Axis of Resistance Frustrated Three Phases of the Project for a ‘New Middle East’

Trump Kushner

Al-Manar Website Editor

August 13, 2019

The first phase of the so-called New Middle East was just after ‘the Summit of Peacemakers’ in 1996, when former Israeli premier Shimon Peres applied his New Middle East vision by declaring the “Operation Grapes of Wrath” on Lebanon for 16 days in April 1996.

During the 2006 Lebanon war, former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced the beginning of the New Middle East. After almost one decade of political attempts to resolve the Arab- Israeli conflict, the US decided to use a brute force to eliminate what it saw an impediment to the ‘peaceful’ resolution of the conflict by pushing ‘Israel’ to attack Lebanon, destroying its infrastructures.

The first phase of the above mentioned project has fallen after the US-Israeli failure to impose their conditions for the 2006 ceasefire agreement on Lebanon. It was Lebanon which emerged victorious after a 33-day war, as declared by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. It was the resistance of Hezbollah that turned the table on the New Middle East project, said the Winograd Commission report, after the investigation of the causes of failure in the 2006 war.

In 2011, the second phase of the scheme has started, Syria was the battlefield. However, the US-backed terrorists failed to overthrow the Syrian government, and the second phase was over. Then, the old Shimon Peres vision was revitalized and there was the third phase of the so-called New Middle East project.

The US administration proposed an economic approach, allegedly to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, in a bid to gain in politics what it couldn’t achieve in the war.

US President Donald Trump sent Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, who is presented as the godfather of the ‘Deal of Century’, to the region. Kushner decided to replace the well-known slogan of “land for peace” principle with his own one: “peace to prosperity”.  He believes that such a slogan could reduce the conflict to an economic problem that can be resolved by improving the living standards of the Palestinians.

The absence of a draft solution for major political issues, particularly Palestinian statehood, the status of Al-Quds (Jerusalem), and the Palestinians’ right to return to their land, turns Kushner proposal to be a mere attempt to bribe the Palestinians into giving up self-determination.

The funding issue is also a significant factor of disruption for that deal, especially that EU, the traditional donor, did not participated in the workshop in Bahrain, neither Russia, nor China.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, which has shown an extreme enthusiasm for the deal, has been already facing an economic problem and the war in Yemen, which has cost it billions of dollars. The US, where the proposal was launched, certainly would not spend that much money, particularly under Trump administration, who prides himself on extracting monetary concessions from other countries, including Saudi Arabia by extortion, or by the arm sales.

The development and prosperity that Kushner is heralding can only happen if the Israeli occupation is ended.

In contrast, the Trump administration has already made major steps in strengthening the pillars of the occupation, including recognizing Israeli annexation of Al-Quds and the Golan Heights.

With all these major flaws, it was hardly surprising that the Bahrain Workshop failed to jump-start the deal process.

The Axis of Resistance is accomplishing important steps in the warfare in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, preventing Trump and his allies to step forward for the announcement of the “Deal of Century” that could eradicate the Palestinian cause in favor of the Israeli occupation. Hence, the third phase of the New Middle east has also failed.

A flashback to Madrid conference in 1990: the peace process had been built on the principle of “land for peace”, where ‘Israel’ withdrew from occupied Arab land in 1967 in exchange for peace and normalization of ties with the Palestinians and Arabs.

The 1993 Oslo Accord provided a political vision for Shimon Peres’s plan – a two-state solution – which was followed by the 1994 Paris Protocol that established rules regulating economic relations between the Palestinians and Israelis.

This vision was also the core of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative proposed by Saudi Arabia in Beirut Arab League summit.

Needless to say, all past proposals have failed for one simple reason: They were all in favor of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

The Peoples’ Will is Stronger Than the US Arrogance

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The Peoples’ Will is Stronger Than the US Arrogance

The game of destructive chaos in the region is the only policy pursued by the United States for years in the belief that it serves its interests without realizing that this policy which it calls “creative”, undermines security and stability in the region and the world, as well as the US’s interests.

Today, this unproductive policy dips into the depths of the maze that has placed itself in the neck of its glass. In the case of the Arab-Israeli conflict, this policy tries to impose alternative means of settlement away from the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, away from the two-state solution and the restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people, the first of which is the right of return.

As if the case in Washington is a business deal and not rights of an oppressed people. The US struggled at the Bahrain conference and then at the Bahrain workshop to accomplish what it calls the “deal of the century”, or in a clear sense the liquidation of the Palestinian cause and putting the poisons of American economy into the honey of the so-called peace. The same applies to its escalating policy in the Arab Gulf to ignite new wars that generate thousands of billions of dollars from the vast open-monarchies treasury.

In Syria, Washington is pursuing its destructive colonialist approach under the pretext of fighting the alleged terrorism and maintaining the security of its tools on the Syrian territory as (Qasad)militia that has committed the worst crimes against civilians returning from Baguoz after being destroyed by the American coalition under the pretext of bombing the extremists (Da’ish).

Washington is doing every conceivable effort to calm down the Israeli entity over its alleged security trying to legitimize its settlements and whitewash its occupation of the Arab territories, once by facilitating its direct aggression and once by granting it the alleged sovereignty over the occupied Golan and Jerusalem. The US exercises all this aggression without realizing that the peoples’ will of the region is stronger than all its arrogance.

The “deal of the century” has showed the real size of Washington, just a tool in the hands of the Zionist lobby, seeking to recruit billions to impose a “political solution” on the size of the Zionist entity. Both Trump and Netanyahu will give nothing to the Palestinian people and their bloody history and illegitimate settlement are present, recalling the occupation of Jerusalem, ignoring international laws and agreements, and the Zionist entity’s persistence in building settlements. The main objective is to swallow Palestine, erase its borders from the map, expel its people and end the file of the right of return for all Palestinians.

The current international developments against a background of the fires ignited by the policy of American arrogance indicate that many of the adverse results will return to the Trump administration whose poles are floundering between escalation once, reducing tension and begging dialogue and negotiation at other times to contain the accumulation of failures in the face of a lot of files and international issues that Washington wanted to rotate the corners in the direction that serves the agenda of domination that it wants to impose on the world.

With this American failure, the Trump administration is now making every effort to please the American interior ahead of the upcoming presidential election bazaar. Despite the counterproductive results of the Bahrain Workshop and the clear message that the policy of dictation, threats and intimidation, the “deal of the century “will not be translated into reality, even if the Arabs drowned to their ears in free normalization projects with the Zionist enemy.

Even though Trump, who implicitly admitted to the failure of the conspiracy of the era before disclosing its political side, continues striking the chord of illusion, and he himself wishes the implementation of the “deal of the century” in his presidential term, or it will never get because the wills of the axis resistance countries are much stronger than the military arsenals of Trump, and the bluster of the Arab- Zionists.

Sharif Al -Khatib
Editor-in-Chief
sharifalkh@gmail.com

 

Trump/Kushner Deal of the Century: ‘Money, Money, Money, It’s A Rich Man’s World’

Trump/Kushner Deal of the Century: ‘Money, Money, Money, It’s A Rich Man’s World’

Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir said that Palestinians did not exist, but if they did, she claimed that Jews always had a ‘supreme morality.’ Her infamous contention, ’Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us’ displayed a belief that Palestinian Arabs were barely human.

Cruelty by discrimination became explicit in the Jewish Nation State Law of August 2018, which says this state actualises its national, religious and historical rights for self-determination. The distinguished Israeli journalist Gideon Levy concluded that through this law, Israel had adopted apartheid as a form of government, bolstered by the ‘moral rot’ of a ‘legal system far removed from fundamental principles of equality and justice.’

The latest demand to maintain the superiority of one people over another comes from the Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon. In a New York Times Opinion piece, he wrote as a leader of a master race. Armed with his assumptions about the merits of top down abuses of power, about humiliation as a policy, and cruelty to inferiors taken for granted, he advised that the best the Palestinians could do is surrender. They should negotiate without any prospect of a State. ‘A national suicide of Palestinians’ current political and cultural ethos is what is needed for peace.’

Danon associated himself with what he calls Western Liberalism, as illustrated by the ‘natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate in their own sovereign state.’ By contrast, an inferior people such as Palestinians could not have rights to self-determination, even though those rights are made clear in Article 1 of the Charter of the UN.

Consistent with a New York real estate agent’s technique for softening up powerless tenants before evicting them, Trump had already humiliated Palestinians, yet asked them to accept his deal. The US Embassy in Israel had been moved to Jerusalem, Palestinian diplomatic offices in Washington were closed, most funds for the refugee agency UNRWA terminated, so too crucial financial support for Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem; then the Golan was annexed and renamed Trump Heights.

The New York Real Estate agency had become Cruelty Inc. There would be no withdrawal of settlements, no end to Israeli control of Palestinians’ lives and nothing to address the injustices to refugees. The Bahrein workshop was told the Palestinians could not secure a better offer.

Deception is another key ingredient in the cruelty mix. Kushner made fraudulent claims even as he appeared to be generous. Fifty billion dollars would generate recovery of the Palestinian economy even though any Palestinian economic development has been restricted by the occupation of the West Bank, the siege of Gaza and other military controls. The $50 billion would be pledged largely by Arab States but no pledges had been made.

In Bahrein, Kushner delivered his father-in-law’s notion that life is about deals and deals are about money. He spoke the Abba lyrics, ‘Money, money, money, must be funny…All the things I could do, If I had a little money, It’s a rich man’s world, It’s a rich man’s world.’ To Palestinians, nothing sounded funny.

Fragile but significant Lebanon could receive $6 billion from a plan geared mostly towards connecting Lebanon with Gaza and the West Bank but the Lebanese rejected this as a shameless bribe. They know that money will come and go whereas Palestinians will always pursue their human rights and ownership of their lands.

Hidden in the offer to the Lebanese was the long held Israeli view that by making Palestinians citizens of other countries, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, they could be made to disappear. Lebanon could be bullied, yet as home to 450,000 Palestinian and 1.5 million Syrian refugees, the Lebanese know that without politically just solutions to conflict, no economic initiatives could succeed.

Like fraudulent advertising to increase prospective home owners’ interests, the Kushner deal was presented as the carrot to attract all prospective buyers, even though Palestine was not for sale. Bill Law in the Journal Middle East Eye says that as with other Trump frauds, the deal of the century was not meant to work. The purpose was to pretend peace until more land had been stolen, more checkpoints erected, more night raids made on Palestinians’ homes and more weapons tested over Gaza. Ghassan Khatib from the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre says,

‘It’s purpose was to buy time, kick dust, shift blame and thereby guarantee permanent Israeli control of the West Bank.’

In this post truth era when ideas about US domestic and foreign policy flow from a President’s tweets, there’s an inherent cruelty in a deal of the century which ignored decades old injustices, the occupation of Palestinian lands, the siege of Gaza, the continued containment of millions of refugees.

To pursue peace with justice for Palestinians and Israelis, politicians and other policy makers should cease being intimidated by a toxic Zionist lobby, and instead ponder Dr. Hanan Ashrawi’s judgement that the Kushner plan is ‘… totally divorced from reality. The elephant in the room is the occupation itself.’

In addition, we could all learn from Palestinian delegations’ reasons for boycotting the Bahrein workshop. They know that you don’t fight for freedom by giving it up.

As Trump Backs Down, the Pips Squeak

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As Trump Backs Down, the Pips Squeak

Tom Luongo July 21, 2019

Last week it was all fire and brimstone. The US was threatening more sanctions on Iran, the Brits were seizing oil tankers and Iran was violating the JCPOA.

This week things look different all of a sudden. An oil tanker goes dark while passing through the Strait of Hormuz, the story fails to get any real traction and the US allows Iranian Foreign Minister, recently sanctioned, to do his job at the United Nations.

Trump then holds a cabinet meeting where he reiterates that

“We’re not looking for regime change. We want them out of Yemen.”

I thought National Security Advisor John Bolton said the US would apply pressure until “the pips squeak.”

Where the pips are squeaking is on the Arabian Peninsula, not across the Persian Gulf in Bandar Abbas. Specifically, I’m talking about the United Arab Emirates. The UAE sent a delegation to Tehran recently that coincided with its partial withdrawal of troops from Yemen.

That meeting, according to Elijah Magnier, focused on Emirates realizing they are in the middle of this conflict, up to their skyscrapers.

“The UAE would like to avoid seeing their country transformed into a battlefield between the US and Iran in case of war, particularly if Trump is re-elected. The Emirates officials noted that the US did not respond to Iran’s retaliation in the Gulf and in particularly when the US drone was downed. This indicates that Iran is prepared for confrontation and will implement its explicit menace, to hit any country from which the US carries out their attacks on Iran. We want to be out of all this”, an Emirates official told his Iranian counterpart in Tehran.

Iran promised to talk to the Yemeni officials to avoid hitting targets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi as long as the UAE pulls out its forces from the Yemen and stops this useless war. Saudi Crown Prime Mohammad Bin Salman is finding himself without his main Emirates ally, caught in a war that is unwinnable for the Saudi regime. The Yemeni Houthis have taken the initiative, hitting several Saudi strategic targets. Saudi Arabia has no realistic objectives and seems to have lost the appetite to continue the war in Yemen.

So, with the Houthis successfully striking major targets inside Saudi Arabia and the UAE abruptly pulling forces out, the war in Yemen has reached a critical juncture. Remember, the Republican-controlled Senate approved a bill withdrawing support for the war back in March, which the White House had to veto in support of its fading hopes for its Israeli/Palestinian deal pushed by Jared Kushner.

But things have changed significantly since then as that deal has been indefinitely postponed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu facing a second election this fall after he failed to secure a stable coalition.

After that there was the failed economic conference in Bahrainin June where Kushner revealed the economic part of the plan to a half-empty room where only the backers of the plan showed any real support.

And that’s the important part of this story, because it was Kushner’s plan which was the impetus for all of this insane anti-Iran belligerence in the first place. Uniting the Gulf states around a security pact leveraging the U.S/Israeli/Saudi alliance was part of what was supposed to pressure the Palestinians to the bargaining table.

By placing maximum economic sanctions on both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran while continuing to foment chaos in Syria was supposed to force Israel’s enemies to fold under the pressure which would, in turn, see the Palestinians surrender to the will of Kushner and Bibi.

The problem is, it didn’t work. And now Trump is left holding the bag on this idiotic policy which culminated in an obvious provocation when Iran shot down a $220 million Global Hawk surveillance drone, nearly sparking a wider war.

But what it did was expose the US and not Iran as the cause of the current problems.

Since then Trump finally had to stand up and be the grown-up in the room, such as he is, and put an end to this madness.

The UAE understood the potential for Iran’s asymmetric response to US belligerence. The Saudis cannot win the war in Yemen that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began. The fallout from this war has been to push Qatar out of the orbit of the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council, cutting deals with Iran over developing the massive North Pars gas field and pipelines to Europe.

And now the UAE has realized it is facing an existential threat to its future in any confrontation between Iran and the US

What’s telling is that Trump is making Yemen the issue to negotiate down rather than Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Because it was never about the nuclear program. It was always about Iran’s ballistic missile program.

And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would have us believe that for the first time Iran’s missile program is on the negotiating table. I have no idea if that’s actually true, but it’s a dead giveaway that it’s what the US is after.

The main reason why Trump and Netanyahu are so angry about the JCPOA is the mutual outsourcing of the nuclear ballistic missile program by Iran and North Korea. North Korea was working on the warhead while Iran worked on the ballistic missile.

Trump tweeted about this nearly two years ago, confirming this link. I wrote about it when he did this.  Nearly everything I said about North Korea in the blog post is now applicable to Iran. This was why he hated the JCPOA, it didn’t actually stop the development of Iran and North Korea into nuclear states.

But tearing up the deal was the wrong approach to solving the problem. Stop pouring hundreds of billions of dollars in weapons to the region, as Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif pointed out recently, is the problem. By doing this he took both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping off his side of the table.

Now he stands isolated with only the provocateurs – Israel, the U.K., Saudi Arabia – trying to goad him forward into doing something he doesn’t want to do. And all of those provocations that have occurred in the past month have failed to move either Trump or the Iranians. They’ve learned patience, possibly from Putin. Call it geopolitical rope-a-dope, if you will.

I said last month that the key to solving Iran’s nuclear ambitions was solving the relationship with North Korea. Trump, smartly, went there, doing what only he could do, talk with DPRK Chairman Kim Jong-Un and reiterate his sincere desire to end proliferation of nuclear weapons.

He can get Iran to the table but he’s going to have to give up something. So, now framing the negotiations with Iran around their demands we stop arming the Saudis is politically feasible.

Trump can’t, at this point, back down directly with Iran. Yemen is deeply unpopular here and ending our support of it would be a boon to Trump politically. Trading that for some sanctions relief would be a good first step to solving the mess he’s in and build some trust.

Firing John Bolton, which looks more likely every day, would be another.

He’s already turning a blind eye to Iranian exports to China, and presumably, other places. I think the Brits are acting independently trying to create havoc and burnish Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s resume as Prime Minister against Boris Johnson. That’s why they hijacked the oil tanker.

But all the little distractions are nothing but poison pills to keep from discussing the real issues. Trump just cut through all that. So did Iran. Let’s hope they stay focused.

‘Hysterical and Stupid’: Kushner Reveals His Attitude Towards the Palestinians

Wayne Madsen
July 12, 2019
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Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and the person Trump appointed to broker a Middle East peace agreement recently called Palestinians “hysterical and stupid.” That is particularly galling language coming from a notorious New Jersey, New York, and Maryland slumlord and the son of a federally convicted criminal. Kushner’s father and real estate mogul, Charles Kushner, spent fourteen months in prison after being convicted of tax fraud and witness tampering, among other crimes. Jared Kushner believes his father was wrongly convicted and imprisoned. But the wunderkind son-in-law of Trump has no problem in maintaining the status quo in the Middle East, one that has led to the large-scale incarceration of the people of the Gaza Strip in virtual desert ghetto.

Mr. Kushner does not have the business acumen to run a New York City sandwich cart, let alone a major foreign policy initiative like a final Middle East peace agreement. Such a concordat has eluded a every US president since the creation of Israel in 1948. Kushner’s real estate bankruptcies are legendary, and they have resulted in him and his father panhandling for loan relief financing from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, and China, among other countries.

In the wake of Kushner’s “Peace to Prosperity” plan unveiled at a workshop in Bahrain in June of this year, government officials around the world reacted with an almost-unanimous thumbs down. The Bahrain conference more resembled a meeting of potential investors in one of Kushner’s real estate scams. The Palestinians, claiming that to present an economic plan for the Palestinian territories prior to a political settlement, boycotted the Bahrain conclave. Under the “Kushner Plan,” Gaza was to become a tourist resort with transport routes through Israel to the West Bank. No mention was made of the crippling Israeli and Egyptian blockades imposed on the densely populated Gaza enclave of 1.8 million people. Kushner displayed his utter ignorance of geo-politics, history, and diplomacy when he said Palestinians would reap a financial whirlwind of real estate development and tourism investment money if “there’s not a fear of people doing terrorism.” Doing terrorism? In Kushner’s pampered rich kid myopic view of the world, “doing terrorism” is like “doing lunch” or “doing a Broadway show.”

Participating in Kushner’s gabfest, US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin claimed that Kushner’s roll-out was like a “hot IPO,” an initial public offering of shares in a company. Seasoned Middle East experts, including diplomats and scholars, were far less enthusiastic, with one likening Kushner’s conference to a Monty Python sketch.

Kushner also lambasted the Palestinian leadership for saying “crazy things.” The son-in-law of the man who, on a daily basis, says and tweets “crazy things” believes that it is “crazy” for Palestinian leaders to condemn Israeli expansion into East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. In fact, “crazy” was Trump ordering the moving of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, shuttering the US Consulate General in Jerusalem that served as the de facto US mission in Palestine, cutting off all US economic assistance to the Palestinians, closing the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington, and recognizing Israeli sovereignty over Syria’s Golan Heights.

Kushner called the Palestinians “stupid and hysterical.” However, nothing exemplifies hysterical and stupid more than Kushner family friend Binyamin Netanyahu, who once stood before the United Nations General Assembly and displayed a cartoon drawing of a bomb to “prove” that Iran was nearing development of a nuclear weapon. Netanyahu’s histrionics before the world assembly was not the first time he resorted to gimmickry and lying in order to tick off a list of favorite Zionist talking points.

Kushner does not appreciate the hyper-hysterical nature of Israel and its supporters, of which he is one. The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement targeting Israel’s racist and expansionist policies has resulted in hysterical extreme measures aimed at undercutting constitutional and other inherent freedoms of speech in other countries. These anti-free speech actions have been advanced by Kushner’s friends and colleagues and include twenty-eight American states enacting legislation that bans individuals and companies supporting BDS from receiving state government contracts. Israel’s intelligence service, Mossad, is actively working to disrupt the global BDS movement, including the operations of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC).

The anti-BDS campaign includes Mossad collecting intelligence on BDS operations in foreign countries and placing BDS leaders and supporters on INTERPOL and EUROPOL watch lists. Kushner’s Zionist friends have even spoken of Israel filing lawsuits against BDS organizations and individuals abroad. There was little surprise when Mossad’s anti-BDS activities in the United States were linked to the now-defunct Israeli private intelligence firm PSY-Group and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Kushner can whine all day long about Palestinians being “hysterical.” No one is more hysterical and hypocritical than Kushner and his Orthodox Jewish cabal that includes the dodgy Chabad movement – which has been tied into everything from drug and human organ trafficking to tax evasion and money laundering, as well as the 2020 presidential campaign of New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker. No sooner had New England Patriots football owner and Trump Mar-a-Lago club member Robert Kraft beat a criminal charge of soliciting prostitution from a Florida massage parlor employing Chinese indentured employees, he donated his $1 million Genesis Prize – Israel’s version of the Nobel Prize – to the anti-BDS movement. That kind of money would have paid for quite a lot of $57 “sessions” at Kraft’s favorite, but now closed, Florida massage parlor. Even though Kraft was dumb enough to get caught on video tape in a law enforcement sting on illegal prostitution activities, Kushner claims it is the Palestinians who are “stupid.”

Recently, Kushner’s friends in Israel and Germany forced the resignation of Dr. Peter Schäfer, a foremost scholar of Judaic Studies, as director of Berlin’s Jewish Museum. Using Inquisition-like tactics, Schäfer stood accused by Israel supporters of backing the BDS movement by tweeting a link to a letter signed by 240 Jewish and Israeli scholars opposing a bill passed by the German parliament that linked the BDS movement to anti-Semitism. The campaign against Dr. Schäfer was centered on the activities of an Israel-based organization called NGO Monitor. The group, which is nothing more than a cipher for Mossad, targets international non-governmental organizations tagged with being supportive of the Palestinians or the BDS movement.

Under pressure from such anti-democratic forces as NGO Monitor; its Geneva-based companion, UN Watch; the American Jewish Committee; and similar repugnant pressure organizations, the freedom of speech rights of pro-Palestine activists have been severely hampered by actions of the governments of Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, and other nations.

Mr. Kushner and his friends who gathered in Bahrain for his real estate development (land theft) prospectus seminar would trick the world into believing that it is the Palestinians who are “hysterical.” When international supporters of the Palestinians decide to hit the Israelis where it hurts the most – their wallets – all one can hear from the offices and board rooms of Tel Aviv, West Jerusalem, Haifa, Ashkelon, Eilat, Ramat Gan, New York, and other centers of Israeli commerce and intrigue is loud wailing and promises to “get even.” And Kushner accuses the Palestinians of being “hysterical.”

In fact, the Palestinians have been quite measured in response to Israel’s overt and covert campaigns against them and their inalienable rights. Since Trump and Kushner launched their diplomatic, political, and economic warfare against Palestine, the State of Palestine has been recognized by the International Atomic Energy Agency and Colombia; Italy voted for a UN Security Council for a resolution that opposed the US movement of its embassy to Jerusalem; the UN’s Group of 77 (G77) developing nations invited Palestine to chair the group’s meeting during 2019; Spain’s Josep Borell, who is pro-Palestinian and tough on Israel, was named the next Foreign Affairs Commissioner of the European Union; and former US President Jimmy Carter called on the United States to recognize Palestinian sovereignty. These small but significant advances on behalf of the Palestinians were achieved as a result of Palestine’s commitment to diplomacy, not the hysteria practiced by Kushner and his friends in Israel, as well as by pro-Israel embeds found throughout the Trump administration.

عملية دهس جنود صهاينة في القدس.. التوقيت والرسائل

يوليو 9, 2019

حسن حردان

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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كوشنر يُرجئ ترسيم الحدود الجنوبية؟

يوليو 5, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

بعد أشهر من التفاؤل اللبناني بوساطة أميركية كانت تزعم أن «الكيان الإسرائيلي المحتل» موافقٌ على وجهة النظر اللبنانية بترسيم الحدود مع فلسطين المحتلة براً وبحراً، عاد الوسيط الأميركي ديفيد ساترفيلد في زيارته الأخيرة لرئيس مجلس النواب نبيه بري الى تبني وجهة نظر إسرائيلية معدّلة نسبياً وهو العارف مسبقاً بالرفض اللبناني للتسويات التي لا تنال إلا من حقوق لبنان في بحره وارضه.

فلماذا يعطّل الأميركيون ترسيماً سعوا إليه بإصرار قبل أشهر عدة؟ منقلبين عليه منذ أيام عدة فقط؟

توقفت اذاً وحتى إشعار آخر جولات ساترفيلد ما يدلّ على استنفاد الحاجة الأميركية اليها حالياً وتوجّههم لتلبية مواضيع أكثر إلحاحاً. وهذا لا يكون إلا بالتوافق مع الطرف الإسرائيلي الذي لا يمتلك حالياً إمكانية إصدار قرار بحجّة الترسيم، فالكيان الإسرائيلي في مرحلة انتخابات جديدة لا يريد أي من قواها المتنافسة ان يؤثر هذا الترسيم عليه عند الناخبين الذي ينتمي معظمهم الى فئات المتشددين.

وكان الأميركيون أوفدوا ساترفيلد في وساطة بين لبنان والكيان المحتل، تحت تأثير ما أسمي «حرب الغاز في شرقي المتوسط» وصفقة القرن التي كان صهر الرئيس الأميركي جاريد كوشنر يعمل على عقدها في المنامة عاصمة البحرين، لذلك اعتقد الأمن القومي الأميركي أن جذب لبنان الى محوره، يؤدي تلقائياً الى انضمام لبنان الى الحلف الأميركي في حرب الغاز وصفقة القرن ما دفع بالأميركيين الى الضغط على «إسرائيل» للتراجع عن ادعاءاتها الحدودية في آبار غاز ونقاط حدودية تثبت ترسيمات فرنسية وأخرى حديثة انها للبنان. وبالفعل استسلم الكيان الإسرائيلي لصمت كامل في مرحلة جولات ساترفيلد وحمّله موافقته على وجهة النظر اللبنانية مع شيء من التحفظ واللبس.

إلا أن محادثات الوسيط مع الرؤساء اللبنانيين لم تكن تستقر على خاتمة مفيدة، لأن ساترفيلد لم يكشف عن كل ما في جعبته.

فبدا ان هناك رهاناً أميركياً على حضور لبنان لقمة صفقة القرن ومفاوضات مباشرة لبنانية إسرائيلية برعاية أميركية مع جذبه نحو محور الغاز المتشكل من مصر و»إسرائيل» والاردن وقبرص واليونان، المراد منه أميركياً مجابهة الغاز الروسي عبر تركيا وبحر الباسفيك وتقليص حظوظ سورية بإيجاد منافذ لتصدير «غازها» والحدّ من حركة إيران في هذا الاتجاه.

هناك ايضاً رغبة أميركية جارفة في تأمين حصص وازنة لشركات نفط وغاز أميركية في آبار لبنان بما يحدّ من حركة الشركات الروسية والفرنسية والايطالية التي لديها حقوق تنقيب كبيرة فيها.

لقد ظهر مستجدّان اثنان أربكا مهمة ساترفيلد. وهما عودة «إسرائيل» الى انتخابات جديدة، وغياب لبنان عن حضور صفقة القرن في البحرين، مع إعلانه مواقف تصعيدية منها، اقلها رفضه المطلق لتوطين الفلسطينيين على أراضيه.

فظهر مشروع ساترفيلد على حقيقته وهو الغاز مقابل الاعتراف اللبناني بالكيان الإسرائيلي، وتطبيع العلاقة معه على كل المستويات وكان طبيعياً أن يؤكد الرئيس بري على لبنانية الآبار والنقاط الحدودية المختلف عليها ورفض كامل لأي اعتراف او لقاءات ثنائية مباشرة لا تجري بوساطة ورعاية الأمم المتحدة، وسط إجماع كامل القوى السياسية اللبنانية على هذا الموقف ورفض تقديم أي تنازلات مهما كانت بسيطة.

عند هذا الحد توقف دور ساترفيلد وبدأ دور جاريد كوشنر صهر الرئيس ترامب وعراب صفقة القرن، بمعنى أنه انتقال من خلافات حدودية مع الكيان الإسرائيلي الى مستوى إدراج لبنان في المشروع الأميركي الأكبر وهو تصفية القضية الفلسطينية وهذا يدفع بلبنان الى الحلف السعودي الإسرائيلي بشكل مباشر.

فجاء تصريح كوشنر الجديد حول ضرورة قبول لبنان بتوطين الفلسطينيين على أراضيه مثابة شرط أساسي للسماح بحل الخلافات الحدودية، وبالتالي التنقيب عن الغاز في الآبار الحدودية – يجري ذلك على وقع تسريب معلومات من مصادر أميركية عن احتواء الآبار اللبنانية المتنازع عليها مع «إسرائيل» على كميات يصل ثمنها الى 600 مليار دولار. وهذا إغراء اضافي للبنان الذي ينوء بديون تزيدُ عن المئة مليار دولار ووصل اقتصاده الى مرحلة إعلان الافلاس كما أن العلاقات بين قواه السياسية تتهاوى وتصل الى حدود الاشتباكات المسلحة والاغتيالات.

فيصبح المشهد كالآتي: كوشنر يريد تصفية قضية فلسطين وسط انهيار الأوضاع الوطنية والسياسية والاقتصادية في لبنان وإعلان ولادة حلف سعودي إسرائيلي أميركي يرعى هذه التصفية بقيادة مباشرة من كوشنر ويحضّر في الوقت لعمليات اعتداء واسعة على أعالي اليمن في صعدة الجبلية والساحل الغربي عند مدينة الحديدة باستعمال مكثف للطيران الحربي الإسرائيلي.

وهناك معلومات أن مناطق السعودية المطلة على البحر الاحمر تستعد لإعداد مدارج لطائرات إسرائيلية تتحضّر للإغارة على اليمن.

فهل يستدرج كوشنر لبنان الى مشروعه؟

لا شك في أنه قادر على نسف التسوية الحدودية مع لبنان وبوسعه المراهنة على حلف إسرائيلي – سعودي إماراتي مصري أردني، ولكن تطويع لبنان مسألة متعذرة لارتباطها بتوازنه الداخلي المرتكز على العداء لـ»إسرائيل» ولبنانية الآبار والمتحالف مع مد إقليمي كبير يُعِينهُ على مقاومة كل انواع الضغوط.

هذا الى جانب أن حزب الله لن يتسامح مع اي عدوان إسرائيلي عسكري أو تحريض أميركي سياسي في الداخل، والكل يعرف أن مثل هذه الأمور، تستنفر حزب الله نحو حرب مفتوحة تضع كامل الكيان المحتل تحت مرمى صواريخه، وتصبحُ مناطق لبنان كمائن لمجابهة أي تقدم للجيش الإسرائيلي بطريقة أكثر احترافاً من ذي قبل.

كوشنر إلى أين؟ يسقط مشروعَه لبنانياً وفلسطينياً وسورياً متلقياً ضربة مميتة فيعود ساترفيلد في مراحل لاحقة وتحت وطأة المنافسة الأميركية للغاز الروسي لعرض تسوية تشبه الموقف اللبناني المصرّ على الثروة والسيادة من دون استرهان وشروط مسبقة.

Trump’s Peace Plan Has Been Designed to Fail – Exactly Like Its Predecessors

By Jonathan Cook

July 01, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –   Donald Trump’s supposed “deal of the century”, offering the Palestinians economic bribes in return for political submission, is the endgame of western peace-making, the real goal of which has been failure, not success.

For decades, peace plans have made impossible demands of the Palestinians, forcing them to reject the terms on offer and thereby create a pretext for Israel to seize more of their homeland.

The more they have compromised, the further the diplomatic horizon has moved away – to the point now that the Trump administration expects them to forfeit any hope of statehood or a right to self-determination.

Even Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and architect of the peace plan, cannot really believe the Palestinians will be bought off with their share of the $50 billion inducement he hoped to raise in Bahrain last week.

That was why the Palestinian leadership stayed away.

But Israel’s image managers long ago coined a slogan to obscure a policy of incremental dispossession, masquerading as a peace process: “The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

It is worth examining what those landmark “missed opportunities” consisted of.

The first was the United Nations’ Partition Plan of late 1947. In Israel’s telling, it was Palestinian intransigence over dividing the land into separate Jewish and Arab states that triggered war, leading to the creation of a Jewish state on the ruins of most of the Palestinians’ homeland.

But the real story is rather different.

The recently formed UN was effectively under the thumb of the imperial powers of Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union. All three wanted a Jewish state as a dependent ally in the Arab-dominated Middle East.

Fuelled by the dying embers of western colonialism, the Partition Plan offered the largest slice of the Palestinian homeland to a minority population of European Jews, whose recent immigration had been effectively sponsored by the British empire.

As native peoples elsewhere were being offered independence, Palestinians were required to hand over 56 per cent of their land to these new arrivals. There was no chance such terms would be accepted.

However, as Israeli scholars have noted, the Zionist leadership had no intention of abiding by the UN plan either. David Ben Gurion, Israel’s founding father, called the Jewish state proposed by the UN “tiny”. He warned that it could never accommodate the millions of Jewish immigrants he needed to attract if his new state was not rapidly to become a second Arab state because of higher Palestinian birth rates.

Ben Gurion wanted the Palestinians to reject the plan, so that he could use war as a chance to seize 78 per cent of Palestine and drive out most of the native population.

For decades, Israel was happy to entrench and, after 1967, expand its hold on historic Palestine.

In fact, it was Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat who made the biggest, unreciprocated concessions to peace. In 1988, he recognised Israel and, later, in the 1993 Olso accords, he accepted the principle of partition on even more dismal terms than the UN’s – a state on 22 per cent of historic Palestine.

Even so, the Oslo process stood no serious chance of success after Israel refused to make promised withdrawals from the occupied territories. Finally, in 2000 President Bill Clinton called together Arafat and Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak to a peace summit at Camp David.

Arafat knew Israel was unwilling to make any meaningful compromises and had to be bullied and cajoled into attending. Clinton promised the Palestinian leader he would not be blamed if the talks failed.

Israel ensured they did. According to his own advisers, Barak “blew up” the negotiations, insisting that Israel hold on to occupied East Jerusalem, including the Al Aqsa mosque, and large areas of the West Bank. Washington blamed Arafat anyway, and refashioned Israel’s intransigence as a “generous offer”.

A short time later, in 2002, Saudi Arabia’s Peace Initiative offered Israel normal relations with the Arab world in return for a minimal Palestinian state. Israel and western leaders hurriedly shunted it into the annals of forgotten history.

After Arafat’s death, secret talks through 2008-09 – revealed in the Palestine Papers leak – showed the Palestinians making unprecedented concessions. They included allowing Israel to annex large tracts of East Jerusalem, the Palestinians’ expected capital.

Negotiator Saeb Erekat was recorded saying he had agreed to “the biggest [Jerusalem] in Jewish history” as well as to only a “symbolic number of [Palestinian] refugees’ return [and a] demilitarised state … What more can I give?”

It was a good question. Tzipi Livni, Israel’s negotiator, responded, “I really appreciate it” when she saw how much the Palestinians were conceding. But still her delegation walked away.

Trump’s own doomed plan follows in the footsteps of such “peace-making”.

In a New York Times commentary last week Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, candidly encapsulated the thrust of this decades-long diplomatic approach. He called on the Palestinians to “surrender”, adding: “Surrender is the recognition that in a contest, staying the course will prove costlier than submission.”

The peace process was always leading to this moment. Trump has simply cut through the evasions and equivocations of the past to reveal where the West’s priorities truly lie.

It is hard to believe that Trump or Kushner ever believed the Palestinians would accept a promise of “money for quiet” in place of a state based on “land for peace”.

Once more, the West is trying to foist on the Palestinians an inequitable peace deal. The one certainty is that they will reject it – it is the only issue on which the Fatah and Hamas leaderships are united – again ensuring the Palestinians can be painted as the obstacle to progress.

The Palestinians may have refused this time to stumble into the trap, but they will find themselves the fall guys, whatever happens.

When Trump’s plan crashes, as it will, Washington will have the chance to exploit a supposed Palestinian rejection as justification for approving annexation by Israel of yet more tranches of occupied territory.

The Palestinans will be left with a shattered homeland. No self-determination, no viable state, no independent economy, just a series of aid-dependent ghettos. And decades of western diplomacy will finally have arrived at its preordained destination.

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

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

Trump Admin Dangles $50Bn Bribe for Palestinian Surrender

Image result for Trump Admin Dangles $50Bn Bribe for Palestinian Surrender
Finian Cunningham
July 3, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trump’s “Deal of the Century”

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Part I—The Deal of the Century

Trump’s “Deal of the Century”—An Analysis (26 June 2019) by Lawrence Davidson

President Trump’s peace plan for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, or at least the economic side of it, was discussed at a meeting in Bahrain on June 25 and 26. The plan, euphemistically entitled “Peace to Prosperity” and the “Deal of the Century” is also, inaccurately, likened to a “Marshall Plan for Palestinians.” It is based on the assumption that money, ultimately the better part of $50 billion, can lure the Palestinian people into surrender—that is, the surrender of their right to a state of their own on their stolen ancestral land as well as the right of return for the 7.5 million Palestinians who have been forced into exile. Upon surrender, according to the plan, “an ambitious, achievable … framework for a prosperous future for the Palestinian people and the region” will be put into place. How this idealized future is to be integrated into the apartheid and Bantustan system of control that constitutes the Israeli government’s “facts on the ground” is left unexplained.

This bit of gilded bait was put together by “senior White House adviser” Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law; Jason Greenblatt, chief lawyer of the Trump Organization and now U.S. envoy for international negotiations; and David Friedman, the president’s bankruptcy lawyer who is now the U.S. ambassador to Israel. All of these men are at once unqualified for their present positions as well as Zionist supporters of Israeli expansionism. It is not surprising then that the Israeli government has welcomed this effort. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he “would listen to the American plan and hear it fairly and with openness.” On the other hand, the Palestinian West Bank leader, Mahmoud Abbas, who is boycotting the Bahrain meeting, said, “As long as there is no political [solution], we do not deal with any economic [solution].”

There are no doubt some Palestinians who are upset at Abbas’s position: perhaps some business people, often-unpaid bureaucrats, and a portion of the frustrated middle-class, who will be dearly tempted by the promise of all that money. These are people who, given over a century of struggle, see no hope of a just political settlement. Nonetheless, those tempted might consider these facts:

(1) All those billions of dollars are, as yet, hypothetical. The money is not in the bank, so to speak. And, it is not a given that Trump can actually raise the funds. Thus, for all those ready to trade justice for dollars, it might be premature to actually make the leap.

(2) There is a prevailing belief among the Trump cabal putting this plan together that the Palestinians themselves are incapable of running the proposed development programs. They are assumed to be too corrupt or tainted with “terrorist” backgrounds to be trusted. Thus the question of who would run this effort (Israelis? American Zionists? anyone other than those dedicated to Palestinian interests?) is left unanswered. Relative to this question, it should be kept in mind that the Israelis have made something of a science of robbing the Palestinians of their resources. They are hardly likely to stop now.

(3) The raising of money for the Trump plan is in competition with a UN effort to raise $1.2 billion for UNRWA, the agency that supports programs for Palestinian refugees. This fund-raiser is literally running at the same time as the Bahrain meeting. If the Trump plan gains traction, there might well be pressure to shut down UNRWA altogether.

Is this really an honest proposal to provide the Palestinians with prosperity? The history of “third world” development efforts sponsored by and run under the guidance of “first world” powers, be they Western governments or institutions like the IMF, is largely one of failure.There is no reason to believe that the Trump plan will fare any better. While these problematic economic efforts may eventually fall short, the political conditions almost certain to be attached to the aid will probably require immediate cessation of all anti-Zionist activities, including the relatively successful ongoing boycott of Israel.

Part II—The Precedent

It might come as a surprise, but this is not the first time that financial bribery to procure Arab cooperation with Zionist ambitions has been tried.

There is a historical precedent for Donald Trump’s attempted “deal of the century” that is detailed my book, America’s Palestine (cheap used copies of which are available on line). Here is how that precedent went:

Back in 1942, the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann told members of the U.S. State Department’s Division of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) that Winston Churchill wished to make the Saudi king, Ibn Saud, “the boss of bosses in the Arab World.” The only condition to this offer was that Ibn Saud must “be willing to work out with Weizmann to achieve a sane solution to the Palestine problem.” Weizmann further claimed that the U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt was “in accord on this subject.”

The response of the head of the NEA, Wallace Murray, a man who knew the Middle East much better than did Chaim Weizmann, was one of skepticism. Murray noted that British influence over Ibn Saud was small and that he doubted the Saudi king wanted to be the Arab “boss of bosses.” Finally, he expressed doubt that anything the Zionists would consider a “solution” would be something Ibn Saud would consider to be “sane.”

Nonetheless, the Zionists persisted along these lines and soon came up with a plan where, in return for a Jewish Palestine, Ibn Saud would be made the “head of an Arab federation in control of a “development” budget of 20 million British pounds.”

At this point Murray became adamant that this would never work. He predicted that Ibn Saud would interpret the offer as a bribe—the offer of a throne in exchange for turning Palestine over to the Zionists. He would interpret the 20 million pounds as a “slush fund.” Consequently, there was every reason to believe that the Saudi ruler would see this whole plan as a personal insult. So Murray suggested that “the less we have to do with the … proposals of Dr. Weizmann the better.”

As it turned out Roosevelt disagreed with Murray and after a conversation with Weizmann in early June of 1943, authorized an approach to Ibn Saud along the lines of the Zionist plan. Why did he ignore Murray in favor of Weizmann? Because Murray’s accurate assessment of Ibn Saud conflicted with FDR’s stereotyped view of Arabs. This is revealed in the minutes of the June meeting with Weizmann wherein the president said that “he believes the Arabs are purchasable.” In other words, following a common Western view, the president saw the Arabs as a backward people who would do just about anything for the right amount of “bakshish.”

Subsequently, the entire scheme came to naught when, in the fall of 1943, Ibn Saud rejected it out of hand. He would subsequently tell FDR that the Jews should “be given the choicest lands and homes of the Germans who had oppressed them.” When the president replied that the Jews would not wish to stay in Germany after the war, Ibn Saud noted that the “allied camp” had “fifty countries” in it. Surely they could find enough open space (he even alluded to the underpopulated areas of the American West) to take in Europe’s Jewish refugees. Roosevelt came away from the exchange rather shaken. He finally understood from it that “the Arabs mean business” when it comes to Palestine.

Part III—Conclusion

The world has changed a lot since the 1940s. Ibn Saud has been replaced by the Saudi Crown Prince Muḥammad bin Salmān. This can be seen as real step down in terms of personal integrity and strategic judgment. Franklin Roosevelt has been replaced with Donald Trump. I will let readers make their own judgments on this change. Actually, the thing that has stayed constant, perhaps because it was always devoid of real empathy for the Palestinians, is the nature of Zionist leadership. Thus, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, has said that the only way the Palestinians can be economically liberated is through their political surrender. But as suggested above, Israel is now a confirmed apartheid state that feels its own “security” necessitates both military and economic control of the Palestinians. Given that reality, Danon’s notion of economic liberation means about as much as Weizmann’s promise of someone else’s (i.e., Britain’s) money. And then there is the replacement of Chaim Weizmann (the Zionist pre-state leader) with Benjamin Netanyahu. The former may have had more persuasive charm than the latter, but certainly their goals were, and continue to be, the same.

It is Zionism’s ambition to possess biblical Palestine that has reduced the Palestinians to destitution. Perfectly predictable and legal Palestinian resistance is the excuse the Israelis use to cover up the segregationist and impoverishing policies that are necessitated by their ideological worldview. And now Donald Trump and his Zionist son-in-law come forward with their plan, fully expecting the Palestinians to trust the Americans and their Israeli allies to make them “developed” and prosperous? I wonder what Ibn Saud would say to that?

About Lawrence Davidson
Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

Palestinian Town Changes Name of Street from “Bahrain” to Kuwait’s “Marzouq Al-Ghanim”

June 29, 2019

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The mayor of Palestine’s Yatta in Al-Khalil (Hebron) in south of occupied West Bank changed one of his towns streets from “Bahrain” to “Marzouq Al-Ghanim”, the Speaker of Kuwait’s National Assembly, in recognition of Kuwait’s rejection of the Deal of the Century’.

A statement issued by Yatta’s municipality mentioned that upon a lot of appeals sent by the locals, the mayor Ibrahim Abu Zahra decided to change the name of the street, hailing the Kuwaiti support to the Palestinian cause.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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مقاومة فلسطين ونعاج ترامب

يونيو 29, 2019

د. عدنان منصور

تصوّر الرئيس الأميركي ترامب، وهو رجل الأعمال والصفقات وصهره كوشنر سمسار بعض «العرب» أنه بهم يستطيع طيّ صفحة القضية الفلسطينية للأبد، وفتح صفحة جديدة من تاريخ قبيح تسطّره «إسرائيل اليهودية» على كامل التراب الفلسديني، بعد أن تزيح عن كاهلها قضية شعب مقاوم رافض للاحتلال بكلّ أشكاله. ظنّت الصهيونية الأميركية والصهيونية الإسرائيلية والصهيونية العربية المتمثلة ببعض المرتدّين العرب، أنّ حفنة من المال تستطيع أن تقضي على قضية شعب بتاريخه ووجوده وثقافته وتجذره بالأرض. بعض العرب الذين كانوا مثالاً حياً، ونموذجاً واضحاً للخنوع والرضوخ والذين ما تعوّدوا إلا أن يكونوا مطية لسياسات الولايات المتحدة، تأمرهم فيطيعون، تبتزهم ويدفعون، تحميهم وينوخون، يُصفَعون ويرضون، يُذلّون وهم فرحون. ظنّ الثعلب الأميركي أنه بهذه الزمرة من الأعراب يستطيع أن يروّض شعب فلسطين ويروّض شعوب الأمة كلها. لقد توهّم أنّ الشعب الفلسطيني هو على شاكلة من تعامل معهم على مدى عقود من الزمن، حيث رأى فيهم أنهم على استعداد للتنازل عن كلّ شيء، عن شرفهم، وأوطانهم وكراماتهم حفاظاً على المناصب والمكاسب والعروش والكروش. لم يعرف السيد الأميركي وسمساره وعبيده أنّ معدن فلسطين وشعب فلسطين يختلف بالشكل والأساس عن معدن المرتدّين والخونة في هذه الأمة. لم يعرف ترامب أنّ حبة من تراب فلسطين في غزة أغلى من كلّ مليارات مؤتمر «المحمية». وأنّ شجرة زيتون في أيّ بقعة من بقاع فلسطين تجري في وجدان الفلسطينيين مجرى الدم في العروق. يريد ترامب وزمرته شراء وطن، وتشريد شعب بأكمله والقضاء على وجوده ونزعه من تاريخه بحفنة من المال بذريعة إنماء المناطق الفلسطينية.

أين كان العربان عندما كان يجوع الشعب الفلسطيني ولا تُمدّ له اليد من هؤلاء إلا بالقليل القليل ليشعروه بالذلّ وبحاجته الدائمة إليهم؟! أين كان هؤلاء قبل المؤتمر الذي عُقد في المحمية، ليقدّموا الدعم المتواصل ويرفعوا الحصار عن الفلسطينيين، وهم يشاهدون العدو الصهيوني يحاصر غزة ويقتل شعبها ويتفرّجون، يمنع الكهرباء والمياه عنها وهم كدرون، يحاصرون شواطئها وهواءها وأرضها وهم محنّطون؟! ما الذي فعله أعراب الأمة في تطبيق العقوبات ومقاطعة «إسرائيل»؟! أين مبادراتهم؟ أين وعودهم؟ أين تشدّقهم وتصريحاتهم المملة الكاذبة بالعمل على قيام دولة فلسطين وعاصمتها القدس؟! لماذا تتدفق أموالهم اليوم على ترامب وكوشنر، وما الذي دفعهم إلى ذلك؟! وإذا كانوا هم على استعداد أن يبيعوا كراماتهم وأرضهم وثرواتهم، فشعب فلسطين المعذب الذي يئن ليلاً ونهاراً، لا يبيع شرفه ولا يبيع أرضه ووجوده. وأما ترامب فلا نعوّل عليه شيئاً، والولايات المتحدة و»إسرائيل» ما كانتا يوماً إلا وجهان لعملة واحدة.

إنّ الإيجابية الوحيدة في مؤتمر المحمية، هي أنها أسقطت النقاب عن الوجوه الغادرة بفلسطين وشعبها، والغادرة بأمتها وتاريخها. كنا في الماضي لا نصدّق ما كانوا يقولونه عن فلسطين وعن حرصهم على شعب فلسطين وعلى قضيته المركزية. كنا نشكّ بمواقفهم وسياساتهم وانتماءاتهم وتصريحاتهم، لكننا اليوم على يقين، أنّ هؤلاء كانوا يكذبون على شعب فلسطين وكانوا يتحيّنون الفرصة للانقضاض عليها واجتثاثها من جذورها. فكيف يحافظون عروشهم وكروشهم ومناصبهم إذا لم يطيعوا سيدهم في البيت الأبيض وهو القائل لهم بكلّ استعلاء وعنجهية وتكبّر: لا تستطيعون البقاء أسبوعين في حكمكم دون حمايتنا لكم؟ لذلك كان عليهم طاعة سيد البيت الأبيض ليدخلوا معه بالصفقة المذلة على حساب شعب فلسطين.

على الفلسطينيين اليوم قبل الغد أن يتخلّوا عن خلافاتهم، فلسطين تضيع أمام أعينهم، والقضية يبيعها بعض العرب. لا نريد أن نسمع غداً بأسماء تنظيمات فلسطينية، نريد أن نسمع بجبهة فلسطينية واحدة موحدة لها هدف واحد وصف واحد ضدّ كارثة صفقة القرن لإجهاضها في مهدها. كفى خلافات ونزاعات واجتهادات وسجالات واتهامات واشتباكات لا تؤدّي إلا لضياع القضية. آن للإخوة الفلسطينيين أن يأخذوا العبرة من الذي يحصل. ففلسطين فوق كلّ اعتبار، فوق الأحزاب والتنظيمات والعقائد والطروحات التي لا تفيد. فعندما تضيع فلسطين وتضيع القضية لن يبقى بعد ذلك تنظيم ولا حركة ولا منظمة ولا سلطة ولا زعيم. فهل يعي الأخوة الفلسطينيون والعرب الأحرار هذا الواقع قبل فوات الأوان؟ إنّ الفلسطينيين اليوم هم على المحك، وكلّ الأحرار في هذه الأمة تنتظر منهم قراراً شجاعاً يرتقي فعلاً لا قولاً إلى مستوى المسؤولية القومية. فهل يفعلها القادة الفلسطينيون؟!

عندما دعت الجامعة العربية إلى اجتماع استثنائي عاجل لوزراء الخارجية العرب يتعلق بفلسطين، والذي عقد يوم 17/11/2012 إثر العدوان الإسرائيلي على غزة، قلناها وبصدق «إنّ الشعب الفلسطيني ليس بحاجة منّا إلى التنديد والشجب والإدانة، ولا الشكاوى ولا التصريحات التي ملّ منها، وملّ معه العالم وشعوبنا العربية على مدى 64 عاماً… ما يريده شعب فلسطين وتريده شعوبنا العربية اليوم وقفة شجاعة مشرّفة تليق بمقاومته وتضحياته وكرامته وقيمه ووجوده وتاريخه، ترتقي إلى مستوى المسؤولية الوطنية والقومية، وتعبّر عن مكنونات وطاقات وإمكانات أمتنا العربية، ولا تعبّر عما يريد أن يمليه علينا الآخرون من قرارات مجحفة.. في الوقت الذي يكافئون فيه «إسرائيل» التي تأسّست على أشلاء الفلسطينيين ويغدقون عليها سلات لا حدود لها من الحوافز والمساعدات والدعم الاقتصادي والمالي والعسكري المتواصل.. متجاهلين ومستخفين بكرامة أمة تملك من وسائل القوة الكثير الكثير، لم تستطع وللأسف حتى الآن بسط إرادتها وقرارها المؤدّي إلى إخراج شعب فلسطين من نكبته والظلم اللاحق به منذ عام 1948… إنّ السلام لا يُستجدى، وإنّ الأرض لا تُستجدى، وإنّ الدولة الفلسطينية والحق الفلسطيني والعربي لا يُستجدى… تبقى فلسطين بوصلة العرب، بها يُقيّم العمل العربي المشترك ودونها يضمر هذا العمل ويضمحلّ، فلا تتركوا فلسطين بين أنياب الذئاب وهي التي تنتظر فكّ أسرها منذ 64 عاماً ولا تزال تنتظر…»

جاء الردّ سريعاً من حمد بن جاسم رئيس الوزراء القطري وزير الخارجية السابق قائلاً: هم ليسوا بذئاب فالبعض منا نعاج».
Image result for ‫نعاج امريكا حمد‬‎
بعد سبع سنوات، يطلّ الأميركي وسمساره مع نعاجه يريدون أن يسطّروا تاريخاً جديداً لمنطقتنا، تزول فيه فلسطين ويذوب معها شعبها. لكن هيهات… فالنعاج معروف نهايتها والشعوب والأرض باقية وإنْ عاكسها لفترة طغاة العالم ونعاجهم.

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The Only ‘Deal’ On the Table Is For the Normalization of Ties between ‘Israel’ and Gulf Monarchies

By Darko Lazar

While lounging in the lobby of Manama’s Ritz Carlton Hotel, American rabbi Marc Schneier told The Times of ‘Israel’ this week that the normalization of diplomatic relations between Bahrain and Tel Aviv is “possible” by the end of the year.

The New York-based Schneier, who gained notoriety when he became ‘special adviser’ to the Bahraini monarch, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, made the comments as Manama played host to the unveiling of the Trump administration’s much-hyped proposal for ending the ‘Israeli’-Palestinian conflict.

According to Schneier, the Bahrain gathering generated “tremendous momentum” for the normalization of ties.

But he warned that rapprochement is impossible in the absence of “some kind of resolution between the ‘Israelis’ and the Palestinians.”

Enter Jared Kushner and one of the most comprehensive PowerPoint presentations anyone has ever seen.

‘The opportunity of the century’

The Trump administration’s new Palestine proposal, which claims to offer the region an economic pathway forward, while ignoring the ‘Israeli’ occupation of Palestinian territories, has not been enthusiastically received in the Middle East.

Reactions to the 140-page document – which refers to “Palestinian society” rather than a state and makes no reference to Palestinian refugees – range from skeptical to outrightly rejected.

The Palestinians have boycotted both the plan and the Manama meeting, accusing the White House of attempting to “liquidate the Palestinian cause”.

But despite the fact that one of the principal parties to the conflict is now completely excluded from the process, Trump administration officials appear determined to forge ahead with their plans.

At the glitzy two-day event in Manama, one of the plan’s architects and US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, used his PowerPoint presentation to outline how USD 50 billion would be deployed to jumpstart the Palestinian economy by creating jobs, reducing poverty and doubling Palestine’s GDP.

It didn’t even matter that no one seems to know much about where all this money would come from.

For Kushner, this is intentional departure from “conventional wisdom”. It’s no laughing matter either. He dismissed the mocking description of Trump’s plan as the “deal of the century” and said it is “better referred to as the opportunity of the century”.

But for whom, exactly? It can’t be the Palestinians.

The idea that businessmen like Kushner and Trump, who have repeatedly taken an unapologetically pro-‘Israel’ line, should be trusted to deliver a just peace is a joke that needs no punch line.

For the current leadership in both Tel Aviv and Washington, even a Palestinian state comprising the territories occupied by ‘Israel’ in 1967 is more than they are willing to accept.

Instead, the Palestinians are being offered the mere promise of money in exchange for their nationhood, their religious sanctities, and acceptance of life under occupation.

So, no, this is not an “opportunity” for the Palestinians.

This is an “opportunity” to showcase the normalization of ties between Gulf monarchies and ‘Israel’, as well as create the right conditions to remove the only real obstacle to rapprochement among Washington’s main regional allies.

That said, the Trump White House isn’t actually hoping to clinch a ‘deal’ with the Palestinians in the true sense of the word. Rather, Gulf leaders still fear popular backlash aimed at their now publicly cozy relationship with ‘Israel’, and they have to be able to blame the Palestinians for rejecting “the opportunity of the century”.

This doesn’t mean that the Palestinian cause is going away. But Palestinians are likely to be subjected to further marginalization, pressure, economic strangulation, and the tightening of the ‘Israeli’ occupation in the West Bank.

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, hinted as much when he sat down for his first televised interview with an ‘Israeli’ network this Wednesday.

Al Khalifa told ‘Israel’s’ Channel 13 that Palestinians made “a mistake not showing up” to the Bahrain conference.

“It is always a mistake to miss an opportunity to achieve peace,” he added. “This was an opportunity that we wanted to see them here, but they chose not to come.”

And then he told the occupiers of Palestinian lands that they were the real peace doves.

“We know that [‘Israel’] is a ‘country’ that exists and its people do want peace,” Al Khalifa said. “We want the Arabs to feel that ‘Israel’ is a ‘country’ that belongs here… it is part of the heritage of this region.”

When asked if an ‘Israeli’ prime minister would be landing in Manama in the foreseeable future, the Bahraini diplomat said, “We do want to see normalization.”

If it weren’t for Iran, we would already be friends

The secret ties between Tel Aviv and the Gulf monarchies date back many decades. They are now being thrust into the public sphere for a number of reasons, including the Trump presidency and the growing need for more open military, technological and economic links.

But the main motivation is their shared hostility and hatred toward a more powerful Iran.

In his interview with ‘Israel’s’ Channel 13, the Bahraini foreign minister claims that, “If it was left to the Arabs and ‘Israelis’, we would have been much closer to peace than today.”

“But Iran is exacerbating the issue with money and weapons and with soldiers of militias,” Al Khalifa added.

In other words, if it weren’t for the Iran-led Resistance challenging the ‘Israeli’ occupation of countless Arab states, the Palestinians and others would have little choice but to accept the sort of ‘deal’ that’s on offer today.

In the eyes of the Gulf monarchs, as well as policy makers in the US and ‘Israel’, this is of course Iran’s true crime.

This is also the type of “behavior” that American officials want Tehran to work on.

This is the context in which the current normalization of ties between Tel Aviv and the Gulf states is unfolding.

As Washington presses ahead with its “pressure campaign” against Iran, there is an awareness that the US needs to consolidate its position in the only part of the region where it still exercises any real influence.

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

Global Research, June 28, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

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

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

متظاهرون يقتحمون سفارة البحرين في بغداد احتجاجاً على “ورشة المنامة”

 

متظاهرون غاضبون يقتحمون السفارة البحرينية في العاصمة العراقية بغداد احتجاجاً على استضافة المنامة للورشة الاقتصادية المرتبطة بـ”صفقة القرن”.

متظاهرون يقتحمون سفارة البحرين في بغداد احتجاجاً على "ورشة المنامة"

متظاهرون يقتحمون سفارة البحرين في بغداد احتجاجاً على “ورشة المنامة”

اقتحم متظاهرون غاضبون من استضافة البحرين للورشة الاقتصادية المرتبطة بـ”صفقة القرن” في المنامة السفارة البحرينية في العاصمة العراقية بغداد، وهم يحملون العلم الفلسطيني.

وأفاد مراسل الميادين في بغداد أن التظاهرة أمام السفارة البحرينية جاءت رفضاً لصفقة القرن وورشة المنامة، وأن المتظاهرون تجاوزوا الحاجز الأمني ثم اعتلوا سياج مبنى السفارة وهم يرفعون علم فلسطين.

وقامت قوة أمنية عراقية بحماية السفارة البحرينية بعد اقتحامها من قبل متظاهرين.

بغداد ترفض التعرض للبعثات الدبلوماسية

القوات الأمنية العراقية تحمي سفارة البحرين في بغداد

أصدرت الحكومة العراقية بياناً أكدت فيه “رفضها المطلق لأي عمل يهدد البعثات الدبلوماسية وأمنها وسلامتها وسلامة العاملين فيها”. وقال البيان إن “بغداد جادة في منع خرق النظام والقانون ولن تتسامح مطلقاً مع مثل هذه الأعمال”. وأضافت أن “الأجهزة الامنية اتخذت الإجراءات الحازمة والفورية لإخراج المتظاهرين من السفارة”ز

وأعربت الحكومة العراقية عن أسفها الشديد لقيام عدد من المتظاهرين بالتجاوز على مبنى سفارة مملكة البحرين.

وقال الناطق باسم وزارة الخارجية العراقية أحمد الصحاف للميادين: “أجرينا تواصلاً وتنسيقاً مع سفير مملكة البحرين لدى بغداد”. وأضاف أن “العراق ملتزم بتأمين حماية البعثات الدبلوماسية وبالاتفاقات الدولية التي تنص على ذلك”. وتابع: “تفحصنا سلامة كادر سفارة مملكة البحرين لدى بغداد وتواصلنا مع الخارجية البحرينية”.

وأكد الصحاف أن “العلاقة مع مملكة البحرين تستوعب وتعي كل التحديات التي تمر بها مسارات العلاقات الثنائية”.

في المقابل استنكرت وزارة الخارجية البحرينية “الاعتداء المرفوض” الذي استهدف مبنى سفارتها لدى العراق من قبل متظاهرين. واستدعت سفيرها في العراق للتشاور، محملة الحكومة العراقية المسؤولية التامة لحماية سفارة وقنصلية مملكة البحرين. وأشارت في بيان لها إلى أن الهجوم “أدى إلى أعمال تخريبية في مبنى السفارة ببغداد”.


With Palestinian Flags, Iraqis Storm Bahrain Embassy over Manama’s ‘Deal of Century’ Conference

By Staff, Agencies

Scores of Iraqis stormed the Bahrain embassy in the capital city of Baghdad to protest Manama’s decision to host a key summit where the US showcased its so-called deal of century to end Palestinian-‘Israeli’ conflict.

Videos posted on social media on Thursday showed dozens of people with Palestinian flags marching outside the Bahraini diplomatic mission while some of them tried to climb to the roof of an outbuilding.

 

Some reports also stated that the protesters had pulled down Bahrain’s flag at the embassy.

“We took down the Bahraini flag to send a clear message to all those who participated in the Bahrain conference that we strongly reject normalizing relations with the Zionist occupiers and will never abandon our support of the Palestinians,” said a protester. “We are ready to fight for this.”

An Iraqi official speaking on condition of anonymity told media that the protesters stayed in the garden of the embassy complex and did not enter the offices inside the compound.

According to the official, Iraqi security forces tried to disperse the protest by opening fire in the air until reinforcements arrived to secure the Bahrain embassy, which is located in Baghdad’s western neighborhood of Mansour.

Following the protests, Bahrain recalled its ambassador to Iraq for consultations.

The protests indicate the growing outrage in the Muslim world against Bahrain’s decision to host the Manama Workshop, an event that its organizers claim seeks to bring “peace” back to Palestine and ‘Israeli’-occupied territories through a deal masterminded by the Trump administration, in particular Jared Kushner, the US President’s son-in-law.

The so-called “Peace to Prosperity” workshop opened in the Bahraini capital Manama on June 25 and ran through June 26 and sought to garner support for a $50 billion investment plan in Palestine.

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Bahrain FM Woos Zionist Entity: “‘Israel’ There to Stay”

Bahrain FM Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa

Bahrain’s foreign minister has given an interview to an Israeli television channel, in which he called for open communication with the Zionist entity, the latest form of normalization between the Gulf state and the Israeli regime.

Bahrain sees the US-led economic workshop taking place in Manama as a possible “gamechanger” tantamount in its scope to the 1978 Camp David agreement between Tel Aviv and Cairo, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said Wednesday.

“We see it as very, very important,” Khalifa told The Times of Israel on the sidelines of the so-called “Peace to Prosperity” workshop, which is considered as the economic phase of US President Donald Trump’s so-called “deal of the century”.

The Bahraini minister also stressed that his country recognizes the Zionist entity’s “right to exist”, saying that it is “there to stay,” and wants peace with it.

“Israel is a country in the region… and it’s there to stay, of course,” he said.

“Who did we offer peace to [with] the [Arab] Peace Initiative? We offered it to a state named the State of Israel, in the region. We did not offer it to some faraway island or some faraway country,” Khalifa continued, referring to a Saudi-backed peace framework.

“We offered it to Israel. So we do believe that Israel is a country to stay, and we want better relations with it, and we want peace with it.”

“Come and talk to us. Talk to us about it. Say, guys, you have a good initiative, but we have one thing that worries us,” he said.

He said the US-organized conference in Manama could be like Egyptian president Anwar Sadat’s visit to Al-Quds (Jerusalem) in 1977, which helped pave the way to the Camp David Accords and the normalizing of relations between Egypt and the Zionist entity.

“As much as Camp David 1 was a major gamechanger, after the visit of President Sadat — if this succeeds, and we build on it, and it attracts attention and momentum, this would be the second gamechanger,” Khalifa said.

Source: Israeli media

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فلسطين تُسقط «الصفقة» والخليج يحتضن «القرن»

يونيو 26, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– يستطيع جارد كوشنر أن يقول إنه فوجئ بالموقف الفلسطيني الجامع في رفض مشروعه المسمّى صفقة القرن، والذي سخّر في التحضير له سنوات وجوده في البيت الأبيض كصهر ومستشار، ووظف لضمان المشاركة الفلسطينية الجزرة الخليجية والعصا الإسرائيلية خلال هذه السنوات وفشل، لكنه لا يستطيع القول إن هذه المقاطعة الفلسطينية بما تشكل من بداية مواجهة لإسقاط مشروع صفقة القرن، وما استنهض من مواقف مساندة لها عربياً ودولياً، تجعل تفاؤله بمشروعه ومستقبل هذا المشروع في مكانهما، فقد بات واضحاً أن الامتحان الأهم لهذا المشروع قد انتهى، وأن ما سيأتي سيكون أشد إيلاماً، فلن تقوم لهذا المشروع قائمة في فلسطين وبين الفلسطينيين، وما قسمته مشاريع التسوية في صفوفهم وحّدته صفقة القرن، وما ضيّعته السياسات الأميركية التفاوضية من بوصلة بعضهم صوّبته صفقة القرن، والآتي أعظم.

– أمل كوشنر ورفاقه بحرب إسرائيلية تكسر شوكة الفلسطينيين وتجرّهم أذلاء إلى حظيرة صفقة القرن كأمل إبليس في الجنة. فزمان القوة الإسرائيلية يتلاشى وزمان القوة الفلسطينية يتعاظم، ومعادلات الحرب والتهدئة في غزة تكفي للاستنتاج، وانتقال الانقسام من الضفة الفلسطينية السياسيّة إلى الضفة الإسرائيليّة، ومعه تحوّل «إسرائيل» إلى «دولة فاشلة» بقياس عدد من المحللين الأميركيين والإسرائيليين، أمر كافٍ للدلالة على مكمن المأزق ومن يعيشه. فالفشل الإسرائيلي في الحرب والخوف من فواتيرها المتعاظمة، والعجز الإسرائيلي عن دفع فاتورة تسوية يرتضيها الفلسطينيون، يقفان سبباً رئيسياً في صناعة المأزق الإسرائيلي، المتعاظم مع تنامي مصادر القلق الوجودي العائدة لتعافي سورية بغير الصورة التي تريدها «إسرائيل»، وتنامي قوة المقاومة، خلافاً للتمنيات الإسرائيلية، وأفضل التوقعات الأميركية والإسرائيلية عن حال الفلسطينيين وقوتهم هي التعايش مع الستاتيكو القائم وليس السعي لكسره، لأنه قد يكسر عكساً، وتصير المشكلة أكبر وأعظم.

– البعد الفلسطيني من صفقة القرن سقط ولن تقوم له قائمة، ومعه الأبواب مقفلة أمام تسويات يمكن البحث فيها مع سورية ولبنان، مع ما تتضمّنه التعهّدات الأميركية في صفقة القرن وخارجها، بتأييد ضمّ الجولان وتأييد التوطين، ولأن الصفقة تقوم بين فريقين، وهي مسمّاة بصفقة القرن ليس باعتبارها الصفقة المذهلة للقرن الحادي والعشرين، بل يمكن مجازاً الظن أنها سميت كذلك لأنها مشروع صفقة، ومشروع قرن، صفقة تنهي القضية الفلسطينية، وقرن التطبيع مع الخليج، أما وقد سقطت الصفقة فقد بقي القرن. وهذا ما يفسر الإصرار الأميركي على المضي بمؤتمر المنامة حتى بعدما تأكدت مقاطعة الفلسطينيين وعزمهم على الانتفاض بوجهه، وبعدما تأكد أن لبنان والعراق وطبعاً سورية خارج لوائح الحضور المحتمل، فقرن التطبيع يجب أن يغرز في الخليج، وأن يتمّ تسميم الجسد الخليجي بجرثومة التطبيع الخبيثة، وها هم حكام الخليج يحتضنون قرن التطبيع ويخرّون له ساجدين كوثن جاهلي تُقدّم له القرابين.

– كوشنر المهزوم سياسياً، كما معلمه وحماه، يفرح بعدّ الأموال، وبكل صفاقة ووقاحة يتحدث عن مليارات الخليج ويوزعها غنائم ومغانم على مسامع أهله، لكن شعوب المنطقة التي سخر منها كوشنر وحماه ومعلمه، قد اختارت طريقها وحدّدت بوصلتها، وهي اليوم تخطو الخطوة الأولى في المواجهة السياسية بعدما توحّدت الصفوف وبدأ الفرز، بين لائحة الشرف ولائحة العار، وستقول الأيام أن الحق منتصر، والحق حيث فلسطين.

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الصفقة لن تمرّ

يونيو 27, 2019

طارق سامي خوري

«إذا كان لا بدّ من هلاكنا، يجب أن نهلك كما يليق بالأحرار لا كما يليق بالعبيد».

شعبنا في فلسطين لم يتعوّد الاستسلام ولم يُهزم رغم الاحتلال تلو الآخر، وفشلت كلّ محاولات الاحتلال الصهيوني البغيض لتركيعه وإذلاله. وبمقاييس المقارنة النسبية فإنّ العدو الصهيوني الجاثم على أرض فلسطين منذ 71 عاماً ورغم أنه يتفوّق عسكرياً واقتصادياً ودبلوماسياً، إلا أنّ شعبنا في فلسطين يتفوّق بأنه صاحب حقّ تاريخي، وقد دفع أرواحاً طاهرة ودماء زكية في سبيل حماية أرضه، وهذا كفيل بأن يحقق له النصر.

يا أصحاب أجندة الورشة القذرة وصفقة القرن… إنّ أبناء شعبنا في فلسطين بذلوا خلال قرن من الزمان من التضحيات الجسام الغالي والنفيس وعشرات آلاف الشهداء ومئات آلاف الجرحى والآلاف من المعتقلين والأسرى كعربون انتماء لفلسطين، ولن يهدأ لهم بال إلا بتحريرها بالكامل من دنس الاحتلال.

71 عاماً من الاحتلال بكامل قوّته تدعمه كلّ قوى الشرّ لإبقاء المنطقة في حالة انقسام وتخلف وتبعية عبر إشغالها بالنزاعات الطائفية والمذهبية، وسبقت ذلك اتفاقية سايكس بيكو ووعد بلفور والكتاب الأبيض وغيرها من المبادرات والمشاريع المشبوهة، كما خرجوا علينا بمبادرات ومشاريع سياسية من روجرز إلى اتفاقيات الذلّ والعار «كامب ديفيد» و«أوسلو» و«وادي عربة» التي لم تجلب إلا الهوان ومزيداً من الديون والفساد والإفساد والإفقار والتجويع بهدف تمرير المشروع الصهيوني التوسعي «إسرائيل الكبرى»، وللأسف بأيدي بعض حكام دول المنطقة وبتمويل من أموال الشعب والأمة، وعلى حساب ليس فلسطين وحدها بل على حساب الأمة السورية ومشروع وحدة سورية الطبيعية مهد الحضارات.

انطلاقاً مما سبق لا بدّ أن نبرز الحقائق التالية:

أولاً: منذ 71 عاماً لم ينعم الصهيوني بلحظة أمان واحدة بينما يُقبِل الفلسطيني على الحياة بروح وثابة وبمعنويات عالية. «نحن لا نرضى إلا حياة الأحرار، ولا نرضى إلا أخلاق الأحرار».

ثانياً: كلّ صهيوني يعيش على أرض فلسطين لديه جنسية أخرى غير جنسية الاحتلال في الوقت الذي يعود الفلسطيني بكلّ شموخ هو وأطفاله من منفاه في أوروبا وأميركا والدول العربية مستغنياً عن حياة النعيم والرخاء إلى غزة أو إلى أيّ بقعة في فلسطين يحتدم فيها القتال لينال شرف المقاومة والشهادة». قد تكون الحرية حملاً ثقيلاً ولكنه حمل لا يضطلع به إلا ذوو النفوس الكبيرة».

ثالثاً: في الوقت الذي يرفض كثير من الصهاينة التجنيد والالتحاق بجيش العدو الباغي دفاعاً عن مشروعه القائم على الباطل خوفاً من الموت فإنّ عمر ابو ليلى وأشرف نعالوة وغيرهما من أبناء الجيل الجديد يُقبلون على الموت كما يُقبلون على الحياة دفاعاً عن الحق في مواجهة العدو وعملائه ليشكلوا نموذجاً للأجيال اللاحقة.

أمام هذه الحالة والمسيرة الوطنية الثورية الزاخرة بالبذل والعطاء المشرّفة للشعب الفلسطيني، يتوهّم العدو الصهيوني المحتلّ وداعموه من قوى الاستعمار الغربي ومموّلوه من العربان في مشيخات الغاز أنّ إطلاق المبادرات وعقد مثل هذه المؤتمرات والورشات قد يقلق شعبنا أو تؤثر عليه قراراتها من قريب أو بعيد، لكن من يتصدّى للدبابة بمقلاع وللأسلحة الاوتوماتيكية بالسكين وسلاحه الرئيسي حجر بلاده الذي لا ينتهي ويستخدم بندقية عفا عليها الزمن ليوقع خسائر عالية بالأرواح ويزحف المُقعَد على ما تبقى من قدميه ليتقدّم صفوف ذوي الصدور العارية لمواجهة جنود الاحتلال المدجّجين بالأسلحة الحديثة الفتاكة لن تهزمه هذه الفقاعات من المؤتمرات.

أجزم أنكم أيها المؤتمرون في ورشة البحرين ستخذَلون وتعودون من حيث أتيتم تجرّون أذيال الخيبة، وهنا أقول لكم «إنّ العبد الذليل لا يمكنه أن يمثل أمة حرة لأنه يذلها».

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The Economic Entrails at the Heart of the ‘Deal of the Century’

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Alastair Crooke
June 25, 2019

It is nothing new to say that the ‘Deal of the Century’ is – and always was – in essence an economic project. Indeed, it seems that its political ramifications are viewed by the White House as little more than the ineluctable consequences to an a priorieconomic architecture, already in the process of being unfolded.

In other words, it is the economic facts on the ground that are intended shape the political outcome — an attenuated political landscape that anyway has been minimised by Trump’s pre-emptive removal of key pieces of any Palestinian negotiating leverage.

The financial squeeze on the Palestinians is well attested. On the one hand, the Palestinian Authority (historically dependent on Saudi subvention) is gently slipping into bankruptcy; whilst Gaza is held in virtual abject dependency through the drip-feed of subventions channelled into Gaza by Qatar, with Israeli permission — the size of this latter monthly ‘lifeline’ subvention being carefully adjusted by Israel according to what it judges to be the norms of (generally Hamas) ‘good conduct’.

So, on the one hand there is the financial siege that is intended to make the Palestinians pliant to the ‘quality of life package’ which the ‘deal’ is supposed to bring — the Bahrain summit later this month being its shopfront. But there is another less well recognised side to the Deal which is summarised in the title to a McClatchy article entitled, White House sees Egyptian energy forum as a ‘roadmap to Middle East peace’.

In a later piece, McClatchy publishes the newly declassified map of the US East Mediterranean energy ‘roadmap’. And here the fuller picture becomes clear: the US sponsored ‘gas forum’, “according to three senior administration officials, that map [the] declassified one, obtained by McClatchy – has motivated members of the [US] National Security Council to prioritize the formation of a gas forum in the Eastern Mediterranean that would simultaneously boost and entangle the economies of several countries that have been at odds for decades”.

Well, let’s translate that little euphemism: ‘boost and entangle’. What that formula translates into is — the means to integrate Israel into the economic regional sphere is firstly, through energy. Yet, it is not intended to integrate Israel alone into this Egyptian economic sphere, but also to make Jordan, the PA (and maybe even Lebanon), too, partially dependent on Israeli energy – alongside putative partners, Italy, Greece, and (the Greek-linked part) of Cyprus — with the US offering to help flesh out the structure of the ‘gas forum’ with U.S. expertise.

This is the heart of ‘the deal’. Not just political normalisation for Israel into the region, but the making of economic dependencyof the Egyptians, Palestinians, Jordanians (and possibly – but not so likely – Lebanon) on the US East-Med gas ‘hub’.

Source: McClatchy

And, inevitably there is a sub-plot to all this, (as McClatchy notes):

“On this front, the administration enjoys support from unlikely allies. Eliot Engel, the Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee … said the Mediterranean gas forum project was a strategic opportunity for the U.S. to stymie Russian influence efforts over local energy resources. “I think that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and Russia can’t and should not be able to control the situation,” Engel stated”.

So, the US Administration is pursuing two bipartisan congressional efforts to ‘stymie’ Russia in the region: One is a bill promoting energy partnerships in the Eastern Mediterranean; and a parallel bill which threatens to sanction European firms supporting the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline taking Russian gas into Germany.

There are however, two obvious big ‘catches’ to this notion of both ‘stymying’ Russia, whilst simultaneously normalising Israel economically into the region. The first, as Simon Henderson of the Washington Institute notes, [is the notion that] the area’s underlying geology could help Europe offset, or even replace, its dependence on Russian gas “seems farfetched at the present level of discoveries. Several more giant fields like Leviathan or Egypt’s Zohr would have to be found before this reality changes”:

“The idea that East Mediterranean energy could impact on the European energy balance in such a way as to dent Russian market share is a fantasy – Europe’s thirst for gas is so huge, and Russia’s ability to provide that gas is so great, that it’s a wild dream to even hope we can achieve it given the limited reserves discovered thus far,” Henderson said. “Hoping you can find gas is not the same as finding gas”.

In short, an Egyptian ‘hub’ serving exports, might only ‘work’, as matters stand, through patching some of the smaller East-Med discoveries – together with a large Israeli contribution – through pipelines into the two Egyptian gas liquefying plants near Port Said and Alexandria. But LNG availability globally is high, prices are hugely competitive, and it is by no means certain that ‘the hub’ can be commercially viable.

And here is the main catch: Geo-politics. Anything aimed at integrating Israel into the region is bound to be sensitive. So, whilst US officials are optimistic about Egypt’s leadership of their ‘gas forum’ in the wake of President Sisi’s April meeting with Trump – Egypt – a mainstay to the separate US Iran confrontation plan – shortly afterward the visit, rather notably withdrew from the strategic military alliance the Trump administration was trying to build to confront Iran: The Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), to the consternation of US officials.

When it comes to energy deals, however, even having a treaty with Israel does not put an end to public sensitivities about rapprochement with Israel, Henderson notes. Notwithstanding any ‘peace treaty’, many Jordanians still oppose the prospect of using (Israeli) Leviathan gas to provide for large-scale electricity generation, beginning early next year. Amman has tried to deflect such anger by calling the supplies “northern gas” or “American gas”, emphasizing Noble’s role in producing it.

But here is the other side to the issue: Clearly, Egypt does not want to be a part of any anti-Iranian US-led alliance (MESA). But equally, why should Egypt – or Jordan, or for that matter, or any other member of the ‘gas forum’ – wish to be tightly aligned with an US anti-Russian strategy for the region? Egypt may have signed up to the US ‘gas hub’ project. But at the very same time, Egypt also was signing a $2 billion contract to buy more than twenty Russian Sukhoi SU-35 fighter aircraft. Do ‘hub’ members really judge an Egyptian ‘hub’ to be a rival to Russian gas in Europe?

Probably not: For ultimately, the idea that a putative energy hub can ‘stymie Russia’ indeed is fantasy. Europe’s thirst for gas indeed is so huge, and Russia’s ability to provide that gas so great, that it is a wild dream to even think it. The EU shows, for example, no particular interest in the US supported $7 billion mooted pipeline linking the eastern Mediterranean through Cyprus, to Greece. The undersea terrain is too problematic, and the cost too high.

Israel too, hopes to find more gas (of course). But the deadline for bids on nineteen of its offshore blocks has been pushed back to mid-August – seemingly reflecting a lack of investor interest. For now, the oil majors seem more tempted by the Cypriot blocks – up for bid.

But politics again: being a part of America’s ‘gas forum’ in which the Nicosia (i.e. the Greek-linked) government is a key member, explicitly places the forum and its members on a potential collision course with Turkey, who will not readily yield on its ambitious claims on the East Med basin (it has just announced that it will establish naval and air bases in Northern Cyprus). Nor will Lebanon, either. Sisi and Erdogan share a mutual, personal dislike, but will the others wish to be drawn into that quarrel?

Russia anyway, seems not greatly interested in the production possibilities of the Mediterranean Middle East. Rather it is focused on a pipeline corridor stretching from Iran and Iraq to Europe via Turkey or (eventually) Syria.

In sum then, the Kushner – Trump ‘Deal’, in respect to the integration of Israel into the regional energy economy seems destined to draw the same skepticism and distrust, as does the ‘Deal’s’ other parts.

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