Israel’s Power Is Unlimited

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PHILIP GIRALDI • NOVEMBER 17, 2020 

Philip Giraldi - Wikipedia
Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director
of the Council for the National Interest,
a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation
(Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks
a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy
in the Middle East. Website i
https://councilforthenationalinterest.org, 
address is P.O. Box 2157,
Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is 
inform@cnionline.org.
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Democrats and Republicans bow to force majeure

Even though there was virtually no debate on foreign policy during the recent presidential campaign, there has been considerable discussion of what President Joe Biden’s national security team might look like. The general consensus is that the top levels of the government will be largely drawn from officials who previously served in the Obama administration and who are likely to be hawkish.

There has also been, inevitably, some discussion of how the new administration, if it is confirmed, will deal with Israel and the Middle East in general.

Israelis would have preferred a victory by Donald Trump as they clearly understand that he was and still is willing to defer to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on nearly all issues. Indeed, that process is ongoing even though Trump might only have about nine more weeks remaining in office. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is reportedly preparing to sanction several international human rights organizations as anti-Semitic due to the fact that they criticize Israel’s brutality on the West Bank and its illegal settlement policies. The White House is also prepared to free convicted but paroled Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard from travel restrictions so he can move to Israel, where he is regarded as a hero. Pollard was the most damaging spy in U.S. history and any mitigation of his sentence has been opposed by both the Pentagon, where he worked, and also by the intelligence community.

Finally, it is widely believed that before the end of the year Trump will declare that the United States accepts the legitimacy of Israeli intentions to declare annexation of nearly all the Palestinian West Bank. The White House will actually encourage such an initiative reportedly “to sow hostility between Israel and the Biden administration.” One should note that none of the pro-Israeli measures that are likely to come out of the White House enhance U.S. security in any way and they also do nothing particularly to benefit Trump’s campaign to be re-elected through legal challenges.

If Biden does succeed in becoming president, the special place that Israel occupies in the centers of American power are unlikely to be disturbed, which is why Netanyahu was quick off the mark in congratulating the possible new chief executive. Biden has proudly declared himself to be a “Zionist” and his running mate Kamala Harris has been a featured speaker at the annual gatherings of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington. Both are strongly supportive of the “special relationship” with the Israel and will make no effort to compromise America’s apparent commitment to protect and nourish the Jewish state.

Though Israel is central to how the United States conducts its foreign policy, the country was invisible in the debates and other discussions that took place among candidates during the recent campaign. American voters were therefore given the choice of one government that panders to Israel at the expense of U.S. security or another party that does exactly the same thing. To be sure, Biden did state that he would work to reinstate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) relating to Iran’s nuclear program, which was canceled by Trump. But he also indicated that it would require some amendment, meaning that the Iranians would have to include their missile program in the monitoring while also abandoning their alleged propensity to “interfere” in the Middle East region. The Iranian government has already indicated that additional conditions are unacceptable, so the deal is dead in the water. Israel has also privately and publicly objected to any new arrangement and has already declared that it would “save the option” of working through the Republican Senate to thwart any attempts by the Biden Administration to change things.

That Israel would blatantly and openly interfere in the deliberations of Congress raises some serious questions which the mainstream media predictably is not addressing. Jewish power in America is for real and it is something that some Jews are not shy about discussing among themselves. Jewish power is unique in terms of how it functions. If you’re an American (or British) politician, you very quickly are made to appreciate that Israel owns you and nearly all of your colleagues. Indeed, the process begins in the U.S. even before your election when the little man from AIPAC shows up with the check list that he wants you to sign off on. If you behave per instructions your career path will be smooth, and you will benefit from your understanding that everything happening inn Washington that is remotely connected to the interests of the state of Israel is to be determined by the Jewish state alone, not by the U.S. Congress or White House.

And, here is the tricky part, even while you are energetically kowtowing to Netanyahu, you must strenuously deny that there is Jewish power at work if anyone ever asks you about it. You behave in that fashion because you know that your pleasant life will be destroyed, painfully, if you fail to deny the existence of an Israel Lobby or the Jewish power that supports it.

It is a bold assertion, but there is plenty of evidence to support how that power is exerted and what the consequences are. Senators William Fulbright and Chuck Percy and Congressmen Paul Findlay, Pete McCloskey and Cynthia McKinney have all experienced the wrath of the Lobby and voted out of office. Currently Reverend Raphael Warnock, who is running against Georgia Loeffler for a senate seat in Georgia demonstrates exactly how candidates are convinced to stand on their heads by the Israel Lobby. Warnock was a strong supporter of Palestinian rights and a critic of Israeli brutality. He said as recently as 2018 that the Israelis were shooting civilians and condemned the military occupation and settlement construction on the Palestinian West Bank, which he compared to apartheid South Africa. Now that he is running for the Senate, he is saying that he is opposed to the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement due to what he calls the movement’s “anti-Semitic overtones.” He also supports continued military assistance for Israel and believes that Iran is in pursuit of a nuclear weapon, both of which are critical issues being promoted by the Zionist lobby.

There is some pushback in Washington to Israeli dominance, but not much. Recent senior Pentagon appointee Colonel Douglas Macgregor famously has pointed out that many American politicians get “very, very rich” through their support of Israel even though it means the United States being dragged into new wars. Just how Israel gains control of the U.S. political process is illustrated by the devastating insider tale of how the Obama Administration’s feeble attempts to do the right thing in the Middle East were derailed by American Jews in Congress, the media, party donors and from inside the White House itself. The story is of particularly interest as the Biden Administration will no doubt suffer the same fate if it seeks to reject or challenge Israel’s ability to manipulate and virtually control key aspects of U.S. foreign policy.

The account of Barack Obama’s struggle with Israel and the Israeli Lobby comes from a recently published memoir written by a former foreign policy adviser Ben Rhodes. It is entitled The World As It Is, and it is extremely candid about how Jewish power was able to limit the foreign policy options of a popular sitting president. Rhodes recounts, for example, how Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel once nicknamed him “Hamas” after he dared to speak up for Palestinian human rights, angrily shouting at him “Hamas over here is going to make it impossible for my kid to have his fucking bar mitzvah in Israel.”

Rhodes cites numerous instances where Obama was forced to back down when confronted by Israel and its supporters in the U.S. as well as within the Democratic Party. On several occasions, Netanyahu lecture the U.S. president as if he were an errant schoolboy. And Obama just had to take it. Rhodes sums up the situation as follows: “In Washington, where support for Israel is an imperative for members of Congress, there was a natural deference to the views of the Israeli government on issues related to Iran, and Netanyahu was unfailingly confrontational, casting himself as an Israeli Churchill…. AIPAC and other organizations exist to make sure that the views of the Israeli government are effectively disseminated and opposing views discredited in Washington, and this dynamic was a permanent part of the landscape of the Obama presidency.”

And, returning to the persistent denial of Jewish power even existing when it is running full speed and relentlessly, Rhodes notes the essential dishonesty of the Israel Lobby as it operates in Washington: “Even to acknowledge the fact that AIPAC was spending tens of millions to defeat the Iran deal [JCPOA] was anti-Semitic. To observe that the same people who supported the war in Iraq also opposed the Iran deal was similarly off limits. It was an offensive way for people to avoid accountability for their own positions.”

Many Americans long to live in a country that is at peace with the world and respectful of the sovereignty of foreign nations. Alas, as long as Israeli interests driven by overwhelming Jewish power in the United States continue to corrupt our institutions that just will not be possible. It is time for all Americans, including Jews, to accept that Israel is a foreign country that must make its own decisions and thereby suffer the consequences. The United States does not exist to bail Israel out or to provide cover for its bad behavior. The so-called “special relationship” must end and the U.S. must deal with the Israelis as they would with any other country based on America’s own self-interests. Those interests definitely do not include funding the Israeli war machine, assassinating foreign leaders, or attacking a non-threatening Iran while continuing an illegal occupation of Syria.

Suspension of Corbyn will define Starmer as Iraq defined Blair

Source

David Hearst

2 November 2020 17:54 UTC |

David Hearst is the editor in chief of Middle East Eye. He left The Guardian as its chief foreign leader writer. In a career spanning 29 years, he covered the Brighton bomb, the miner’s strike, the loyalist backlash in the wake of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in Northern Ireland, the first conflicts in the breakup of the former Yugoslavia in Slovenia and Croatia, the end of the Soviet Union, Chechnya, and the bushfire wars that accompanied it. He charted Boris Yeltsin’s moral and physical decline and the conditions which created the rise of Putin. After Ireland, he was appointed Europe correspondent for Guardian Europe, then joined the Moscow bureau in 1992, before becoming bureau chief in 1994. He left Russia in 1997 to join the foreign desk, became European editor and then associate foreign editor. He joined The Guardian from The Scotsman, where he worked as education correspondent.

Keir Starmer’s silence on Palestine and his treatment of his predecessor have set the Labour leader on a collision course with many within his own party

Keir Starmer (L) with Jeremy Corbyn at a press conference in London in December 2019 (AFP)


One of the lesser known aspects of Keir Starmer’s assault on the left of his party since becoming Labour leader is his growing silence on Palestine.

Silencing the Palestinian lobby in Britain has always been a goal of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, which has gone to some lengths to condition debate inside the Labour Party on Israel.

In 2017, an Al Jazeera documentary exposed the efforts of the ministry’s man in London, Shai Masot, to start a youth wing in the Labour Party. Masot was also filmed by an undercover reporter saying he wanted to “take down” government ministers and MPs considered to be causing “problems” for Israel.

Silencing the Palestinian lobby in Britain has always been a goal of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, which has gone to some lengths to condition debate inside the Labour Party on Israel

When Masot was rumbled and expelled, a continuous feed of Jeremy Corbyn’s meetings as a backbench MP with Palestinians, dating back in some cases over a decade, was created to stoke the furore over the then-Labour leader.

This feed was doctored.

When Corbyn met three Hamas politicians whose Jerusalem IDs had been revoked and had staged a sit-in a tent in the grounds of the Red Cross (this was a cause celebre at the time and many Israelis went to show solidarity with the case), the presence of a second Labour MP, Andy Slaughter, who is not a Corbyn ally but is pro-Palestinian, was excised from British reports.

However, a picture of Slaughter appeared in Israeli news channel i24’s exclusive of “Corbyn’s secret visit” in its report in 2018, which was eight years after the MPs’ visit took place in November 2010. 

Role of Shin Bet

The precise details of Corbyn’s visit to Israel in 2010, including who was on it, who arranged it and who they met, were monitored and logged by Israel’s domestic security service, Shin Bet.

When these visits were over, Shin Bet invited Corbyn’s local fixer in for what turned out to be five hours of questioning in a police station in Haifa.

Shin Bet told her they were relaxed about her charity work for the Palestinian cause, but would not tolerate her campaigning inside the Houses of Parliament in the UK.EXCLUSIVE: Jeremy Corbyn questions impartiality of EHRC antisemitism inquiry

If she did not heed the warning, she would spend the rest of her days in prison as an enemy of the state. Her lawyer told her that such a charge could indeed be fabricated against her and that an Israeli court would send her to prison if this happened. She is an Israeli citizen.

At the very least, the warnings given to Corbyn’s fixer confirm that Israel’s security services had set their sights on the MP at least five years before he became Labour leader and long before antisemitism in Labour became a newsworthy issue.

Nobody in the Labour Party was bothered with Corbyn’s travels, which certainly were not secret. He was a backbencher on the fringes of the party. Only Shin Bet took note.

The smear campaign has been wonderfully effective. Of course, many groups joined in for different reasons, including people indifferent to the conflict in Palestine who had shown no past interest in it.

The compromising material of Corbyn’s past contacts would have had no purchase had there not been a determination within the Parliamentary Labour Party and at Labour headquarters to stop Corbyn at all costs. But taken together, it worked.

A poll conducted by Survation last year asked member of the British public who were aware of antisemitism in Labour what percentage of party members had complaints against them.

Their mean average reply was 34 percent. The real figure is a fraction of one percent. The perception of antisemitism was over 300 times the reality in Corbyn’s party.

Palestine lost

Since becoming leader, Keir Starmer has avoided contact with Palestinian leaders, either in Israel or in Britain.

Starmer has had two opportunities to engage.

On 26 June this year, 15 members of the Knesset who comprise the Joint List wrote to all party leaders in Britain to urge them to “actively oppose” attempts by Israel to annex territory unilaterally.Israel’s Joint List urges British political parties to oppose annexation

The Joint List, the main coalition representing Palestinian citizens of Israel, is the third largest group of MKs in the parliament. The letter was sent by Yousef Jabareen, the head of the Joint List’s international committee.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson instructed one of his ministers, James Cleverly, minister of state for the Middle East and North Africa, to reply.

“We continue to urge Israel not to take these steps. The prime minister has conveyed the UK’s opposition to unilateral annexation to Prime Minister Netanyahu on multiple occasions,” Cleverly wrote.

Starmer did not reply, and still has not replied. Jabareen received an automated reply from Starmer’s office, telling him that he receives hundreds of emails each day.

On 16 September, a group of leading British Palestinians, many of whom were members of Labour, but some not, wrote an open letter to the Labour Party insisting on “the right of Palestinians to accurately describe our experiences of dispossession and oppression” and rejecting Labour’s attempts to conflate anti-Zionism with antisemitism.

The letter was accompanied by emails to Starmer to set up a meeting. They were told that Starmer was too busy to meet them. They were referred to Lisa Nandy, the shadow foreign secretary, who also declined to meet them.

A ‘dressing down’

However when Stephen Kinnock, who comes from the right wing of the party and is a bitter critic of Corbyn, called in a parliamentary debate for the UK to “ban all products that originate from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories”, Nandy found the time to intervene.

Nandy told the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council – according to a source quoted by MailOnline – that Kinnock, a consistent and long-standing critic of Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians, had been given a “dressing down” for his remarks made during the Commons debate.

Starmer’s sole intervention in this debate occurred when he was asked by Jewish News about sanctions and he stressed the need instead to maintain a ‘strong working relationship with Israel’

“Lisa made no secret of the fact she and the leader were angry with Kinnock,” the source is quoted as saying.

“Especially after all the work that has been done to try and restore Labour’s relationship with the Jewish community.”

Starmer was said to be “infuriated”.

Nandy herself proposed a ban on the import of goods from illegal settlements in the West Bank, but only if Israel pressed ahead with annexation.

Starmer’s sole intervention in this debate occurred when he was asked by Jewish News about sanctions and he stressed the need instead to maintain a “strong working relationship with Israel”.

Starmer said: “I don’t agree with annexation and I don’t think it’s good for security in the region, and I think it’s very important that we say that.

“Whether sanctions follow is another matter but at the moment let’s resolve this in the proper way. But this is not good for security in the region. That should be a paramount consideration.

When pressed further, he added: “There needs to be a strong working relationship where we are able to exchange views frankly, as you would with an ally and on some of these issues, a frank exchange is what we most need, I think.”

Labour’s history

This Monday marks 103 years since the Balfour Declaration committed British governments to support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

The 1917 document predates Labour’s emergence as a political force in the years after World War One, but the party has a history of its own in the Middle East which no leader can ignore.Jeremy Corbyn suspended from Labour following antisemitism report

In 1944, when the territory of Palestine was still under British control, its national executive committee authored a motion, passed by conference, which read: “Palestine surely is a case, on human grounds and to promote a stable settlement, for transfer of population. Let the Arabs be encouraged to move out, as the Jews move in. Let them be compensated handsomely for their land and let their settlement elsewhere be carefully organised and generously financed.”

But it has history more recent than that.

The suspension of Corbyn after the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report into antisemitism last week contrasts with Corbyn’s treatment of Tony Blair, who as a former Labour prime minister was excoriated by the 2016 Chilcot Report over his decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

John Chilcot, a former senior diplomat, eviscerated Blair, stopping short of accusing him of lying to parliament.

Chilcot said that at the time of the invasion, Saddam Hussein “posed no imminent threat” and revealed a private note that Blair sent to Bush in July 2002 which read: “I will be with you, whatever.”

In a two-hour press conference following the publication of the report, Blair was unrepentant. “I believe we made the right decision and the world is better and safer,” he declared.

He argued that he had acted in good faith, based on intelligence at the time which said that Iraq’s president had weapons of mass destruction. This “turned out to be wrong”.

Corbyn’s suspension

Corbyn offered a total apology on behalf of the party for the decision to invade Iraq.

He said: “So I now apologise sincerely on behalf of my party for the disastrous decision to go to war in Iraq in March 2003. That apology is owed first of all to the people of Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost and the country is still living with the devastating consequences of the war and the forces it unleashed. They have paid the greatest price for the most serious foreign policy calamity of the last 60 years.”

He went on: “The apology is also owed to the families of those soldiers who died in Iraq or who have returned home injured or incapacitated. They did their duty but it was in a conflict they should never have been sent to.”

Corbyn appeared as if he was defying the leadership, even though at the time he spoke, he had no idea what Starmer would say on a key point that defined their dispute

Blair at the time was just a member of the party, in the same situation as Corbyn was last week.

Corbyn, however, did not suspend Blair for not apologising and uttering words which went against the party line.

Instead, the opposite was happening. The “party of war” within the Parliamentary Labour Party went on the offensive against the leadership.

MPs who had backed the Iraq war, and consistently voted against inquiries into it, went after Corbyn.

Of the 71 MPs who voted no confidence in Corbyn in 2016 and who had been in parliament in 2003, 92 percent had voted in favour of the Iraq war and seven against.

In justifying his action to suspend Corbyn, Starmer said that the former leader had defied his response to the EHRC report, which condemned anyone trying to claim that antisemitism had been exaggerated for political reasons.

The night before the report was published, Starmer phoned Corbyn to say he would not be condemning him by name in his statement of reply to the EHRC report. Corbyn and his team repeatedly asked Starmer what he would say in his statement. Starmer said he would send them his lines.

Angela Rayner, the deputy leader, also promised Corbyn’s team that she would send them the lines of Starmer’s statement. Both failed to do so. The reactions of the two men were thus set on collision course.

Corbyn appeared as if he was defying the leadership, even though at the time he spoke, he had no idea what Starmer would say on a key point that defined their dispute.

Corbyn subsequently failed to back down, but one possibility is that Starmer’s team knew what Corbyn would say, while Corbyn himself was kept in the dark until it was too late.

The left bites back

Corbyn did not defend himself against allegations that he tolerated antisemitism or that he himself was an antisemite, claims that are still being made today. To the extent that he let this campaign run unchallenged in the High Court, he himself is responsible.

Quite apart from the fate of Corbyn, support for Palestine is much greater in the party than Starmer is comfortable with. Palestine, which he knows about much less than Corbyn, is his blindspot

On the day Corbyn was suspended, the Campaign Against Antisemitism, the original complainant in the EHRC investigation, wrote to Starmer and David Evans, the general secretary, demanding investigations into 32 members of the Labour Party, including Angela Rayner, Starmer’s current deputy, and 10 other MPs. 

In response, seven trade unions affiliated to the Labour Party and one which backed Starmer as candidate, published a statement expressing “serious concern” about the manner and rationale for Corbyn’s suspension, suggesting it had undermined party unity and democratic processes.

Far from being his “Clause 4” moment – the issue that Tony Blair used to define New Labour by dropping the party’s historic commitment to state ownership of key industries – the suspension of Corbyn could define Starmer’s leadership in the same way that Blair’s decision to invade Iraq has cast a shadow over everything a man elected three times as prime minister did. The ghosts of Iraq follow Blair around to this day.

Quite apart from the fate of Corbyn, support for Palestine is much greater in the party than Starmer is comfortable with. Palestine, which he knows about much less than Corbyn, is his blindspot.

Unless Corbyn is reinstated quickly, the decision to suspend him from the party could prove to be a permanent and defining stain on Starmer’s leadership.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

European Hypocrisy: Empty Words for Palestine, Deadly Weapons for Israel

October 21, 2020

Palestinian PM Mohammad Shtayyeh makes a speech via video conference at the European Parliament Committee meeting on Foreign Affair. (Photo: via WAFA)

By Ramzy Baroud

In theory, Europe and the United States stand on completely opposite sides when it comes to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. While the US government has fully embraced the tragic status quo created by 53 years of Israeli military occupation, the EU continues to advocate a negotiated settlement that is predicated on respect for international law.

In practice, however, despite the seeming rift between Washington and Brussels, the outcome is, essentially, the same. The US and Europe are Israel’s largest trade partners, weapon suppliers and political advocates.

One of the reasons that the illusion of an even-handed Europe has been maintained for so long lies partly in the Palestinian leadership itself. Politically and financially abandoned by Washington, the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas has turned to the European Union as its only possible savior.

“Europe believes in the two-state solution,” PA Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, said during a video discussion with the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs on October 12. Unlike the US, Europe’s continued advocacy of the defunct two-state solution qualifies it to fill the massive gap created by Washington’s absence.

Shtayyeh called on EU leaders to “recognize the State of Palestine in order for us, and you, to break the status quo.”

However, there are already 139 countries that recognize the State of Palestine. While that recognition is a clear indication that the world remains firmly pro-Palestinian, recognizing Palestine as a State changes little on the ground. What is needed are concerted efforts to hold Israel accountable for its violent occupation as well as real action to support the struggle of Palestinians.

Not only has the EU failed at this, it is, in fact, doing the exact opposite: funding Israel, arming its military and silencing its critics.

Listening to Shtayyeh’s words, one gets the impression that the top Palestinian official is addressing a conference of Arab, Muslim or socialist countries. “I call upon your Parliament and your distinguished Members of this Parliament, that Europe not wait for the American President to come up with ideas … We need a third party who can really remedy the imbalance in the relationship between an occupied people and an occupier country, that is Israel,” he said.

But is the EU qualified to be that ‘third party’? No. For decades, European governments have been an integral part of the US-Israel party. Just because the Donald Trump administration has, recently, taken a sharp turn in favor of Israel should not automatically transform Europe’s historical pro-Israel bias to be mistaken for pro-Palestinian solidarity.

Last June, more than 1,000 European parliamentarians representing various political parties issued a statement expressing “serious concerns” about Trump’s so-called Deal of the Century and opposing Israeli annexation of nearly a third of the West Bank. However, the pro-Israel US Democratic Party, including some traditionally staunch supporters of Israel, were equally critical of Israel’s plan because, in their minds, annexation means that a two-state solution would be made impossible.

While US Democrats made it clear that a Joe Biden administration would not reverse any of Trump’s actions should Biden be elected, European governments have also made it clear that they will not take a single action to dissuade – let alone punish – Israel for its repeated violations of international law.

Lip service is all that Palestinians have obtained from Europe, as well as much money, which was largely pocketed by loyalists of Abbas in the name of ‘State-building’ and other fantasies. Tellingly, much of the imaginary Palestinian State infrastructure that was subsidized by Europe in recent years has been blown up, demolished or construction ceased by the Israeli military during its various wars and raids. Yet, neither did the EU punish Israel, nor did the PA cease from asking for more money to continue funding a non-existent State.

Not only did the EU fail to hold Israel accountable for its ongoing occupation and human rights violations, it is practically financing Israel, as well. According to Defence News, a quarter of all of Israel’s military export contracts (totaling $7.2 billion in 2019 alone) is allocated to European countries.

Moreover, Europe is Israel’s largest trading partner, absorbing one-third of Israel’s total exports and shipping to Israel nearly 40% of its total import. These numbers also include products made in illegal Jewish settlements.

Additionally, the EU labors to incorporate Israel into the European way of life through cultural and music contests, sports competitions, and in a myriad other ways. While the EU possesses powerful tools that can be used to exact political concessions and enforce respect for international law, it opts to simply do very little.

Compare this with the recent ultimatum the EU has given the Palestinian leadership, linking EU aid to the PA’s financial ties with Israel. Last May, Abbas took the extraordinary step of considering all agreements with Israel and the US to be null and void. Effectively, this means that the PA would no longer be accountable for the stifling status quo that was created by the Oslo Accords, which was repeatedly violated by Tel Aviv and Washington. Severing ties with Israel also meant that the PA would refuse to accept nearly $150 million in tax revenues that Israel collects on behalf of the PA. This Palestinian step, while long overdue, was necessary.

Instead of supporting Abbas’ move, the EU criticized it, refusing to provide additional aid for Palestinians until Abbas restores ties with Israel and accepts the tax money. According to Axios news portal, Germany, France, the UK and even Norway are leading the charge.

Germany, in particular, has been relentless in its support for Israel. For months, it has advocated on behalf of Israel to spare Tel Aviv a war crimes investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC). It has placed activists, who advocate the boycott of Israel, on trial. Recently, it has confirmed the shipment of missile boats and other military hardware to ensure the superiority of the Israeli navy in a potential war against Arab enemies. Germany is not alone. Israel and most European countries are closing ranks in terms of their unprecedented military cooperation and trade ties, including natural gas deals.

Continuing to make references to the unachievable two-state solution, while arming, funding and doing more business with Israel is the very definition of hypocrisy. The truth is that Europe should be held as accountable as the US in emboldening and sustaining the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Yet, while Washington is openly pro-Israel, the EU has played a more clever game: selling Palestinians empty words while selling Israel lethal weapons.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is http://www.ramzybaroud.net

Jewish Settler Chief: ‘Palestinians have no right to a state, Bible says Israel for the Jews’

Via The saker

Jewish Settler Chief: ‘Palestinians have no right to a state, Bible says Israel for the Jews’

September 23, 2020

Middle East Observer

Description:
In an extended interview with the Israeli i24News Arabic channel, Jewish settler leader Daniella Weiss says that Palestinians have no right to establish a state, and that the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people as proclaimed by the ‘eternal words of the Bible’.

Weiss also expresses her disappointment with the UAE for demanding that the annexation plan for parts of the West Bank be frozen in exchange for Emirati peace with Israel. Weiss wondered, “I don’t understand why for peace, we, the settlers in Judea and Samaria (i.e. the West Bank), are expected to stop developing ourselves!”

Source: i24NEWS Arabic (YouTube)

Date: Sep 4, 2020(Important Note: Please help us keep producing independent translations for you by contributing as little as $1/month here: https://www.patreon.com/MiddleEastObserver?fan_landing=true)

Transcript:

Host:

Welcome, dear viewers, to a new episode of “Hadith Akhar”.

Her settlement activity in the West Bank began in the early 1970s. She was the secretary general of the most hardline settlement movement. She was imprisoned for rioting in the West Bank. In past years she has also been active in a movement that supports the establishment of illegal settlement outposts.

We talk to Daniella Weiss in “Hadith Akhar”.

TV report:

Daniella Weiss was born in Bnei Brak, just east of Tel Aviv in 1945. During the period 1984-1988, she was the General Secretary of the Gush Emunim settlement movement. In 1987, she was arrested and convicted with respect to rioting in the city of Qalqilya (located in the north of the West Bank). During the period 1996-2007, she was elected head of the local council of the Kedumim settlement, just near Qalqilya. In 1992, she failed to reach the Knesset on a ticket supported by settlers.

Host:

Welcome Ms. Daniella. Let us start from the latest developments in the (Israeli) political arena.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu froze the annexation plan (to annex the West Bank, or parts thereof, to Israel territory)in exchange for establishing ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). First, how do you view this step by Netanyahu?

Weiss:

Greetings. I think that this step is a big mistake on the part of our Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop the development of the Jewish community in Judea and Samaria (i.e. the Israeli government term for the West Bank). But, I’m not sure that he specifically said that he will “freeze” (the annexation plan), I think he said that he will ‘stop the process of annexation of declaring Israeli law on the Jewish community (in that region). But if you’re telling me that it’s even worse (than this), then I’ll be disappointed with him, since (Netanyahu) is a great leader and I, as a member of the Jewish community in Judea and Samaria, always expect more from him.

Host:

This is a controversial topic (cancelation of annexation plan); Netanyahu says that he “halted” or “froze” (the annexation plan). In contrast, the Emirati state says that this plan is “canceled and is now off the table” in exchange for ties with the UAE. So, was it peace in exchange for (cancelling) this Israeli (annexation) plan?

Weiss:

I must say that I am very much disappointed also from the Emirati side, that they demand stopping the annexation or the development of the Jewish community (in exchange) for peace. Well, I was planning to show you what is the stage of (sic) – these black spots (on the map) show what is planned for the Palestinian state, and the white color refers to Jewish settlement. This means that the Israeli state is threatened by a Palestinian state which doesn’t express love or support for the Jewish state.

For this reason, I don’t understand why for peace, we, the settlers in Judea and Samaria (i.e. the West Bank), we are expected to stop developing ourselves. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t sound like a step towards peace, it sounds like leaving us, the settlers in Judea and Samaria, and leaving the state of Israel with a narrow strip (of land), if they were (indeed) to take off part of this land for the sake of a Palestinian state.

This is (most) unreasonable. And I am looking forward to seeing how (Netanyahu) sees this peace agreement, because there doesn’t seem to me much peace in this agreement. It seems to be an intersection of interests, which is good for the Emirates, good for the US, but not good for Israel.

Host:

Yet peace (between Israel) and the Arabs, and several Arab states, considering that many of (these states) had mutual enmity with Israel, isn’t Israel’s sense of security and safety in relation to neighbouring Arab states, isn’t this worth giving up the annexation plan and settlement expansion in the West Bank?

Weiss:

I think I am trying to explain. There is a reason to give away the annexation (plan).  But there is a map which shows that the narrow waist of the Israeli state is an impossible situation for (Israel) to live long with. I think we should be more careful, since some say that the Sinai Peninsula that was given to the Egyptians poses some threat to Israel. But (for me) it is livable. Certain parts from the borders that were given to Jordan were small. Gaza was a catastrophe, but we can live with it. But can we live without our heart? The center of our homeland? This makes no sense. I know there is a high level of celebration but I am not celebrating. I am warning. I warn if the condition was to stop Jewish life in the heart of our homeland for what is defined as a peace, then this is not a peace.

Host:

Yet you had your own stance in relation to the annexation plan. When this plan was proposed and put into implementation, it faced opposition due to ideological reasons that considered (the plan) destructive for the Israeli state and for the settlement project. On the other hand, the world and the majority of the world view it as being destructive for the two-state solution. What threatens this plan? What threatens your (settlement) project in this regard?

Weiss:

You did very good homework. Not many people in Israel know exactly what the stance of some settlers was. It is correct that I was in the settler camp which was very much against the annexation plan which went by the plan which is called the “Trump Plan” or the “Deal of the Century”. Why was I against it? Because it was directly connected with building a Palestinian (home) state, and here it’s not just about giving 30% (of the area) for the settlers and the rest is for the Palestinians It was a formal recognition that gives the possibility for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the heart of the homeland of the Jews. Why would I agree with it? Do you know why some did agree with it? Because we were under so much stress – I mean we the settlers – for so many years, with the freezing (of the settlements) in Obama’s time, in addition to the redlines even during Trump’s term.

So some people were thinking that there will be (positive) change; that we (as settlers in certain outposts) will become considered a part of the Israeli state, and that this will be in our favor. Usually, I see life in its positive fold. This time though, I saw that Trump, Kushner, and their team pledged that 70% of this area be for a Palestinian state that will be established. I believe that this is impossible. There is a Palestinian Authority that has the democratic ability to run life for Palestinians in a democratic way, but not through an independent state.

Host:

You oppose Trump’s Deal of the Century; don’t you feel concerned that you will lose such an American ally who backs Israel? Don’t you fear that Israel and the settlers may lose this supportive friend of Israel?

Weiss:

Mohammad, you are asking me this question on the day of the first ever flight from Israel to Abu Dhabi into the Emirates. It’s not just about this tiny thing, i.e. what is going to happen in Judea and Samaria. It is a global interest. More than Israel needs the US, the US needs Israel. Because it is a global interest. It is the ongoing struggle between Russia and US; it’s about natural resources; about oil; about the world fight against terror; about the Iran threat; about the conflict between Iran (on the one hand), and Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and the US (on the other). It is a global thing.

I was planning to to tell (Netanyahu), who’s going to deliver an address in 20 minutes, that he shouldn’t be afraid of the US. Trump is an ally of Israel. And since the (US) has (shared) interests with Israel and interests in the Middle East, (Netanyahu) knows well that the US can rely on Israel (which serves its interests). It is time for Netanyahu to demand from Trump the growth of the Jewish community in Judea and Samaria, and not the freezing of such construction. We must be brave and not bow down.  (Netanyahu) is a brave man, but the freezing (of settlement construction) in Judea and Samaria is not a brave step from him.

Host:

You are against the establishment of a Palestinian state and the freezing of settlement construction in the West Bank as well. If we want to talk about the borders of the state of Israel as far as you’re concerned, where do the borders of the state of Israel extend to? You have shown your map (to the viewers), kindly show us the Israeli state borders (on your map), as far as you’re concerned.

Weiss:

From the political point of view, the state of Israel, in the current political situation, is located between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, including the entire Golan Heights, the Galilee and the Golan (regions). Regarding the Jewish religion and its creed, we can (then) speak the language of the religion and creed; we have the ‘promised land’ from the Bible. The Middle East in WWI and WWII was different from now. Some day, according to the Bible, a change may occur in this land. But in this current political situation, (Israeli) borders are between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Host:

What about the Palestinians for whom you deny the right of statehood? Where should they go? Is the solution, as you use to say, to encourage (the Palestinians) to migrate?

Weiss:

Let’s start from the first part of your question. The Palestinians have the ‘Palestinian Authority’. This authority has the right to have its own democratic elections; it has the right to have its own institutions and departments; however, it is not a state of its own. The only state in Israel is Israel. This is its name, Israel, coming from our forefathers. So there’s no option to build another state within France or the United Kingdom, just as there is no option to establish another state within Israel. Israel is for the Jews. ‘Israel’, meaning Jacob, this is the beginning of our nation.

Today, what will happen? (The Palestinians) have an Authority, they have independent lives, but they have no ability to vote for the Knesset. They can vote for their own institutions, not as (institutions) of a state, but rather institutions belonging to the (Palestinian) Authority.

Host:

However, more than 5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Don’t they have the right to have an independent state in which they can live?

Weiss:

I think that – and we will not debate now whether there are four or five million (Palestinians), four million is still a good number – let’s continue from this point: the fact that the Jewish state was established, and even before this, the fact that the Jewish pioneers came from all over the world and began to revive the holy land of Israel once again, which was a desolate country at the end of the Ottoman Empire.

Then it attracted – and this is a well-known fact – it attracted many Arabs, Bedouins, tribes, from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt, they all came to the land of Israel, and this is how (this land) was developed. It was the result of the Jews who came to this land; the new cities and towns that were established by Jewish pioneers, who revived the desolate land, and made it an attractive place for people all over the Middle East.

That does not mean that we – that the Jews – have to give up and say: ‘well, we have to share the only state that the Jews have in the world, to share it with another country’. They should have taken this into consideration, and we said it at the appropriate time, that we will never divide up our homeland in Israel (with other people). By the way, and here I made a mistake: there was a partition plan in 1947, and the Jewish leadership did agree (to it), to share the western part of the land of Israel. This proposal was rejected by the Arabs, and I (personally) was not in support of this proposal either.

Beyond the Gratuitous Normalization: An Escalating War on Palestine ما بعد التطبيع المجّاني: نحو تسعير الحرب على فلسطين

Beyond the Gratuitous Normalization: An Escalating War on Palestine

By Ali Haidar – Al-Akhbar Newspaper

Translated by Staff

With the opening of a new era in the region, titled “The Declared Arab Alliances with the ‘Israeli’ Enemy”, the war on Palestine is moving towards more extensive levels, in order to escalate pressure on the Palestinians and force them to accept the fait accompli. The statements –published yesterday- of the American ambassador to “Israel”, David Friedman, in which he claimed that the Arabic-‘Israeli’ conflict has reached “the beginning of the end”, are perhaps a clear proof of that. In parallel, there are continued talks about the intention of other states to join normalization, in the light of exposing further information about the trajectory that led to this result, and which was commanded by the Mossad over the past years

After the Emirati and Bahraini regimes have accomplished their task, which is enhancing political, security and economic supplies to the enemy entity, in the context of the war that it is waging against Palestinians and the region, eyes are now focused on the Saudi regime, which is awaiting its next task to be outlined and waiting for setting the time at which it will take the lead of the Gulf States. These states are working on distorting the direction of the conflict to make it fit the “Israeli” priorities and interests. In this context, Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen repeated, in an interview with the entity’s “Channel 12”, that the deal with Saudi Arabia was “within reach”, expressing his conviction that the deal might be sealed “during the current year”. He reiterated that many states, whether Gulf States or others, will join the normalization deals. “Israeli” reports mentioned that Oman was the next state to normalize, as it dispatched its ambassador in Washington to the signing ceremony for the ‘Israel’-Bahrain-UAE “Peace Deal” at the White House.

This ceremony, with all the following seasons of the same series, are just a result of a secret or declared trajectory that has been ongoing for years. This trajectory was supervised by the Mossad, who has to manage relations with non-normalizing states, as one of its official missions. This is what Cohen himself has confirmed, when he said that “The body was always working on creating relationships at various levels. These relations could be, at the beginning, economic, commercial or reciprocal concerning understanding regional and international security relations.” He added that “We all seek, in the end, official relations with Arab States”. Building on this, Cohen considered the two “Israeli” deals with the UAE and Bahrain to be “the culmination of years of efforts and communications that have been managed in a pretty accurate way.” These efforts are being made by the Mossad which comes under the direct authority of the Prime Minister, so the political level brings their rewards. Besides, the Mossad has many plans that target –as declared in the “Israeli” political and media discourse- the Palestinian cause firstly, then Iran secondly since it is considered to be the strategic depth of the axis of Resistance. Concerning this, Cohen said that the signed agreements with the UAE and Bahrain are a great message which is more important than the idea of supporting “Israel”. He added that the agreements were a strategic change in the war against Iran.

Although the attempts to give the ‘Israeli’-UAE and ‘Israeli’-Bahraini deals a strategic nature seem to be exaggerated given the two States’ size and regional role, the situation will be different when Saudi Arabia joins them. It would be possible then to talk about a new regional map that has a strategic nature. However, the engagement of all these regimes in the normalization has less consequences than Egypt’s exit from the confrontation with “Israel”, through the “Camp David Accords” in 1979, which created a radical transformation in the balance of power to the benefit of the “Israeli” enemy. This transformation needed another one on the opposite side, in the magnitude of the Iranian Revolution, to contain its consequences, and realign the movement of the regional reality in directions that are different from the ones for which the enemy was planning four decades ago.

Concerning the direct consequences of the two agreements, it is highly unlikely that the Zionist entity will play a direct role in protecting the regimes that are newly normalizing with “Israel”, or that it will engage in a military intervention for their sake. Also, it is unlikely that “Israel” will take the initiative, in the foreseeable future, to set up military bases in the Gulf as some are saying, simply because the entity doesn’t want to put direct military targets in front of its enemies, since they could restrict its ability to make aggressive operational choices in the region, especially against Iran. On the other hand, the normalizing regimes will continue playing a military role to the benefit of Tel Aviv, but this time, with a fake political legitimacy.  

Regarding the Palestinian cause, it is obvious that the establishment of a new era, titled “The Declared Arab Alliances with the ‘Israeli’ Enemy”, absolutely means the amplification of the attempts to end the Palestinian cause. Accordingly, it seems that the next stage will see an escalating aggression against Palestinians, with the participation of the normalizing regimes that think that the insistence of Palestinians on keeping their cause alive will undermine their efforts and plans, and constitute a durable conviction of them. Hence, they will treat every Palestinian stance that claims one of the Palestinians’ minimum rights as a missile that targets their thrones.

The American ambassador to “Israel”, David Friedman, is the one who opened the direct war against Palestine and its people, by attacking Palestinians again, and considering the Arab-‘Israeli’ conflict to have reached the “beginning of the end” in the light of the normalization agreements. In a clear message to Ramallah, Friedman revealed, in a conversation with the “Israeli” newspaper “Israel Hayom”, that the United States was thinking of replacing the former leader of Fatah movement, Mohammed Dahlan, by the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas; but “they didn’t want to reorganize the Palestinian leadership.” It seems that Friedman wanted to suggest that Ramallah’s insistence on rejecting normalization, and refusing the Palestinian legalization of it, will make Washington more willing to topple the current leadership. Friedman sees that “this leadership didn’t stop upholding the same old complaints, which had nothing to do with this issue.”

In parallel, Washington and Tel Aviv are still refusing to provide the UAE and Bahrain with an umbrella, even a fake one, for their normalization choices. Friedman has stressed that the postponement of the annexation plan was just a “temporary suspension”, pointing out that the current US administration was the first one to recognize the legitimacy of settlement, and to share a “Peace plan” that excludes the evacuation of settlers from their homes across the West Bank. Friedman had previously indicated that the West Bank was a part of “Israel”.


ما بعد التطبيع المجّاني: نحو تسعير الحرب على فلسطين

ما بعد التطبيع المجّاني: نحو تسعير الحرب على فلسطين
سيختلف الأمر لدى انضمام النظام السعودي، إذ يمكن عندها الحديث عن خارطة إقليمية جديدة تتّسم بطابع استراتيجي (أ ف ب )

مع افتتاح حقبة جديدة في المنطقة عنوانها التحالفات العربية المعلَنة مع العدو الإسرائيلي، تتّجه الحرب على فلسطين وداعميها نحو فصول أكثر شراسة، بهدف تصعيد الضغوط على الفلسطينيين وإجبارهم على قبول الأمر الواقع. ولعلّ التصريحات التي نُشرت أمس للسفير الأميركي في إسرائيل، ديفيد فريدمان، والتي ادّعى فيها أن الصراع العربي – الإسرائيلي وصل إلى «بداية النهاية»، تُعدّ دليلاً واضحاً على ذلك. على خطّ موازٍ، يتواصل الحديث عن اعتزام دول إضافية الانضمام إلى ركب التطبيع، في ظلّ انكشاف المزيد من المعطيات حول المسار الذي قاد إلى هذه النتيجة، والذي تزعّمه «الموساد» على مرّ السنوات الماضية.

بعدما أكمل النظامان الإماراتي والبحريني مهمّتهما التي أُوكلت إليهما في تعزيز الإمداد السياسي والأمني والاقتصادي لكيان العدو في سياق الحرب التي يشنّها على شعوب فلسطين والمنطقة، تَتوجّه الأنظار نحو النظام السعودي الذي ينتظر اكتمال رسم معالم الخطوة المطلوبة منه، وتحديد توقيت تصدّره القافلة الخليجية التي تعمل على حرف وجهة الصراع نحو أولويات تتماهى مع المصالح والأولويات الإسرائيلية. وفي هذا الإطار، أعاد رئيس «الموساد»، يوسي كوهين، في مقابلة مع «القناة 12» في التلفزيون الإسرائيلي، الحديث عن أن الاتفاق مع السعودية «في متناول اليد»، معبّراً عن اقتناعه بإمكانية تحقق ذلك «خلال هذا العام»، مجدّداً القول إن العديد من الدول، الخليجية وغير الخليجية، سينضمّ أيضاً إلى ركب التطبيع، فيما تحدّثت تقارير إسرائيلية عن أن «الدولة التالية ستكون سلطنة عُمان»، التي أوفدت سفيرها في واشنطن إلى مراسم توقيع اتفاقيتَي «السلام» مع الإمارات والبحرين في البيت الأبيض.

مراسمُ ليست، وما سيعقبها من حلقات إضافية في المسلسل نفسه، إلا نتيجة لمسار سرّي وعلني امتدّ على مدار السنوات السابقة، وأشرف عليه جهاز «الموساد»، الذي من مهمّاته الرسمية إدارة العلاقات مع الدول غير المُطبّعة. هذا ما أكّده كوهين بنفسه، بحديث عن أن جهازه «يعمل دائماً للوصول إلى وضع نقيم فيه علاقات على مستويات مختلفة. ويمكن أن تكون في البداية علاقات اقتصادية، وعلاقات تجارية، وعلاقات تبادلية في فهم الأحداث الأمنية – الإقليمية والدولية. في النهاية، أعتقد أن هدفنا جميعاً هو الوصول إلى علاقات رسمية مع الدول العربية». وانطلاقاً من ذلك، اعتبر كوهين الاتفاقيتين الإسرائيليتين مع الإمارات والبحرين «تتويجاً لسنوات من الجهود والاتصالات التي تدار بطريقة دقيقة للغاية». هذه الجهود التي يبذلها «الموساد»، التابع مباشرة لرئيس الوزراء، يقطف ثمارها المستوى السياسي، ويؤسّس عليها مخططات تستهدف مباشرة، كما هو معلن في الخطاب السياسي والإعلامي الإسرائيلي، قضية فلسطين أولاً، وإيران تالياً باعتبارها العمق الاستراتيجي لمحور المقاومة. عن هذا، قال كوهين إن «الاتفاقيات الموقّعة مع البحرين والإمارات تعتبر رسالة كبيرة جدّاً تتجاوز فكرة دعم إسرائيل. الاتفاقيات هي تغيير استراتيجي في الحرب ضدّ إيران».

من المستبعد جدّاً أن يلعب الكيان العبري دوراً مباشراً في حماية الأنظمة المُطبّعة


وعلى رغم أن محاولات إضفاء الطابع الاستراتيجي على الاتفاقيتين الإسرائيليتين مع النظامَين البحريني والإماراتي تبدو مبالغاً فيها، بلحاظ حجم الدولتين ودورهما الإقليمي، إلا أن الأمر سيختلف لدى انضمام النظام السعودي إليهما، إذ يمكن عندها الحديث عن خارطة إقليمية جديدة تتّسم بطابع استراتيجي. على أن إقدام كلّ تلك الأنظمة على التطبيع لا يوازي في تداعياته خروج مصر من المواجهة مع اسرائيل، عبر «اتفاقية كامب ديفيد» عام 1979، والتي أحدثت تحوّلاً جذرياً في موازين القوى لمصلحة العدو. وهو تحوّلٌ كان يحتاج إلى آخر مقابل بحجم ثورة إيران لاحتواء تداعياته، وإعادة تصويب حركة الواقع الإقليمي في اتجاهات مغايرة لِما كان يُخطَّط له قبل أربعة عقود.

في التداعيات المباشرة للاتفاقيتين الأخيرتين، من المستبعد جدّاً أن يلعب الكيان العبري دوراً مباشراً في حماية الأنظمة المُطبّعة معه حديثاً، أو أن يذهب إلى حدود التدخل العسكري لمواجهة أيّ تهديد تتعرّض له. كذلك، يستبعد أن تبادر إسرائيل، في المدى المنظور، إلى نصب قواعد عسكرية لها في الخليج وفق ما يجري تداوله أحياناً، والسبب – ببساطة – أنها لا تريد وضع أهداف عسكرية مباشرة أمام العدو، يمكن أن تُقيّد قدرتها على اتخاذ خيارات عملانية عدوانية في المنطقة، خصوصاً تجاه إيران. في المقابل، ستواصل الأنظمة المُطبّعة لعب دور أمني لمصلحة تل أبيب، لكن هذه المرّة مع شرعية سياسية مصطنعة.

في ما يتعلّق بقضية فلسطين، من الواضح أن التأسيس لحقبة جديدة عنوانها التحالفات العربية المعلنة مع كيان العدو، يعني بالضرورة تزخيم محاولات تصفية القضية الفلسطينية. ومن هنا، يبدو أن المرحلة المقبلة ستشهد تصاعداً في العدوان على الشعب الفلسطيني، بمشاركة من أنظمة التطبيع التي تعتقد أن إصرار الفلسطينيين على إبقاء قضيّتهم حية سيُقوِّض الكثير من جهودها ومخطّطاتها، وسيشكّل إدانة مستمرّة لها. ولذا، فهي ستتعامل مع كلّ موقف فلسطيني يطالب بالحدّ الأدنى من الحقوق على أنه بمثابة صاروخ مُوجّه إلى عروشها.

تسعير الحرب المباشرة على فلسطين وشعبها افتتحه السفير الأميركي في إسرائيل، ديفيد فريدمان، بمهاجمة الفلسطينيين من جديد، واعتباره أن الصراع العربي – الإسرائيلي وصل إلى «بداية النهاية» في ظلّ اتفاقيات التطبيع. وفي رسالة واضحة الدلالة إلى رام الله، كشف فريدمان، في حديث إلى صحيفة «إسرائيل اليوم»، أن الولايات المتحدة الأميركية تدرس استبدال القيادي السابق في حركة «فتح» محمد دحلان، برئيس السلطة محمود عباس، مستدركاً بأنه «ليست لدينا رغبة في هندسة القيادة الفلسطينية». والظاهر أن فريدمان أراد الإيحاء بأن إصرار رام الله على رفض سياسة التطبيع، وممانعتها إضفاء الشرعية الفلسطينية عليها، سيدفعان واشنطن إلى إطاحة القيادة الحالية التي يرى أنها لا تزال «تتمسّك بنفس الشكاوى القديمة، التي لا أعتقد أنها ذات صلة».

على خطّ مواز، لا تزال واشنطن، ومعها تل أبيب، ترفض توفير مظلّة، ولو شكلية، للإمارات والبحرين، في خياراتهما التطبيعية؛ إذ شدّد فريدمان على أن تأجيل تنفيذ مخطّط الضم ما هو إلا «تعليق مؤقت»، لافتاً إلى أن الإدارة الأميركية الحالية أول إدارة تعترف بشرعية الاستيطان، وتنشر «خطّة سلام» تستبعد إخلاء المستوطنين من منازلهم في جميع أنحاء الضفة، التي سبق أن أشار في الماضي إلى أنها «جزء من إسرائيل».

السفير الأمريكي فريدمان: ندرس استبدال عباس بمحمد دحلان

   الصفصاف

فريدمان يهاجم القيادة الفلسطينيّة.. و”يسرائيل هيوم” تعدّل حديثه عن دحلان

تاريخ النشر: 17/09/2020 

فريدمان يهاجم القيادة الفلسطينيّة.. و"يسرائيل هيوم" تعدّل حديثه عن دحلان
فريدمان خلف ترامب لحظة الإعلان عن الاتفاق الإماراتي “الإسرائيلي” (أ ب)

عرب 48

تحرير: محمود مجادلة

عاد السفير الأميركي في (إسرائيل)، ديفيد فريدمان، إلى مهاجمة القيادة الفلسطينية من جديد، معتبرا أن الصراع العربي الإسرائيلي وصل إلى بداية النهاية في ظل اتفاقيات التطبيع التي وقعتها (إسرائيل) مع الإمارات والبحرين، برعاية أميركية.

وقال فريدمان في حديث لصحيفة “يسرائيل هيوم”، نشر اليوم، الخميس، إن الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، تدرس استبدال الرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس، بالقيادي المفصول من حركة “فتح”، محمد دحلان.

وعدّلت الصحيفة التصريحات لاحقًا، لتضيف “لا” على جملة فريدمان التي قالها ردا على سؤال عمّا إذا كانت الولايات المتحدة تدرس إمكانية تعيين دحلان المقيم في الإمارات، كزعيم فلسطيني جديد، “نحن نفكر في ذلك، لكن ليست لدينا رغبة في هندسة القيادة الفلسطينية”.

وأصبحت الجملة “نحن لا نفكر في ذلك، لكن ليست لدينا رغبة في هندسة القيادة الفلسطينية”.

تابعوا تطبيق “عرب ٤٨”… سرعة الخبر | دقة المعلومات | عمق التحليلات

وعن الصراع العربي (الإسرائيلي)، قال فريدمان: “لقد وصلنا إلى بداية نهاية الصراع العربي (الإسرائيلي) ولسنا بعيدين عن نهاية الصراع لأن العديد من الدول ستنضم قريبا” إلى مسار التطبيع الذي تقوده إدارة الرئيس الأميركي، دونالد ترامب.

وأضاف “لقد كسرنا الجليد وتوصلنا إلى سلام مع دولتين مهمتين في المنطقة. وكما قال الرئيس (ترامب)، وأنا أعلم أن هذا صحيح، سيكون هناك المزيد من الاختراقات (انضمام دول إلى اتفاقيات التطبيع). عندما يهدأ الوضع، في غضون أشهر أو عام، سنصل إلى نهاية الصراع العربي (الإسرائيلي)”.

وعن انعكاسات زخم التطبيع والتطورات الأخيرة على القضية الفلسطينية، قال إن “الشعب (الفلسطيني) لا يحصل على الخدمة الصحيحة من قيادته”، واستطرد “أعتقد أن الناس الذين يعيشون في يهودا والسامرة (الضفة الغربية المحتلة) يريدون حياة أفضل. يجب أن يكون واضحا لهم أن هذا ممكن”.

وتابع “تتمسك القيادة الفلسطينية بنفس الشكاوى القديمة، والتي لا أعتقد أنها ذات صلة. إنهم بحاجة للانضمام إلى القرن الحادي والعشرين. إنهم في على الطرف الخطأ من التاريخ في الوقت الحالي”.

وعن إمكانية تنفيذ مخطط الضم (الإسرائيلي) في الضفة المحتلة، قال فريدمان: “أعتقد أن هذا سيحدث، كانت لدينا عقبات بسبب كورونا وصعوبات دبلوماسية لتحريك ملف فرض ‘السيادة‘ (“الإسرائيلية” على مناطق في الضفة) ثم سنحت الفرصة مع الإمارات”.

وأضاف “كان الاستنتاج أنه حتى لو اعتقدنا أن السيادة هي الخطوة الصحيحة، إلا أن السلام فوق كل شيء، فالأعلام (الإسرائيلية) ترفرف حاليًا في ‘غوش عتصيون‘ و‘بيت إيل‘ و‘معاليه أدوميم‘ و‘شيلو‘ والخليل، ووفقًا لرؤيتنا للسلام (“صفقة القرن”) فإن الأعلام الإسرائيلية ستستمر في الرفرفة هناك”.

وتابع “السلام فرصة لا تتكرر إلا مرة واحدة في كل جيل. سنحت الفرصة وظننا أنه يجب أن نغتنمها، وأن نغتنم الفرصة التي تأتي بعدها، وتلك التي ستأتي لاحقًا”. وقال “بعد دفع عملية السلام إلى الأمام وتغيير مسارها (في إشارة إلى مخطط تجاوز الفلسطينيين وعقد اتفاقيات تطبيع مع دول عربية)، أعتقد أنه يمكننا العودة إلى مسألة السيادة بطريقة تكون أقل إثارة للجدل”.

اقرأ/ أيضًا | مخطط الضم طرحه كوشنر لتهديد الفلسطينيين

وشدد على أن تأجيل تنفيذ مخطط الضم بموجب اتفاق التطبيع مع الإمارات، ما هو إلا “تعليق مؤقت. أود أن أذكر أيضًا أننا أول إدارة أميركية تعترف بشرعية الاستيطان ونعتبر أنه لا ينتهك القانون الدولي، ونحن الإدارة الوحيدة التي نشرت خطة سلام تستبعد إخلاء المستوطنين من منازلهم في جميع أنحاء يهودا والسامرة”.

وكان فريدمان قد قال في الماضي مرارا، إن أراضي الضفة الغربية هي جزء من (إسرائيل)، وإن من حق اليهود الاستيطان فيها، كما دافع بقوة عن اعتراف الولايات المتحدة الأميركية بالقدس عاصمة ل(إسرائيل)، وبات أول دبلوماسي يتولى مسؤولية السفارة الأميركية، بعد نقلها من تل أبيب إلى القدس.

يذكر أن دحلان ملاحق من قبل تركيا وفلسطين لاتهامه بعدة تهم أبرزها، القتل والفساد والتجسس الدولي والضلوع بمحاولة الانقلاب العسكري الفاشلة التي شهدتها أنقرة، منتصف تموز/ يوليو 2016.

ويتهمه القضاء التركي، بالضلوع في محاولة الانقلاب الفاشلة، ومحاولة تغيير النظام الدستوري بالقوة، و”الكشف عن معلومات سرية حول أمن الدولة لغرض التجسس”، و”قيامه بالتجسس الدولي”.

وكانت صحيفة “يديعوت أحرونوت”، قد كشفت يوم الجمعة الماضي، زيارة دحلان (إسرائيل) ومدينة القدس المحتلة، برفقة مسؤول الأمن القومي الإماراتي، طحنون بن زايد.

وذكرت الصحيفة أن الطائرة الإماراتية التي هبطت في مطار اللد في حزيران/ يونيو الماضي وتحمل مساعدات طبية إلى الضفة الغربية، كان على متنها كل من دحلان وبن زايد حيث أجريا محادثات مطوله مع مسؤولين (إسرائيليين) في القدس.

وذكرت محللة الشؤون العربية في صحيفة “يديعوت أحرونوت”، سمدار بيري، أن تلك الطائرة أحدثت توترًا كبيرًا بين السلطة وبين الإمارات حيث رفضت السلطة استلام الطائرة، احتجاجا على وصولها بالتنسيق مع جميع الأطراف باستثناء السلطة. وأشارت بيري إلى دور دحلان في هندسة الاتفاق الإماراتي (الإسرائيلي).

Hamas Official To Al-Ahed: Unity A Slap in the Face of Normalization That Stabbed Palestinian Cause’s Back

Hamas Official To Al-Ahed: Unity A Slap in the Face of Normalization That Stabbed Palestinian Cause’s Back

By Mahdi Qashmar

Day by day, the Arab League proves that it seeks issues that have nothing to do with Arabs’ concerns and anxieties. Its stance concerning normalization was perhaps the most notable proof in this context. Some of its members became Arabs just when it comes to the identity as the Palestinian cause is now absent from their projects. It rather seems that the top priority for some member states is to target the Palestinian cause, perhaps they please the Zionists and the Americans at a time when the plot had become greater than anyone can imagine.  

In a conversation with “Al-Ahed News”, representative of Palestinian resistance movement “Hamas” in Lebanon, Ali Baraka, regretted the Arab League’s decision, which rejected the Palestinian draft resolution that condemned the UAE-‘Israel’ normalization deal.

Baraka considered that it was a stab in the back of the Palestinian cause and people, noting that this decision encourages the Zionist enemy to continue its criminality and aggressive actions, whether by continuing the siege on the Gaza Strip, the West Bank annexation plan, or ignoring the Palestinian people’s rights.    

Baraka called on all Arab states to back the Palestinian position that refused the “Deal of the Century”, the annexation plan, and the normalization with the Zionist enemy.

He also noted that the most important move that “Hamas” and the Palestinian factions could make was unifying all Palestinian parties, promoting national unity, and building a common strategy to face the “Deal of the Century”, the annexation plan and the normalization schemes. He added that “it was the reason for which “Hamas” had participated, at the leadership level, in the conference for Secretaries-General of all Palestinian factions in Beirut, through which an agreement had been reached to establish three Palestinian committees to continue the joint action in order to establish a unified national leadership to end division and achieve national reconciliation.”

The “Hamas” official stressed that resistance movement is ready to cooperate with all Palestinian factions in order to strengthen the home front and protect the Palestinian cause from Zionist-American schemes to slap the face of all conspiracies targeting this central cause.

Next? Bahraini Regime Joins Betrayers of Palestine, Announces Normalizing Ties with ‘Israel’

Next? Bahraini Regime Joins Betrayers of Palestine, Announces Normalizing Ties with ‘Israel’

By Staff

In the latest unashamed move against the Middle East’s central cause, Palestine, the treacherous Bahraini regime tasked US President Donald Trump with announcing the normalization of ties with the ‘Israeli’ occupation entity.

This makes it the second country after the United Arab Emirates [UAE] to speak publicly of normalized ties with ‘Israel.’

Such so-called ‘peace’ deals have been widely censured as a betrayal of the Palestinian nation and the Palestinian cause.

Trump said in a tweet on Friday that Bahrain had agreed to join the UAE in striking a deal to normalize relations with Tel Aviv.

The White House said the Trump had broken the news after speaking by phone to Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah and Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He also attached to a separate tweet a joint statement, whereby the three had agreed on and expressed commitment to “the establishment of full diplomatic relations between ‘Israel’ and the Kingdom of Bahrain.”

They also boasted the deal in the statement as a “historic breakthrough,” and claimed the agreement was aimed at increasing “stability, security, and prosperity in the region.”

Bahrain has agreed to formalize the deal with ‘Israel’ at a ceremony on September 15 at the White House, where the United Arab Emirates would also sign off on its own thaw with the occupying regime announced in mid-August.

The Zionist entity and the UAE agreed to a US-brokered deal to normalize relations on August 13. Under the agreement, the Tel Aviv regime has purportedly agreed to “temporarily” suspend applying its own rule to further areas in the occupied West Bank and the strategic Jordan Valley that Netanyahu had pledged to annex.

Related

THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE CONFLICT, ANNEXATION AND NORMALIZATION

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The Israel-Palestine Conflict, Annexation And Normalization

As the Israel-Palestine conflict grinds on with no end in sight, Israel and the US have launched an all-out push to resolve the conflict once and for all, on Israel’s terms. If the manoeuvre is successful, Israel will end up with all of the territories it conquered during the 1967 war, including all of the Golan Heights and Jerusalem and most of the Palestinian Territories, including the best sources of water and agricultural land. The West Bank will find itself in the same situation as the Gaza strip, cut off from the outside world and surrounded by hostile Israeli military forces and Israeli settlements.

The Israel-Palestine Conflict, Annexation And Normalization

Palestine in the regional and international geopolitical context

The current economic, political and social situation in Palestine must be considered in the regional context. Two aspects are of most immediate relevance in this sense: the first is the long running confrontation between the US, Israel, the Saudis and the UAE (along with their other allies and associates) and the ‘Axis of Resistance’.

The second geopolitical development that is of fundamental significance for the Palestinian people is the attempt by Israel (with the emphatic support of the Trump administration and most of the US Congress) to resolve the ‘Palestinian question’ by normalizing relations with as many Arab and Muslim countries as possible while at the same time proceeding with the plan to annex large chunks of Palestinian territory and keeping the Palestinian inhabitants in conditions of severe deprivation and isolation.

In each instance there are broad similarities but also some significant differences in the postures of different countries and international organizations to these two key topics. There are also the superimposed bilateral and multilateral confrontations and rivalries, of which the mutual antagonism between Iran and the US, Israel and the Saudis is one of the most important. There is also the rivalry between Turkey, the Saudis and Iran to be considered the ‘leader’ of the Muslim world, and a deepening enmity and confrontation between Turkey and Egypt. All of these elements and opposing forces are also deeply involved in the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.

The ‘Axis of Resistance’ comprises the countries and groups determined to confront the efforts by the US and Israel to impose their hegemony over the course developments take, the core of which consists of Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah. Other Muslim and Arab countries are not willing to directly confront the US and Israel, or are allied to greater or lesser degree with them against Iran and the other members of the resistance (the Saudis in particular).

The topic of the normalization of relations with Israel prior to a conclusive peace agreement with the Palestinians has also polarized the region since the deal concluded between the UAE and Israel. Most Arab and Muslim countries have stated that they will not be normalizing relations with Israel as yet, and that they remain committed to the Arab Peace Initiative, notwithstanding that many already have significant unofficial and semi-covert relations with Israel.

While Russia and to a lesser extent China are cooperating with the members of the Axis of Resistance in Syria to defeat the foreign-backed terrorist groups that continue to occupy and ravage some parts of the country, most now concentrated in Idlib province, they are understandably reluctant to become directly involved in the military confrontation with the US and Israel that is taking place there. While the European Union generally goes along with the US and Israel on many issues, most of its member countries have clearly stated that they do not and will not support Israel’s annexation of occupied Palestinian territories.

A broader consideration of each country’s reactions to these parallel developments – the emergence and consolidation of the ‘Axis of Resistance’ and the normalization of relations with Israel – also provides important insights into the current political trajectory and objectives of the dominant political factions in each country in the region, though the nature and configuration of the opposing social and political forces and the internal dynamics that have produced that trajectory must be considered separately in each instance.

This is just and true and revealing in the case of the internal politics of the predominantly Judaeo-Christian denominated Western countries – United States, Israel and Europe (as well as Australia and New Zealand) – as it is in the predominantly Arab and Muslim countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

In the United States, the Israel-Palestine conflict and associated disputes in the Middle East is one of the most polarizing political issues in terms of international events, and each side can find support among a wide range of social sectors, political organizations and social movements. While most of the Congress and the White House invariably support Israel, the Palestinian cause can count on the support of a small number of members of Congress and numerous civil society organizations and social movements.

Israel Blocks Visit by Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib - WSJ

Two first-term Congresswoman in particular, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, have drawn the ire of the corporate press and many of their political opponents (including from their supposed allies in the Democratic Party). In 2019 Israel barred them from entering Israel or the Palestinian territories, a decision that was encouraged and applauded by the Trump administration and by Donald Trump personally.

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said the US “supports and respects” Israel’s decision to deny entry to Tlaib and Omar.

“This trip, pure and simple, is nothing more than an effort to fuel the (boycott movement) engine that Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar so vigorously support,” Friedman said in a statement released Thursday evening.

Slamming the boycott movement as “economic warfare designed to delegitimize and ultimately destroy the Jewish State,” Friedman defended Israel’s right to deny entry to those who support a boycott of the country. LINK

The criticism and condemnation of their strong statements in support of the rights of the Palestinian people in ‘the corridors of power’ in Washington and the US corporate media is probably matched only by their popularity on ‘the Arab street’.

The two main contenders for the presidency in November’s elections, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, are both ardent supporters and promoters of Israel, and the Palestinians can only expect vocal opposition to recognition of their rights from that quarter unless a surprise candidate emerges in the meantime.

Many people are trying to persuade ex-Navy SEAL and former governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura to run for the presidency; if that were to occur, it might be possible that he could garner sufficient popular support to challenge what appears set to be a one horse race between the Republicans and Democrats at this stage.

The Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) movement has been an attempt by civil society groups to contest and counteract the clear favouritism for Israel against Palestine that exists within the upper echelons of the two main political parties, and therefore the White House, the Congress, the Pentagon, and high-level State officials.

The BDS movement is present worldwide, and faces basically similar conditions in all Western countries (in Europe, Australia and New Zealand) – that is, very pro-Israel ruling political parties which determine all government policies on the matter, which do not reflect a much more non-partisan, evenly split (between ‘pro-Israel’ and ‘pro-Palestine’ sentiments) or even pro-Palestinian rights attitude within society more generally. The BDS movement has been strongly condemned by most members of the Congress and the corporate media, as well as by many state legislatures in the US.

The entrenched bipartisan pro-Israel attitude in the US includes commitments to provide at least $3billion of financial and military support annually for consecutive 10-year periods, close military and technological cooperation and support in all fields, and the promise to ensure that Israel maintains a ‘qualitative edge’ over any and all possible opponents in the Middle East, irrespective of Israel’s foreign policies and objectives and what Israel does with the weapons the US provides. Nothing at all is offered to the Palestinians.

The US also provides strong diplomatic support for Israel, taken to new levels during the Trump administration which has moved the US embassy to Jerusalem after recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and endorsed the Israeli occupation of and assertion of sovereignty over the Golan Heights, both decisions in contravention of all international laws and over forty years of almost unanimous UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on the matter (usually, the only votes against being the US, Israel and a small number of tiny US-dependent countries). The US has vetoed all resolutions in the Security Council critical of Israel regardless of the circumstances, with one exception towards the end of Obama’s presidency which called on Israel to withdraw from all occupied Palestinian territories and emphasized that all Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories are illegal.

Closer to the location in Europe, civil society groups and some politicians – rarely from the ruling parties – have formed alliances and campaigns to support the rights of the Palestinians, including the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement. The Freedom Flotilla, which has attempted to breach Israel and Egypt’s strict economic and physical blockade of Gaza and deliver food and medicines on several occasions, is one significant example. The flotilla that attempted to breach the blockade in 2010 was intercepted, the crew and passengers accompanying them in an act of solidarity were arrested and imprisoned, and the ships and cargos confiscated.

The Gaza flotilla raid was a military operation conducted by Israeli commandos against six civilian ships of the ‘Gaza Freedom Flotilla’ on 31 May 2010 in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea. Ten activists were killed during the raid and many more wounded. Ten Israeli soldiers were wounded, one seriously.

Numerous other attempts have been made to deliver food and medicine, however none have succeeded in breaching the blockade. Plans to send another Freedom Flotilla to Gaza in May of this year were interrupted by the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, however the organizers still intend to set sail for Gaza when global health and travel restrictions permit. LINK

The situation in Gaza

The Palestinian territories have been rocked by extremely asymmetrical clashes and fighting since the 1980s, in which Israel has not hesitated to deploy the full weight of its vastly superior firepower against the occupants of the Gaza strip in particular. The first round of sustained open conflict broke out in 1987:

Intifada, also spelled intifadah, Arabic intifāḍah (“shaking off”), refers to two popular uprisings of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip aimed at ending Israel’s occupation of those territories and creating an independent Palestinian state. The first intifada began in December 1987 and ended in September 1993 with the signing of the first Oslo Accords, which provided a framework for peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The second intifada, sometimes called the Al-Aqṣā intifada, began in September 2000. Although no single event signalled its end, most analysts agree that it had run its course by late 2005. The two uprisings resulted in the death of more than 5,000 Palestinians and some 1,400 Israelis. LINK

Israel imposed a strict physical and economic blockade on Gaza in 2007 after HAMAS won the legislative elections in the Gaza strip. The PLO won the elections in the West Bank, and Mahmoud Abbas was declared president. For almost the entire period since then Egypt has also closed its border with Gaza and prevented the movement of all people and goods.

The Palestinian economy had already been devastated during the second Intifada, and the strict blockade and isolation imposed by Israel and Egypt has ensured that there has been no significant economic recovery. With a population of just under 5 million in the Palestinian territories (with well over a million more Palestinians living in impoverished refugee camps in neighbouring countries), average annual GDP per capita has hovered around $2000 per capita in the West Bank and closer to $800-900 per capita in Gaza.

The Israel-Palestine Conflict, Annexation And Normalization

Agriculture accounts for approximately 10% of GDP, light industry 23% and services around 65% of total GDP and broadly similar proportions of employment. Palestine’s main exports are olives, citrus fruit, vegetables, limestone, flowers and textiles. The main imports are food, consumer goods and construction materials. Unemployment has been estimated at around 20-30% of the workforce since the start of the second Intifada, and youth unemployment has usually been significantly above 40%. The Palestine economy and society have been pushed into a condition of stasis and dependency on foreign ‘aid’.

Palestine GDP 1995-2020

Palestine GSP per capita 2010-2018

Unemployment rate in Palestine 1995-2020

Youth unemployment in Palestine

Top 10 Trading Partners (2018)

Palestine exports:

Palestine Exports By CountryValueYear
Israel$967.46M2018
Jordan$73.95M2018
United Arab Emirates$26.41M2018
Saudi Arabia$21.01M2018
United States$14.53M2018
Kuwait$9.12M2018
Turkey$7.76M2018
Qatar$7.26M2018
United Kingdom$6.47M2018
Germany$2.09M2018

Palestine imports:

Palestine Imports By CountryValueYear
Israel$3.62B2018
Turkey$657.81M2018
China$424.92M2018
Germany$209.32M2018
Jordan$188.61M2018
Italy$110.31M2018
France$110.25M2018
Egypt$93.79M2018
Ukraine$88.59M2018
Saudi Arabia$87.65M2018

Source: Trading Economics

The already crippled Palestinian economy received another devastating blow in 2008-2009 when the Israeli leadership launched ‘Operation Cast Lead’, a period of massive air and artillery strikes against the entire Gaza enclave. The Institute for Middle East Understanding summarized the impact of the prolonged military operation on Gaza’s infrastructure, population and economy:

  • According to investigations by independent Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations, between 1,385 and 1,419 Palestinians were killed during Cast Lead, a majority of them civilians, including at least 308 minors under the age of 18. More than 5000 more were wounded. Thirteen Israelis were also killed, including 3 civilians.
  • According to the UN, 3,540 housing units were completely destroyed, with another 2,870 sustaining severe damage.
  • More than 20,000 people – many of them already refugees, some two or three times over – were made homeless.
  • Attacks on Gaza’s electricity infrastructure caused an estimated $10 million in damage, according to the Israeli advocacy group Gisha.
  • 268 private businesses were destroyed, and another 432 damaged, at an estimated cost of more than $139 million, according to an assessment by the Private Sector Coordination Council, a Palestinian economic group. A separate report found that 324 factories and workshops were damaged during the war.
  • According to the UN Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides services to Palestinian refugees, the offensive damaged almost 20,000 meters (approx. 12 miles) of water pipes, four water reservoirs, 11 wells, and sewage networks and pumping stations. Israeli shelling also damaged 107 UNRWA installations.
  • Eighteen schools, including 8 kindergartens, were destroyed, and at least 262 others damaged. Numerous Palestinian government buildings, including police stations, the headquarters of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and part of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ compound, were also destroyed.

Ten years later, a report in The Guardian reviewing the context of the military operation surmised:

On 27 December 2008, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, pounding the densely populated strip from the air, sea and land for 22 days. It was not a war or even “asymmetric warfare” but a one-sided massacre. Israel had 13 dead; the Gazans had 1,417 dead, including 313 children, and more than 5,500 wounded. According to one estimate 83% of the casualties were civilians. Israel claimed to be acting in self-defence, protecting its civilians against Hamas rocket attacks. The evidence, however, points to a deliberate and punitive war of aggression. Israel had a diplomatic alternative, but it chose to ignore it and to resort to brute military force.

For its part, the Jewish Virtual Library states of developments leading up to the military operation:

Hamas seized power from the Palestinian Authority (PA) in what amounted to a coup in June 2007. This allowed them to confiscate armored vehicles and weapons given to the PA by Israel, the United States and other countries. In addition, the group manufactured its own mortars and rockets while smuggling in from Egypt more sophisticated rockets provided by Iran.

Between 2005 and 2007, Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza fired about 2,000 rockets into Israel, killing four Israeli civilians and injuring 75 others. The bombardment continued in the first half of 2008.

On June 19, 2008, Egypt brokered a six-month pause in hostilities that required Hamas to end rocket and mortar attacks on Israel. Hamas was also expected to halt its military buildup in Gaza and release an Israeli soldier it was holding hostage. In exchange, Israel agreed to ease the blockade of Gaza and to halt military raids into Gaza. As part of the deal Egypt promised to stop the smuggling of arms and weapons from its territory into Gaza.

Throughout the fall, Israel and Hamas accused each other of violating the Egyptian-mediated truce. Rocket fire from Gaza never stopped entirely and weapons smuggling continued. Hamas insisted Israel never allowed the expected amount of goods to flow into Gaza and of conducting raids that killed Hamas fighters.

Despite discussions by both sides aimed at extending the cease-fire, violence continued. On December 24, an Israeli airstrike targeted terrorists who had fired mortars at Israel. Hamas subsequently fired a barrage of rockets and mortars into Israel and warned it would put thousands of Israelis “under fire.”

The next day, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned Hamas to stop attacking Israel, but the terrorists responded with another salvo of rockets.

At 11:30 a.m. on December 27, 2008, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead. It began with a wave of airstrikes in which F-16 fighter jets and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters simultaneously struck 100 targets within a span of 220 seconds. Thirty minutes later, a second wave of 64 jets and helicopters struck an additional 60 targets. The air strikes hit Hamas headquarters, government offices and 24 police stations.

Israeli Air and Naval Forces struck Hamas terrorist cell headquarters throughout the Gaza Strip including a Hamas training base and outposts as well as Hamas government complexes. They also attacked rocket launchers and Grad missile stockpiles. Houses of senior Hamas and Jihad terrorists were targeted along with dozens of tunnels that have been used to pass weaponry into Gaza.

Hamas was caught by surprise. The Israeli government had leaked information to the Israeli press suggesting an attack was not imminent. Many Hamas terrorists had come out of hiding; consequently, approximately 140 members of the group were killed the first day, including Tawfik Jaber, head of Hamas’ police force. The Israeli attack was the deadliest one-day death toll in 60 years of conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, a day that was called the “Massacre of Black Saturday” by Palestinians in Gaza. Hamas responded with a rocket barrage on southern Israel.

The Palestinian economy is still languishing under the Israeli/ Egyptian blockade and the Palestinian territories continue to be rocked by intermittent intensification of the permanent condition of ‘low-intensity’ conflict, the most recent escalation in military attacks against the enclave lasting for about two weeks in August during which hundreds of explosives-laden and incendiary balloons were released toward Israel and Israel conducted nightly bombing raids on the besieged Palestinian enclave.

A ceasefire was announced at the end of the month pursuant to which Hamas promised to attempt to prevent any more fire kites or incendiary balloons from being released and Israel promised to let some essential goods into Gaza including fuel for Gaza’s sole power plant which has often only been operating for a few hours a day due to chronic fuel shortages.

Whether coincidental or not, the announcement of the ceasefire coincided with the first official Israel/ US delegation to the UAE to discuss details of the ‘normalization’ of relations. On the same day, Israel sent military bulldozers into Gazan territory to clear land and build earthen barricades along the border.The Israel-Palestine Conflict, Annexation And Normalization

Normalization for the people of Gaza: less Israeli airstrikes, more Israeli bulldozers?

CAPTION Normalization for the people of Gaza: less Israeli airstrikes, more Israeli bulldozers?

A recent analysis of the fishing sector by Palestine Chronicle provides a Palestinian perspective on the impact the Israeli blockade and military attacks have had on the Palestinian economy and people.

Gaza’s fishermen are true heroes. Against numerous odds, they brave the sea every day to ensure the survival of their families.

In this scenario, the Israeli navy represents modern-day pirates opening fire at these Palestinian men – and, in some cases, women – sinking their boats sometimes and driving them back to the shore. In Gaza, this has been the routine for almost 13 years.

As soon as Israel declared the complete closure of Gaza’s fishing zone it prevented thousands of fishermen from providing for their families, thus destroying yet another sector in Gaza’s decimated economy.

The Israeli military justified its action as a retaliatory measure against Palestinian protesters who have reportedly launched incendiary balloons into Israel in recent days. The Israeli decision, therefore, may seem rational according to the poor standards of mainstream journalism. A slight probe into the subject, however, reveals another dimension to the story.

Palestinian protesters have, in fact, released incendiary balloons into Israel which, reportedly, cause fires in some agricultural areas adjacent to occupied Gaza. However, the act itself has been a desperate cry for attention.

Gaza is almost completely out of fuel. The Strip’s only power generator was officially shut down on August 18. The Karem Abu Salem Crossing, which allows barely limited supplies to reach Gaza through Israel, has also been closed by an Israeli military order.  The sea, Gaza’s last resort, has, recently, turned into a one-sided war between the Israeli navy and Gaza’s shrinking population of fishermen. All of this has inflicted severe damage to a region that has already endured tremendous suffering.

Gaza’s once healthy fishing sector has been almost obliterated as a result of the Israeli siege. In 2000, for example, the Gaza fishing industry had over 10,000 registered fishermen. Gradually, the number has dwindled to 3,700, although many of them are fishermen by name only – as they can no longer access the sea, repair their damaged boats or afford new ones.

Those who remain committed to the profession do so because it is, literally, their last means of survival – if they do not fish, their families do not eat…

When the Oslo Accord was signed between the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1993, Palestinians were told that one of the many fruits of peace would be the expansion of Gaza’s fishing zone – up to 20 nautical miles (approximately 37 km), precisely.

Like the rest of Oslo’s broken promises, the fishing agreement was never honoured, either. Instead, up to 2006, the Israeli military allowed Gazans to fish within a zone that never exceeded 12 nautical miles.  In 2007, when Israel imposed its ongoing siege on Gaza, the fishing zone was reduced even further, first to six nautical miles and, eventually, to three.

Following each Israeli war or violent conflagration in Gaza, the fishing zone is shut down completely. It is reopened after each truce, accompanied by more empty promises that the fishing zone will be expanded several nautical miles in order to improve the livelihood of the fishermen.

Israel’s annexation plan and the push for normalization of diplomatic relations

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been pushing for the formal of annexation of all Palestinian territories occupied by illegal Israeli settlements, as well as the Golan Heights captured from Syria in the 1967 war. Illegal Israeli settlements have expanded rapidly over the years, occupying some of the most fertile areas that remained to the Palestinians and cutting off their access to most water sources.

The Israel-Palestine Conflict, Annexation And Normalization
The Israel-Palestine Conflict, Annexation And Normalization

In addition, Netanyahu intends to annex most of the Jordan Valley as well, which would cut off the Palestinians in the West Bank from Jordan completely and leave them as isolated and vulnerable to Israeli punitive attacks as the Gaza strip has been since Egypt sealed off its border. While the Trump administration seems willing to recognize all of the blatant land grabs carried out by Israel over time irrespective of the circumstances and the rights of the Palestinians, the latter being recognized emphatically by a unanimous UN Security Council resolution just before Trump assumed the presidency which also condemned all illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian Territories, the Trump administration has hesitated to give an official endorsement of the plan to annex the Jordan Valley.

The Israel-Palestine Conflict, Annexation And Normalization

The agreement between the UAE and Israel to normalize relations takes on immense significance in this context. It is an attempt by the Israeli government to nullify and extinguish the rights of the Palestinians once and for all, and get as much international recognition as possible of the status quo.

US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said on Sunday 30 August that more Arab and Muslim countries were likely to follow Abu Dhabi’s move.

“We believe that other Arab and Muslim countries will soon follow the United Arab Emirates’ lead and normalise relations with Israel,” he told reporters after talks at Netanyahu’s residence.

He did not name the states, but Israeli officials have publicly mentioned Oman, Bahrain and Sudan. Recent news reports have suggested Morocco may also be considering a similar agreement with Israel in exchange for military and economic aid, citing a long history of semi-covert relations and joint activities.

However, Moroccan Prime Minister Saad Eddine el-Othmani said last week, “We refuse any normalisation with the Zionist entity because this emboldens it to go further in breaching the rights of the Palestinian people”. LINK

In the aftermath of the announcement of the normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE, the leaders of Iraq, Jordan and Egypt met in Jordan and made a belated attempt to restore the Arab Peace Initiative on the international geopolitical agenda. At a trilateral meeting in mid-August, the leaders of the three countries reiterated their determination to forge a new regional Arab strategic partnership and become a proactive participant in geopolitical developments in the region.

Meeting for the third time in a year, Jordan’s King Abdullah, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi agreed to deepen cooperation on a wide range of topics and sectors including regional security, health, education, trade and food security.

The three leaders, whose countries account for about a third of the total Arab population, called for the Arab Peace Initiative for the Palestine-Israel conflict to be reactivated, stating that the only viable resolution would be in accordance with relevant UN resolutions and “in a manner that fulfils all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”

The three countries also emphasized the need to “stop Israeli steps to annex Palestinian lands and any measures to undermine prospects to achieve a just peace or seek to alter the historical and legal status quo in Jerusalem”. LINK

However, given the notorious inability of the Arab countries and political factions to maintain a united front and remain committed to the pursuit of strategic objectives in the long term in recent times, the onus is clearly on the leadership of the respective countries to demonstrate that the meeting was not just a ‘photo op’ and opportunity to posture on the international stage.

Late last month, the Saudis also denied media speculation that they were inclining towards normalizing relations with Israel. Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the Kingdom remains committed to peace with Israel “as a strategic option basis on the Arab Peace Initiative”, in the Saudis’ first official comment since the United Arab Emirates agreed to normalize relations with Israel.

“The Kingdom considers any Israeli unilateral measures to annex Palestinian land as undermining the two-state solution,” the Saudi Minister said in an event in Berlin, in comments reported on Saudi’s foreign affairs ministry Twitter page…

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan affirmed his country’s commitment to the Arab Peace Plan in comments following a meeting with his German counterpart Heiko Maas in Berlin.

Prince Faisal added that Israel’s unilateral actions concerning colonies are thwarting chances for peace.

“Saudi Arabia considers Israel’s unilateral policies of annexation and building of settlements as an illegitimate (way forward) and (as) detrimental to the two-state solution,” the Saudi foreign ministry quoted Prince Faisal as saying.

Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said that “abiding by the Arab Peace Initiative (API) is the real test for Arab states’ positions on Jerusalem and a test for the seriousness of the Arab joint action.”

Azzam el-Ahmad, a member of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah central committee, welcomed on Thursday the Saudi position on peace with Israel on the basis of the longstanding Arab Peace Initiative.

“The Saudi position is important because it adheres to Arab consensus, the Arab Peace Initiative, and plays a central role in the region,” Ahmad said.

First adopted by the Arab League in 2002, the Arab Peace Initiative calls for full diplomatic ties between Israel and the entire Arab and Muslim world in exchange for a “full Israeli withdrawal from all the Arab territories occupied since June 1967,” the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and a “just” and “agreed upon” solution to the right of return of Palestinian refugees based on UN Resolution 194. LINK

The Arab Peace Initiative: a complete copy of the text is available here.

After the Arab Peace Initiative (API) was first adopted by the 22 member states of the Arab League in 2002, it was subsequently endorsed by the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

At a meeting in April 2013 hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry, a delegation representing the Arab League further displayed Arab states’ interest in peace when they scaled back the API’s demands upon Israel by accepting a two-state solution with mutually agreed upon land swaps.

Endorsing land swaps was a meaningful step taken by the Arab League as it is a concept that allows a two-state outcome to remain realistic.

While the API has been unable to gain traction or support among the world’s ‘major’ powers, until the UAE-Israel ‘normalization’ deal most proposals on how to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process took the API as a framework or key reference in negotiating a solution.

The significance of the API is that it was the first collective Arab effort that was unanimously agreed to by all Arab states.

Acknowledging the magnitude of such a proposal, former President Shimon Peres summarized it best in late 2008 when he described the API as the reversal of the “3 No’s” at the Arab League’s Khartoum summit in 1967.

API Obligations Towards Israel:

  1. Withdraw from all disputed territories to return Israel’s borders to the June 4, 1967 lines including the Golan Heights and addition of southern Lebanon.
  2. Reach a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem as prescribed by UN Resolution 194.
  3. Accept the establishment of a Palestinian state composed of the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.

API Obligations Towards Arab States:

  1. Deem the Arab-Israeli conflict finalized and commit to peaceful relations with Israel guaranteeing security to all regional states.
  2. Establish normal diplomatic relations with Israel. LINK

Former IDF Intelligence Director Amos Yadlin has reaffirmed the Israeli intention to neutralize the Arab Peace Initiative, asserting in late August that it is no longer relevant now that Israel and the United Arab Emirates are set to normalize ties.

“The Arab Peace Initiative principle of having the veto on normalization between Israel and the Arabs, this is gone,” Yadlin told The Jerusalem Press Club during a virtual meeting on the US-brokered deal.

He spoke of what he claimed was the demise of the Arab Peace Initiative, which for 18 years has been one of the cornerstones of Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. The initiative was an attempt by the Arab states to reach a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 lines. It is referenced in most international documents.

The announcement of the deal between the UAE and Israel marks the first break from the Arab Peace Initiative since its inception, upending almost entirely the principles of peace making between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel’s 1979 agreement with Egypt and its 1994 accord with Jordan, were signed prior to that 2002 Initiative.

Yadlin, who is currently the Executive Director of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies, speculated that Bahrain could be the next Arab country to make a deal with Israel, because its ‘covert’ relations with Israel were similar to those of the UAE.

He also noted that last summer Bahrain hosted a summit that related to the economic portion of the US President Donald Trump’s plan.

“But they [Bahrain] will look over their shoulder to see what the Saudis are saying,” Yadlin said. He imagined that the Saudis had given the UAE its silent consent to a deal with Israel, but that didn’t mean it would immediately. The “Saudis will not hurry to join [a deal with Israel]… They will be very cautious,” Yadlin said.

The other countries who might join are Sudan and Morocco, Yadlin said. These countries will look to see what price the UAE might have to pay for a deal with Israel, he added. LINK

The United Arab Emirates appears somewhat disconcerted by the regional reactions to its normalization deal with Israel, claiming that it remains committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state and to the terms of the Arab Peace Initiative. The claim was made by a senior official who spoke with The Times of Israel, in rare on-the-record remarks to Israeli media.

Hend al-Otaiba, the director of strategic communications at the UAE’s Foreign Ministry, was commenting hours after the UAE’s agreement to normalize relations with Israel was announced, and shortly after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he still intended to extend Israeli sovereignty to parts of the West Bank.

Asked for clarification of the UAE’s position on the Arab Peace Initiative, a spokesperson subsequently replied: “A two-state solution is at the heart of the Arab Peace Initiative. In the absence of a freeze on annexation, a two-state solution will quickly cease to be a possibility.”

Mohammad Issa Abu Shehab, UAE ambassador to the EU, told Emirates TV the step was most important for its success in “freezing all Israeli plans for Palestinian land.”

However, a senior Israeli official said Netanyahu’s annexation plan was only “temporarily suspended” to allow for the signing of the agreement with the Emirates.

Netanyahu himself later insisted during a press conference that annexation remained on the table, though he acknowledged that Trump had asked that the move be put on “temporary hold” for now.

“I said I would extend sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. There is no change in my plan to extend our sovereignty in Judea and Samaria with full coordination with the United States,” he said. “I am committed to that, and it hasn’t changed… I will never compromise on our rights in our land.” LINK

The US representatives accompanying the first Israeli delegation to the UAE made clear that Israeli annexation of Palestinian land is an intrinsic part of the normalization deal. Speaking with the embedded journalists on the flight to the UAE, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner addressed the Trump peace plan and its allowing for Israel to extend its sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria.

Annexation was included in the plan because it was clear that “in the context of any agreement, Israel wasn’t going to give up that territory,” and the US “had to make sure Israel’s security was protected.”

He claimed that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and potentially recognizing Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank would “take those provocative issues off the table.” LINK

The statements confirm that all affirmations claiming otherwise are merely spin, made as part of the campaign to promote the bilateral deal and convince other Arab and Muslim leaders to normalize relations with Israel.

In spite of earlier comments by the UAE and a joint statement by the three countries that indicated the annexation plan would be ‘suspended’, senior UAE official Omar Ghobash has admitted his government did not “have any guarantees as such” that Israel would not annex occupied Palestinian territory in the future.

Palestinian reactions to the normalization deal

In comments about the ‘deal of the century’ being pushed by the Trump administration The Guardian noted that many younger Palestinians are disenchanted with the legacy of Oslo and angry that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, still serves in effect as a ‘security subcontractor’ for Israel in the West Bank. Abbas did respond to the plan by threatening to suspend security coordination with Israel, but he has threatened that countless times before. LINK

Palestinian reactions to the Israel-UAE were emphatic.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh slammed the flight as “very painful” and “a clear and a blatant violation of the Arab position towards the Arab-Israeli conflict”.

“We had hoped to see an Emirati plane landing in a liberated Jerusalem, but we live in a difficult Arab era,” he said.

Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassen said the UAE-Israel deal went against the position of the Emirati people, and was “in Zionist interests only … fuelling disagreements in the region”.

In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, said Kushner and his team were “scrambling to convince as many Arab and Muslim leaders as possible” to give Trump an election boost.

“They will be a prop at the backdrop of a meaningless spectacle for a ridiculous agreement that will not bring peace to the region,” she said.

Conclusion

As the Israel-Palestine conflict moves into a new phase, some of the battle lines are clearly drawn, others remain obscured by the fast pace of developments after so many years of stalemate and stagnation.

While the Axis of Resistance has grown and strengthened considerably over the last decade, the same could be said of the forces of annexation and normalization, albeit that most of the normalization has occurred in covert and semi-covert meetings and joint activities that cannot be officially acknowledged as yet.

The brutal fact remains that the Palestinians are isolated and living in conditions of extreme deprivation, and none of the latest geopolitical developments gives them cause to think that there will be any change in the foreseeable future.

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It Is Neither Decades of Occupation, Years of Blockade, Nor Days of Bombing. It Is Just “Shalom”!

It Is Neither Decades of Occupation, Years of Blockade, Nor Days of Bombing. It Is Just “Shalom”!

By Al-Ahed

The United Arab Emirates’ [UAE] Ambassador to the United States Yousef al-Otaiba hailed his country’s new agreement with the ‘Israeli’ entity occupying the land of Palestine and killing its people, and celebrated it with an opinion piece he wrote for Yedioth Ahronoth, with the title: “Shalom, salaam and welcome”!

Turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to all the suffering the Palestinians have been passing through ever since this intruder regime came to settle in their lands, the Emirati ambassador sent his greetings to the audience.

As if the 13-year old Gaza blockade, which turned the strip almost inhabitable, and is if the most recent ongoing three-week long bombing of the same place are not enough for a human being to witness the daily ‘Israeli’ crimes against the indigenous people. Al-Otaiba boldly claimed that such deal “will help move the region beyond a troubled legacy of hostility and strife to a more hopeful destiny of ‘peace’ and prosperity.”

Unashamed, al-Otaiba viewed the normalization as a gate to a better future across the Middle East, claiming “it includes growth and innovation, better opportunities for the young and a breakdown of long-held prejudices.”

In his 900-word article, he announced that his country “of course looks forward to welcoming ‘Israelis’ to visit and worship at the soon to be built Abrahamic Center in Abu Dhabi, a multi-faith complex that will include a co-located mosque, church and synagogue.”

However, the ‘tenderhearted’ but unfortunately ill minded representative of his country alleged that “the UAE will remain an ardent and consistent supporter of the Palestinian people – for their dignity, their rights and their own sovereign state. They must share in the benefits of normalization.”

Let’s accept that he is kind enough to take care of the landowners. How shall his country claim this? How could it be possible to share two enemies and consider them, both, at the same time, its friends?

This is not the first time the Emirates’ diplomat generously pens to the ‘Israeli’ newspaper. His first opinion piece for Yedioth Ahronoth was published in June, entitled: “Annexation will be a serious setback for better relations with the Arab world.”

Back then, al-Otaiba claimed that “a unilateral and illegal seizure of Palestinian land defies the international consensus on the Palestinian right to self-determination, will ignite violence and send shock waves around the region.”

He stressed also that for years, the UAE has been an unfailing supporter of Middle East ‘peace’. 

إما التطبيع أو إما التطبيع…!

سفير الإمارات بواشنطن ينصح "إسرائيل" في مقالة رأي على صحيفة ...

سعاده مصطفى أرشيد

إما الضمّ، أو إما التطبيع، كان هذا عنوان المقال الذي نشره يوسف العتيبي السفير الإماراتي في واشنطن في صحيفة «يديعوت احرونوت» العبرية في حزيران الماضي. مثّل المقال رأس جبل الجليد الذي ما لبث أن ظهر بكامل هيئته منذ أيام حاملاً اسم مشروع أبراهام، وهو الاسم الذي أطلق على معاهدة السلام الإماراتية – «الإسرائيلية».

لم يكن ذلك الإعلان مفاجأة من أيّ عيار، فعلاقات تل أبيب مع أبو ظبي وغيرها من بعض عواصم العرب لم تعد سراً يُخفى على أحد، خاصة تلك العواصم التي ارتبط أصحاب السمو والفخامة فيها بالإدارة الأميركية، أكثر من ارتباطهم بمصالح شعوبهم وبلدانهم، وهم أمام ضرورات البقاء السياسي مضطرون لمقايضة المصالح العليا للأمة بالدعم الأميركي لهم، بالطبع مع معرفتهم اليقينية أنّ طريقاً واحداً فقط يوصل إلى واشنطن ويمرّ عبر تل أبيب .

مرّر ولي عهد الإمارات تغريدة عابرة في «تويتر» قال فيها إنّ الاتفاق قد ألغى عملية ضمّ 33% من أراضي الضفة الغربية لـ «إسرائيل»، في حين أنّ نتنياهو ملتزم بما أتى في النص الذي ورد في وكالات الأنباء والذي يتحدث عن تجميد الضمّ لا إلغاءه، وهو لا يكاد يتوقف عن إطلاق التصريحات اليوميّة التي يمكن إيجازها: أنّ الاتفاق هو السلام مقابل السلام فقط ومن موقع القوة الإسرائيلية، وأن هذا السلام لا ينص أو يشمل التنازل عن ذرة تراب واحدة، وأن عملية الضمّ وإنْ تأجلت فإنها ستنفذ باعتبارها حقاً شرعياً وقانونياً وتاريخياً لدولتهم، ثم أنها تمثل ضرورة أمنية واستراتيجية في العقيدة العسكرية لجيشهم وأخيراً باعتبارها مسألة وردت بالنص في الخطة الأميركية والرؤية الترامبية المعروفة باسم صفقة القرن.

ما ورد في اتفاق أبراهام لا يشبه اتفاقيات السلام المعروفة، بقدر ما يشبه الأحلاف العسكرية والاستراتيجية، فالبلدان – حسب ما ورد في النص – يملكان رؤية مشتركة للتحديات التي تواجههما والتي لا بدّ لهما أن يقفا لمواجهتها بشكل مشترك، وكلاهما مؤمن بضرورة التنسيق الأمني الوثيق والتكامل الاقتصادي، ومن ثم توقيع اتفاقيات عسكرية وسياحية وبيئية وتكنولوجية واتصالاتيّة… وأخيراً يتفق الطرفان على «الحلّ العادل» للصراع الإسرائيلي – الفلسطيني كما ورد في رؤية ترامب (صفقة القرن)

جاء الاتفاق يمثل صفقة رابحة لنتنياهو هو في أمسّ الحاجة إليها، وهدية ثمينة لدونالد ترامب في وقتها المناسب، نتنياهو عزز بهذا الاتفاق من وضعه الداخلي أمام شركائه في الائتلاف الحكومي غانتس واشكنازي، وسيكون أقلّ اهتماماً وانزعاجاً من المتظاهرين الذين يتواجدون أمام منزله مطالبيه بالاستقالة على خلفية شبهات الفساد المنظورة قضائياً، ثم أنّ الاتفاق قد يسهم في معالجة الوضع الاقتصادي المتردّي ووفق ما تذكر النشرات الاقتصادية أنّ حجم خسائر الاقتصاد الإسرائيلي قد تجاوز 21 مليار دولار بسبب جائحة كورونا. أما هدية ترامب الثمينة فهي الأولى من سلسلة هدايا ستتلاحق عندما تنضمّ عواصم أخرى لركب المعاهدات وفي وقت يسبق موعد الاستحقاق الانتخابي في تشرين الثاني المقبل، سيتعامل ترامب مع اتفاق أبراهام بصفته إنجازاً عظيماً لإدارته التي فشلت في معالجة ملفات إيران والعراق وسورية، وأخفقت في وقف تمدّد روسيا الأوراسي، وعجزت عن التصدي ووقف التمدد الناعم والدؤوب للصين في ملء أي فراغ ينشأ عبر العالم، أما على الصعيد الداخلي، فالمجتمع الأميركي تعصف به رياح العنصرية التي شاهدها العالم عند مصرع المواطن الأسود جورج فلويد، البطالة ترتفع معدلاتها، إصابات كورونا تحطم أرقاماً قياسية فيما نظم الرعاية الصحية والاجتماعية تعاني من الضعف الشديد، لهذا كانت الهدية ثمينة وبوقتها، إذ قد يستطيع تحويل هذا الإنجاز إلى أصوات في صندوق الانتخابات من أجل إعادة انتخابه لدورة رئاسية ثانية .

الفوضى العارمة التي اجتاحت العالم العربيّ ولا تزال كان لها دور في التحضير لاتفاق أبراهام وإنجازه، من ليبيا بالغرب مروراً بوادي النيل وبلاد الشام وانتهاء باليمن أصبحت ساحات مستباحة، جعلت من دور بلد مثل الإمارات وولي عهدها يلعبون أدواراً تتجاوز أحجامهم الحقيقية، ممارسة دور وكيل الشيطان في زرع الموت والحرائق وبالطبع بالاشتراك مع محمد بن سلمان، يحدوهم في ذلك غريزة البقاء السياسي التي تستلزم طاعة الإدارة الأميركية. فمصادر شرعيتهم وبقائهم لا ترتبط بالعملية الديمقراطية وصناديق الانتخاب، ولا تعتمد على دعم شعوبهم ودفاعهم عن مصالح بلادهم العليا وأمنها القومي، لذلك فهم يقدّمون للإدارة الأميركية أيّ شيء يلزمها في صراعها مع الديمقراطيين، ومن ذلك اتفاق أبراهام .

يتوارث الإدارة الأميركية كلّ من الحزبين الديمقراطي والجمهوري، ومن مشاكل حكامنا مؤخراً أنهم لم يعودوا يرتبطون بالإدارة الأميركية كمؤسسة حاكمة ودولة عميقة، وإنما انقسمت طبقة أصحاب الجلالة والسيادة والسمو إلى فسطاطين، فسطاط الجمهوريين، الذي يتربع على حشاياه ووسائده محمد بن سلمان ومحمد بن زايد ومعهما السيسي والبرهان، في حين يجلس على أطرافه عبد ربه منصور هادي والماريشال خليفة حفتر، وهم من أصبح مؤكداً أنّ مصيرهم رهن بترامب وعودته لرئاسة ثانية، وأن خسارته تعني خسرانهم وربما فناءهم، فيما يجلس منتظراً بالفسطاط الديمقراطي الخاسرون حالياً والطامحون باسترداد مواقعهم في حال فاز المرشح الديمقراطي جو بايدن، ومن هؤلاء ولي العهد السعودي السابق محمد بن نايف وتميم شيخ قطر والأتراك، فيما تنظر طهران من بعيد بأمل نجاح بايدن، لما قد يعود بانفراج في العقوبات وعودة للعمل بالاتفاق النووي.

من ضرورات السياسة محاولة قراءة المقاربة الإماراتية للعلاقة الفلسطينية – الإسرائيلية وربطها بمشروع أبراهام، ثم قراءة الموقف الفلسطيني المتوجّس شراً من الإمارات ومشروعها ومقاربتها .

ربما كانت المقدّمات الأقدم لكلّ من المعاهدات المصرية والأردنية والإماراتية ومعها اتفاق أوسلو تعود في جذورها لعام 1974 وبرنامج النقاط العشر الذي طرحته القيادة الفلسطينية ومثل طلب انتساب لعضوية النظام العربي الذي استجاب وقبل الطلب في مؤتمر الرباط، حيث أجمع المؤتمرون باستثناء الأردن على اعتبار منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية هي الممثل الشرعي والوحيد للشعب الفلسطيني، وحاول العرب بعدها دفع منظمة التحرير بخطوة إلى الأمام (وربما إلى الخلف) بإدخالها في النظام الدولي وترتيب إلقاء عرفات خطابه في الجمعية العامة، ولكن متطلبات النظام الدولي كانت أكبر مما تستطيع المنظمة الاستجابة له في حينه، وبناء على ذلك أصبح الهدف الفلسطيني هو إقامة سلطة على أرض فلسطين ولم يعد شعار التحرير لكلّ فلسطين مطروحاً في العمل السياسي والدبلوماسي الفلسطيني، حيث جرت في وديان السياسة مياه ودماء بعد ذلك، أدّت إلى خروج منظمات العمل الفدائي من لبنان، ورحيلها إلى تونس البعيدة، فلم تعد المواجهة مباشرة مع الإسرائيلي، إلى أن تفجرت الانتفاضة الأولى، ثم انهار النظام العربي اثر الحرب العراقية العالمية وتبعه سقوط جدار برلين وانهيار النظام العالمي، قادت كلّ تلك المقدمات إلى اتفاق أوسلو، وما تبعه من انهيارات أصابت المشروع الوطني الفلسطيني في صميمه، بعد أن تحوّلت الثورة إلى سلطة وكيلة للاحتلال بموجب الاتفاق المذكور، ترى التنسيق الأمني مقدساً، وتقدّم لـ «إسرائيل» من المعلومات ما لم تكن تحلم بالحصول عليه (حسب الكلام الرسمي الفلسطيني في آخر قمة عربية)، وكأننا نقرأ إحدى روايات غابرييل غارسيا ماركيز .

تراجع الأداء الفلسطيني وفقدت القيادة روح المبادرة والديناميكية، وجلست في غرفة انتظار ما قد تأتي به انتخابات الرئاسة في واشنطن، أو ما قد تحصل عليه القائمة العربية في انتخابات الكنيست، فيما الاستيطان يلتهم الأرض، وعقارات القدس تتسرّب للجمعيات الاستيطانية المتطرفة، وباقي قضايا الحلّ النهائي معلقة إلى أن يقضي الله أمراً كان مفعولاً.

ترامب قدّم الغطاء لضمّ القدس وألحقه بغطاء أشمل وهو صفقة القرن التي أسقطت حق العودة وتفكيك الاستيطان وجعلت من الدولة حلماً بعيد المنال إن لم يكن مستحيلاً، وتركز عمل السلطة مؤخراً وبرنامجها على وقف عملية الضمّ .

مقاربة محمد بن زايد ترى أنّ السلطة الفلسطينية كانت تنتظر البدء في التفاوض حول قضايا الحلّ النهائي منذ أكثر من عقدين، لكن العالم الدائم الحركة فرض على الأرض وقائع من الصعب تجاوزها وأنّ السلطة قد سلمت بهذه الحقائق المفروضة، ثم أنّ حراكها السياسي لم يتعدّ مؤخراً العمل على إلغاء الضمّ وهو الأمر الذي يزعم ابن زايد أنه قد فعله حسب ما ذكر في تغريدته

السلطة الفلسطينية في رام الله ترى أنّ ابن زايد قد تجاوزها بالتحدث باسم الفلسطينيين، وأنّ في ذلك تجاوزاً لها ولشرعيتها، وهي تستبطن الشكوك في السلوك الإماراتي قبل اتفاق أبراهام وبعده بسبب ما يتردّد عن العلاقة الحميمة التي تربط القيادي السابق في فتح مع أبناء الشيخ زايد، وما أشيع مؤخراً أن ملاحق اتفاق أبراهام تنص على دور رئيس سوف يلعبه دحلان في الساحة الفلسطينية.

الخلاصة انّ الهاجس المشترك في عالمنا العربي هو هاجس البقاء السياسي وضروراته…

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*سياسي فلسطيني مقيم في جنين – فلسطين المحتلة.

RAIN OF ROCKETS HITS US FORCES IN IRAQ. ISRAELI-UAE PEACE DEAL CRUMBLES DAYS AFTER ITS ANNOUNCEMENT

South Front

As it was expected, the ‘historic’ UAE-Israeli peace deal did not contribute to the stability in the Middle East. Instead, the situation has been slowly, but steadily moving towards a larger confrontation in the region.

Immediately after the announcement of the US-sponsored peace deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that his country is not going to fulfill one of its key provisions – the suspension of the annexation of West Bank territories. The prime minister emphasized that the annexation plan was just delayed, but not suspended.

“There is no change to my plan to extend sovereignty, our sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, in full coordination with the United States,” Netanyahu said adding that “Israel will have comprehensive peace agreements with other Arab countries without returning to the 1967 borders.”

This unfortunate, but expected statement goes fully in the framework of the Israeli regional policy and contradicts position of the US-sponsored deal reached with the UAE. In particular, Crown Prince Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed emphasized that “it was agreed to stop Israel’s annexation of the Palestinian lands.”

The Israeli actions strengthened the already existing controversy over the deal and on August 15-16, the situation escalated in the Gaza Strip. According to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), Palestinian protesters with explosives tried to approach the security fence and then Palestinian forces launched at least 2 rockets at southern Israel. In its own turn, IDF aircraft conducted a series of airstrikes on what Tel Aviv described as Hamas targets.

If the Israeli leadership keeps its course on the annexation of the West Bank areas, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will expectedly escalate, and even possibly expand further. For example, in this scenario, an escalation could be expected in the area of the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights and on the Lebanese-Israeli contact line.

On August 14, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah already declared that the movement “will not remain silent on the crime of the bombing the Port of Beirut if it is proven that Israel is behind it.” According to Nasrallah, Hezbollah would wait for results of an investigation into the Beirut port explosion and if it turns out to be an act of sabotage by Israel then it would “pay an equal price”.

The August 4 blast in the port of Beirut is still surrounded by mystery and uncertainties, and many sources, including the top US leadership, still consider the possibility that the tragedy was caused by some kind of ‘attack’. In this event, the main suspect is Israel, which has always been interested in the destabilization of neighboring Arab states to secure own dominance in the region.

Tensions are also growing between the United States and Iran. On August 14, the Department of Justice announced that US forces have seized some 1.116m barrels of Iranian fuel aboard 4 ships headed for Venezuela. The seizure came amid increasing attacks on US forces and facilities from pro-Iranian and anti-US armed groups in Iraq.

On the evening of August 16, a rocket targeted the Green Zone of Iraq’s capital Baghdad, which houses government buildings and foreign missions. The strike led to no casualties. Just a few hours earlier, the pro-Iranian armed group Ashab al-Kahf released a video showing an improvised explosive device attack on a US equipment convoy in the Anbar area. The group claimed that the convoy was fully destroyed. On August 15, two rockets targeted the biggest US military base in Iraq – Camp Taji. The base is located north of Baghdad. On the same day, a convoy carrying logistical supplies for the U.S.-led coalition was targeted on the highway between Dhi Qar and Basrah in southern Iraq. The attack was conducted by another pro-Iranian group, Usbat al-Tha’ireen. Pro-US sources denied any casualties as a result of the attack. These were just the most recent in about two dozen various attacks on US-affiliated targets in Iraq during the past few weeks.

If the US and Iran continue the current confrontational course, it is expected that the number and intensity of attacks in Iraq will increase boosting the chances of an open confrontation between the US and Iranian-led forces.

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Mohammed bin Zayed’s Mission Impossible: Alliance with Israel

By David Hearst
Source: Middle East Eye

The Abu Dhabi crown prince wants to turn his statelet into another Israel

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed has extended the UAE’s reach across the region in conflicts from Yemen to Libya (AFP)

The mentor

Islamism in any form, political or militant, is a fraction of the force it used to be in 2011, and for the foreseeable future it is incapable of summoning hundreds of thousands onto the streets, and toppling regimes, as it once did in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen.

Islamism in any form, political or militant, is a fraction of the force it used to be in 2011

And yet the counter-revolution, unleashed when Mohamed Morsi was toppled as Egypt’s president in 2013, continues furiously. 

It produces identikit dictators: Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia, Abdel Fatah el-Sisi in Egypt, Khalifa Haftar in Libya, all pour scorn on free elections, live like pharaohs, and create dynasties for their family and sons. 

They are all beholden to one man who has either funded, armed or mentored their rise to power. 

This man is the organising genius of coups in Egypt; he has become a major player in the civil war in Libya; he is leveraging his country’s ports to become a presence in the Horn of Africa; he has pushed the Saudis into a war in Yemen to promote late Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s son, and then ditched that strategy to promote southern separatists; he was instrumental in launching the blockade of his neighbour Qatar; he introduced an unknown Saudi prince to the Trump clan and cast the CIA’s man in Riyadh on the scrap heap. 

There is no pie in which Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, doesn’t have a finger. He rarely makes speeches or gives interviews and when he does he comes across as casual, reticent, softly spoken.

On the rare occasions he talks to a journalist as he did to Robert Worth of the New York Times, he portrays himself as the reluctant first responder, the fireman dousing dangerous wildfires: the September 11 attacks (two of the hijackers were Emiratis) and the Arab Spring were two such galvanising events. 

This is an act, and largely for a Western audience.

MbZ’s ‘Islamist menace’

 As time has elapsed, this can not be the whole story. As MbZ has developed his counter-jihad, so have the ambitions expanded of this quiet, English-speaking, Sandhurst-trained prince. 

MbZ knows how to manipulate decisions in the White House. He can read their ignorance, arrogance, and personal greed. His money goes directly into their pockets

Thwarting the looming Islamist menace – as he describes it – can no longer account for the ambition, scope and cost of his dreams. The Islamist menace of his nightmares is largely dormant.

A shrewd observer, he can see, as clearly as anyone, the US crumbling as an organising power in the Middle East. He knows how to manipulate decisions in the White House. He can read their ignorance, arrogance, and personal greed. His money goes directly into their pockets. He can play on the chaos of real-time decision-making in the Oval Office like a mandolin.

It must have occurred to him that the Middle East needs a new ruler. Why not him? It’s time, he has judged, to move out of the shadows and lay out his own stall.

So what’s the mission?

Mission statement

This was, some might say boldly, put into words by MbZ’s best operator abroad, his ambassador to the US, Yousef al-Otaiba, recently. 

The op-ed he wrote in Israel’s Yedioth Ahronot was ostensibly to warn Israel that annexation was a bridge too far. Writing in Hebrew, Otaiba posed to a Jewish audience as a friendly Arab – “one of three Arab ambassadors in the East Room of the White House when President Trump unveiled his Middle East peace proposal in January,” he reminded them.

The UAE and Israel are an item. No need for the loving couple to hide behind the bushes

In fact, the letter was no such thing. It certainly wasn’t a message from the Palestinians themselves. The UAE has no problems with the Israeli occupation and will overtly send two planes full of personal protection equipment (PPE) to Ben Gurion airport and make any number of high- profile trade deals with Israel to reinforce their intent to normalise relations. 

The days of disguising the flight plans of aircraft from Abu Dhabi to Ben Gurion airport by making them disappear over Jordan are long gone. The UAE and Israel are an item. No need for the loving couple to hide behind the bushes. Nor was it a message from Jordan, which regards annexation of the West Bank as an existential threat to the kingdom. 

It turned out to be a message from liberal Jews in America to right-wing Jews in Israel. The mastermind of this operation was the American Israeli billionaire Haim Saban, according to a report in Axios. A former adviser to Netanyahu, Caroline Glick called the letter Saban’s brainchild.

In any case, it had little to do with Arab opinion. It did, however, contain another more important message: MbZ’s mission statement appears in two key paragraphs Otaiba wrote.

“With the region’s two most capable militaries, common concerns about terrorism and aggression, and a deep and long relationship with the United States, the UAE and Israel could form closer and more effective security cooperation. 

“As the two most advanced and diversified economies in the region, expanded business and financial ties could accelerate growth and stability across the Middle East,” Otaiba wrote.

In these sentences, UAE not only claims to have a military stronger than that of both Egypt and Saudi Arabia but, fantastically, it also claims to have the strongest and most diversified economy in the Arab world.

Those are some boasts for the crown prince of a tiny Gulf city state to make. 

“Little Sparta” has big ambitions.

Israel’s junior partner

By comparing its military reach to Israel’s, the UAE is sidelining its allies in the Saudi and Egyptian armies. But this is of little importance. Mohammed bin Zayed wants to turn his statelet into another Israel.

Both countries are small in size and population. Both are deeply militarised societies. Israel’s “citizen’s army” is well known. The draft that MbZ introduced for Emirati men in 2014 and expanded from 12 to 16 months in 2018 is less well known.

Both countries have a military and economic reach which extends far beyond their borders and into the heart of Africa. If Israel has shown it has a long arm that can reach to Entebbe and all over the world to exact revenge, so too has UAE shown its long arm in Libya, Turkey, Syria – nations far away from the Gulf. 

Both have a dynamic population that can serve Western interests.They have common enemies – Islamism, Turkey, Iran. They have a common strategy to control the region. The two largest regional challenges for the Emirates and Israel are Turkey and Iran respectively.

The Emiratis confront the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan head-on. They funded an attempted Gulenist coup in 2016. They oppose his forces in Idlib by paying Bashar al-Assad to break the ceasefire arranged by the Russians, and the UAE confronts Turkish forces in Libya.

When unidentified bombers attacked Turkish air defence batteries in the newly recaptured Libyan airbase of Al-Watiya, Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, an advisor to the Emirati royal court, tweeted: “On behalf of all Arabs, the UAE has taught a lesson to Turks.”

There can only be one bulldog on the block and Israel has no intention of sharing that role with an Arab with ideas above his station

He deleted it afterwards.

But Israel itself stays in the background. It regards the Turkish military as its main threat. As I reported in January last year, Yossi Cohen, the head of Mossad, told a meeting of diplomats from Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt in a Gulf capital that Israel considered Turkey’s military to be more capable and less easily containable that Iran’s. But Israel itself does not confront Turkey.

Similarly the UAE does not confront Iran, even when tankers are mined outside an Emirati port. The kinetic stuff is done by Israel, which is believed to be responsible for a large explosion in Natanz in workshops which assemble centrifuges to enrich uranium, and possibly for up to six other mysterious explosions in Iran too.

Regionally, the UAE and Israel work in tandem, each covering the other’s back. But this does not mean that the project itself is stable or long term. Israel may indeed find it useful to play along with MbZ’s ego to serve its own interests of keeping the Palestinians under permanent occupation.

But its national interests come first.

Otaiba’s chutzpah sparked a lively reaction from Glick who wrote in Israel Hayom: “No one is doing anyone any favors. And if we’re already on the subject of favors, the stronger side in this partnership is Israel. The Israeli economy is much more robust that the oil economies of the Persian Gulf. Who does Otaiba think he’s scaring with his threats when oil is selling at $37 a barrel?”

There can only be one bulldog on the block and Israel has no intention of sharing that role with an Arab with ideas above his station.

The second problem with MbZ’s mission is his Sunni Arab allies. When the Saudis and Egyptian military elites realise that their own national and commercial interests are suffering, they will start to look at MbZ’s pyrotechnic adventures differently. 

The maritime deal that Turkey signed with the UN-backed government in Tripoli gives Egypt greater access to maritime riches than it could possibly have in a deal with Cyprus and Greece, and yet Egypt denounced the deal as illegal.

Similarly the carving up of Yemen by the UAE, which has now occupied the Yemeni island of Socotra and is backing southern separatists in Aden, is not in the interests of Riyadh, which is primarily concerned about maintaining the security along its southern border and installing a puppet regime in Sanaa.

History lessons

Israel should not be fooled by expressions of support from the UAE’s satraps, like Abdul Salam al-Badri, deputy prime minister of the eastern Libyan-based government in Tobruk, or Hani bin Breik, the vice chairman of the Southern Transitional Council in Aden, who by the way is a Salafist.

History bodes ill for MbZ’s project. Every Arab state that has worked with or recognised Israel is today weaker and more divided as a result

History bodes ill for MbZ’s project. Every Arab state that has worked with or recognised Israel is today weaker and more divided as a result. This goes for Egypt and for Jordan, both of whose diplomats, who once thought of themselves as pioneering, regret what they did in the name of peace. It proved a bitter false dawn.

The economic miracle both countries were promised at the time never materialised, the Palestinian conflict is as intractable as ever, and historic Palestine is weaker and smaller than ever before. 

Jordan, which has worked more closely with Israel than any other Arab country, is tottering on the verge of bankruptcy, mass unemployment and social breakdown. Its strategic interests in the West Bank and Jerusalem counts for nothing with the dominant settler right-wing in Israel.

Fatah, which recognised Israel, is asking itself the same questions. Why did we do it at Oslo? What was it for? That debate is bringing them closer to their rivals Hamas. 

A doomed alliance

The reality is that the dalliance between Israel and the UAE is doomed. It is the work of individuals ,not peoples. MbZ’s plots and staretegems are his own, not his nation’s.

The Arab street is implacably opposed to recognising Israel until a just solution is found for the Palestinians, a solution involving their own land and their own right of return. 

MbZ’s mission is mission impossible and the sooner his Arab allies see that, the sooner they can prevent a second decade of regional war

The MbZ-Israel project is poison for the region. it is not Israel coming to terms with its neighbours. It is making fools out of them.

Before the Syrian and Libyan civil wars, Turkey did not have an interventionist foreign policy. It has one now. Similarly, Iran’s military reach never really extended beyond the Shia minorities of the Sunni Arab states, and that is taking its military support for Hezbollah and its financial support for Hamas into account.

Iran never actually threatened Israel’s military dominance as Cohen himself acknowledged in that meeting in a Gulf state over a year ago. Iran, from Mossad’s point of view, is containable. 

MbZ’s mission is mission impossible and the sooner his Arab allies see that, the sooner they can prevent a second decade of regional war.


By David Hearst
Source: Middle East Eye

If not for the Arab collusion, the annexation plan would not have been passed: Palestinian expert

Source

By Mohammad Mazhari

July 19, 2020 – 20:4

TEHRAN – A Palestinian analyst believes that the Arab collusion provided an opportunity for Israel to take advantage of some influential Arab countries to take steps toward the annexation of the occupied West Bank.

“The Arab reality is catastrophic, and this provided a window and opportunity for Israel to take advantage of some influential Arab countries to pass the annexation plan,” Zakarya Al-Ahmad tells the Tehran Times. 

He argues that if it was not for the Arab collusion, Israel would not have embarked on annexing the West Bank.

Following is the text of the interview:

Question: What are the reasons that some Israeli parties oppose the annexation of the occupied West Bank?

Answer: Here are three types of opposition to the annexation plan inside Israel. The first one is supported by the left-wing parties that talk about a peaceful solution for Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  Labor Party adopts this approach, but they are in the minority. 

The other critic of the annexation plan is the religious Zionists, especially the leaders of settlements. They believe that the West Bank is part of Israel, and therefore merely annexing parts of this area is not enough, and here lies the dispute over the scope of annexation.

The third group comprises of moderate parties, such as Blue and White and its allies. This party opposes annexation based on its leftist background and believes that it can lead to strategic problems in their relations with the Palestinian Authority and the U.S.

They call for harmony with the U.S. and the international community, emphasizing that the annexation without American approval, may result in problems at international level.

Q: Benjamin Netanyahu recently warned Benny Gantz that he would either have to accept the annexation plan or hold early elections. Do you think that annexation would lead to the collapse of the Israeli government?

A: As for Netanyahu’s warning to Benny Gantz, I rule out that it will lead to the collapse of the government for two reasons: The first reason is that Netanyahu actually works within the U.S. framework, and this is the reason for a delay in annexation, and therefore when he wants to take a step or take a final decision concerning annexation, he will consider into account Washington’s agreement, and Benny Gantz has no problem in this regard. The second reason is that Benny Gantz will be a loser in case of dissolving the coalition government for an important cause. 

If new elections are held, Netanyahu will win with a greater difference, given that the coalition or the powerful bloc (the Blue-White bloc) that had re-run the elections three times disintegrated after Benny Gantz joined the government and defected from his alliance with Yair Lapid.

Benny Gantz has no chance to win if he enters the election race, and so far he has no achievement on the ground. His coalition disintegrated, and he will lose if he competes Netanyahu, according to opinion polls.  Benjamin Netanyahu is able to win more than 40 seats in the Knesset, and he can form a government with right-wing parties.

Q: How do you see the positions of Western countries and international institutions toward the annexation plan? Will it affect relations between the European Union and the Zionist regime?
A: With regard to the positions of the European Union and international institutions, the important point is that European countries often limit themselves to condemning and objecting, but nothing will translate into action. Three cases proved this approach during the last period: The first case is the annexation of the Golan and recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan. The second case is moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the third point is the “Deal of the Century.”
“If the Palestinian Authority decided to confront Israel and let the people resist on their own, I think we can expect a new Intifada.”There was indeed opposition from some Western countries and international institutions, but it was not translated into real policy. 
Consequently, he does not believe that these international institutions can change the annexation decision or prevent Israel from implementing the plan, or imposing sanctions on Israel. 
In addition, even if these institutions could change something, Israel possibly would be affected minimally. Still, soon Israeli diplomacy will restore balance to relations, and relations with these institutions will recover. Since Israeli diplomacy is rooted in these institutions, it cannot be affected in the long run.
During the past years, the European Union was against settlement and imposed sanctions on the settlements and their products, but Israel continued to build many Jewish settlements and did not stop, on the contrary accelerated it.
Q: What will be the reaction of the Palestinian factions if the West Bank is annexed? Do you expect a new uprising?
A: The Palestinian factions threatened that the annexation plan would be considered declaring a war. It may be an escalation, but it will not lead to a comprehensive war. 
I believe that the Palestinian factions are not interested in entering an all-out war because any war will be disastrous, and post-war is more complicated than before, and will not prevent Israel from taking the annexation step.
In the event the Palestinian factions respond, the responses may be limited, but to enter into a comprehensive confrontation, in my estimation, is not in their interest.
 The Intifada (vast uprising) is linked to an issue; the decision of the Fatah movement and the Palestinian Authority. One of the most significant obstacles that undermine the Intifada in the West Bank is the security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. This obstacle has long prevented the Palestinian resistance from achieving any progress and execution of any operations against Israel in the West Bank.
“The Arab countries are an essential part of ‘deal of the century’.”The second point is intelligence penetration or Israeli intelligence control of the West Bank.
 If the Palestinian Authority decided to confront Israel and let the people resist on their own, I think we can expect a new Intifada.
Indeed, we can bet on the continuation of individual operations with an individual weapon. This can give a result, but it needs continuity and media support against Israel and help and sponsor the families of the people who resist Israel, especially since most of these families are subject to the demolition of their houses and harassment.
The resistance is facing a difficult situation in the West Bank because of the policies exercised by the Palestinian Authority. Still, if Fatah decides to push and invite people to uprising and give them a weapon in order to carry out operations, at my discretion, that could lead to problems for Israel and will bring a long-term achievement, or at least they will send a message to the world that there are resistance groups who stand in the face of this occupier racist regime.
Q:  How do you evaluate the attitudes of Arab countries towards the annexation plan?
A: If it was not for certain Arab states’ consistency with the Israeli vision, the Zionist regime would not have actually dared to take such a step. 
The Arab countries are an essential part of the “deal of the century,” and the annexation comes in this context, and it is not separate from this deal. There are some distinct stances, but they are fragile. One of these positions which may affect the American administration is Jordan’s position, but can Jordan continue to oppose the annexation plan? 
In my opinion, it will not be able to continue. The question is that can Jordan cancel the peace agreement or at least overlook some provisions of the peace process? I think it is not easy because of its relationship with the international community and U.S. influence and its miserable internal economic situation. In the best condition Jordan can allow a flow of arms to Palestinian factions in the West Bank.
Nevertheless, the annexation plan will eliminate the possibility of forming a Palestinian state, and Jordan will bear the burden of displaced Palestinians from the West Bank in the future. 
Although it has been said that the annexation is partial in this phase, on the strategic level, Israel will not give up a single inch in the West Bank due to (the so-called) religious and strategic considerations. In fact, it will not allow the establishment of a Palestinian state.
 The alternative is displacing the Palestinians and forcing them to go to Jordan. In this case, Jordan will face a big problem.
So Jordan’s opposition comes from this point of view. But can it stand alone? In my opinion, it will not be able to stand alone.


The Arab reality is catastrophic, and this provided a window and opportunity for Israel to take advantage of some influential Arab countries to pass the annexation plan. If not for the Arab collusion, it would not have passed this plan.

Forging Greater Israel: Annexation by Any Other Name

Source

by JENNIFER LOEWENSTEIN

JULY 15, 2020

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Photograph Source: Ralf Roletschek – GFDL 1.2

July 1st came and went and Netanyahu made no formal statement regarding annexation. That left many journalists, politicians, activists, and others feeling abandoned to speculation. Declarations of support or opposition went forward accompanied by an air of uncertainty and the frustration of trying to second guess the objectives of those whose actions would determine the coming months.

Palestinians living in the occupied territories slated for absorption would have scoffed cynically at those seeking to imagine how this might affect their daily routines as well as the dynamics of regional politics. Israel’s purported intention is to annex 30% of the West Bank where Jewish population density and “security” considerations make this a “natural” consequence of the decades’ long illegal settlement strategy and a “necessity” for the “survival” of the geographically “besieged” Jewish State.

Muhammad, a young man from Hebron who gives virtual tours of Palestine, showed his viewers a debris-strewn street where hostilities had broken out a day earlier over the proposed annexation. His explanation for the urgency of these protests adds a layer of irony to the grim reality of occupied life. Israel retains ultimate control over the land and lives of the Palestinians living here after all. The Palestinian Authority (PA) is its willing subcontractor. It serves primarily as a buffer between the commands of its overlord and the will of its people. “We have to make it clear that annexation is illegal,” Muhammad says in earnest, though he understands – and his work underscores this – the critical value of US public opinion.

The Master’s voice will become louder and clearer with official annexation. Most Palestinians recognize this instinctively. Those who will be living peacefully within the latest official state boundaries will awaken to find the question of their residency looming ever nearer, a matter of whim; a gamble the state might act upon with relatively little risk based on the world’s record of indifference.

With or without a declaration of intent, annexation creeps over the lives of these people hour by hour. Across 43 villages, approximately 107,000 people – who will, in all likelihood, still be nominal subjects of the PA—will conceivably face another Nakba, this one orchestrated in silence and with discretion, aimed at fulfilling the Zionist myth of a “land without a people.”

A rise in the rate of Israeli abuses has already signaled the changes to come. In the Jordan Valley, for example, more land has been expropriated, more homes have been destroyed, more property damaged, and more olive trees uprooted, than has happened for some time. On June 8, a report noted that Israel has started implementing annexation plans by “sending electricity bills directly to municipal councils…and removing signs” that designated certain areas as Palestinian. A violent military campaign launched on June 1st “targeted water networks, confiscated equipment and destroyed and confiscated 15 vegetable stalls in Bardala in the northern Jordan Valley. It also destroyed 800 meters of water lines that supply water to citizens.”

…[P]olice notified several Bardala and Ain al-Baida inhabitants in the Jordan Valley on June 2nd to settle their legal situation as they would soon be under Israeli laws. Israeli authorities also removed banners they had set up at the entrances of some villages… or at the military Tayasir checkpoint that warned settlers not to enter because they were Palestinian areas. In a first of its kind incident, the Israeli Civil Administration delivered to some village councils in the Jordan Valley direct financial requests to increase the electric current feeding the village. [Ahmad Melhem; June 8, 2020]

Israeli journalist Gideon Levy documented the expulsion of a Bedouin family from its home behind the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Saint Gerasimos in the Jordan Valley. Abu Dahuq’s is not the first or only Bedouin family to suffer this fate. Residents of the now infamous Khan al-Ahmar community “have been living with the pervasive fear of demolition and expulsion for several years.” Its fate won enough media attention to become an issue in recent Israeli elections.

Abu Dahuq’s family lived relatively undisturbed for 17 years, Levy tells us. Then, at the beginning of June, Israeli troops demolished and confiscated all of Abu Dahuq’s possessions. “They took the water containers, his six coolers, the solar panels and the canvas that had covered the shacks. The rest was bulldozed. The heaps of ruins tell the whole story: Tin walls with insulation material in them, a crushed children’s bike, a torn painting, pipes rolling about, and so on.” Abu Dahuq was told to move to (Palestinian controlled) Area A from (Israeli controlled) Area C, but he claims there is no space there for him to live. His saga of arbitrary expulsion from territory Israel intends formally to annex would almost certainly have gone unnoticed without Levy’s article.

Why provoke a media and political relations’ storm by making public the controversial West Bank annexation plan when that process can be carried forward in a gradual, step by step manner, ‘in the dark’, far from the damning eye of international condemnation? Netanyahu could still, for whatever reasons, decide it is in his interest to create another political firestorm. It might, however, be more politically expedient to keep his audience guessing as facts on the ground roll forward like tank treads. Greater Israel has come a long way over the decades using this very technique. Like the proverbial frog in its pot on the stove, by the time the water is boiling it’ll be too late to hop out.

When God forges the destiny of a devout people, it is carried forth with zeal. Whether that god is a secular or religious deity, fervent believers will remove the obstacles impeding their progress even if they are people. They will be conveniently demoted from “human” to something like “merciless Indian savages” (US Declaration of Independence) those relics of the unsaved world who threatened to block the advance of civilization across the North American continent.

Palestinians may yet prove fortunate that their history is unfolding on such a public stage and under the often unblinking eyes of media and video surveillance. Native Americans had no such luck, a fact that cost them approximately one hundred million lives over a period of 400 years. The United States bloomed out of the bloody ground of genocide. Greater Israel has had to find more creative ways to eliminate a people without their collective physical death.

In 1845, calling for the annexation of Texas, a little known American columnist –John O’Sullivan—coined the phrase, “manifest destiny” giving voice to the subconscious shared belief that the white pioneers of America had a divine mission to colonize, civilize, and create a new world, “…to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federated self-government entrusted to us.”

Israel’s manifest destiny derives both from a biblical and modern belief that the land of Zion belongs to the Jews. In its current incarnation, such a destiny contains within itself the insidious notion of organic and exclusive nationhood; the idea that only those bound by blood and a historic, quasi-religious bond to the land of their alleged origin can ever be a part of this whole. Contemporary Zionism absorbed the toxic nationalist beliefs of 19th and 20th century Europe and has applied them mercilessly in its quest for political and territorial supremacy.

This has not stopped people such as outgoing Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, from resorting to the Bible alone to justify Israel’s actions. According to him, “You cannot annex something that belongs to you” referring to the West Bank – or Judea and Samaria – bequeathed in the Bible by God to the Jewish People.

When Israel passed the Nation State Law of July 2018 it reinforced the defining principles of modern Zionism. These were not novel ideas; they were the codification of the national chauvinist beliefs at the core of its existence. Jews alone have the right to self-determination within the deliberately unspecified boundaries of the state, one of whose primary objectives is Jewish settlement of the land. Hebrew alone must be the official language. ‘Natural’, ‘religious’, and ‘historic’ qualifications promote Jewish status only and make expansion a national value.

The slated annexation of 30% of the West Bank will take place whether or not it is formally announced. It is taking place as I write. Equally so, it is neither the final nor the most serious step in the process of expansion that has defined Israel’s behavior since its creation.

On a sultry midsummer evening in August 1968 then Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan told a group of kibbutzniks gathered around him that it was Israel’s fate “to live in a permanent state of fighting against the Arabs.” His words reflected the times he was living in, the post-1967 euphoria and confidence of the young Jewish State that had, in six days, crushed the combined forces of Arab nationalism as they attacked from Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. The 3-year-old Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) had barely begun its struggle to liberate Palestine; the nascent Palestinian National Movement scarcely underway.

Israel’s advance across the region, territorially and politically, represents an extension of American manifest destiny and its complement within Zionism. Dayan outlined Israel’s path to his listeners in his famous speech, “We Are Fated”:

For the hundred years of the Return to Zion we are working for two things: the building of the land and the building of the people. That is a process of expansion, of more Jews and more settlement. That is a process that has not reached the end. …It is not your duty to reach the end. Your duty is to add your layer to expand the settlement to the best of your ability, during your lifetime… [and] not to say: this is the end, up to here, we have finished. (Uri Avnery)

The process of settling the land and creating a Jewish nation is one that must never cease. To determine the final borders of the state would be sacrilegious; a sin against Israel’s destiny; its will to expand. “Before [the Palestinians’] very eyes we are possessing the land and the villages where they and their ancestors have lived,” Dayan explained. “We are a generation of settlers, and without the settle helmet and the gun barrel, we shall not be able to plant a tree or build a house.”

The military conquest, piecemeal annexation, killing with impunity, dispossession by decree and expulsion under Israeli law that has been underway for nearly a century, is continuing before our eyes today. There is no end in sight.Join the debate on FacebookMore articles by:JENNIFER LOEWENSTEIN

Jennifer Loewenstein is a human rights activist and member of Amnesty International’s Young Leadership Group, The Arms Control Association, the Arizona Palestine Solidarity Alliance, the Tucson Samaritans, & Palestine Chronicle. She is an independent researcher and freelance journalist who has lived and worked in cities across the Middle East. She is the former Associate Director of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Associate Lecturer in Middle Eastern and Native American Studies. Jennifer currently lives and works in Tucson, AZ & can be reached at sarinj111@gmail.com.

إسرائيل في «اللايقين»

«رشوة» نتنياهو لا تثمر: إسرائيل في «اللايقين»

الأخبار

يحيى دبوق السبت 18 تموز 2020

تتجاذب إسرائيل جملةُ ملفات مشبعة بالتحديات في مرحلة لايقين على أكثر من صعيد، وهي تتنازع في ما بينها على سلّم أولوياتها: محاولة مواجهة التهديد الأمني المتعاظم من حولها، وتحدّي «كورونا» الذي بات يضغط بقوة على الاقتصاد والأمن الاجتماعي، إضافة إلى خطة الضمّ التي باتت موضع شك، فيما التجاذب بين أقطاب المؤسسة السياسية على خلفية المصالح الشخصية الضيّقة، وتحديداً رئيس الحكومة بنيامين نتنياهو، يلقي بتبعات سلبية على مختلف الملفات بلا استثناءات.

التحدّي الأمني

في التحدّي الأمني، وهو الذي بات يُعرف بتهديد الجبهة الشمالية الأوسع الممتدّة من بيروت مروراً بدمشق فبغداد وصولاً إلى طهران، واضح أن تل أبيب تسعى، بمعية الولايات المتحدة، في تحقيق جملة إنجازات تحدّ وتُضعف مركبات محور أعدائها، وإن كانت حتى الآن في مرحلة المساعي التي لا تعرف إن كانت ستحقق النتائج المأمولة منها. وهذه الحقيقة تدركها وإن كان يتراءى لها إلى الآن أنها تحقق «مكاسب» على المدى القريب، فيما الهدف الذي تسعى إليه فعلياً بعيد جداً عن التحقق: صدّ تشكّل التهديدات وتناميها وأيضاً تعاظمها في ساحات أعدائها، التي لم تعد مركّزة في ساحة واحدة، ومنها أيضاً ما بات في حكم تعذّر مواجهته.

في مساعي الصد تتحرّك تل أبيب على حدّ السيف، وإن كانت تسعى جاهدة في الموازاة إلى تحقيق أقصى نتيجة ممكنة، مع كثير من الحذر أن لا تتسبب بمواجهات واسعة تدرك أن تحمّل تبعاتها متعذّر عليها، وإن كانت، في المقابل، قادرة على إلحاق الأذى الواسع في صفوف أعدائها. لكن القدر المتيقن بالأذى الذي تتوقعه لنفسها كافٍ كي يردعها ويدفعها إلى توخي أقصى درجات الحذر.

المعركة ضمن هذه الحدود تدور منذ سنوات، وتحقق إسرائيل بمعية الولايات المتحدة إنجازات في جولاتها التي تبدو أنها لا تنتهي، لكن دون أن تنهي التهديدات التي وجدت المعركة لصدها، بل يثبت يوماً بعد يوم تراكم التهديد وتعاظمه، ما يدفع تل أبيب إلى الاستعانة بالولايات المتحدة، عرّابتها، التي بات عليها هي حماية الكيان الإسرائيلي وحفظه والعمل بنفسها على منع التهديدات الإقليمية ضده، بدل أن يكون الكيان نفسه الوسيلة القتالية التي تحقق الإرادة الأميركية في المنطقة، من دون قدرة على مواجهتها.

المعركة مستمرة بلا توقف، لكن يتداخل فيها أكثر من عامل متناقض بين الكبح والدفع والتحفيز والردع وموازنة الثمن الحالي للأفعال الاعتدائية مقابل أثمان لاحقة أكبر وأوسع وأكثر إيلاماً. الحديث هنا يتعلق بمعركة ضد المقاومة في لبنان ومنع تعاظم قدراتها نوعياً، وتقصد إسرائيل بذلك منع حزب الله من امتلاك الصواريخ الدقيقة. إلى الآن، تصمد قواعد الاشتباك وتمتنع إسرائيل قسراً عن كسرها، إذ إن من شأن محاولة الكسر التسبب بردّ وردّ على الرد، وسلسلة ردود متبادلة… ومن ثم التدحرج إلى مواجهة عسكرية من الصعب تقدير المدى الذي يمكن أن تبلغه.
كذلك الأمر في ما يتعلق بالوجود الإيراني في سوريا، وهو ما تطلق عليه إسرائيل «التمركز الإيراني»، الذي صدرت إزاءه وعود كثيرة منذ سنوات ولا تزال، بل وكانت بالأمس القريب أعلنت أنه كاد ينتهي وبات الإيرانيون في مرحلة الرحيل النهائي عن سوريا. ولا يبدو أن الضربات الإسرائيلية، المدروسة جيّداً والحذرة جيّداً، في الساحة السورية من شأنها إنهاء «التمركز»، بل في المقابل بدأ يترسخ أكثر فأكثر، وخاصة أنه مبني على إرادة سورية – إيرانية مشتركة، كان آخر تعبير عنها اتفاقات أمنية وعسكرية ثنائية أثارت حفيظة إسرائيل. في هذه الساحة تحديداً، التحدّي كبير جداً وتأثيراته قاسية على تل أبيب، وبشكل أكثر تأثيراً على المدَيين المتوسط والبعيد، وإن بإمكانها حالياً التعايش النسبي مع مرحلة «التشكّل والتمركز».

تخشى حكومة نتنياهو مزيداً من التداعيات الاقتصادية التي تزيد من حدة التأزّم لدى الإسرائيليين


واحد من جملة قيود تل أبيب في هذه الساحة هو أنها شبه مكبلة عن المبادرة وفقاً لاستراتيجيتها المعتمدة في ضرب أعدائها والتأثير في قراراتهم وتوجهاتهم، ذلك أنها مضطرة إلى الابتعاد وعدم المسّ بـ«مركز الثقل» الفعلي في سوريا، الذي يمكنها الرهان عليه كي يتسبب بالتشويش على «التمركز الإيراني». هذه ربما من الأمور التي يغفل البعض عن تظهيرها، وإن كثرت الأحاديث عن اعتداءات إسرائيلية هنا وهناك.

مركز الثقل الذي يمكن لتل أبيب أن «تحشر في الزاوية» عبر استهدافه أو التهديد الجدي باستهدافه، هو مركبات ومقدرات النظام السوري نفسه، إلا أن مركز الثقل هذا خارج القدرة الإسرائيلية الفعلية على الاستهداف المفضي إلى التأثير على إرادة دمشق أو إرادة طهران، مجتمعتين أو متفرقتين، نظراً إلى معادلات الساحة السورية وموازين القوى فيها وتشعبات وتضارب المصالح فيها لأكثر من لاعب، ومن بينها ما لا يمكن لتل أبيب أن تتجاوزه.
أي مسّ جدي بنظام الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد، سوف يؤدي في نهاية المطاف إلى مواجهة عسكرية واسعة، تحرص إسرائيل حتى الآن على تجنبها لأنها تتخوف من أثمانها وتخشى تداعياتها الإقليمية، وربما تؤدي إلى كف يد إسرائيل مطلقاً عن المس بسوريا. أمّا الاعتداءات التي تُعد «طَرقاً على الأطراف» البعيدة عن مراكز ثقل المحور ومركباته، فلا تجلب فائدة كبيرة إلا بما يتعلق بالعامل النفسي، مع قليل من الإنجاز المادي في السياق.



أزمة «كورونا»

تضغط جائحة «كورونا» على إسرائيل في أكثر من اتجاه ومستوى، ولا تقتصر تداعياتها السلبية على الوضع الصحي للإسرائيليين. الموجة الثانية من الفيروس تضرب بقوة، ووصلت إلى حد احتلال إسرائيل المرتبة الثالثة، بعد الولايات المتحدة وتشيلي، بعدد الإصابات نسبة إلى عدد السكان. وزير الصحة الإسرائيلي يولي أدلشتاين حذّر من التداعيات المرتقبة للفيروس بعد تجدد انتشاره وانفلاشه، لافتاً إلى أن معجزة فقط هي التي يمكن لها أن تنجي إسرائيل من الكارثة. والحديث يتعلّق بأضعاف مضاعفة في عدد الإصابات عما كان عليه في الموجة الأولى للفيروس.
واضح لدى متابعي الشأن الإسرائيلي التخبّط في معالجة تداعيات «كورونا» وانتشاره السريع. ففيما تركّز الأجهزة المختصة على ضرورات الإغلاق الكامل، تواجه حكومة نتنياهو الإغلاق عبر التسويف والإغلاقات الجزئية الموضعية، إذ تخشى مزيداً من التداعيات الاقتصادية التي تزيد من حدة التأزم لدى الإسرائيليين وتزيد من نسبة البطالة التي زادت نتيحة الموجة الأولى من الفيروس عن نسبة 21 في المئة وهي مقدّرة أن تزيد. وبحسب البيانات، فإن عدد العاطلين عن العمل يقارب الـ 800 ألف، بينهم 575 ألفاً أُخرجوا في إجازة غير مدفوعة الأجر، علماً بأن قطاعات كاملة باتت بحكم الإفلاس والتوقف النهائي، من دون أفق فعلي للخروج من الأزمة.

في الوقت عينه، باتت جائحة «كورونا» وتداعياتها مركباً رئيساً في التجاذبات السياسية بين النخبة الحاكمة، بل امتدت لتكون مادة تجاذب بين المؤسستين السياسية والعسكرية، فيما الأفق مسدود عن المعالجة. المعجزة التي تحدث عنها وزير الصحة لا يبدو أنها مقبلة، وهو عملياً يقر ضمناً بأن المؤسسات الصحية باتت عاجزة عن مواجهة الفيروس، وإن كان يصر على مواصلة توليه مع أجهزة وزارية أخرى التصدي لتبعات الفيروس. مقابل وزارة الصحة، التي يسيطر عليها حزب «الليكود»، يضغط وزير الأمن بني غانتس، أي حزب «أزرق أبيض»، كي تتولى وزارته مع الجيش الإسرائيلي مواجهة «كورونا»، الأمر الذي يرفضه نتنياهو ويجهد كي يحول دونه، فمعالجة «كورونا» من قبل خصومه السياسيين الذين يسيطرون على وزارة الأمن تبعد الأضواء عنه مع التركيز على نجاحاتهم، وخاصة إن استطاع الجيش الحد من انتشار الفيروس حيث عديده ومؤسساته يسمحون له بذلك. ويخشى نتنياهو نتيجة كهذه في مرحلة حساسة جداً من ناحية سياسية، قد تشهد انفراط عقد الحكومة والتوجه إلى انتخابات مبكرة رابعة، ما يعني إعطاء رصيد بالمجان للخصوم، في انتخابات قد تكون مرجّحة، ولكن السؤال متى وتحت أي شعار؟

ويلقي الفيروس بظلال ثقيلة على الجيش الإسرائيلي، دفعه إلى إلغاء تدريباته ومناوراته المقرّرة ضمن برنامج تأهيل مكثف يهدف إلى تحقيق جهوزية في مواجهة إمكانات تصعيد على أكثر من جبهة. وإذا ما استمرت الإصابات بالزيادة وبالوتيرة التي هي عليه الآن، فلا يبعد أن يؤثّر الفيروس أيضاً على نشاطات الجيش وإجراءاته. ويكفي للدلالة الإشارة إلى مئات الإصابات في الوحدات العسكرية، وما يزيد إلى الآن عن 11.500 عسكري باتوا في الحجر، ما يُخرج من النشاط الجاري والاستعداد للسيناريوات المختلفة عديداً يوازي فرقة عسكرية كاملة في الخدمة الدائمة، ومن بينها قطاعات من وحدات استخبارية هي عماد قدرة إسرائيل ومنعتها الأمنية.

يرد في صحيفة «هآرتس» وصفٌ لتداعيات «كورونا» على خطة جهوزية الجيش، في تقرير تحت عنوان «كان لدى كوخافي خطط فجاء الواقع وصفعه على وجهه». حسب الصحيفة، أصيب كوخافي بضرر في أنه لم يعد قادراً على تحقيق رؤيته الاستراتيجية (خطة) «تنوفا»، التي كان يأمل من خلالها تحسين قدرات الجيش لضمان الحسم في الحروب المقبلة. اتضح له أن ما كان يطالب به لن يتحقق نتيجة الخلافات بين رئيس الحكومة ووزير الأمن، الأمر الذي يتسبب بلايقين سياسياً مع ضغط إضافي لـ«كورونا» الذي أدى إلى تدهور خطير في الاقتصاد وأعاق وفاقم بشدة عجز الموازنة.

شكوك حول الضمّ

خسرت خطة الضم واحداً من أهم مقوّماتها، وهو الزخم الأميركي الذي ميّز موقف الإدارة الأميركية عندما حدَّد نتنياهو موعد تنفيذها كاملة في الأوّل من الشهر الجاري. العامل الأميركي، وإن لم يكن وحيداً في منع خروج خطة الضم إلى حيز التنفيذ، إلا أنه أهم العوامل، ويوصف إسرائيلياً بأنه كاف في ذاته لمنع الخطة. وفقاً لمسؤول أمني إسرائيلي رفيع المستوى، في حديث إلى نشرة «المونيتور» بنسختها العبرية: «باتت فرصة تنفيذ خطة الضم، حتى لأجزاء من الضفة، في مستوى أرجحية منخفضة جداً إلى معدومة»، لافتاً إلى أن «هناك كثيراً من الشروط والظروف التي يجب أن تتحقق قبل ذلك».

وتضغط على خطة الضم مخاوف أمنية يُقدّر أن تُفعّل فور صدور قرار الضم، وهو ما أكد عليه في «الغرف المغلقة مع نتنياهو»، وفقاً لمصادر إسرائيلية مختلفة، كل من رئيس الأركان أفيف كوخافي، والمدير للأمن العام الداخلي (الشاباك) نداف أرغمان: «سيؤدي الضم إلى انتفاضة فلسطينية ثالثة ضد إسرائيل، مع احتمال بمستوى مرتفع، أن يتسبب كذلك بتصعيد أمني مع جبهة غزة». إلا أن ذلك لا يعني انتفاء الخطة وترحيلها إلى «أجل غير مسمى». نعم بإمكان نتنياهو تجاوز تقديرات الجيش، والتي تبدو مبنية على الخشية من انشغاله في ملفات تحرف تركيزه عن مواجهة الجبهة الشمالية بمركباتها المختلفة، وهي التي تشهد سخونة واحتمالات لسيناريوات متطرفة، إلا أنه غير قادر على تجاوز ما يسمّيه الإسرائيليون التنسيق المسبق مع الإدارة الأميركية في قرار الضم، ومعناه تلقي موافقة مسبقة من دونالد ترامب، المشغول بجملة ملفات داخلية تتعلق بسباقه الرئاسي وتراجع حظوظه في التجديد لولاية ثانية.
لكن هل قرار ترامب نهائي؟ يمكن التأكيد على ذلك ضمن المدى المنظور والقريب جداً، لكن من الآن وحتى موعد الانتخابات في تشرين الثاني المقبل، مدة زمنية طويلة جداً، وقد تشهد تغييراً في الموقف إن وجد ترامب أن ذلك يخدمه انتخابياً، وخاصة مع موقف مطالب وملح من قبل ناخبيه الإنجيليين الذين يعوّل عليهم كثيراً في صناديق الاقتراع.

في مواجهة «صفقة القرن» ومخرجاتها

معن بشور

نعقد على مواقع التواصل الالكتروني على مدى يومي السبت والأحد في 11 و 12 تموز/ يوليو الحالي «الملتقى العربي: متحدون ضدّ صفقة القرن وخطة الضم» بدعوة من ستة هيئات عربية (المؤتمر القومي العربي، المؤتمر القومي/ الاسلامي، المؤتمر العام للأحزاب العربية، اللقاء اليساري العربي، الجبهة العربية التقدمية، مؤسسة القدس الدولية) ويشارك في الملتقى أعضاء الأمانات العامة لهذه الهيئات وقادة فصائل المقاومة والاتحادات المهنية العربية وشخصيات محدودة من فلسطين والأردن بما يجعل الملتقى جامعاً لممثلين عن معظم مكونات العمل الشعبي العربي، ومن غالبية تياراته الفكرية والسياسية في تحدّ واضح ليس لـ «جائحة الكورونا» ومتطلبات مواجهتها فحسب، بل في تحدّ للمشروع الصهيو/ أميركي الذي يسعى الى تجزئة الأمة، وتقسيم كياناتها الوطنية، وتشظي مجتمعاتها وقواها الشعبية، ليتمكن من تنفيذ كلّ مخططاته الرامية الى نهب موارد أمتنا وتعطيل مشروعها النهضوي وضرب مقوماتها الروحية والمادية…

واذا كانت المبادرة بعقد هذا الملتقى قد جاءت من المغرب، من خلال شخصية بارزة لها باع طويل في النضال من أجل فلسطين وقضايا الأمة، وهو المناضل خالد السفياني المنسّق العام للمؤتمر القومي الإسلامي وأمين عام مؤسسة المفكر الكبير الراحل الدكتور محمد عابد الجابري، فإنّ التجاوب السريع معها قد جاء من أقطار الوطن العربي كافة، كما من تيارات الأمة المتنوعة، والتي باتت تدرك انّ المدخل السليم لمواجهة التحديات الضاغطة على حاضر الأمة ومستقبلها إنما يكمن بتلاقي تياراتها النهضوية كافة وتجاوز كلّ الجراح الأليمة التي أصابت العلاقات بينها في ظلّ مراجعة نقدية جريئة وصادقة ومنزهة لا مكان فيها لتبرير أخطاء وخطايا وقعنا بها، او للتشهير ببعضنا البعض وتحويل ماضي العلاقات بيننا الى سجن نبقى في أسره بدلاً من أن يكون مدرسة نتعلم منها…

وإذا كان التحرك المباشر للدعوة الى هذا الملتقى، كما الى الملتقى المماثل السابق في بيروت في 7/7/2019، هو التصدي لـ «صفقة القرن» بالأمس ولخطة الضمّ الصهيونية اليوم التي لا ينبغي اعتبار تأجيل الإعلان عنها – رغم انّ التأجيل هزيمة لنتنياهو وداعميه في واشنطن – إسقاطاً لها، فإنّ المشاركين في هذا الملتقى، يدركون، رغم تباين المواقف الفكرية والسياسية بينهم، انّ لـ «صفقة القرن» مخرجات عدة تمتدّ من المحيط الى الخليج، وأبرزها دون شكّ هو استمرار الحروب على أقطار والاحتراب داخل أقطار أخرى، حيث أثبتت الأحداث الأليمة التي نمرّ بها جميعاً أنّ أحداً من أبناء الأمة قد ربح من هذه الحروب أو الاحتراب، وأنّ الرابح الأكبر هو المشروع الصهيو – استعماري الذي بدأ بالتجزئة ليستمرّ بالتفتيت.

ولعله من بديهيات القول إنّ البداية الحقيقية لـ «صفقة القرن»، إنما بدأت باحتلال العراق، بعد حصار جائر استمر 13 عاماً. وهم يسعون اليوم الى تطبيقه في فلسطين وسورية ولبنان واليمن وصولاً الى الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران.

ولم يكن من قبيل الصدف أن يعلن جورج بوش الابن بعد إتمام مهمته في الحرب على العراق عام 2003، ان مشروع الشرق الأوسط الجديد قد بدأ تنفيذه، والذي هو في نهاية الأمر نسخة مبكرة عن «صفقة القرن»… فلكلّ حاكم في الولايات المتحدة او دول الغرب الاستعمارية مشروعه لـ «صفقة القرن» باسم حلف من هنا، او مشروع من هناك، او قانون من هنا او مخطط من جهة ثانية.

من أول مخرجات الصفقة والضمّ التي باتت واضحة للأردنيّين عموماً، ملكاً وحكومة وشعباً، هو أن يدفع الأردنيون، مع الفلسطينيين، الثمن المباشر للضفقة المشؤومة ولخطة الضمّ، وهو ما يتطلب تنسيقاً قوياً ومتواصلاً بين الأردن وفلسطين. وتماسكاً شعبياً داخلياً يمنح القيادة الأردنية قدرة أكبر على المواجهة.

يتقدّم هذه المخرجات أيضاً، هو ما يشهده لبنان من ضغوطات وحروب وحصار تستهدف تجريده من مصادر قوته والمتمثلة بوحدة شعبه وبمقاومته الباسلة التي حققت في سنوات انتصارات، ما عجزت عنه حكومات ودول وجيوش…

كما يتقدّم هذه المخرجات أيضاً ما تشهده سورية من حرب عليها وفيها، واعتداءات صهيونية وأميركية متواصلة، وصولاً الى «قانون قيصر» الذي يدّعي «حماية المدنيين في سورية» فيما المتضرّر الأكبر منه هو الشعب العربي في سورية الذي يدفع أغلى الأثمان بسبب هذه الحرب الظالمة المفروضة عليه منذ عشر سنوات. بسبب مواقفه القومية التحررية التاريخية تجاه قضايا الأمة كلها، وفي طليعتها قضية فلسطين التي شكلت سورية على الدوام العقبة الكأداء في وجه محاولات تصفيتها كما شكلت والسند المباشر لكلّ حركة مقاومة في وجهها.

من مخرجات هذه الصفقة أيضاً هو ما تشهده مصر من استهداف مباشر لأمنها المائي من خلال سدّ النهضة، وأمنها الوطني من خلال الإرهاب في سيناء، وأمنها القومي من خلال ما يجري في ليبيا… وهذا الاستهداف لا يمكن مواجهته إلا بتعزيز الالتفاف العربي والإسلامي حول مصر، وبذل كلّ جهد ممكن لتعزيز الجبهة الداخلية في القطر العربي الأكبر.

والحرب في اليمن أيضاً، سواء من خلال ما يتعرّض له شماله من عدوان وقصف وتدمير وحصار، او ما يتعرّض له جنوبه من احتراب بين حلفاء، تستخدم ايضاً في إطار خدمة «صفقة القرن» ومعاقبة شعب عظيم، كان وسيبقى، متمسكاً بفلسطين وكل قضايا أمته.

أما تحويل الساحة الليبية الى ساحة حروب إقليمية ودولية، فليس هدفها فقط تدمير بلد عربي، كان شعبه ولا يزال، حريصاً على عروبته وإسلامه وحريته وكرامته، وهي حرب بدأت مع الغزوة الأطلسية قبل تسع سنوات لتستمر اقتتالاً لا يهدّد الأمن الوطني لليبيا، بل هدفها أيضاً استهداف الأمن القومي لشمال أفريقيا، وغربها، لا سيما مصر ودول المغرب العربي التي تسعى المخططات الاستعمارية الى إشعال كلّ أنواع الفتن في ربوعها…

أما دول الخليج والجزيرة العربية، فهي ليست بعيدة عن دائرة الاستهداف، بل انّ المشروع الصهيو – استعماري يدفع الى إغراق بعضها في سياسات محلية وعربية وإقليمية لن تؤدي إلا الى تبديد ما تبقى من مواردها، وابتزاز أكبر قدر ممكن من أموالها، وإشعال الاضطرابات في داخلها، ودفعها لأن تكون القاطرة الأولى في قافلة التطبيع الذي هو في رأس أهداف «صفقة القرن» المشؤومة …

ولعلّ ما يشهده السودان اليوم من استغلال مطالب مشروعة في الحرية والعدالة والكرامة الإنسانية، من أجل إيقاع السودان في مهاوي الصراع الداخلي، والتفكك الوطني، والتطبيع مع العدو، ليس بعيداً عن مخرجات «صفقة القرن» وأهدافها الخبيثة…

وبالتأكيد تبقى تصفية قضية فلسطين هي الهدف، والغاية من هذه الصفقة، والمدخل من اجل ترسيخ التجزئة وتعزيز مشاريع التفتيت في المنطقة، وهو ما يتطلب تعزيز التوجه المبارك لتجاوز الانقسام المدمّر للمشروع الوطني الفلسطيني، وتوحيد الطاقات والجهود الفلسطينية لإطلاق انتفاضة كبرى لن تؤدي الى سقوط «صفقة القرن» ومخرجاتها فقط، بل تؤدي الى دحر الاحتلال عن الأرض الفلسطينية المحتلة وعاصمتها القدس.

وإذا كانت مواجهة «صفقة القرن» ومخرجاتها مهمّة الأمة بكلّ أقطارها فإنّ الردّ الشامل عليها يكمن في تبني لمعادلة الخلاص التي أعلناها بعد احتلال العراق وتقوم على مهمات أربع، 1- مقاومة احتلال الأرض، 2- مراجعة للتجارب والعلاقات بين أبناء الأمة وقواها وتياراتها لنطوّر الإيجابي منها، ونتخلص مما علق بها من شوائب، 3- مصالحة تبني للمستقبل وتخرجنا من سلبيات الماضي، 4- فمشاركة تسمح لكلّ أبناء الوطن المساهمة في تقرير مصيرهم…

«صفقة القرن» إذن ليست المشروع الصهيو – استعماري الوحيد الذي واجهته الأمة، وما تزال، ولن يتوقف الأعداء على إخراج مشاريع مماثلة من أجل سحق أمتنا والقضاء على مستقبلها وآمالها، وتحويلها من أمة قائدة في الإنسانية الى أمة تابعة وذيل للدول الاستعمارية ومقاومة هذه الصفقة اليوم، بكلّ مخرجاتها وفي مقدمها خطة الضمّ الصهيوني تكون بالاستمرار في مقاومة المشروع الصهيو/ استعماري الممتدّة منذ عشرات السسنوات، وفي وحدة الأمة بكلّ أقطارها وتياراتها، فحيث كانت هذه الوحدة تتوفر، كانت المقاومة تنتصر، وحيث كانت تتعثر كانت المقاومة تتراجع.

من هنا، يكتسب ملتقى «متحدون» كخطوة على طريق توحيد الرؤى والجهود أهمية استثنائية في ظروف استثنائية.

الأمين العام السابق للمؤتمر القومي العربي

Israel Annexation Plan: Jordan’s Existential Threat

Jordan is being forced to confront a new reality with alarming cartographic and demographic consequences

By Emile Badarin

Global Research, July 09, 2020

Middle East Eye 6 July 2020

More than any other Arab state, Jordan’s past, present and future are inextricably linked to the question of Palestine. Jordan’s emergence is an outcome of British imperialism, which imposed the infamous Balfour Declaration and the Zionist settler-colonial project on the indigenous population of Palestine and the region. 

Settler-colonialism is the essence of the question of Palestine. All else is derivative. Jordan emerged out of this historical reality, and therefore, its present and future will always be subject to it.

The founder of present-day Jordan, Emir Abdullah bin Al-Hussein, successfully carved a new sovereign space in Transjordan. But this was only possible because of his cooperation with British imperialism and “collusion” with Zionist settler-colonialism. This tacit relationship resulted in mutual restraint between Jordan and Israel, even during their direct military confrontations.

National security interest

In 1994, Jordan and Israel signed the Wadi Araba peace treaty, turning their tacit understandings and secretive relationship into an official peace between the two countries – even if an unpopular one. This peace treaty would have been inconceivable without the 1993 Oslo Accord and the implied promise of Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza, which were occupied in 1967 from Jordan and Egypt respectively, to establish an independent Palestinian state.

Land repatriation and Palestinian statehood hold a high national security interest for Jordan. Only the achievement of these two conditions can halt the border elasticity of the Israeli state and its expansion eastwards, which poses grave geographic and demographic threats to the Hashemite kingdom.

Besides the strategic significance, a Palestinian state would allow a substantial number of Palestinian refugees displaced in 1967 to return to the West Bank, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 237.

Yet, not only have neither of the two conditions been realised, but regional and international political dynamics have changed since 1994. In Israel, the political landscape has dramatically shifted to the far right, fuelling the settler-colonial practice of creating “facts on the ground” that make the prospect of Palestinian statehood and self-determination via the “peace process” a remote fantasy.

The political and material developments on the ground are complemented by complex regional and international dynamics. In particular, the Trump administration has taken a new approach towards most international conflicts, especially in the Middle East.

The Trump-Netanyahu plan (aka “the deal of century”) for Israel-Palestine promotes Israeli colonisation/annexation of the West Bank and sovereignty over the entirety of historic Palestine, as well as the Syrian Golan Heights.

Shifting geopolitics

Even worse for Jordanians and Palestinians, this plan enjoys the support of influential Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which have stepped up their political rapprochement and normalisation with Israel.If Israel Annexes Part of West Bank, Palestine “Will Declare Statehood on 1967 Borders”

The EU, a staunch supporter and sponsor of the so-called peace process and two-state solution, failed not only to reach a common position on the US plan, but also to condemn Israel’s plans to officially annex any part of the West Bank.

Amid the changing international and regional politics, Jordan’s alliance with the US and EU has been a letdown. Jordan has become a victim of its own foreign and security policy, which has grown interlinked with the US and, more recently, the EU.

While half of this alliance, the US, is promoting Israel’s annexation and sovereignty over Palestine, the other half, the EU, is unwilling to act decisively.

The annexation is planned to take place while the entire world, including Jordanians and Palestinians, and the media are exhausted by the coronavirus pandemic. It provides the needed distraction for Israel to complete the annexation quietly, without effective local and international scrutiny and resistance.

Covid-19 has further entrenched the nationalist-driven trend in the Middle East. Even before the outbreak, the Arab world was consumed by domestic concerns, showing few qualms about the Trump-Netanyahu plan or recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

Israeli expansionism

The feeble Arab (including Palestinian and Jordanian) and international response to the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, has encouraged Israel and the US to press ahead and turn Israel’s de facto sovereignty over all of Palestine into de jure.

While this is all illegal under international law, it is a mistake to believe that empirical reality and time will not deflect, strain and fractureinternational law and legality.

Since 1967, the Israeli strategy has pivoted on two parallel components: empirical colonisation on the ground, coupled with the facade of a “peace and negotiations” public relations campaign to obfuscate the settler-colonial structure and market it to the international community, as well as Arab regimes.

With this strategy, Israel has expanded in the region both territorially, by de facto taking over Arab land, and politically, through overt and covert relations with most of the Arab states.

Only formal territorial annexation and gradual de-Palestinisation remains. The formal annexation of the West Bank, especially the Jordan Valley, officially torpedoes the century-old Jordanian foreign and security strategy of cooperation with its imperial patrons (Britain, then the US) and the Zionist movement, which evolved into a Jordanian-Israeli peace with an expected Palestinian buffer state between the two.

Another ethnic cleansing

It also puts Jordan face-to-face with a new reality with alarming cartographic and demographic consequences. The chances of another ethnic cleansing become a palpable prospect under the formulae of official annexation and a Jewish statehood in the entirety of Palestine, as articulated in the 2018 nation-state law meant to ensure a Jewish majority.

This is very much tied in with Jordanian fears grounded in previous (1948, 1967) and current experiences of forced migration in the Middle East. Against this backdrop, another ethnic cleansing in the West Bank, forcing a large number of Palestinians to flee to Jordan, is a real possibility. The transfer and elimination of Palestinians from Palestine are embedded in the settler-colonial structure of the Israeli state, which looks at Jordan as their alternative homeland.

While another population flow would be catastrophic for Palestinians, it would also adversely affect Jordan’s stability and future.

Beyond annexation, the Hashemite regime is witnessing a contestation of its custodianship of the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, which constitute a significant source of legitimacy for the regime. Even on this matter, the US plan unequivocally appoints Israel as the “custodian of Jerusalem”.

After five decades, Israel’s grip over and presence in the West Bank is ubiquitous and entrenched. Most of the West Bank is empirically annexed and Judaised, especially the Jordan Valley, Greater Jerusalem, parts of Hebron and Gush Etzion. The pretence of the peace process and negotiations has thus become superfluous.

‘Considering all options’ 

Only against this background may one understand the depth of the trepidations that underlie the warning of King Abdullah II that the Israeli annexation will trigger a “massive conflict” with Jordan and that he is “considering all options” in response.

This warning does not reveal a strategy to respond to what constitutes a “direct threat to Jordan’s sovereignty and independence”, as the former foreign minister of Jordan, Marwan Muasher, put it.

It displays, however, the difficult decisions that have to be taken. Indeed, King Hussein was prepared to discontinue the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty had Israel refused to supply the antidote for the poison its agents had used in an attempt to assassinate Khaled Meshaal, the former head of Hamas, in 1997. It remains to be seen whether the termination or suspension of this treaty and the realignment of alliances are currently options for Jordan.

The Jordanian response to Covid-19 has generated a unique, popular rally around the state – a perfect opportunity to conduct serious reforms to stamp out corruption and involve citizens in the decision-making process, in order to forge a nationally grounded response to Israel’s planned annexation of the West Bank.

Historically, the survival of the Hashemite kingdom has been at stake several times. But today, Jordan finds itself in an unprecedented political, security, economic and health emergency.

Whatever domestic, economic and foreign-policy decisions – or indecisions – that Jordan takes are likely to leave a long-lasting mark on the future of Jordan and the question of Palestine. Such existential decisions must be collective, with broader national consensus and real citizen participation.

*

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Emile Badarin is a postdoctoral research fellow at the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Chair, College of Europe, Natolin. He holds a PhD in Middle East politics. His research cuts across the fields of international relations and foreign policy, with the Middle East and EU as an area of study.The original source of this article is Middle East EyeCopyright © Emile BadarinMiddle East Eye, 2020

حالة الانكشاف

سعادة مصطفى ارشيد

تمر العلاقات الدولية عالمياً في حال متغيّرة، تفرضها من جانب قوانين التغير والحركة والتطور دائمة الدوران، ومن جانب آخر عوامل مساعدة منها جائحة كورونا التي تجاوز عدد ضحاياها نصف المليون نفس بشرية، وعدد المصابين بالفيروس قد قفز عن حاجز الاثني عشر مليوناً، والأعداد في تزايد مستمر. ومع دخول الجائحة طوراً ثانياً اعتبرته منظمة الصحة العالمية أكثر ضراوة، نلاحظ أنها تجاوزت في عدوانها الإنسان وسلامته لتصيب وتعطل الدورة الاقتصادية من صناعة وتجارة وزراعة في طول العالم وعرضه؛ الأمر الذي قاد إلى معدلات بطالة مرتفعة حتى في المجتمعات الصناعية النشطة وكساد اقتصادي وانهيار في أسعار النفط ومعظم السلع وأثر بدوره على الرعاية الاجتماعيّة والنظم الصحيّة اللاهثة وراء الجائحة.

دفع كل ذلك دول العالم للانكفاء إلى دواخلها، وإلى البحث عن حلول لما تعانيه بشكل منفرد، والتفكير بأساليب الحماية والاكتفاء الداخلي (الذاتي) وإعادة التفكير باتفاقيات التجارة الحرة وضريبة القيمة المضافة، وظهر الوهن على المنظمات العابرة للقومية، كالاتحاد الأوروبي الذي فشل في معالجة الجائحة كاتحاد وترك إيطاليا وإسبانيا واليونان تعالج كل منها جراحها بشكل منفرد فيما رأت ألمانيا أن أولوياتها ألمانية بحتة، نتيجة لذلك أخذت دول الاتحاد تتلمس طرقها القومية القديمة بمعزل عن القوميات الشريكة لها في الاتحاد الأوروبي. فبدأت الدولة الإيطالية طريق العودة إلى إيطاليتها وإسبانيا إلى إسبانيتها وكذلك ألمانيا بمعزل عن المشروع الإقليمي.

وإذا كان العالم يمرّ في هذا المخاض المأزوم، فإن العالم العربي يمرّ بما هو أدهى وأمرّ. حاله غير مسبوقة من السيولة وأبواب أمن قومي مشرّعة لا حارس لها، في المشرق العربي استطالت الأزمة السورية، وإن كانت ملامح نهايتها بادية، إلا أن الأعداء لا زال لديهم من الأوراق ما يطيل في عمرها. ولبنان يترنّح تحت ضغط سعر صرف الليرة مقابل الدولار، والدولة تعاقب القاضي الفاضل الذي أنفذ القانون بالطلب من سفيرة الولايات المتحدة عدم التدخل في شؤونه الداخلية. العراق يعيش حالة تقسيم بادية للعيان، والأردن يعاني من التغول الإسرائيلي بالضفة الغربية. الأمر الذي يمثل تهديداً وجودياً له، فيما تكشف تصريحات رئيس وزراء أسبق عما يدور في العقل السياسي لبعض جماعة الحكم، ولمن رسم شكل الأردن في مرحلة ما بعد عام 1994 (اتفاقية وادي عربة)، وفلسطين التي تعارض رسمياً قرار نتنياهو بضمّ ثلث الضفة الغربية، إلا أنها لا تملك من الآليات وأدوات الضغط ما يحول دون ذلك، هذا وإن تفاءل البعض من المؤتمر الصحافي المشترك لقياديين من فتح وحماس، إلا أن المؤتمر الصحافي لم يتطرق للبحث في الآليات أو في إنهاء حالة الانقسام البشع أو الاتفاق على برنامج حد أدنى واقتصر على مجاملات متبادلة. وعملية الضمّ من شأنها تقطيع ما تبقى من الضفة الغربية إلى ثلاثة معازل منفصلة بالواقع الاستيطاني الذي سيتم ضمة ويحول دون قيام دولة أو شبه دولة في الضفة الغربية. اليمن يصمد ويقاوم بأكلاف عالية، فيما الكورونا والفساد يضربان كل هذه المجتمعات.

الأوضاع في غرب العالم العربي تفوق خطورة وتهافت الأوضاع في مشرقه على صعوبتها، فحالة السيولة وأبواب الأمن القومي المشرّعة، خاصة في ليبيا ومصر والسودان. ليبيا اليوم مسرح وساحة مفتوحة للفرنسيين والأتراك فيما تلعب مصر دوراً ملحقاً بالفرنسيين بدلاً من أن يكون العكس، وأصبحت ليبيا مصدر خطر على مصر من خاصرتها الغربية التي لم تكن عبر تاريخ مصر الطويل تمثل تهديداً لأمنها القومي، فلم يحدث أن غُزيت مصر من الغرب إلا مرة واحدة على يد المعز لدين الله الفاطمي.

طيلة عقود تحاشت مصر الاهتمام بمسائل الأمن القومي، وهي التي رسمت أولى ملامح نظريات الجغرافية السياسية والاستراتيجية وضرورات الأمن القومي بالاشتراك الصدامي مع اتحاد الدول الكنعانية وذلك في القرن الخامس عشر قبل الميلاد في معركة مجدو الشهيرة بقيادة مملكتي قادش ومجدو، حيث رأى الفرعون المصري أن أمن بلاده يبدأ من مرج إبن عامر، فيما رأى التحالف الكنعاني أن أمن اتحادهم يبدأ من غرب سيناء. تطوّرت نظرية الأمن القومي المصري لاحقاً لتضيف عنصراً ثانياً وهو نهر النيل وفيضانه ومنابعه. هذه الرؤية الاستراتيجية سكنت العقل السياسي المصري وعقل كل مَن توالى على حكم مصر منذ تحتمس الثالث حتى عهد الرئيس الأسبق أنور السادات.

منذ تسلم السادات حكم مصر بدأ العمل على إخراج مصر من عالمها العربي، وقد أخذت ملامح هذا الدور تتبدّى خلال حرب تشرين، بمحادثات فك الارتباط بمعزل عن دمشق، ثم ما لبث أن أخذ شكله الصريح عام 1977 في زيارة السادات المشؤومة للقدس وتوقيع اتفاقية كامب دافيد في العام التالي، ثم الترويج لذلك الانقلاب على الاستراتيجيا بالتنظير أن العالم العربي كان عبئاً على مصر التي تستطيع بالتخفف منه الانطلاق في عوالم السوق الرأسمالي والتطور والازدهار وتحقيق الرخاء، ولم تلتفت تلك التنظيرات إلى أن علاقة مصر مع العالم العربي تكاملية يحتاج فيها كل منهما أن يكون ظهيراً للآخر. هذه المدرسة أنتجت ورثة السادات، ومنهم مَن أيّد بحماس تدمير العراق واحتلاله، وتواطأ على الجناح الشرقي للأمن القومي في سورية، وافتعل معارك لا لزوم لها حول منطقة حلايب مع السودان، ولم يلتفت – ولا زال – لخطورة الاعتراف بدولة جنوب السودان التي يمرّ من أراضيها النيل الأبيض، واستمر بعلاقات عدائية مع إثيوبيا التي ينبع من هضبتها النيل الأزرق، ولم يستقبل من أمره ما استدبر لإيقاف مشروع سد النهضة أو للتفاهم مع إثيوبيا بالدبلوماسية أو بغيرها طيلة عقد من الزمن كانت الشركات الإسرائيلية والأميركية تنفذ خلاله مشروع بناء ذلك السد، ولم تستشعر أجهزة أمنه أن خمس مؤسسات مالية مصرية قد استثمرت في السندات الإثيوبية التي موّلت بناء السد الذي قد يحرم مصر من سرّ وجودها، وقد قيل قديماً أن مصر هبة النيل.

في شرق مصر تم إهمال الخاصرة الشرقية التي حددها تحتمس الثالث وسار على هديها كل من أتى من بعده، فلم يتم ايلاء شبه جزيرة سيناء أي اهتمام وتمّ استثناؤها من مشاريع التنمية والرعاية الحكومية، هذا الإهمال والتجاهل الذي هدف إلى إفراغها من كثير من سكانها إرضاء لتل أبيب عاد على مصر بنتائج عكسية إذ خلق بيئة رطبة ومناسبة لجراثيم الإرهاب والتطرف، في حين انصبّ اهتمام الدولة في مرحلة ما قبل الربيع الزائف على بناء حاجز تحت الأرض يحول دون إمداد غزة بحاجاتها الأساسية، وفي العهد الحالي تم إغراق الأنفاق الغزيّة بمياه البحر وإقامة جدار مكهرب فوق الأرض، وكأن المهم أمن «إسرائيل» لا أمن مصر القومي.

مصر التي نحبّ في خطر، وهذا الخطر لا يصيبها منفردة وإنما بالشراكة مع كامل المحيط العربي، مصر لم يهزمها الغرباء والأعداء ولا الجهات الخارجية أو المؤامرات الأجنبية، وإنما هزمها مَن قدّم أولوية البقاء في الحكم على حسابات الاستراتيجية والأمن القومي، ومن جعل الأمن القومي ضحيّة لأمن النظام.

لك الله يا مصر.

*سياسيّ فلسطينيّ مقيم في جنين – فلسطين المحتلة

ماذا بعد؟ الفلسطينيّون يتلاحمون ترامب يرتبك، نتنياهو يتريّث…‏

د. عصام نعمان

تلاقى الفلسطينيون بعد طول تباعد. تلاقيهم على طريق اتحادهم كان مفاجأتهم لأنفسهم كما لأعدائهم. القادة الصهاينة ومن ورائهم نظراؤهم الأميركيون راهنوا طويلاً على انقسام الفلسطينيين على أنفسهم وتنافس فصائل المقاومة على الصدارة والنفوذ.

صحيح أنّ الفلسطينيين تأخروا في التلاقي على طريق توحيد الموقف وتفعيل المقاومة، لكنهم استدركوا تقصيرهم وباشروا التلاحم في وجه الأعداء في الوطن والشتات. مجرد التلاقي، لا سيما بين «فتح» و«حماس»، أقلق الأعداء واضطرهم الى إعادة النظر بحساباتهم.

كان بنيامين نتنياهو يتطلع الى بدء عملية ضمّ مناطق في الضفة الغربية بحلول الأول من تموز/ يوليو، لكن في اليوم نفسه صدر بيان عن حكومته يقول إنه عقد اجتماعاً مع كبار المسؤولين في المؤسسة الأمنية لمناقشة مسألة فرض السيادة على مناطق الضفة. من التعهّد القاطع بالتنفيذ تريّث نتنياهو بسرعة لافتة متحوّلاً الى مناقشة ترتيبات الضمّ.

مخطط نتنياهو للضمّ تعرّض لانتقادات دولية شديدة. الأمم المتحدة والاتحاد الأوروبي والفاتيكان فضلاً عن دول كثيرة عربية واسلامية وأجنبية قالت إن ضمّ «إسرائيل» مناطق فلسطينية سينتهك القانون الدولي ويقوّض الاحتمالات (المتضائلة أصلاً) لإقامة دولة فلسطينية مستقلة قابلة للحياة.

حتى الولايات المتحدة، حليفة «إسرائيل» وحاضنتها التاريخية، أبدت مداورةً، تحفظاً بشأن بدء عملية الضمّ في الاول من تموز. كبار مسؤوليها السياسيين والأمنيين عقدوا اجتماعات متتالية لتخريج موقف يحفظ ماء وجه الرئيس المرتبك والغارق، وسط احتدام معركته الانتخابية، في طوفان من الانتقادات والتشنيعات على مستوى العالم برمته. في غمرة هذا الحَرج، تهرّب وزير الخارجية مايك بومبيو بالقول إن واشنطن تعتبر مسألة الضم قراراً يخصّ «إسرائيل».

قبل تصريح بومبيو وبعده كان المسؤولون الإسرائيليون قد انقسموا حول مسألة تنفيذ الضم وتداعياته. بعضهم رفضه لأنه ينطوي بالضرورة على وضع عشرات آلاف الفلسطينيين تحت سيادة الكيان الصهيوني ما يؤدي لاحقاً الى قيام دولة ثنائية القومية وذات اكثرية عربية ومسلمة بين سكانها. بعضهم الآخر، وجلّه من أهل اليسار، تخوّف من ان يؤدي الضمّ ليس الى تقويض يهودية الدولة فحسب بل الى التمييز الشديد ضد «مواطنيها» من غير اليهود ايضاً ما يرسّخ صورتها كدولة ابارتهايد (تمييز عنصري) مكروهة من الدول والشعوب.

صحيح أن الضمّ الآن أرجئ، لكنه لم يُلغَ قط. كثيرون من المراقبين في:

«إسرائيل» وفي اميركا يعتقدون ان كلاًّ من نتنياهو وترامب مضطر الى السير مجدّداً في مخطط الضمّ، ولو الجزئي، لاعتبارات شخصية وسياسية. نتنياهو مهجوس بمسألة ملاحقته جزائياً بتُهَم الفساد والرشوة ما يستوجب بقاءه رئيساً للحكومة لضمان تبرئته من جهة، ومن جهة أخرى لتعزيز طموحه الى ان تتخطى سمعته وإنجازاته تراث دايفيد بن غوريون، فيصبح هو «ملك إسرائيل» في تاريخها المعاصر!

ترامب يؤرقه شبقه المضني للفوز بولاية رئاسية ثانية ما يدفعه الى تأمين تصويت جماعتين كثيفتي العدد والنفوذ الى جانبه، الإنجيليين واليهود، وذلك بتجديد تحبيذه البدء بتنفيذ قرار الضم. لهذا الغرض، صعّدت جماعات الإنجيليين ضغوطها على ترامب من أجل الدفع قُدُماً بمخطط ضم مناطق الضفة الغربية الى «إسرائيل». أحد أبرز قياديّي هؤلاء مايك ايفانس قال لصحيفة «يديعوت احرونوت» (2020/7/2) «إن قدرة الرئيس ترامب على الفوز في انتخابات الرئاسة ستُحسم بأصوات الانجيليين، ولن يكون بمقدوره الفوز من دوننا (..) وأيّ مستشار يحثه على التراجع عن تأييد الضمّ يتسبّب بإبعاده خارج البيت الأبيض (…) ولو كنتُ مكان نتنياهو لضغطت على ترامب من أجل تنفيذ الضم قبل انتخابات الرئاسة الأميركية».

ماذا على الصعيد الفلسطينيّ؟

لم يتضح بعد ما جرى الاتفاق على اعتماده عملياً لمواجهة قرار الضمّ حتى لو كان جزئياً. غير أن ما يمكن استخلاصه من تصريحات وخطابات ومواقف قادة فصائل المقاومة المؤيدة لاجتماع قياديي «فتح» و«حماس» اتفاقهم على توحيد الجهود الرامية الى مقاومة «صفقة القرن» بكل أبعادها وتحدياتها. لن يكشف، بطبيعة الحال، ايٌّ من فصائل المقاومة القرارات السريّة العملانية التي يمكن ان يكون قادة «فتح و«حماس» قد اتخذوها، منفردين او متحدين، لمواجهة عملية الضمّ ميدانياً. إلاّ ان نبرة القياديين في تصريحاتهم من جهة وتسريبات أو تخمينات بعضهم من جهة أخرى توحي بأن ثمة توافقاً على إشعال انتفاضة شعبية مديدة ضدّ الاحتلال في الضفة الغربية بالإضافة الى جميع ساحات الوجود الفلسطيني بما في ذلك الأراضي المحتلة العام 1948.

هل ثمة اتفاق بين كبريات الفصائل الفلسطينية على مواجهة اعتداءات «إسرائيل» بهجوم معاكس على جميع الجبهات في الشمال والجنوب والشرق بالاتفاق مع قيادات محور المقاومة؟

لا جواب صريحاً في هذا المجال من أيّ قيادي فلسطيني وازن. غير انّ مراقبين مقرّبين من قيادات المقاومة، الفلسطينية والعربية، يستبعدون ذلك لأسباب ثلاثة:

أوّلها لأنّ فصائل المقاومة جميعاً منشغلة داخل أقطارها بأزمات وتحديات سياسية واقتصادية واجتماعية معقدة تضطرها الى اعتبارها أولى بالاهتمام في الوقت الحاضر.

ثانيها لأنّ «إسرائيل» ذاتها تبدو منشغلة بمشكلات داخلية ليس أقلها اندلاع موجة ثانية من جائحة كورونا، كما هي قلقة من تحوّل ميزان الردع في الصراع الى كفة المقاومة، لا سيما حزب الله، بعد ثبوت امتلاكه عدداً وفيراً من الصواريخ الدقيقة.

ثالثها لعدم توافر أوضاع دولية ملائمة لـِ «إسرائيل» لتوسيع رقعة تحديها للمجتمع الدولي ولأحكام القانون الدولي المتعارضة مع سياسة الضمّ والتهويد واقتلاع السكان الأصليين.

غير انّ هذه الاعتبارات لا تصمد امام تصميم رئيس أميركي بالغ العنهجية والتطرف ويصعب التنبؤ بنزواته وتصرفاته، ورئيس حكومة إسرائيلي مُترع بحب التسلّط والصدارة وبرغبة جامحة لتغطية ارتكاباته الجنائية والهروب من حكم العدالة.

*نائب ووزير سابق.

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