – can scarcely let such a moment pass without taking the Arab side. And selling them the warships, fighter aircraft and missiles which they have hitherto bought from the Americans.

An ‘Israeli’ dream might come true if Trump announces al-Quds as ‘Israel’s’ capital. But so will an Arab nightmare. At least when al-Quds remained the subject of ‘Israeli’-Palestinian negotiations, the Arabs of the West Bank could believe in the vague hope of a share of the city. But if Trump goes ahead, then America can never field another “peace process”, even an imaginary one. “A colossal blunder” will be the least the world will say about the United States if Trump does not sign the waiver.

Source: The Independent, Edited by website team

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