Israel Prepares for Annexation of the West Bank

By Jeremy Salt

Source

Netanyha Gantz b3bd0

Since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, Israel and its global lobbies have had an extraordinary run of success.

In the US and Canada, the passage of laws against the BDS movement; US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the shifting of the embassy there; the appointment of an ambassador who is no more than Israel’s point man in Washington; the Kushner plan and US acceptance of Israeli annexation of the West Bank; and in the UK, the defeat of Jeremy Corbyn, partly if not largely based on  a slanderous campaign launched against the Labor Party generally and Corbyn personally.

This was the most malicious political assassination in British history, with the corporate media and the zionist lobby driving in the knives day after day. The main Jewish newspapers had already maligned Corbyn in the same front page editorial when the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, used the Corbyn-hating Times to attack Corbyn as “mendacious” and to plant fear amongst British Jews: “What will become of Jews and Judaism in Britain if the Labor Party forms the next government?” Nothing would happen, of course, not to British Jews, but there would be significant changes affecting Britain’s relations with the racist settler enterprise it established in Palestine more than a century ago.

These attacks were not about Judaism but Israel. Jeremy Corbyn is not an anti-semite. This is so obvious that it should not need saying. The false charge of anti-semitism is the weapon used by zionists throughout modern history to destroy critics of Israel and here it was being used again.

Had Corbyn expressed undying support for Israel – as Keir Starmer has since done –  this issue would never have arisen.  Jews inside and outside the Labor Party would have issued statements that while there were bad apples in every barrel,  anti-semitism was a minor issue which the party leadership was dealing with. They would not have hesitated to canvass votes for the Labor Party.

Corbyn has a lifelong record of defending human rights everywhere and that includes the human rights of the Palestinians. Had he been elected he would have re-orientated foreign policy in their favor. That had to be prevented at all costs and the accusation of anti semitism was the weapon used,  on the grounds that repeated often enough people would believe it.

Thus a good man with good policies was thrown aside and a buffoon with no policies installed in his place. In time, once they realize they were duped, the British people may remember the knifing of Corbyn by the zionists.

Now Israel is moving on to its next success, the annexation of the West Bank. This is due to begin on July 1, Netanyahu and Gantz having agreed on its fundamentals and the US ready to rubber-stamp whatever portion of territory they decide to take.

Initially, this seems to be 30 percent plus the Jordan Valley. The 70 percent ostensibly left to the Palestinians will mostly consist mostly of rural land running alongside the border with Jordan.

The Trump-Kushner  ‘peace’ plan was deliberately written to be unacceptable to the Palestinians, all of them, including the now-embittered Mahmud Abbas. His ‘threats’ to rip up all accords if they go ahead is no more than the squeaking of a rusty wheel. He used the zionists and they used him. Now he has been discarded, Mahmud Abbas is of no relevance to anyone.

In the soundings he would have taken before his plan was released,  Kushner would have known perfectly well that the Palestinians would never accept it. No capital in Jerusalem, disarmament in Gaza as well as on the West Bank, Israel in charge of ‘security’ and all borders, no right of return, no more legal claims against Israel on the basis of history, no independent foreign policy, no joining of any international organization except with Israel’s approval, no more payments to the families of martyrs (Israel’s ‘terrorists’) and the acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state.  This was the price demanded of the Palestinians in return for their ‘state’ and as Kushner well knew, they could not possibly pay it.  His plan was designed from the start to be rejected by the Palestinians.

Even if they had accepted this ‘deal’ every loophole had been inserted into it to make sure  Israel ultimately gets what it wants  – all of the West Bank – anyway.  This situation,  of an offer they could not possibly accept,  is one imposed on them throughout their modern history.  When they reject what they cannot possibly accept, whether it be the Peel partition plan of 1937, the UN partition plan of 1947, the establishment of Israel on their land in 1948 or  the Camp David plan of the 1990s,  it is they who are made to shoulder the blame for the failure of the latest ‘peace process.’ If there is a difference now, it is that the Kushner-Trump-Netanyahu plan is so transparently shoddy that anyone with eyes in their head can see right through it.

With increasing portions of the West Bank annexed, under the false sovereignty of an occupying power, the Palestinians will eventually be outnumbered by the settlers poured into their land.  This is the script being written by Netanyahu and his cohorts. A racist parliament will endorse it and even more pseudo-legal and practical obstacles will be raised to make life even more unbearable for the Palestinians.

This is a heinous plan, a plan devoid of any legality, a plan cooked up by criminals and charlatans. The zionists may see it as the end of the road but this is a long war and annexation is no more than another milestone in the struggle against the takeover of Palestine by European colonists in the 20th century.

If The US Is OK with Israeli Annexing the West Bank, Why Is It Sanctioning Russia for Annexing Crimea?

By David Morrison

Source

Trump at the Israeli American Council National Summit 8b64d

At a ceremony in the East Room in the White House on 28 January 2020, President Trump unveiled his 181-page “vision” for Israel/Palestine to an audience of enthusiastic cheerleaders, many flown in from Israel for the occasion. While he spoke, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood by his side and afterwards he welcomed the President’s “vision” ecstatically.

And well he might.  The “vision” was written for him, if not by him.  According to US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, it is the “product of more than three years of close consultations” between Trump, Netanyahu and their senior staff.  Understandably, therefore, it gives Netanyahu almost everything he has ever wished for politically.  In essence, the document is an agreement between the US and Israel about the future of Israel/Palestine.

Trump’s favours to Netanyahu

Of course, this is not the first incidence of Prime Minister Netanyahu, and Israel, receiving political favours from President Trump.  Already, under the Trump administration,

  • in December 2017, the US recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and, in May 2018, moved the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv
  • in August 2018, the US ended financial support for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
  • in September 2018, the US cut $25 million of financial support for 6 hospitals for the care of Palestinians in East Jerusalem
  • in September 2018, the US closed the PLO office in Washington
  • in February 2019, the US ended financial support to the Palestinian Authority
  • in March 2019, the US recognised as Israeli sovereign territory the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (which Israel took over by force in 1967 and has subjected to military occupation ever since)
  • in November 2019, the US declared that the 130+ Jewish-only settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Golan Heights are “not per se inconsistent with international law” (in the words of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo)

Perhaps, the US flagrantly breaching the nuclear deal it signed with Iran (and other states) should be added to this list.  When he unveiled his “vision” on 28 January 2020, President Trump boasted:

“As everyone knows, I have done a lot for Israel: moving the United States Embassy to Jerusalem; recognizing — (applause) –- recognizing the Golan Heights — (applause) — and, frankly, perhaps most importantly, getting out of the terrible Iran nuclear deal.  (applause)”

A much bigger favour to Netanyahu

Now, the President has done Netanyahu (and Israel) a much bigger favour – he has undertaken that the US will henceforth recognise a lot more Israeli-occupied territory as sovereign Israeli territory, this time territory East of the Green Line, that is, in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem).

In recent months, Netanyahu has said that he wanted to annex to Israel (a) the Jordan Valley and (b) areas surrounding the Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank.  It is probably not a coincidence that annexations along these lines are at the heart of the President’s “vision” for Israel/Palestine – and there is no suggestion that Palestinians are to be consulted, let alone have a veto, about these annexations.

After the President unveiled his “vision”, Netanyahu responded ecstatically:

“This is a historic day.  And it recalls another historic day.  We remember May 14th, 1948, because on that day, President Truman became the first world leader to recognize the State of Israel after our first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, declared our independence.  That day charted a brilliant future.

“Mr. President, I believe that down the decades — and perhaps down the centuries — we will also remember January 28th, 2020, because on this day, you became the first world leader to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over areas in Judea and Samaria that are vital to our security and central to our heritage.  (Applause) …

“For too long — far too long — the very heart of the Land of Israel where our patriarchs prayed, our prophets preached, and our kings ruled, has been outrageously branded as illegally occupied territory.  Well, today, Mr. President, you are puncturing this big lie.  (Applause)

“You are recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over all the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, large and small alike.  (Applause)”

Israel seized the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) by military force in June 1967 and has colonised it relentlessly in the ensuing years transferring over 620,000 of its citizens across the Green Line into Jewish-only settlements.

If some or all of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) becomes sovereign Israeli territory on a permanent basis, then with the blessing of the US, Israel will have acquired territory by military force in flagrant violation of the first principle of international law.  The US can no longer complain about Russia annexing Crimea, not least because that was done with the consent of the people living there.

A false notion: Israel an occupier

This US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over first the Golan Heights and now parts of the West Bank was foreshadowed during the Trump presidential campaign by his advisory team on Israel.  This consisted of Jason Greenblatt, who was until recently his chief negotiator on Israel/Palestine (along with his son-in-law, Jared Kushner), and David Friedman, who is now US Ambassador to Israel.

A joint statement by Greenblatt and Friedmanjoint statement by Greenblatt and Friedman on 2 November 2016 contained the following short but very significant sentence:

“The false notion that Israel is an occupier should be rejected.”

That principle has been implemented in respect of the Golan Heights and now in respect of part of the West Bank.  In addition, it is reflected in US State Department documents, which no longer refer to the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), Gaza and the Golan Heights as “the occupied territories”.

The internationally agreed position

The Security Council has always regarded the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) as Israeli occupied territory and never as territory belonging to the State of Israel.  Thus, Security Council Resolution 2334 passed on 23 December 2016 specifically called upon UN member states to “distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967”.

The same is true of the International Court of Justice (“the principal judicial organ of the United Nations” in the words of the UN Charter).  In its July 2004 Advisory Opinion Legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory it left no doubt that Israel was the occupying power in  the West Bank under international law:

“The territories situated between the Green Line … and the former eastern boundary of Palestine under the Mandate were occupied by Israel in 1967 during the armed conflict between Israel and Jordan. … All these territories (including East Jerusalem) remain occupied territories and Israel has continued to have the status of occupying Power.” (Paragraph 78)

All, or nearly all, states in the world (apart from Israel and the US) accept this UN position that the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) is Israeli occupied territory.

Most states also accept the UN position that, along with Gaza, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) should form the territory of a Palestinian state, with its capital in East Jerusalem, existing alongside Israel in its pre-1967 borders – and that any adjustments to the pre-1967 borders by way of land swaps must be agreed between Israel and Palestine.  The EU has always been very firm on the latter point, saying:

“The EU will recognize changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, only when agreed by the parties.”

Of course, a “two-state solution” along these lines is not going to happen.  It’s not going to happen because Israel has no intention of reversing its aggression of June 1967 and withdrawing from the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) so that a Palestinian state can be established.  And there is no chance of sufficient external pressure being brought to bear on Israel to force it to withdraw – which is what should have been done in the wake of Israel’s aggression in June 1967.

A Palestinian “state”

Trump’s “vision” document does propose the creation of a Palestinian “state”, of a kind arrogantly dictated by the US and Israel.  They have decreed that its territory would consist of Gaza plus those parts of the West Bank (about 50% of it) not already selected by them for annexation to Israel – and that it would have a capital on the outskirts of East Jerusalem, not in Jerusalem itself.

Its West Bank territory would consist of a number of non-contiguous chunks, linked together by a network of roads, bridges and tunnels and surrounded by territory to be annexed to Israel – and therefore with no access to the outside world except through Israeli-controlled territory.

At Israel’s insistence, the Palestinian “state” would be demilitarised, and Israel would retain the right to make armed incursions into its territory to ensure that it remained demilitarised and, in Israel’s opinion, non-threatening to Israel.  Hamas and other paramilitary groups in Gaza would have to disarm, recognise the State of Israel (with its greatly expanded territory, presumably) and hand over control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority or “another national or international body acceptable to the State of Israel”, to quote from Trump’s “vision” document.

If this “state” were ever to come into existence, it would mean the continuation of Israeli occupation for Palestinians with Israel still in control of all the land between the Jordan and the Sea.

(For more on the US/Israel requirements for a Palestinian “state”, see the Endnote below)

Negotiations with Palestinians?

Responding to President Trump in the White House on 28 January, Netanyahu said:

“Mr. President, … because I believe your peace plan strikes the right balance where other plans have failed, I’ve agreed to negotiate peace with the Palestinians on the basis of your peace plan.  (Applause)”

Later he qualified this by saying that Palestinians had to “agree to abide by all the conditions” in the “peace plan” (see Endnote below) before Israel would be prepared to “negotiate peace” with them.

Trump had earlier said that the territory he had allocated to a Palestinian “state” would “remain open and undeveloped for a period of four years” during which Palestinians can “negotiate with Israel, achieve the criteria for statehood, and become a truly independent and wonderful state”.

None of this matters, of course, since the “peace plan” is completely unacceptable to Palestinian leaders and to the Palestinian public: an opinion poll carried out by Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that 94% of Palestinians were opposed to it (despite President Trump’s judgment that: “It’s very good for them.  In fact, it’s overly good to them.”).

Are annexations going to happen?

Are the proposed annexations going to happen?  Almost certainly, they will, whether Netanyahu remains Prime Minister or is replaced by Benny Gantz.  Palestinian opposition will count for nothing.  Both Trump and Netanyahu made it clear on 28 January that the annexations are going ahead.  Trump said:

“We will form a joint committee with Israel to convert the conceptual map [pubin the “vision” document] into a more detailed and calibrated rendering so that recognition can be immediately achieved.”

In his response to Trump that day, Netanyahu said:

“Regardless of the Palestinian decision [to enter into negotiations], Israel will preserve the path of peace in the coming years.  … At the same time, Israel will apply its laws to the Jordan Valley, to all the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and to other areas that your plan designates as part of Israel and which the United States has agreed to recognize as part of Israel.  (Applause)”

For obvious reasons, Netanyahu hoped that visible progress could be made on this prior to the Israeli General Election on 2 March.  However, the Trump administration vetoed that and insisted that the joint US/Israel mapping committee first complete its work of defining precisely what territory is to be annexed.  The committee has now been set up – it is headed by the US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, who explained that the US was anxious that the annexation process was completed properly in one go and the US didn’t have to recognise several incremental annexations.  Needless to say, there are no Palestinian representatives on this committee that is to divide up their land.

It is possible that, after the election on 2 March, Netanyahu will be replaced as Prime Minister by Benny Gantz, the leader of the Blue and White party (who was formerly head of the Israeli military).  Will that delay or prevent the annexations going ahead?  That’s unlikely, since from the outset he has expressed support for Trump’s plan: on 27 January after he was briefed by Trump himself about it, he described it as “a significant and historic milestone” and said:

“Immediately after the elections, I will work toward implementing it from within a stable, functioning Israeli government, in tandem with the other countries in our region.”

The President himself is bound to be keen to complete the annexations before his re-election campaign, because that would please the Evangelical Christian voters who form a significant part of his electoral base – and it would ensure that, if he lost the election, his Democratic successor would be faced with a fait accompli.

Almost all the Democratic presidential candidates have expressed opposition to his plan: for example, Senator Elizabeth Warren said:

“Trump’s ‘peace plan’ is a rubber stamp for annexation and offers no chance for a real Palestinian state. Releasing a plan without negotiating with Palestinians isn’t diplomacy, it’s a sham. I will oppose unilateral annexation in any form—and reverse any policy that supports it.”

But would a Democratic president attempt to reverse the annexations?  That’s very doubtful, since it would require at the very least the US to threaten to cut off military aid to Israel.

What is to be annexed

Under the Oslo Agreement, the Israeli-occupied West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem) was divided into three areas.  The largest, Area C, with around 61% of the land area is where Israel has built 130+ Jewish-only settlements.

Israel treats Area C as if its sole purpose is to serve Israeli needs, expanding settlements there relentlessly, their population having more than tripled since the Oslo Agreement was signed in 1993.  Israel doesn’t consider itself obligated in any way to the estimated 200,000 Palestinians living in Area A, banning virtually all construction and development by them.  When, having no other option, Palestinians build without permits, their buildings, including their living quarters, are liable to be demolished by Israel, with the residents themselves being billed for the demolition costs.

Most of the approximately 2.5 million Palestinian residents of the West Bank live in Areas A and B, which consist of 165 disconnected “islands” surrounded by land designated as part of Area C.

In total, Israel has transferred over 413,000 of its citizens into Area C.  A further 209,000 Israeli citizens now live in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem.  Colonisation of occupied territory was and is contrary to international law – to be precise, it is war crime contrary to Article 8.2(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which states that “the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” is a war crime.

Up to now, Israel has treated the settlements in Area C as extensions of its sovereign territory, applying most of its domestic laws there and allowing settlers to vote in Knesset elections.  Now, the settlements are to be annexed and treated as an integral party of Israel.  Here, we are talking about all the settlements and the land around them being annexed to Israel, not just a few of the settlements located close to the Green Line.  This avoids any political difficulties for an Israeli government from having to uproot Jews from outlying settlements and repatriate them to Israel.

The fact that the settlements are widely spread across the West Bank makes it difficult to construct a contiguous territory to be annexed to Israel.  Nevertheless, Trump’s “vision” document claims that “approximately 97% of Israelis in the West Bank will be incorporated into contiguous Israeli territory”.  But, 15 of the settlements are planned to be in enclaves within “Palestinian territory” with dedicated access routes connecting them to Israeli-controlled territory.  (By “Palestinian territory”, we mean the territory in the West Bank generously assigned to a Palestinian “state” by the US and Israel).

It is Trump’s “vision” that this territory with its attached enclaves become sovereign Israeli territory.  Conquest and a 50-year programme of colonisation is about to bear fruit for Israel.

Jordan Valley

The US has also agreed that the Jordan Valley be annexed to Israel.  Trump’s “vision” states bluntly:

“The Jordan Valley, which is critical for Israel’s national security, will be under Israeli sovereignty.” (p12)

East Jerusalem

When the US has recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, it didn’t formally recognise East Jerusalem as sovereign Israeli territory, even though Israel had long since treated it as such.

After capturing and occupying the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in June 1967, Israel greatly expanded the city by annexing West Bank land and applying Israeli law to the expanded city.  From then on, Israel regarded the expanded Jerusalem as an integral part of Israel.  This was not accepted by the Security Council, which has always regarded it (and the rest of the West Bank) as Israeli occupied territory, as did most states in the world, including the US, apart from Israel.

On Jerusalem, Trump’s “vision” states bluntly:

“Jerusalem will remain the sovereign capital of the State of Israel, and it should remain an undivided city.” (p17)

That would seem to be a statement that the US now recognises all of Jerusalem, including occupied East Jerusalem, as sovereign Israeli territory.

International reactions

The Ambassadors of three Gulf States – Oman, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates – attended the ceremony in the East Room in the White House on 28 January, when President Trump unveiled his “vision” for Israel/Palestine, and were publicly thanked by him for their attendance.

Afterwards, it was suggested that they attended the event because they were given the false impression that his “vision” included a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, whereas in reality there is no Palestinian state and no capital in East Jerusalem.

A few days later representatives from the three states joined the other members of the Arab League in unanimously rejecting what they called the US-Israeli deal, saying that it “does not meet the minimum rights and aspirations of Palestinian people”.  However, no action was proposed that would impose a cost on Israel for annexing Palestinian territory.

The EU was unable to make an official statement criticising the US proposals because that required unanimity amongst the 27 member states.  The EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell couldn’t achieve unanimity because, as a result of lobbying by Israel, at least six states (including Italy, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic) objected.

Borrell issued a critical statement on his own, warning that “steps towards annexation, if implemented, could not pass unchallenged”.  Those are empty words – on the Israel/Palestine issue the EU is now paralysed.

When the Security Council held a meeting on the US/Israel proposals on 11 February, the EU was not in a position to present an official policy on the proposals.  However, a joint statement issued by Belgium, France, Germany, Estonia and Poland at the Security Council had the merit of robustly restating EU policy:

“The annexation of any part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, constitutes a breach of international law, undermines the viability of the two-State solution and challenges the prospects for just, comprehensive and lasting peace. In line with international law and relevant UN Security Council resolutions, we do not recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied since 1967.”

The UK, by contrast, limited itself to expressing “concern” at the about possible annexations.

A draft Security Council resolution critical of the US/Israel proposals was not pressed to a vote because it was not going to get the nine positive votes necessary to force the US to veto it.

The sad conclusion is that there is no pressure worthy of the name on the US/Israel that might persuade them not to go ahead with the proposed annexations.

Crimea

To say that, in the past, the US has applied double standards in its response to Russia’s takeover of Crimea compared with Israel’s takeover of Palestinian territories is a gross understatement.

In June 1967, Israel took over Palestinian territories whose populations were overwhelmingly opposed to being taken over by Israel.  But no economic sanctions have ever been imposed by the US to force Israel to withdraw.  Quite the contrary, Israel has been showered with US tax dollars over the years and today it receives more US aid (mostly military) than any other state in the world.  Before leaving office, President Obama promised that this largesse would continue, promising Israel $38 billion over the following 10 years.

By contrast, in 2014 Russia took over Crimea whose population was both overwhelmingly Russian and overwhelmingly in favour of being taken over by Russia (and was part of Ukraine in 2014 rather than Russia because of an arbitrary decision in 1954 by the USSR Supreme Soviet to transfer it without its consent from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR).  Nevertheless, Russia was immediately subjected to economic sanctions by the US, sanctions that are still in force today.

With the President’s recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights and now great swathes of the West Bank, the divergence in standards has widened further.  To be consistent, the President should immediately recognise Russia’s sovereignty over Crimea and lift the economic sanctions imposed on Russia because of its takeover of Crimea.

Endnote: US/Israel requirements for a Palestinian “state”

The Palestinian “state” prescribed in President Trump’s “vision” for Israel/Palestine would mean the continuation of Israeli occupation in a not very different form: if the “state” ever came into existence, Israel would remain in control of all the land between the Jordan and the Sea, including the territory assigned to a Palestinian “state” by the US/Israel.

This territory includes Gaza and the West Bank, minus the areas in the West Bank which the US has approved for annexation by Israel in the “vision” document.  These areas consist of all the 130+ Jewish-only settlements built illegally by Israel since it took over the West Bank by force in 1967, along with large swathes of land around them, plus the Jordan Valley and East Jerusalem.

The West Bank territory of the “state” would consist of a number of non-contiguous chunks, linked together by a network of roads, bridges and tunnels and surrounded by territory to be annexed to Israel – and therefore with no access to the outside world except through Israeli-controlled territory.

Sovereignty

So much for the territory assigned by the US to the new Palestinian “state”.  As for the sovereignty, which the new “state” will be able to exercise, suffice to say the US has agreed that it will be highly restricted by Israel.  To quote from the “vision” document:

“Upon signing the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement, the State of Israel will maintain overriding security responsibility for the State of Palestine” (p21)

“The State of Israel will continue to maintain control over the airspace and the electromagnetic spectrum west of the Jordan river.” (Appendix 2C)

“The State of Israel will retain sovereignty over territorial waters, which are vital to Israel’s security and which provides stability to the region.” (p13)

“The lack of ports has raised the costs of Palestinian economic activity. Though the State of Palestine will include Gaza, security challenges make the building of a port in Gaza problematic for the foreseeable future.” (p27)

“Five years following the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement and assuming the full satisfaction of the Gaza Criteria, the State of Palestine shall have the right, subject to the satisfaction of State of Israel’s security and environmental requirements, to create an artificial island off the coast of Gaza to develop a port to serve Gaza (the “GAZA PORT”), as well as an airport for small aircraft.” (p29)

“All persons and goods will cross the borders into the State of Palestine through regulated border crossings, which will be monitored by the State of Israel. Israeli border crossing officials, using state of the art scanning and imaging technology, shall have the right to confirm that no weapons, dual-use or other security-risk related items will be allowed to enter into the State of Palestine.” (p24)

A demilitarized “state”

The “vision” document is clear:

“The State of Palestine shall be fully demilitarized and remain so” (p22)

The document extols the virtue of this for Palestine, presenting military expenditure as a burden which Israel is generously prepared to carry on behalf of Palestinians:

“Every country spends a very significant sum of money on its defense from external threats. The State of Palestine will not be burdened with such costs, because it will be shouldered by the State of Israel. This is a significant benefit for the economy of the State of Palestine since funds that would otherwise be spent on defense can instead be directed towards healthcare, education, infrastructure and other matters to improve Palestinians’ well-being.” (p21)

“A demilitarized State of Palestine will be prohibited from possessing capabilities that can threaten the State of Israel including:  weapons systems such as combat aircraft (manned and unmanned); heavy armored vehicles; mines; missiles; rockets; heavy machine guns; laser/radiating weapons; anti-air; anti-armor; anti-ship; military intelligence; offensive cyber and electronic warfare capabilities; production facilities and procurement mechanisms for weapons systems; military infrastructure and training facilities; or any weapons of mass destruction.” (Appendix 2C)

The State of Palestine will not have the right to forge military, intelligence or security agreements with any state or organization that adversely affect the State of Israel’s security, as determined by the State of Israel. The State of Palestine will not be able to develop military or paramilitary capabilities inside or outside of the State of Palestine.” (Appendix 2C)

Israel will have a permanent veto over Palestinian security capabilities:

“[Palestinian security] capabilities (i) may not (A) violate the principle that the State of Palestine in all its territory, including Gaza, shall be, and shall remain, fully demilitarized or (B) derogate the State of Israel’s overriding security responsibility, and (ii) will be agreed upon by the State of Palestine and the State of Israel.

“Any expansion of Palestinian security capabilities beyond the capabilities existing on the date this Vision is released shall be subject to agreement with the State of Israel.” (Appendix 2C)

Israel will retain the right to make armed incursions into Palestinian territory:

“The State of Israel will maintain the right to dismantle and destroy any facility in the State of Palestine that is used for the production of prohibited weapons or for other hostile purposes. While the State of Israel will use its best efforts to minimize incursions into the State of Palestine, the State of Israel will retain the right to engage in necessary security measures to ensure that the State of Palestine remains demilitarized and non-threatening to the State of Israel, including from terrorist threats.” (Appendix 2C)

Palestinian prisoners and administrative detainees in Israeli jails

The signing of a “peace agreement” is often accompanied by the release of prisoners and the granting of amnesty to individuals for actions prior to the signing of the agreement.

If this agreement ever came to pass, Palestinians would not even get their prisoners out.  Instead, the “vision” document sets out a very limited scheme for prisoner release and amnesty (p30): Israel will release Palestinian prisoners and administrative detainees, but not “(i) those convicted of murder or attempted murder, (ii) those convicted of conspiracy to commit murder … and (iii) Israeli citizens”.

In the first phase of releases immediately after an agreement is signed, prisoners to be released must generally have served at least two-thirds of their sentence; in the second phase, at an unspecified future time, they must have served at least half their sentence.

Refugees

First and foremost, the “vision” document states:

“There shall be no right of return by, or absorption of, any Palestinian refugee into the State of Israel.” (p32)

Secondly, Israel will be able to restrict Palestinian immigration into the “state” of Palestine:

“The rights of Palestinian refugees to immigrate to the State of Palestine shall be limited in accordance with agreed security arrangements.” (p33)

The immigration rate “shall be agreed to by the parties and regulated by various factors”, for example, “security risks to the State of Israel” (p33).  Presumably, one of “parties” will be Israel.

The United Nations Relief & Works Agency (UNRWA) which was established by the UN General Assembly in 1949, provides education, health care and social services in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) to over 5 million Palestinians registered as refugees with the Agency.

The “vision” document boasts: “In the last 10 years alone, the US contributed approximately $2.99 billion ($3.16 billion in 2017 terms), which accounted for 28% of all contributions to UNRWA” (p31).  The document doesn’t mention that the US ceased making contributions to UNRWA in August 2018.

A couple of pages later the document declares:

“Upon the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement, Palestinian refugee status will cease to exist, and UNWRA will be terminated and its responsibilities transitioned to the relevant governments.” (p33)

The document does not identify any “government” that has agreed to take over relevant UNRWA responsibilities, though it does say that the US “will endeavor to raise a fund to provide some compensation to Palestinian refugees” (p33).

Happily, UNRWA cannot be “terminated” by the US since it was established by the UN General Assembly and operates under its auspices.

Conduct During Negotiations

In Section 22 headed Conduct During Negotiations, the “vision” document instructs the PLO and the Palestinian Authority to

“Refrain from any attempt to join any international organization without the consent of the State of Israel;” (p39)

“Take no action, and shall dismiss all pending actions, against the State of Israel, the United States and any of their citizens before the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice, and all other tribunals” (p39)

It’s not clear if all these conditions continue to apply in the unlikely event of Palestinian statehood being achieved, for instance, would Israel have a veto over the State of Palestine being a party to the International Criminal Court?

The PLO and the Palestinian Authority is instructed to cease giving financial support to the families of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and

“Take all necessary actions to immediately terminate the paying of salaries to terrorists serving sentences in Israeli prisons, as well as to the families of deceased terrorists.  The latter must be done prior to the signing of an agreement.” (p39)

Conditions for Palestinian statehood

In Section 22, the “vision” document lays down an astonishing set of conditions which Palestinians must fulfil before they are deemed worthy of statehood by Israel and the US.  It says:

“The following criteria are a predicate to the formation of a Palestinian State and must be determined to have occurred by the State of Israel and the United States …

  • The Palestinians shall have implemented a governing system with a constitution or another system for establishing the rule of law that provides for freedom of press, free and fair elections, respect for human rights for its citizens, protections for religious freedom and for religious minorities to observe their faith, uniform and fair enforcement of law and contractual rights, due process under law, and an independent judiciary with appropriate legal consequences and punishment established for violations of the law.
  • The Palestinians shall have established transparent, independent, and credit-worthy financial institutions …
  • The Palestinians shall have achieved civilian and law enforcement control over all of its territory and demilitarized its population.
  • The Palestinians shall have complied with all the other terms and conditions of this Vision.”

Few states in this world satisfy these conditions, and none in the Middle East.

Not even Israel – because, according to the US, it discriminates against its Arab citizens.  In its 2016 Report on Human Rights Practices in Israel & the occupied territories (published on 3 March 2017), the US State Department asserts that one of “the most significant human rights problems in Israel” is “institutional and societal discrimination against Arab citizens of Israel, many of whom self-identify as Palestinian, in particular in access to equal education, housing, and employment opportunities”.

Clearly, Israel has some way to go before it is worthy of statehood.

 

Trump-Kushner-Netanyahu ‘Deal’: A Reiteration of the War on Palestine

By Jeremy Salt

Source

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A reiteration of the war on Palestine, on the Arab world, on the Muslim world, on international law and human rights. There is no other way to describe the Trump-Kushner-Netanyahu ‘deal.’

Media comment centers on the last opportunity for the Palestinians.  Will they take the scraps they are offered, or will they miss yet another opportunity to have something taken away from them?

This was the line used over decades by the glib South African-born zionist ‘foreign minister,’ Aubrey (Abba) Eban.  The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, he said,  many times.  In fact, if anyone has never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity it is the zionists.  They could have chosen to live with the Palestinians instead of them.  They could have accepted their return after 1948. They could have handed back the land they seized in 1967.  They could have honestly engaged with the so-called ‘peace process.’ They could have ended the blockade of Gaza.  They could have stopped seizing and settling the land of other people.  They could have agreed to share Al Quds.  They could have stopped their wars, assassination and settlement.

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*(South African-born zionist ‘foreign minister,’ Aubrey (Abba) Eban.)

What they could have done they never did.  Instead, they headed in the opposite direction,  financed, armed, protected and encouraged by the most powerful nation in the world.  A vulgarian property developer who once made ads for Pizza Hut has now told his zionist settler sidekick that he can have Palestine with the lot.  Nothing is missed out,  not Jerusalem, not the Jordan Valley and not the illegal settlements – the ‘ouposts’ –  as well as the legal ones, so says Netanyahu.    All are completely illegal, of course,  as is the presence of every settler on occupied land.

This demented agreement was put together by the plastic-faced Jared Kushner, who said, seriously apparently,  that he read all of 25 books to get a handle on the situation. By comparison, Trump is unlikely to have read one,  so no wonder he thinks his son-in-law is a genius.   This ‘deal’ – a deal without wheels –  is being taken seriously in the mainstream media, even if it is regarded as unworkable by many commentators.  In a way, of course, it has to be taken seriously as the zionists have the weaponry to do whatever they want, no matter how mad, rapacious or destructive of their own interests in the long term.

And this is something the media seems to have missed.  For whom, really, is this plan the last opportunity?  The assumption is that it is the Palestinians,  but have Trump and Kushner noticed that while the Palestinians do not have the weapons, they have the numbers, that already the Muslim-Christian population of Palestine between the Mediterranean and the Jordan river is probably already greater than the Jewish population.

Silly to ask, but have either of these two taken into account the Muslim hinterland,  the Muslim population of the Middle East and  North Africa (close to 600 million) and the world Muslim population (about 1.8 billion)?  By comparison, the Jewish population of occupied Palestine is less than seven million.  Far from trying to settle into the Muslim world, over more than seven decades it has done nothing but antagonizes it.  Like a spoilt child, it then complains that no one likes it, that the real reason for Muslim loathing of the zionist state is anti-semitism, and not its racist, murderous and thieving behavior.

This is the double game played endlessly by the zionist lobby around the world.  It hides behind the symbols of the religion it has hijacked.  The Star of David flies from the pennants of the tanks that shell apartment buildings in Gaza and is inscribed on the wings of the planes that destroy entire families with missiles. It is scrawled trumphantly on the walls of the West Bank. This is the Israel that the lobbyists and the rabbis defended behind their accusations against Jeremy Corbyn.  It is he who wanted to end these horrors and they, behind their lies and false accusations of anti-semitism against Corbyn and the entire Labor Party, wanted to leave the zionist state free to continue them.  It is they who are the racists and anti-Arab Semites, not Jeremy Corbyn.

Palestine remains part of Arab and Islamic history and identity and remains an Arab and Muslim cause whatever the exasperation felt at Arab governments and  the bungled and/or collaborationist policies of the Palestinian leadership.  By themselves the Palestinians had no hope of resisting the zionist takeover of their land.  Zionism was an imperial project and the zionist state was sequentially backed by the two mightiest empires on the planet, first Britain and then the United States.  No small group of people anywhere would have been able to resist their power.

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George Habash

The greater danger to Israel always lay in the surrounding Arab and Muslim world.

George Habash, the founder of the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) was writing in the 1950s that the road to the liberation of Palestine ran through the Arab world and this remains as true today as it was then, although the statement has to be qualified by adding “and the Muslim world.”

Israel understood this just as well as George Habash and knew that if it were to survive in the long term, the Arab world had to be fragmented, subverted,  dominated and kept off balance permanently.  This was the sine qua non of Israel’s existence. The ties that bound states together, that bound the region together and connected it with the wider Islamic world had to be broken.

It was not just armies and states that had to be broken but the Arab national idea and the Arab world as a presence in history and a place on the map.  It would have to be what Israel and the US wanted it to be.  It would have to be remade.  Towards this end the zionists were looking for weak links in the chain of Arab states even in the 1930s. They thought they had found the weakest in Lebanon, where they hoped to set up a puppet Christian government.  Not only did this not work but since the rise of Hizbullah the weakest link in the chain has turned into one of the strongest.

The Yinon Plan of the 1980s set out the strategy in full.  All Middle Eastern states were to be subjected to ethno-religious or tribal division.   This broad script was fine-tuned by Netanyahu and the zionists inside the US administration in the 1990s.  Iraq was the first of seven states targeted for destruction. The destruction through two wars and a decade of sanctions was enormous but the political strategy failed.   The Kurdish state-in-being, planned for northern Iraq by the US and Israel as a new center of strategic operations, has collapsed. The Shia-dominated government in Baghdad maintains good relations with Iran and following the assassination of Qasim Soleimani,  the Iraqi parliament demanded the complete withdrawal of US forces. Millions of people marched through the streets of Iraq’s cities as they did in Iran to mourn the murder of this outstanding military commander. Anti-American feeling in Iraq is at an all-time high.

The war in Syria was designed to bring down the axis of resistance (Iran, Syria and Hizbullah) at its central arch but that has failed, too.  Syria, its people and its military have resisted the most determined attempt ever made to destroy an Arab government.  Always popular, Bashar al Assad is now more popular than ever, as the army, backed by Russian air power, drives the takfiri terrorists from their last redoubt in Idlib province.  Syrian cities have been shattered, perhaps half a million people have been killed but the US-Israeli political strategy in Syria has failed too.

For anyone who has been watching closely enough,  the wheel of history, once turning in Israel’s favor, has been slowly turning against it for decades. Israel came close to defeat in the first week of the 1973 war. It drove the PLO out of Lebanon only to awaken a far more powerful enemy, Hizbullah. In every war it has fought or operation it has launched,  the remorseless use of air power has been critical.  Nevertheless, even with air cover its foot soldiers were driven out of southern Lebanon in 2000 and, outfought by Hizbullah’s part-time soldiers,  humiliated again when they returned in 2006.

Hizbullah and Iran have been working for decades on how to neutralize Israel’s air power. If – or once – they succeed in doing this, Israel is going to be in deep trouble on the battlefield.  Threatened repeatedly with destruction by the US and Israel, Iran has had to develop a new range of missiles capable of causing devastation to US bases, aircraft and warships in the region.  The retaliation which followed the murder of Qasim Soleimani was an example.  The Americans failed to stop even one of the Iranian missiles directed against two of its bases in Iraq.  Aircraft were destroyed in their hangars and while no soldiers were killed – so the US government says – dozens suffered severe brain injuries, apparently from concussion, with a number being flown to Germany for emergency treatment.  Iran said immediately after the strike that the casualties were far greater than media reports indicated and now the US has admitted that more than 100 suffered “mild” brain trauma.

Hizbullah has its own stocks of missiles, far greater in number and sophistication than in 2006,  and has its targets already worked out for when the next war comes.  As Israel’s military commanders are making clear,  the next war is a question of ‘when’ and not ‘if.’ They are warning the civilian population to be prepared for the unprecedented scale of the casualties they are going to suffer.

So, for whom is the bell really tolling now, the Palestinians or the zionists? Gideon Levy writes that the Kushner-Trump deal is likely to trigger off a third nakba.  This is incorrect, as there has only been one nakba, continuing now for more than seven decades. David Hearst, writing in Middle East Eye, thinks all the Palestinians have to sit tight, because between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, they are going to win the war of numbers, if they haven’t won it already.   By implication, once the war of numbers is won, the war itself is won.  The zionist state will see reason and turn itself into the secular democratic state the Palestinians always wanted, with equal rights for all. Given that they would be the majority, they would have to be the dominant element in any freely-elected government.  The zionist dream-nightmare would be over.

This is not likely to happen.  Zionism is an extreme ideology and the politicians running the zionist state now are the most extreme since its foundation.  They are not going to surrender because of demographics.   They will simply try harder to overcome the problem. They still want all the Palestinians out of Palestine or at the very least reduced to an inconsequential ethnic remnant.   Between the apartheid state and the democratic state,  this is their preferred solution.

What they need is another war enabling them to strike down their external enemies and simultaneously solve the ‘Palestine problem’ once and for all.   If (or rather when) such a war does break out, Hizbullah will swamp the zionist state with missiles in such numbers as to overwhelm its defense systems.  The Palestinians will be determined to stay put but in the fog of war, while the world is looking elsewhere, at missile attacks on US bases and soaring oil prices following the closure of the Straits of Hormuz,  perhaps they can again be terrorized into leaving.  Even the most steadfast Palestinians have families to protect and if they won’t go,  then the level of terror only has to be increased until they do. This is the evil calculus applied before and likely to be applied again once the opportunity arises or, more accurately, can be created.

Who wants such a war? Not the Palestinians, and not Hizbullah or Iran although they have had no option but to prepare for it. Who has set up the conditions for such a war,  decade after decade to the point where it has to be regarded as inevitable unless ‘the Arabs’ and the Muslims really are the useless orientals of the western imagination, there to be kicked around endlessly?  Israel has, by its disgraceful behavior.  So has the US and so has the ‘west’ in general, its governments, its media and its institutions (where has the UN Secretary-General, the moral guardian of peace in the world, been during the eight atrocious years of war on Syria? Hiding in a cupboard?). It is ‘the west’ generically which created Israel, and has allowed it to get away with wars, ethnic cleansing, massacres, assassination and occupation generation after generation.

Perhaps a shattering setback is all that will bring this utterly dangerous state to its senses.  Of course, there is always the possibility that it will go completely off the edge and use its nuclear weapons, turning the central lands of the Middle East into a wasteland but at least taking its enemies down with it in the most pyrrhic of victories. These are grim possibilities but they have to be taken seriously.

Kissing International Law Goodbye to Satisfy Israeli Greed

Passionate Zionist’ Boris Johnson and his lieutenants speak with forked tongue on Palestinian rights and sovereignty. And the small matter of justice simply isn’t in their playbook.

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By Stuart Littlewood

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Palestinian chiefs say that Trump’s so-called peace plan contains 300 violations of international law and they will take it up with the Security Council. That’s nearly two violations per page. Given the document was put together by America and Israel, both lawless and criminal to the core, no-one is surprised. It is a brazen expression of criminal intent from start to finish.

In the UK our new Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, has shot to prominence.  We’re told he spent the summer of 1998 at Birzeit University (in Palestine’s West Bank) working for one of the PLO’s chief negotiators on the Oslo peace accords. That doomed-to-fail initiative began in 1993 and created a form of interim governance and the framework for a final treaty by the end of 1998. So Mr Raab was there at a time when the two sides had been faffing about for 5 years achieving nothing.

In October 1998 the US, desperate to keep the charade going, convened a summit at Maryland’s Wye River Plantation at which Clinton with Yasser Arafat, Benjamin Netanyahu, and senior negotiators produced the Wye River Memorandum. Not that this did much good either. But Raab must have learned a lot about Israeli perversity and intransigence, not to mention America’s shortcomings as an honest broker.

Before entering Parliament Raab joined the Foreign Office and worked at the The Hague bringing war criminals to justice, then became an adviser on the Arab-Israeli conflict. But you wouldn’t think so when looking at his latest performances.

As reported in Jewish News Raab welcomed Trump’s so-called peace plan calling it “a serious proposal, reflecting extensive time and effort. A peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians that leads to peaceful coexistence could unlock the potential of the entire region, and provide both sides with the opportunity for a brighter future. Only the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian territories can determine whether these proposals can meet the needs and aspirations of the people they represent.

“We encourage them to give these plans genuine and fair consideration, and explore whether they might prove a first step on the road back to negotiations.”

His boss Boris Johnson said of it: “No peace plan is perfect, but this has the merit of a two-state solution. It is a two-state solution. It would ensure that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and of the Palestinian people.” A fatuous remark if ever there was one because (a) he clearly hadn’t read it carefully, (b) the Palestinians weren’t consulted, and (c) as Jewish News stated, a Palestinian capital would be established on the outskirts of East Jerusalem while most of Jerusalem, including the sublime and ancient walled city (which is officially Palestinian), would remain under Israeli control. That is perhaps the cruellest part of the Zionist swindle.

UK Government a ‘Force for Good’?

In the Global Britain debate on 3 February Raab pompously declared that “the third pillar of our global Britain will be the UK as an even stronger force for good in the world. Our guiding lights will remain the values of democracy, human rights and the international rule of law”.

But Alistair Carmichael (LibDem) pricked Raab’s pretty balloon, asking: “If the concept of a global Britain is to have any meaning and value, surely it must have respect for human rights and an international rules-based order at its heart. With that in mind, will the Foreign Secretary reconsider the unqualified support he gave to President Trump last week in respect of the so-called peace plan for Palestine? Will the right hon. Gentleman repudiate the proposed annexation of the West Bank and at long last support the recognition of a Palestinian state?”

Raab replied: “I gently say to the right hon. Gentleman that I do not think he has read the detail of this. Whatever else he may disagree with, the one thing that the plan put forward by the US included was a recognition of and commitment to a two-state solution. We have been absolutely clear that that is the only way in which the conflict can be resolved…. Rather than just rejecting the plan, it is important that we try to bring the parties together around the negotiating table. That is the only path to peace and to a two-state solution.”

I’d have expected Raab, by now, to be extremely sceptical of any two-state solution given the many irreversible facts on the ground that Israel has been allowed to create with impunity. And he would know better than most how many times the sides have come to the table for grotesquely lopsided negotiations and how the Israelis never honour the agreements they make.

Raab won the Clive Parry Prize for International Law while at Cambridge. So if he’s so wedded to the values of democracy, human rights and the international rule of law, why are these vital ingredients missing from his recipe for peace? It must be obvious to everyone – except Government ministers – that you cannot achieve peace without justice. And justice in the form of UN resolutions and international and humanitarian law has already spoken several times. It waits… and waits… and waits… to be implemented.

Then we had Dr Andrew Murrison, Minister of State for International Development & the Middle East, in answer to a written question: “We have made clear our deep concern about the suggestion that any parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territories should be annexed…. Any declaration of a unilateral border change undermines the rules-based international order and the UN Charter. The UK calls on all parties to refrain from actions in contravention of international law that would imperil the viability of a two-state solution, based on the 1967 lines, and make it harder to achieve a just and lasting peace.”

Dr Murrison can’t have been paying attention. Illegal border changes departing from 1947 Partition lines and 1967 lines, annexations and other actions in contempt of international law and the UN Charter have been going on for 70 years simply because none of those pillars of modern civilisation have been enforced where Israel’s concerned. Rules-based international order has been constantly undermined and is now non-existent in the Holy Land.

The question is, what does the UK Government, which is largely responsible for this sorry state of affairs, going to do about it besides mouthing the usual limp-wristed idiocy? Is the Johnson administration happy, in George Orwell’s words, for the US-UK-Israeli boot to stamp on the human face of the Palestinians for ever?

BDS targeted

And as if the Holy Land fiasco wasn’t enough we must put up with crass ministerial utterances on the home front. Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government, complains that only 136 of the 343 local authorities in England have agreed to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism and insists that all universities and local councils “must adopt” it. If they don’t, and they fail to tackle anti-Semitism, they can expect to lose public funding.

According to the Jewish Chronicle he vowed to take action against universities and “parts of local government” who have become “corrupted” by anti-Semitism. Writing in the Sunday Express, he added: “I will use my position as Secretary of State to write to all universities and local authorities to insist that they adopt the IHRA definition at the earliest opportunity. I expect them to confirm to me when they do so.”

Jenrick qualified as a lawyer so should respect warnings by top legal opinion (for example Hugh Tomlinson QC, Sir Stephen Sedley and Geoffrey Robertson QC) that the IHRA definition is “most unsatisfactory”, has no legal force, and using it to punish could be unlawful. It also undermines Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 10 of the UK’s own Human Rights Act 1998.

But Jenrick seems to have aligned himself with sinister moves by Johnson aimed at protecting Israel from the consequences of its countless breaches of international law and crimes against the Palestinians by banning public bodies from imposing their own boycotts, disinvestment or sanctions (BDS). What could any decent administration possibly fear from BDS? It is simply a peaceful response to Israel’s thuggery. It urges non-violent pressure on Israel until it complies with international law by meeting three perfectly reasonable demands:

  • Ending its unlawful occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall (international law recognises the West Bank including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Syrian Golan Heights as occupied by Israel).
  • Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality.
  • Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

So how is Boris Johnson proposing to block BDS? Briefing notes accompanying the Queen’s Speech to Parliament, which set out his Government’s programme, said:

  • We will stop public institutions from imposing their own approach or views about international relations, through preventing boycotts, divestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries and those who trade with them.
  • This will create a coherent approach to foreign relations from all public institutions, by ensuring that they do not go beyond the UK Government’s settled policy towards a foreign country. The UK Government is responsible for foreign relations and determining the best way to interact with its international neighbours.

The ban will apply to institutions across the public sector, not just councils, and will cover purchasing, procurement and investment decisions.

Johnson and his underlings just don’t get it. BDS is a legitimate, peaceful way of opposing the Israel’s illegal occupation. Put simply, as long as the Occupation is business as usual for Israel, there should be no business with Israel.  Furthermore the foreign policies of successive UK governments have not met with the approval of the British people, and never will with US-Israel pimps dictating at Westminster.

If the Government’s “settled policy” towards Israel was consistent with international law and human rights conventions – as it should be – there’d be no need for BDS campaigns because the UK would already be applying sanctions. Furthermore the Conservatives’ election manifesto pledged to “ensure that no one is put off from engaging in politics…. by threats, harassment or abuse, whether in person or online”. They also promised to champion the rule of law, human rights, free trade, anti-corruption efforts and a rules-based international system – all of which Israel refuses to comply with.

Yet, only last month Jenrick announced to a Conservative Friends of Israel parliamentary reception that he would “look forward to the day” when Britain’s embassy in Israel will be “moved to Jerusalem”. And he told the Board of Deputies of British Jews he would not tolerate local authority approved BDS campaigns in the UK. “Local authorities should not be wasting time and taxpayer’s money by dabbling in foreign policy or pursuing anti-Israel political obsessions.”

By the same token one might ask why the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government is wasting time and taxpayers’ money dabbling in foreign policy and advocating on behalf of a foreign military power? It’s not in his job spec.

Kenrick has an Israeli-born wife and is a member of Conservative Friends of Israel. Before he tries ordering local authorities what to think and do he should have the courtesy to declare these interests. According to the Guardian he’s an MP who is “on the up”. Heaven help us.

Johnson is expected to hold a Cabinet reshuffle this week. His administration is already top-heavy with Zionists and, as 80 percent of Conservative MPs are reportedly signed-up Friends of Israel, there’s no shortage of compliant stooge material to fill even more top posts.

Jared Kushner’s “Peace” Plan Is Designed to Screw the Palestinians Over

By Jonathan Cook

Source

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Maybe something good will come out of the Trump plan, after all. By pushing the Middle East peace process to its logical conclusion, Donald Trump has made crystal clear something that was supposed to have been obscured: that no US administration has ever really seen peace as the objective of its “peacemaking”.

The current White House is no exception – it has just been far more incompetent at concealing its joint strategy with the Israelis. But that is what happens when a glorified used-car salesman, Donald Trump, and his sidekick son-in-law, the schoolboy-cum-businessman Jared Kushner, try selling us the “deal of the century”. Neither, it seems, has the political or diplomatic guile normally associated with those who rise to high office in Washington.

During an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria this week, Kushner dismally failed to cloak the fact that his “peace” plan was designed with one goal only: to screw the Palestinians over.

The real aim is so transparent that even Zakaria couldn’t stop himself from pointing it out. In CNN’s words, he noted that “no Arab country currently satisfies the requirements Palestinians are being expected to meet in the next four years – including ensuring freedom of press, free and fair elections, respect for human rights for its citizens, and an independent judiciary.”

Trump’s senior adviser suddenly found himself confronted with the kind of deadly, unassailable logic usually overlooked in CNN coverage. Zakaria observed:

Isn’t this just a way of telling the Palestinians you’re never actually going to get a state because … if no Arab countries today [are] in a position that you are demanding of the Palestinians before they can be made a state, effectively, it’s a killer amendment?

Indeed it is.

In fact, the “Peace to Prosperity” document unveiled last week by the White House is no more than a list of impossible preconditions the Palestinians must meet to be allowed to sit down with the Israelis at the negotiating table. If they don’t do so within four years, and quickly reach a deal, the very last slivers of their historic homeland – the parts not already seized by Israel – can be grabbed too, with US blessing.

Preposterous conditions

Admittedly, all Middle East peace plans in living memory have foisted these kinds of prejudicial conditions on the Palestinians. But this time many of the preconditions are so patently preposterous – contradictory even – that the usually pliable corporate press corps are embarrassed to be seen ignoring the glaring inconsistencies.

The CNN exchange was so revealing in part because Kushner was triggered by Zakaria’s observation that the Palestinians had to become a model democracy – a kind of idealised Switzerland, while still under belligerent Israeli occupation – before they could be considered responsible enough for statehood.

How was that plausible, Zakaria hinted, when Saudi Arabia, despite its appalling  human rights abuses, nonetheless remains a close strategic US ally, and Saudi leaders continue to be intimates of the Trump business empire? No one in Washington is seriously contemplating removing US recognition of Saudi Arabia because it is a head-chopping, women-hating, journalist-killing religious fundamentalist state.

But Zakaria could have made an even more telling point – was he not answerable to CNN executives. There are also hardly any western states that would pass the democratic, human rights-respecting threshold set by the Trump plan for the Palestinians.

Think of Britain’s flouting last year of a ruling by the International Court of Justice in The Hague that the Chagos Islanders must be allowed to return home decades after the UK expelled them so the US could build a military base on their land. Or the Windrush scandal, when it was revealed that a UK government “hostile environment” policy was used to illegally deport British citizens to the Caribbean because of the colour of their skin.

Or what about the US evading due process by holding prisoners offshore at Guantanamo? Or its use of torture against Iraqi prisoners, or its reliance on extraordinary rendition, or its extrajudicial assassinations using drones overseas, including against its own citizens?

Or for that matter, its jailing and extortionate fining of whistleblower Chelsea Manning, despite the Obama administration granting her clemency. US officials want to force her to testify against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for his role in publishing leaks of US war crimes committed in Iraq, including the shocking Collateral Murder video.

And while we’re talking about Assange and about Iraq…

Would the records of either the US or UK stand up to scrutiny if they were subjected to the same standards now required of the Palestinian leadership.

Impertinent questions

But let’s fast forward to the heart of the matter. Angered by Zakaria’s impertinence at mildly questioning the logic of the Trump plan, Kushner let rip.

He called the Palestinian Authority a “police state” and one that is “not exactly a thriving democracy”. It would be impossible, he added, for Israel to make peace with the Palestinians until the Palestinians, not Israel’s occupying army, changed its ways. It was time for the Palestinians to prioritise human rights and democracy, while at the same time submitting completely to Israel’s belligerent, half-century occupation that violates their rights and undermines any claims Israel might have to being a democracy.

Kushner said:

If they [the Palestinians] don’t think that they can uphold these standards, then I don’t think we can get Israel to take the risk to recognize them as a state, to allow them to take control of themselves, because the only thing more dangerous than what we have now is a failed state.

Let’s take a moment to unpack that short statement to examine its many conceptual confusions.

First, there’s the very obvious point that “police states” and dictatorships are not “failed states”. Not by a long shot. In fact, police states and dictatorships are usually the very opposite of failed states. Iraq was an extremely able state under Saddam Hussein, in terms both of its ability to provide welfare and educational services and of its ruthless, brutal efficiency in crushing dissent.

Iraq only became a failed state when the US illegally invaded and executed Saddam, leaving a local leadership vacuum that sucked in an array of competing actors who quickly made Iraq ungovernable.

Oppressive by design

Second, as should hardly need pointing out, the PA can’t be a police state when it isn’t even a state. After all, that’s where the Palestinians are trying to get to, and Israel and the US are blocking the way. It is obviously something else. What that “something else” is brings us to the third point.

Kushner is right that the PA is increasingly authoritarian and uses its security forces in oppressive ways – because that’s exactly what it was set up to do by Israel and the US.

Palestinians had assumed that the Oslo accords of the mid-1990s would lead to the creation of a sovereign state at the completion of that five-year peace process. But that never happened. Denied statehood ever since, the PA now amounts to nothing more than a security contractor for the Israelis. Its unspoken job is to make the Palestinian people submit to their permanent occupation by Israel.

The self-defeating deal contained in Oslo’s “land for peace” formula was this: the PA would build Israeli trust by crushing all resistance to the occupation, and in return Israel would agree to hand over more territory and security powers to the PA.

Bound by its legal obligations, the PA had two possible paths ahead of it: either it would become a state under Israeli licence, or it would serve as a Vichy-like regime suppressing Palestinian aspirations for national liberation. Once the US and Israel made clear they would deny the Palestinians statehood at every turn, the PA’s fate was sealed.

Put another way, the point of Oslo from the point of view of the US and Israel was to make the PA an efficient, permanent police state-in-waiting, and one that lacked the tools to threaten Israel.

And that’s exactly what was engineered. Israel refused to let the Palestinians have a proper army in case, bidding to gain statehood, that army turned its firepower on Israel. Instead a US army general, Keith Dayton, was appointed to oversee the training of the Palestinian police forces – to help the PA better repress those Palestinians who tried to exercise their right in international law to resist Israel’s belligerent occupation.

Presumably, it is a sign of that US programme’s success that Kushner can now describe the PA as a police state.

Freudian slip

In his CNN interview, Kushner inadvertently highlighted the Catch-22 created for the Palestinians. The Trump “peace” process penalises the Palestinian leadership for their very success in achieving the targets laid out for them in the Oslo “peace” process.

Resist Israel’s efforts to deprive the Palestinians of statehood and the PA is classified as a terrorist entity and denied statehood. Submit to Israel’s dictates and oppress the Palestinian people to prevent them demanding statehood and the PA is classified as a police state and denied statehood. Either way, statehood is unattainable. Heads I win, tails you lose.

Kushner’s use of the term “failed state” is revealing too, in a Freudian slip kind of way. Israel doesn’t just want to steal some Palestinian land before it creates a small, impotent Palestinian state. Ultimately, what Israel envisions for the Palestinians is no statehood at all, not even of the compromised, collaborationist kind currently embodied by the PA.

An unabashed partisan

Kushner, however, has done us a favour inadvertently. He has given away the nature of the US bait-and-switch game towards the Palestinians. Unlike Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk and Aaron David Miller – previous American Jewish diplomats overseeing US “peace efforts” – Kushner is not pretending to be an “honest broker”. He is transparently, unabashedly partisan.

In an earlier CNN interview, one last week with Christiane Amanpour, Kushner showed just how personal is his antipathy towards the Palestinians and their efforts to achieve even the most minimal kind of statehood in a tiny fraction of their historic homeland.

He sounded more like a jilted lover, or an irate spouse forced into couples therapy, than a diplomat in charge of a complex and incendiary peace process. He struggled to contain his bitterness as he extemporised a well-worn but demonstrably false Israeli talking-point that the Palestinians “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”.

He told Amanpour: “They’re going to screw up another opportunity, like they’ve screwed up every other opportunity that they’ve ever had in their existence.”

CNN

@CNN

Jared Kushner, senior adviser to the President, says the White House’s Middle East plan is “a great deal” and if Palestinians reject it, “they’re going to screw up another opportunity, like they’ve screwed up every other opportunity that they’ve ever had in their existence.”

Embedded video

The reality is that Kushner, like the real author of the Trump plan, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would prefer that the Palestinians had never existed. He would rather this endless peace charade could be discarded, freeing him to get on with enriching himself with his Saudi pals.

Dead on Arrival: Dissecting Trump’s Vision for the Future of Palestine — Miko Peled

What used to be an idea expressed by only the most extreme right-wing Zionists, namely ridding Israel of its Palestinian citizens, is now part of a “peace” plan and has been given the rubber stamp of the United States government.

via Dead on Arrival: Dissecting Trump’s Vision for the Future of Palestine — Miko Peled

Trump’s Deal Is Bid to Complete the Evil ‘Plan Dalet’

By Stuart Littlewood

Source

Trump Welcome the Prime Minister of Israel to the White House 9aa12

After 70 years of pissing on the Palestinians, America and Israel suddenly want to “improve” their lives. But when you look closer at Peace to Prosperity it’s all about thieving more Palestinian land, stripping these good people of what remains of their self-respect and grinding them further into the Holy Land dust.

The Trump document’s 180 pages are devoted to the self-aggrandizement of Israel and military domination of the Middle East, by proxy, by the warmongers of the US. And to achieve its aims Trump shamelessly circumvents international law, ignores existing UN resolutions and makes daft and insupportable claims.

How fitting that the unveiling ceremony was graced by an American president facing impeachment and an Israeli prime minister facing multiple corruption charges. Another party to the farce was Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s election rival, who commanded the infamous Operation Pillar of Defence (2012) and Operation Protective Edge (2014) onslaughts against Gaza and is no doubt wanted in many quarters for war crimes.

“This is clearly a serious proposal, reflecting extensive time and effort,” said Dominic Raab, UK’s foreign minister, in a statement. “We encourage them (the leaders) to give these plans genuine and fair consideration, and explore whether they might prove a first step on the road back to negotiations.”

Prime minister Boris Johnson in the House of Commons said: “No peace plan is perfect, but this has the merit of a two-state solution. It would ensure Jerusalem is both the capital of Israel and the Palestinian people.”

Can he not read? Trump’s plan says: “Jerusalem will remain the sovereign capital of the State of Israel, and it should remain an undivided city. The sovereign capital of the State of Palestine should be in the section of East Jerusalem located in all areas east and north of the existing security barrier, including Kafr Aqab, the eastern part of Shuafat and Abu Dis, and could be named Al Quds or another name as determined by the State of Palestine.”

Does Johnson not know that the Old City is part of East Jerusalem which is officially Palestinian and the Palestinians obvious want a presence there – and why not? Doesn’t he understand that Al Quds is the Arabic name for the Holy City and it’s a grave insult to suggest calling some village miles away by that name.  I can imagine the fury of ordinary Palestinians who have dreamed of self-determination in their homeland – as promised – ever since the British left in 1948.

The British government says “the best way to achieve peace is through substantive peace talks between parties”, as if negotiation between a strong party and a weak party, between one party with a gun to the other’s head, is ever going to work.

Fortunately MP Crispin Blunt put the matter in perspective: “Yesterday we welcomed the release of a proposal — which we described as serious — that ignored the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, the 1967 borders, international humanitarian law, and repeated United Nations Security Council resolutions, the last of which the United Kingdom signed up to in December 2016. I have to say to my right hon. Friend that this is an annexation plan. Annexation is going to start on 2 February — and there is the map.”

Yep, this is indeed an annexation plan and it’s flat-out contrary to international law. What’s needed is not more talks but enforcement of the law and the numerous UN resolutions applicable to this situation, and the sanctions to make it stick. But justice and law are no part of Trump’s deal, only ways of getting round it.

The document doesn’t say who is responsible for producing Peace to Prosperity, but it reads like the work of Israel’s hasbara Dirty Tricks department and edited by disinformation chief Mark Regev, currently Israel’s ambassador in London.

The Zionist terror plan to steal the land of Palestine

It’s plain to see that Trump’s ‘peace’ proposal is actually the climactic fulfillment of the long-running and thoroughly nasty Plan Dalet (otherwise known as Plan D). This was the Zionists’ blueprint, in anticipation of the British leaving, for the violent and murderous takeover of the Palestinian homeland as a prelude to declaring Israeli statehood – which they did in May 1948. It was drawn up by the Jewish underground militia, the Haganah, at the behest of David Ben-Gurion, then boss of the Jewish Agency.

Plan D’s intention was not only to gain control of the areas of the Jewish state and defend its borders but also to control the areas of Jewish settlements and concentrations located outside Jewish borders and ensure “freedom of military and economic activity” by occupying important high-ground positions on a number of transport routes.

“Outside the borders of the state” may seem a curious thing to say when nobody knew where Israel’s borders actually ran, except where marked on the 1947 UN Partition Plan map. Israel has purposely kept her borders fluid in order to accommodate the Zionists’ perpetual lust for expansion.

Success would depend on, amongst other things, “applying economic pressure on the enemy by besieging some of his cities”, on “encirclement of enemy cities” and on “blocking the main enemy transportation routes….  Roads, bridges, main passes, important crossroads, paths, etc. must be blocked by means of: acts of sabotage, explosions, series of barricades, minefields, as well as by controlling the elevations near roads and taking up positions there.”

In other words, a reign of terror.

Jewish forces would occupy the police stations, described as “fortresses”, fifty of which had been built by the British throughout Palestine after the Arab unrest of 1936-39.

Plan D discussed “operations against enemy population centers located inside or near our defensive system in order to prevent them from being used as bases by an active armed force”.  These operations included:

  • “Destruction of villages (setting fire to, blowing up, and planting mines in the debris), especially those population centers which are difficult to control continuously.
  • “Mounting search and control operations according to the following guidelines: encirclement of the village and conducting a search inside it. In the event of resistance, the armed force must be destroyed and the population must be expelled outside the borders of the state.”

Villages emptied in this way were then fortified.

If they met no resistance “garrison troops will enter the village and take up positions in it or in locations which enable complete tactical control,” said the Plan. “The officer in command of the unit will confiscate all weapons, wireless devices, and motor vehicles in the village. In addition, he will detain all politically suspect individuals…  In every region, a [Jewish] person will be appointed to be responsible for arranging the political and administrative affairs of all [Arab] villages and population centers which are occupied within that region.

34 massacres are said to have been committed in pursuit of Plan D’s racist and territorial objectives.  The massacre at Deir Yassin by Jewish terror groups set the tone in order to ‘soften up’ the Arabs for expulsion. More atrocities followed the declaration of Israeli statehood on 14 May 1948. 750,000 Palestinians were put to flight as Israel’s forces obliterated hundreds of Arab villages and towns. The village on which Sderot now stands was one such. To this day they have been denied the right to return and received no compensation.

And here are the chilling guidelines for besieging, occupying and controlling Arab cities…

  1. By isolating them from transportation arteries by laying mines, blowing up bridges, and a system of fixed ambushes.
  2. If necessary, by occupying high points which overlook transportation arteries leading to enemy cities, and the fortification of our units in these positions.
  3. By disrupting vital services, such as electricity, water, and fuel, or by using economic resources available to us, or by sabotage.
  4. By launching a naval operation against the cities that can receive supplies by sea, in order to destroy the vessels carrying the provisions, as well as by carrying out acts of sabotage against harbor facilities.

Plan Dalet is one of the sickest documents in history and shows why so many people question Israel’s legitimacy.

Atrocities occurred at Deir Yassin, Lod (Lydda) and Ramle. The Deir Yassin massacre was carried out by the two Zionist terror groups, the Irgun and the Stern Gang. On an April morning in 1948 (before the Israeli state declaration) 130 of their commandos made a dawn raid on this small Arab town with a population of 750, to the west of Jerusalem. The attack was initially beaten off, and only when a crack unit of the Haganah arrived with mortars were the Arab townsmen overwhelmed. The Irgun and the Stern Gang, smarting from the humiliation of having to summon help, embarked on a ‘clean-up’ in which they systematically murdered and executed at least 100 residents – mostly women, children and old people. The Irgun afterwards exaggerated the number, quoting 254, to frighten other Arab towns and villages.

The Haganah played down their part in the raid and afterwards said the massacre “disgraced the cause of Jewish fighters and dishonored Jewish arms and the Jewish flag”.

Deir Yassin signaled the beginning of a deliberate program by Israel to depopulate Arab towns and villages – destroying churches and mosques – in order to make room for incoming Holocaust survivors and other Jews.

In July 1948 Israeli terrorist troops seized Lydda, shot up the town and drove out the population. Donald Neff reported how, as part of the ethnic cleansing, the Israelis massacred 426 men, women, and children. 176 of them were slaughtered in the town’s main mosque. The remainder were forced to walk into exile in the scalding July heat leaving a trail of bodies – men, women and children – along the way. Of all the blood-baths they say this was the biggest. The great hero Moshe Dayan was responsible. Was he ever brought to book? Of course not. Lydda airport is now Ben Gurion airport.

The Israeli state’s greedy ambition overran the generous borders gifted to the Zionists in the UN Partition Plan and by 1949 the Zionists had seized nearly 80 percent of Palestine, provoking the resistance backlash that still goes on today.

Israel’s numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity, and its continual defiance of international law and the UN Charter, undermine the Jewish state’s claim to legitimacy as far as Arabs and many non-Arabs around the world are concerned.

UN Resolution 194 called on Israel to let the Palestinians back onto their land. It has been re-passed many times, but Israel still ignores it. And so does the Trump plan. The Israelis also stand accused of violating Article 42 of the Geneva Convention by moving settlers into the Palestinian territories it occupies, and of riding roughshod over international law with their occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

But as Plan D shows, “expulsion and transfer” (i.e. ethnic cleansing) were always a key part of the Zionists’ scheme. According to historian Benny Morris no mainstream Zionist leader could conceive of future co-existence without a clear physical separation between the two peoples. Ben-Gurion, who became Israel’s first prime minister, is reported to have said in 1937: “New settlement will not be possible without transferring the Arab fellahin…” The following year he declared: “With compulsory transfer we have a vast area [for settlement]… I support compulsory transfer. I don’t see anything immoral in it.”

On another occasion, he remarked: “If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. We have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, it is true, but 2,000 years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country.”

Ben-Gurion reminded his military commanders that the prime aim of Plan D was the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. He was well aware of his own criminality.

Today under the Trump plan, as the Guardian points out, a Palestinian state would receive territory, mostly desert, near Gaza to compensate for the further loss of about 30% of the West Bank. And we are all asked to recognize the Jordan valley, which makes up about a third of the occupied West Bank, and the Old City of Jerusalem, as part of Israel.

 

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