Krampus is alive and well: How the myth of Soros paralyses the anti-imperialist struggle

Krampus is alive and well: How the myth of Soros paralyses the anti-imperialist struggle

June 27, 2020

By Ken Leslie for The Saker Blog

1. The making of a demon

Remember the days of your childhood—especially if you are German. If you even dream of being naughty or disobeying your elders and betters, Krampus will put you in his basket and take you to some swampy Germanic hell. Nothing will be heard from you ever again.

Krampus is a leftover from ancient pre-Christian times when he (and he is a he) consorted with witches and indulged in unspeakable acts with them. The idea of a horned demigod taking away and destroying that which is most precious survived all attempts at Christianising and remains to this day a well-known and dreaded member of the pantheon of early childhood monsters. The pedagogic value of Krampus is that he is so horrible looking and mean that the very mention of his name (frightening in itself) is enough to pacify the most recalcitrant toddler. He is a demon born at the dawn of time in a dark and cold Alpine redoubt with a single purpose—to frighten and torture naughty children. Many of us non-Germans knew of Krampus as children and although we had our own non-Germanic demons to defend against, somewhere far at the back of our minds, the Supreme Fear in the form of Krampus was just a few steps away.

How does the story of a scary childhood character relate to the present day? Am I being flippant in comparing a mythical demonic creature to a highly successful trader and philanthropist? Well, no. George Soros’s history of dirty deeds spanning decades and continents has been so destructive that he has created his own demonic myth within his lifetime. A mysterious character who refuses to shuffle his mortal coil and is kept in a semi-mummified semi-stasis by some miracle of “medical science” or another, Gyorgyi Schwartz of Budapest and a billionaire has become Krampus of our time. He is a demon of extreme power, cunning and devilry (he was called something not very dissimilar by Mahathir Mohammed). He is the eternal wanderer ever ready to profit from others’ misery who has been funding his destructive vision ever since the fall of the Soviet Union. He has become the synonym for a disruptive, meddling anti-national, neoliberal, “cosmopolitan” conspiracy. The point of these, allegedly, has been to weaken any indigenous patriotic forces in order to a) protect a particular group of people from possible persecution by diluting any nationalist urges and b) allow those same people to set the tone of the political discourse and capture the levers of power.

At the time, people marvelled at how someone can emerge from such obscurity to become a global player overnight—but like always, such success was ascribed to Soros’s genius and hard work.[1] Our modern-day Krampus has been compared to Jakob Schiff, the famous/notorious Jewish-American financier and philanthropist (word that is rapidly losing its positive connotation), whose anti-Russian animus found a fruitful outlet in financing all enemies of imperial Russia—from Japan to various ethnic nationalists and finally—and most importantly—the Bolsheviks. Another Schiff, the senator Adam, is the current torch bearer of Russophobia in US Congress. The analogy is mostly apt. While the target of Schiff’s wrath was mainly the Russian Empire, Soros has targeted both the dying Soviet Union and its capitalist successor.[2] He named his nebulous pseudo-philosophy “Open Society” (probably plagiarising another Russophobe—Karl Popper) as a counter to the still weak attempts by Russia to escape the death sentence handed down to it by the triumphant West. This was a time when prominent Soixante-huitards such as Joschka Fischer, Bernard Henry-Levy, Andre Glucksmann, Bernard Kushner, Alain Finkelkraut and other future war criminals ruled the European roost. These third-rate activists and intellectuals excelled in one thing only—hatred of Russia and Orthodox Christianity.

Soros wormed his way into the newly “liberated” countries via a network of well-funded “foundations”, “institutes”, “universities” and “human rights organisations”. In other words, Soros used a strategy known to all predators that aim to overrun a country. By pretending to care about the plight of refugees, minorities, LGBT population and generally—human rights—Soros undermined the self-governance of newly independent countries leaving them vulnerable to depredations by the US and EU intelligence-organised disruption operations. That Soros’s demonic project had nothing to do with socialism and everything to do with harming Russian interests is confirmed by the fact that he has targeted both socialist Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, and a capitalist Russia, funded anti-Russian forces all over the world (in Chechenia, Yugoslavia, Ukraine, EU, Africa, Middle East and USA) and fought a continuous ideological and cultural war against what he perceived as the menace of the rebirth of the Russian Empire.

He honed his destructive apparatus with the help of corrupt local politicians and quasi intellectuals. Offering grants, studentships and targeted subsidies to the members of national “elites” ready to betray their nations’ interests in exchange for participation in one of Soros’s fake “young leader seminars” or “human rights conferences”.

Here is a personal anecdote which demonstrates my long-term interest in Soros’s. In the mid-1990s, my wife wanted to do a PhD on the post-Soviet theatre in Eastern Europe and as part of a multi-country schedule, we visited an eastern European capital in 1996 and arranged an interview with the well-known “alternative” theatre practitioner and the then-director of the Soros-funded anti-government hub camouflaged as a cultural centre. The interview went well until my wife asked a question that I had inserted earlier—it was about Soros’s funding and support for the Centre’s anti-government activity. This is when things became interesting. The interviewee became irritated and suspicious and defended Soros’s meddling in Yugoslavia’s internal affairs by claiming unconvincingly he wasn’t involved in setting the editorial policy etc. Needless to say, the interview was terminated on the spot.

A detailed account of George Soros’s destructive crusade must await another time. What needs to be said is that Soros and his humanitarian hydra were behind a number of so-called colour revolutions—ritualised coups d’etat that resulted in bringing to power swaths of anti-Russian politicians and surrounding Russia with a ring of NATO satrapies (most of whom had been Nazi satrapies during WWII). One interesting detail is that Soros removed mainly moderate or left-leaning politicians and replaced them with anti-Russian nationalists. After many years of unconstrained criminality, rapine and harmful meddling, president Vladimir Putin decided to put a stop to Soros’s harmful activity at the moment when Russia was again existentially threatened by the West in 2015. “It was found that the activity of the Open Society Foundations and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation represents a threat to the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation and the security of the state,” a translated version of the press statement read. All Soros’s activities were banned in Russia and from that day on, Russia redoubled its efforts to become economically and politically independent of its enemies. The kicking out of Soros from Russia was seen in the West as another manifestation of Putin’s antisemitism when it was nothing of the sort.

President Putin correctly assessed the threat of Soros’s machinations and in one fell swoop rid his country of possibly the greatest threat to its security. After this epic defeat, Soros fought a rear-guard action by focussing on the emerging nationalist and populist governments such as that of Victor Orban in Hungary. Here also, Soros experienced a defeat—Orban proclaimed Soros a threat to national security and after an epic battle, closed down the so-called Central European University presided over by Michael Ignatieff, the notorious Russophobe. The two campuses in Budapest and Vienna were supposed to embody the discredited idea of Mittel Europa (Central Europe), that jewel in the Austro-Hungarian crown and motive power for any anti-Russian Drang. By closing down the Eastern lobe of the CEU, Orban has in a sense destroyed the Russophobic symbolism of Soros’s crowning achievement.[3]

As the power of the neocon/neolib forces in Europe weakened, Soros’s political projects lost more and more ground until they became largely irrelevant. Soros was so deeply compromised and so completely exposed as a predatory fraud and agent of dark powers that he ceased to be an important player in international affairs (despite his money and influence). Even the ever-vigilant “Nazi hunters” of ADL have found it difficult to defend him. His brand became toxic with the ascent of populist and alt-right politics in Europe and US. It could even be said that his own strategy (securing “cosmopolitan” interests by fighting nationalism) backfired—the alt-right rebellion was largely the reaction to the excesses of the Sorossian surge of the 1990s. So, what was the mummified billionaire to do now that the steppes of Russia were out of reach? He could have done “a Berezovsky” (I like where this is going) by writing a contrite letter to president Putin begging his forgiveness. Or he could have tried to repent for his evil deeds by pursuing real philanthropy. He chose neither but doubled down on political meddling under the guise of a (tainted) pseudo-humanist brand.

Thus, Soros’s name has (justifiably) become synonymous with evil liberal cosmopolitanism. This is definitively a positive development because it ensures that Soros (or his currently groomed descendants) can never cause as much damage as he did to Russia, Eastern Europe or Middle East. The other side of the medal is that any mention of a left-wing, progressive, social or racial justice cause, however valid, has been scarred by the mark of Sorro. And this I believe is Soros’s true legacy—providing the Empire with a permanent and unassailable excuse to discredit any genuine critique of and rebellion against the inhuman and inhumane neolib/neocon system.

2. Back in the USSA

After a brief phoney skirmish with the European alt-right, Soros shifted his attention to the United States where a new president was elected on a conservative, isolationist and anti-neocon agenda. Many people irrespective of persuasion, greeted Donald Trump’s election victory with relief if not elation. (it would be more correct to say that most right-thinking people hailed the defeat of the warmongering hag Hilary Clinton). The hope was that the United States would abandon its empire which has been destroying it and focus on recovering and rebuilding peacefully in co-operation with other great powers. Many well-meaning people from across the world sent their good wishes—after all, many of us carried a small piece of America in our heads and hearts.

Unfortunately, it transpired very soon that most of what Trump had promised his gullible voting base would never be carried out. Like ruthless Lucy van Pelt who fools Charlie Brown every time, the Deep State pulled the ball from a large basketful (or was it bucketful?) of deplorables and moved on with its plan to keep the dying Empire alive as long as possible (there is an analogy here with Soros, Rockefeller, Kissinger and Lord Rothschild who seem very reluctant to depart this world, haunting instead the corridors of power in the guise of liver-spotted spectral mummies and reminding the world that money can’t buy love but can certainly buy young bone marrow and stem cells). Instead of “draining the swamp”, Trump surrounded himself with right-wing neocons and Roman Catholic zealots and promptly set out to renege on all of his election promises.

Here, I shall only focus on Trump’s actions as they concern Russia and China. In an attempt to stem the accelerating exsanguination of the American empire, Trump declared a total war on Russia and China that has thus far involved: propaganda and psychological warfare, sanctions, threats, assassinations, mass arrests of Russian and Chinese citizens, sabotage, theft of diplomatic property, bombing Russia’s allies, commandeering of commercial assets and wealth, tariffs, support for coloured revolutions, McCarthyite witch hunts, an offensive against the Russian Orthodox Church and its allies, abrogation of all important international treaties regulating the deployment and monitoring of nuclear weapons, moving nuclear-capable missile bases close to Russian border, using India, Japan, Vietnam et al. as tools against China, weaponizing fascist fiefdoms in Eastern Europe and giving the Ukrainian zhidobandera (Judaeo-banderite) regime hundreds of millions of pounds of military aid, provoking China and Russia with large-scale military exercises and all kinds of military brinkmanship, trade war, weaponizing Hindu nationalism against China, approving extra funding for anti-Russian activities, expanding NATO, boosting Israel’s right-wing regime, strangling Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba and almost provoking a war with Iran. Oh, fresh off the press—moving 10000 soldiers and dozens of aircraft from Germany to Poland. Did I miss anything?

To summarise, Trump has done everything in his power to bring the world shockingly close to an all-out conflict. None of his moves so far have been peace oriented except as cheap political stunts or admissions of defeat. It is not even about Trump. America has entered its terminal decay stage and any president worth their salt would do anything to slow down this process. Once it becomes clear that this cannot be achieved by peaceful means (e.g. investment in vast infrastructure projects a la New Deal), all that is left is war. And yet a large portion of the deluded blogosphere looks up to Trump as some kind of a saint whose idealism is constantly being thwarted by evil Democrats. The latter bunch of misfits are labelled “communists”, Marxists” etc. confirming beyond any reasonable doubt that the crude and uneducated American right is as stupid and as pernicious as its post-Trotskyite, warmongering “left”. Note that the so-called Democrats do not oppose any of the above crimes/transgressions and are even more strident in their Russophobia—if that were at all possible.

An often-heard argument used in the defence of Trump is that at least he hasn’t started a hot war with Russia (something they say, Hilary would have done without a doubt). But this argument falls flat straight away. Please re-read the above: Do you really think that Hilary would have been able to do more harm than Trump? If so, what—given Russia’s exceptional nuclear and non-nuclear arsenal that could turn America into a giant glass ashtray without so much as breaking a sweat? Second, one of the most destructive presidents in the US history (both for his country and the world), was a gaudy entertainer and a populist who brought the world to the brink of nuclear war without ever starting one (Grenada excepted). For the most part, the opposition to Trump is manufactured for internal political consumption and does not reflect his actions. In a way, this fake opposition strengthens Trump’s hand because in front of Lavrov he can defend his aggressive moves as forced by his enemies and use these to silence the Russophobic opposition inside the country.

The quiet despair I felt for years started to dissipate as soon as racial protests erupted inside the US not because I hate America (on the contrary) but because I have been so disgusted with its international conduct since 1945, that I couldn’t supress my Schadenfreude. Knowing the benighted history of this country quite well (a huge amount of genocide, slavery and oppression has been packed into an extraordinarily short time period), I started to hope that the doddering behemoth would focus its Sauron-like gaze inward and give the world a chance to take a breather. Great, I thought. Perhaps, after years of false accusations, the Russians or the Chinese have acted—carefully organised a nationwide rebellion by leveraging one of the most emotional issues in the USA, namely, race. Finally, a well-calculated act of revenge for the dozens of destructive “revolutions” on Russian borders. Although it did achieve some popularity among Black Americans and especially their leaders, the mighty Soviet Union failed to capitalise on this despite America’s dismal record on race. Perhaps, in a fit of creativity, the Russians turned Soros’s tactics on his bosses putting into motion a masterful plot worthy of KGB’s top hits. Alas, I soon awakened from my reverie only to realise that Russia has neither the will, nor means to engineer such a vast conspiracy and save itself from a nuclear confrontation. The Chinese perhaps? No way.

In my view, the Russians are too conciliatory and lack the vast soft power apparatus necessary for the coordination and execution of such an ambitious project. Never mind, the most important point is that anybody who cares about world peace and Russia should cheer the protests as a severe setback for the global hegemon—a clear sign of its decline and an opportunity to profit from its weakness. One immediate benefit of the protests was a body blow (blubber blow) that felled warmongering troll Mike Pompeo. The moment protests started, any American foreign policy based on enforcing human rights and democracy became unsustainable—forever. The myth of a democratic paradise in which a common man/woman benefits from hard work and pioneer spirit fell apart in a couple of hours. The Chinese were laughing at Phat Po while hundreds of hitherto timid Twitterati gleefully pointed out the rank hypocrisy of America’s position and beheld with a mixture of fascination and horror the absence of the junior emperor’s clothes.

A more disturbing consequence of my awakening has been the realisation that most of the political commentators in the West who had previously maintained a pro-Russian front started defending Trump and his version of American supremacy. Many moons ago, I remember watching the remake of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers starring Donald Sutherland. At the very end of the movie, the heroine turns to the ever-dependable Donald, hoping for a salvation, when he turns on her and emits an unforgettable blood-curdling scream—the symbol of ultimate betrayal and final triumph of an alien evil. I felt like the woman in the film who realised in a second that she was completely alone in the universe facing a fate worse than death. OK, I’m exaggerating a bit but you know what I mean. Russia has receded into the background and saving Trump is all that matters.

All of a sudden, people forgot that as late as the end of 1960s, African Americans were barred from country clubs and other “respectable establishments” and started finding reasons to exonerate the murderous cop. But never mind that. Overnight, these tribunes of anti-imperial struggle morphed into the staunchest defenders of Emperor Trump and “traditional family values” espoused by a lecherous pervert linked to Jeffrey Epstein. When asked how they can maintain such an anatomically impossible yoga position, most of the time the answer is: because… Soros. I still haven’t come to terms with this and have tried to explain it to myself ever since. Here are some tentative explanations.

3. Answers and questions

a) People have been so traumatised by Soros’s malfeasance (or is it maleficence) that they see him everywhere now—as a universal symbol of evil—a Krampus. As a consequence of a careful ploy by the Deep State, no criticism or protest is now allowed outside very clearly drawn boundaries—especially from the left. As soon as someone tries to protest various injustices, they are automatically labelled as agents of Soros intent on harming the HOMELAND. It is immaterial to the accusers that under most recent presidents America has become a cesspit of electronic surveillance and a home to a gargantuan military-intelligence-industrial-media complex which is swallowing everything in its path. America’s crumbling infrastructure, lack of common values and ghettoised cities are a testimony to its forthcoming demise. Here, Soros has become Krampus of the right, a monster evoked every time someone points out that America is mortally ill. In this, Soros has joined another Krampus of the RC and neocon right—Joseph Stalin. Although exact opposites in terms of ideology, both have been used in the West to suppress socially-conscious voices.

b) Many of the so-called “alternative” websites were never pro-Russian to start with (Saker has discussed this many times). Rather, they are US Deep State sleeper agents who were allowed, in exchange for their loyalty, to monetise their writings and expose dissidents by posing as critics of the US regime. Now that their true master is in danger, they feel obliged (or are gently reminded) to repay their debt. Although I dismissed this option initially, it has gained in credibility the more I sampled their wares. A less paranoid version of this explanation is fear—fear of the ubiquitous and Kafkaesque machine which can crush an individual without their knowledge leading to auto-censorship. Or the fear of the “barbarians”—those lower-caste humans who threaten further to disrupt our vicarious participation in the sense of exceptionality and achievement of our “race”. I am guilty of both.

c) The commentators are correct and I am deluded. Soros is so rich and powerful that he can confront and defeat the all-powerful system that created him. This is probably the worst nonsense of them all. Soros might be rich but he is a mere gnat in comparison with his supposed enemy. Second (and even more pertinent), why would the old CIA-spawned Hellboy bite the arm that feeds him? Because Soros, a billionaire several times over and notorious Russophobe hawk, is some kind of a communist and social justice warrior? If this is true, the implication is that all 17 powerful intelligence agencies that could swat Soros like a fly at a single wink of Trump’s rheumy eye are betraying “the constitution” and siding with the unruly anarchists. Balderdash.

The world is again separating into two broad and irreconcilable camps—imperialist and anti-imperialist. While the boundary is not completely clear, many conservatives will join fascists and racists in the defence of civilisation (Europäische Kultur), (Western) Christianity (Gott mit Uns), homeland (Vaterland), white race (arische Rasse), family values (Kinder, Küche, Kirche), unchallenged Western supremacy (Das tausend jährige Reich) and law and order (Ordnung muss sein). I am not interested in how these “ideals” are implemented as long as they are not used as an excuse to attack and enslave other countries—as they always are. A minority of conservatives will understand the danger of a revived fascism and side with Russia and its allies. The fascists will be joined in their struggle by right-wing Zionists and neocons who hate Russia more than they love peace and democracy. While agitating for human rights, they will be happy to see the destruction of Russia and China. As in WWII, most Central European Ruritanias will gladly join the imperialist side. Some large countries such as India might just remain neutral but the nationalist zeal of its current government (Aryanism and swastikas anyone?) is likely to push it into the imperialist camp. This would not be the first time. The great Indian politician and tribune Subhas Chandra Bose openly collaborated with Japan during WWII.[4]

I shall be joining the other side—the side that sides with the oppressed, dirty, helpless and weak. The anti-imperialist camp espouses a multi-polar world free from imperial diktat from the West (or elsewhere). It advocates peaceful coexistence and abolition of huge multinational corporations that have replaced states as agents of international politics.[5] This block is progressive in the sense in which the Trotskyite dogma isn’t. There is a lot of room for cultural differences and idiosyncrasies. The idea is that these differences enrich the world and allow individual nations to find their own way towards prosperity, without the constant sabotage by the US Empire and its pawns. Absence of interference into other nations’ affairs ensures a peaceful and sustainable growth. Crucially, there is no such thing as an exceptional or chosen nation or race. We are all equal in terms of God’s mercy and the world must be purged from the exceptionalist evil forever. If anybody is still confused about what’s going on, I’ll end with a few questions (some of which I’m trying to answer myself):

– If Trump is so good for Russia (an idiotic claim by the Democrats), why did Russia urgently rachet up its nuclear doctrine a few weeks ago?

– Do you really think that for this many decades Soros has acted independently of the US Deep state? Are you so naïve as to believe that a semi-anonymous trader with a dodgy past would be allowed to destroy British Pound and meddle in international politics, or god forbid, unseat Trump, without the blessing of the grey cardinals of Langley? Do you think that one of the ugliest swamp creatures known to man would risk upsetting his masters by launching crippling riots possibly leading to a civil war for no good reason? No, defeating Trump is definitely not a good enough reason. If Soros is indeed behind the turmoil (and this hasn’t been proved), he is either doing the humanity a favour for once—by crippling the Empire or (highly likely) is acting on behalf of the repressive apparatus set on discrediting and banning any and all protest.

– What does one need to do in order to defeat the CIA, FBI, NSA and the myriad of spying and political police agencies that underpin the Empire? Do you really think that you can get past the most monstrous, intrusive and comprehensive system of surveillance and oppression in history by being transparent and honest? If your aim is to drain the swamp, do you really believe that you can achieve this by laying all your cards on the table and asking the (metaphorically) black Jesuitical cabal to vacate its throne at the top of the world? If you understand that this is impossible, why expect the BLM movement and all the others to be transparent?

– Do you really believe that BLM and other similar movements (e.g. Occupy) have not been penetrated BEFORE THE PROTESTS and co-opted for FBIs purposes? If yes, you are completely naïve (not to use something nastier).

Wake up, Trump is not your friend and he is no friend of Russia. Soros is evil but he is just one of the many flavours of evil. Do not let your mental inertia render you blind to what is really going on.

If you prefer the global dictatorship of hyper-corporate capital protected by US weapons under the guise of “law and order” to peace and justice, why are you on this pro-Russian site?

Russia, whatever its political system, has and will always stand with the oppressed and in opposition to global bullies and criminals. YOU CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON BOTH. Choose wisely—I have.

  1. I had the displeasure of reading Soros’s scribblings a long time ago. I can assure the reader that he is no genius. 
  2. https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2015/12/09/soros-and-his-cia-friends-targeted-ussr-russia-1987/. We cannot know what Jakob Schiff would have done to the USSR—he died in 1920. 
  3. A friend tells me that Orban used to receive large sums of money from Soros. I did not check this but it wouldn’t surprise me that the two were partners in the 1990s. 
  4. I am not criticising Bose who was a great leader in many respects but just pointing out that India has its own perspective which might not always agree with the Eurocentric or Anglocentric view of history. 
  5. It is amusing to watch fake nationalists and patriots get in a tizz when asked how they can support Amazon, Google and other corporate behemoths and how this takeover of a country by corporatist fascism can be compatible with “freem” and democracy. 

Quds Day: Reminder of Palestinian struggle

By Salman Parviz

May 21, 2020 – 14:5

Originating in Iran with the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini declared the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan as Quds Day with the aim of forging unity among the Muslims and Arab nations so that they will unanimously express their backing for the Palestinian nation each year.

To mark the occasion amid the novel coronavirus pandemic the International Quds Day Conference was held online May 18 and 19.

This year’s Quds Day has special significance in the denunciation of the so-called “Deal of the Century” and proposed annexation of Jordan Valley and occupied West Bank, a display of shocking disregard for international law. The deal has given green light to Israeli sovereignty on the illegal settlements built since the 1967 war, which is now colonized by more than 600,000 Israeli Jews.

Protests in the region on May 15 marked the 72nd anniversary of the Nakba or “catastrophe”, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced into exile following creation of the Zionist state in 1948. It was another opportunity to denounce the policies of U.S. President D. Trump’s ultra-right policies and alliance with Israel.

While successive U.S. presidents and administrations have supported Israel, none has done as much in such a short time to embolden its right-wing settler-led colonialist government than Trump whose administration recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017, stalling the road map for a two-state solution.

Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner worked closely with former U.S. special envoy for the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, to design the “Deal of the Century”. The plan was announced in January after several months of delay. What Palestinians saw as a “surrender note”, referred in one of the Tehran Times’ headlines as the “Highway to Hell” and what many consider “Heist of the Century”.

After three inconclusive elections in the Zionist state a three-year power-sharing agreement was announced in April which allows Netanyahu first bite at leading before handing power to Benny Gantz. At the heart of that agreement is the illegal annexation of large swathes of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley and the Northern Dead Sea.

Israel is 21st century’s Middle East version of apartheid-era South Africa, the only remaining apartheid state where Palestinians remain, at best, second class citizens in Israel, under occupation in Gaza, East Jerusalem and West Bank.

Of historical significance is the plight of residents of Gaza Strip. In January 2006, Hamas won a sweeping majority in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections ending more than 40 years of domination by Fatah, the political faction built by the late Yasir Arafat.

Following the elections U.S., EU and Canada cut off funding to the Palestinian Authority despite Canada having helped to facilitate and monitor the elections. Worth mentioning is that the Israel-Hezbollah conflict ensued during the summer of 2006.

Gaza Strip was put under Israeli and Egyptian blockade in 2007 when the Hamas resistance movement started controlling the enclave. As a result of Israel’s stifling measures the UN has warned in the past that the Gaza Strip would become “uninhabitable” by 2020.

More than two million people cramped up in a 362 square kilometer area, deprived of their fundamental human rights including freedom of movement. Under strict air, sea and ground siege imposed by Israel and Egypt for the last thirteen years, Gaza Strip is considered the largest open-air prison in the world.

This prison verdict is backed by international community, mainly the Western powers and the U.S. During the siege the coastal enclave has undergone three major Israeli offensives.

Today around 6.5 million Palestinians live abroad as refugees or members of the diaspora.

Quds day is a reminder of the plight of Palestinian people.
 

RELATED NEWS

Israel Prepares for Annexation of the West Bank

By Jeremy Salt

Source

Netanyha Gantz b3bd0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kremlin Responds to Erdogan’s Request That Russia ‘Step Aside’ in Syria

Putin humiliated Erdogan and his entire entourage by making them ...
Putin humiliated Erdogan and his entire entourage by making them wait outside the door.

Sputnik

MIDDLE EAST 17:21 GMT 01.03.2020 (updated 17:48 GMT 01.03.2020)

On Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that he had asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to “get out of Turkey’s way” and to leave Ankara “face to face” with Damascus in the renegade Syrian province of Idlib.

Russia is the only country with a legitimate, internationally recognized right to station troops in Syria, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.

“Russia is the only country which has troops in Syria on a legal basis and at the request of the legitimate Syrian government,” Peskov said, ( Pescove Forgot that Axis of resistance is there at th2 request of Syria) speaking to Russia 1’s Moscow.Kremlin.Putin programme on Sunday when asked to comment on President Erdogan’s remarks about what “business” Russia has in Syria.

“All other military forces of other countries are in Syria in contravention of the norms and principles of international law,” Peskov added.

According to the Kremlin spokesman, all of the actions by the Syrian military in Idlib in recent days have been aimed at fighting terrorists. Turkey, on the other hand, has failed to meet its obligations under the Sochi agreements, he said.

“We know that under the Sochi agreements from a year ago, it was the Turkish side which was required to ensure a regime of inactivity by these terrorist elements. Unfortunately, Turkey has not fulfilled these obligations, and the terrorists went on the offensive against Syria’s armed forces,” Peskov said.

Peskov recalled that in addition to attacking the Syrian Army, the terrorists were also attacking Russian military units in the Arab Republic. “Therefore,” he noted, “regardless of any statements, the fight against these terrorist elements will continue.”

Meeting This Week

Peskov also confirmed that Presidents Putin and Erdogan would meet on March 5 or 6 in Moscow to discuss the Syrian crisis. According to Peskov, the meeting would not be an easy one. “This will undoubtedly be a difficult meeting, but the heads of state have nevertheless affirmed their focus on resolving the situation in Idlib and their adherence to the Sochi accords. This is important,” he said.

Putin and Erdogan spoke by telephone on Friday. On Saturday, Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul that he asked Putin about Russia’s “business” in Syria, adding that while Turkey didn’t mind if Russia established a base in the country, it should “get out of our way and leave us face to face with the [Syrian] regime.”

Russia established an airbase in Latakia, northwestern Syria in 2015 on the request of Syria’s internationally recognized government to assist the country in its fight against a broad array of foreign-backed terrorists.

Russia and Turkey reached an accord in Sochi in September 2018, allowing the Turkish military to establish observation posts in Idlib on the condition that terrorist groups be separated from other armed groups and expelled from the de-escalation zone. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has recently said that Ankara has failed to do so.

Tensions in Idlib escalated in February after Syrian artillery struck a Turkish observation post, killing eight Turkish troops and injuring several others. The situation has since turned into a shooting war between Syrian troops, Turkish forces and Ankara-backed militants. On Thursday, Syrian strikes killed at least 33 Turkish troops who were mixed in among jihadist militants, sparking off a Turkish response which included attacks on dozens of Syrian government targets in ‘Operation Spring Shield’. Syria initiated its Idlib operation in December, citing repeated terrorist attacks on army positions.

مهزلة إطلاق الفاخوري لن تنسحب على ترسيم الحدود

سياسة 

 ميسم رزق

 الأربعاء 25 آذار 2020

كانت البلاد على أعصابها مع بلوغ وباء «كورونا» شفا الانتشار، حين دهمت المشهد أخبار العميل عامِر الفاخوي، بعدما تقرر «التفاهُم» على إسقاط جرائمه بمرور الزمن بين الولايات المتحدة الأميركية وجهاتٍ في بيروت. المُشكلة في إطلاق الفاخوري وتهريبه في ما بعد لا يتلخّص «بحجمه» كعميل فحسب، بل يشمل أيضاً السماح للأميركيين بممارسة الضغط وتحقيق ما يُريدونه. قالها الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصر الله في خطابه الأخير، طارِحاً أمثلة عن احتمال المُطالبة بترسيم الحدود البحرية مع فلسطين المُحتلة، وفقاً للمشيئة الأميركية، تحت طائلة العقوبات.

د يجد البعض الكلام عن الاهتمام الأميركي بملف ترسيم الحدود في ذروة انتشار الوباء في العالم وانعزال الدول على قاعدة «نفسي أولاً» ضرباً من ضروب المبالغة. لكن ماذا لو انتهى كل ذلك فجأة، وعاد الأميركيون بسوطٍ أشدّ؟ هل سنكون أمام مؤامرة أخرى لأن هناك من سيعود ويقتنِع تحت الضغط بأن قوة لبنان في ضعفِه؟
منذُ أيلول الماضي، جرى تجميد ملف الحدود البحرية، وتحديداً بعد زيارة قام بها المبعوث الأميركي مساعد وزير الخارجية ديفيد شينكر إلى بيروت، لاستكمال ما بدأه سلفه ديفيد ساترفيلد الذي تولى التفاوض غير المباشر بين لبنان والعدو الإسرائيلي بشأن الترسيم. وساطة باشرتها واشنطن عام 2012، وتولّاها الدبلوماسي فريدريك هوف، الذي اقترح تقاسُم المنطقة المتنازع عليها عبر حصول لبنان على 500 كيلومتر مربع، والعدو على 360 كيلومتراً مربعاً، وفقاً لخط رسمه صار يُعرف لاحقاً بـ«خط هوف» الذي رفضه لبنان. استكمل المفاوضات الموفد الأميركي آموس هوكشتين مُتقدماً بمسودة اقتراح تعطي لبنان 600 كيلومتر مربع من المنطقة «المتنازع عليها»، من دون أن يُكتب لاقتراحه النجاح. نام الملف ٤ سنوات، بدأ الكيان الصهيوني خلالها عملية الحفر في حقل «كاريش» على الحدود اللبنانية، إلى أن ظهرت فجأة بداية العام ٢٠١٩، وساطة أميركية جديدة عبر ساترفيلد، بدفع من «إسرائيل» «المزنوقة» على استقرار يحفّز الشركات الكبرى على الاستثمار، من دون عواقب أمنية.

لمست المقاومة في لبنان الاستعجال الأميركي ــــ الإسرائيلي لحلّ الملف، وهو ما عُدّ فرصة للبنان كي يفرض الشروط التي يُريدها لاسترجاع كل المساحة البحرية التي سعى العدو إلى وضع يده عليها. تولى رئيس مجلس النواب نبيه بري عملية التفاوض، انطلاقاً من ورقة اتفق عليها لبنان الرسمي تضمّنت ٦ نقاط، أهمها تلازُم ترسيم الحدود البرية والحدود البحرية وعدم الفصل بينهما، وخصوصاً أن نقطة انطلاق الحدود البرية في حد ذاتها هي نقطةُ انطلاقٍ للحدود البحرية.

لكن هذه النقطة تحديداً لم تكُن محط إجماع بين القوى الداخلية. ففي أكثر من مرة، عبّر رئيس الجمهورية ميشال عون ووزير الخارجية جبران باسيل عن ميلهما الى القبول بالفصل، وكانا يُبديان مرونة تجاه هذا الأمر انطلاقاً من أن «مصلحة لبنان تقتضي البدء بالتنقيب عن الغاز في البحر فوراً». أما رئيس الحكومة السابق سعد الحريري فلم يكُن ميالاً وحسب، بل كان سبّاقاً للموقف الأميركي. ففي الوقت الذي كان فيه الموفدون الأميركيون يلجأون للتفاوض على الفصل بين البرّ والبحر، كانَ الحريري يضغط لسحب الملف من عهدة الرئيس برّي ويعد «أصحابه» في واشنطن بالحل. لم يتوقف الحريري عن «النق»، مُطالباً بتسلّم الملف، لأنه وعد بتقديمه هدية الى صهر الرئيس الأميركي ومستشاره جاريد كوشنر. وكان ملف التفاوض والترسيم من بين الملفات التي ناقشها في لقاء سرّي مع كوشنر ومستشار الأمن القومي جون بولتون («الأخبار»، الأربعاء 21 آب 2019)، وبعدها بدأ الترويج لفكرة طرح الملف على التصويت في مجلس الوزراء، كما قال أحد مستشاري الحريري، مهدّداً بـ«يجب أن تختاروا ما بين المُساعدات التي ستأتي إلى البلد أو الانكماش الاقتصادي».

التشاطُر الذي مارسته جهات سياسية في قضية الفاخوري لن ينفع في ملف الترسيم


استقالة الحريري ومجيء حكومة الرئيس حسان دياب وضعا ملف الترسيم الحدودي جانباً، حتى وقعت واقعة الفاخوري، الأمر الذي أعاد التنبيه إلى خطورة ما يُمكِن أن يفعله الأميركيون من أجل الحصول على مرادهم بالشكل الذي يحلو لهم. وبعدما خرج الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب في عز أزمة كورونا في بلاده ليشكر الحكومة اللبنانية على تعاونها لتحرير الفاخوري، من دون أي تعليق من جهتها على كلامه، يصحّ السؤال عما إذا كانت المُهمّة الموكلة إليها في مرحلة لاحقة هي عقد صفقة بحرية بين لبنان والعدو، وفق ما تراه واشنطن مُناسباً.

مصادر لبنانية مطّلعة تؤكد لـ«الأخبار» أن الملف «مُجمّد منذ أشهر، والرسائل المتبادلة بين الوسيط الأميركي والجانب اللبناني مقطوعة، ولا مؤشرات على أي زيارة سيقوم بها مسؤولون أميركيون يتولون متابعة الملف». لكن المصادر نفسها تشير إلى أنه «ليس بعيداً بعد فترة أن نسمع بقرار أميركي لاستئناف التفاوض بشرط أن يجري هذا التفاوض مع الحكومة الحالية، وتستخدم جهات لبنانية الأسلوب نفسه للسير بالتسوية، أي التأكيد على عدم قدرة لبنان على الوقوف في وجه الضغوط والتهديدات الأميركية»، كما «ليس بعيداً أن يوضع خيار التصويت في الحكومة على الطاولة، وحينها سنكون أمام أزمة كبيرة».

مصادر بارزة في فريق ٨ آذار أكدت أن «ملف الترسيم الحدودي أكبر بكثير من قضية الفاخوري، ولا يُمكن تهريبه في جنح الظلام بجلسة سرية». وقالت المصادر إن «الملف كان في عهدة بري وسيظلّ كذلك، وإن جرى استئناف التفاوض فسيكون وفق الشروط التي وضعها لبنان ولا مساومة في ذلك». واعتبرت المصادر نفسها أن «التشاطر الذي مارسته جهات سياسية في ملف الفاخوري لن ينفع ولن يمُر مهما كانت دوافعها الحقيقية أو الافتراضية»، مشددة على أن «طرح الملف على التصويت سيؤدي إلى انقسام سياسي كبير يُعيد خلط كل الأوراق في البلد».

مقالات متعلقة

ملفات تشغل المواطن الفلسطيني

سعاده مصطفى أرشيد

ثلاثة ملفات هي شغل المواطن الفلسطيني الشاغل، يتراجع أحدها ليتقدّم آخر وهي مرتبطة ببعضها البعض ارتباطاً عضوياً، والملفات الثلاثة هي: صفقة ترامب (صفقة القرن)، نتائج انتخابات الكنيست وماهية الحكومة (الإسرائيلية) المقبلة، وأخيراً وباء كورونا وحاله الطوارئ التي أعلنتها الحكومة الفلسطينية اثر ظهور حالات إصابة بهذا الفيروس.

شملت حالة الطوارئ التي أعلنتها الحكومة الفلسطينية إغلاق الجامعات والمدارس الحكومية والخاصة ووقف إجازات الأجهزة الأمنية والشرطية والعسكرية ونشر قوات الأمن الوطني (الجيش) في شوارع المدن والقرى، ثم إغلاق مدينة بيت لحم إغلاقاً كاملاً يمنع الدخول إليها والخروج منها، ولاحقاً تمّ إغلاق المقاهي والمطاعم والنوادي في معظم المحافظات، وأخيراً إغلاق معبر الكرامة بوجه المسافرين من وإلى الأردن وهو المنفذ الوحيد الذي يصل أهالي الضفة الغربية بالعالم.

أسئلة تتردّد على ألسنة المواطن: هل نحتاج لمثل هذه الإجراءات الصارمة والطارئة والفورية قبل أيّ دولة في الجوار؟ وهل يتطلب ذلك نشر قوات الأمن الوطني في الشوارع أم نشر الأطباء والطواقم الطبية والصحية؟ وهل يبرّر حالة الاعتقال التي تعرّض لها النائب السابق حسام خضر وهو غير مصاب بفيروس كورونا وإنما بتهمة إطالة اللسان وإثارة النعرات، حيث من الجدير ذكره أنّ خضر كان من قادة الانتفاضتين الأولى والثانيه واعتقل في سجون الاحتلال ما يزيد عن 20 اعتقال إضافة الى النفي والاقامة الجبرية والإصابات بالرصاص، ولم يتمّ الإفراج عنه إلا بعد خمسة أيام وبسبب عناده وإضرابه عن الطعام والشراب والدواء والكلام، إضافة إلى أنّ اعتقاله أثار استياء أنصاره الذين قاموا بقطع الطرق وأعمال شغب. برغم انّ خطورة الوباء أمر يستحق الاهتمام والمعالجة، إلا أنّ المبالغة في إجراءات الطوارئ وخاصة إغلاق المدارس والجامعات من شأنها ان تجعل أيّ تحرك شعبي أمراً صعباً في حال طرأ ما يستدعي ذلك خاصة أنّ التهديدات بتقسيم المسجد الأقصى وقبة الصخرة أمر وارد، كذلك ما نسمعه على ألسنة السياسيين الاسرائيليين بخصوص ضمّ مناطق واسعة من الضفة الغربية.

الشاغل الثاني هو نتائج انتخابات الكنيست واحتمالات تشكيل حكومة (اسرائيلية)، فحتى اليوم لا زال بن يامين نتنياهو يرى نفسه الفائز في حين تتضاءل فرصه (وإنْ لم تنعدم) لتشكيل حكومة، في حين تتزايد فرص منافسه بني غانتس (وإنْ لم تكن مؤكدة)، ومنذ يومين رفضت المحكمة المركزية في تل أبيب طلباً تقدم به محامو نتنياهو لتأجيل جلسات محاكمته في قضايا فساد باعتبار انّ المبرّرات التي تقدّم بها هؤلاء غير كافية، وبالتالي فإنّ الجلسه الأولى ستكون يوم الثلاثاء المقبل، وفي حال أخذت المحاكمة ومجرياتها أشكالاً حادة وفضائحية، وهو الأمر الغالب، فلن يكون أمام نتنياهو إلا الانحناء أمام أحد خيارين الأول هو القبول بحكومة مشتركة مع خصمه وبشروط الخصم، والثاني هو عقد صفقة تقضي بإسقاط التهم المسندة إليه مقابل خروجه من الحياة السياسية.

في المقلب الآخر تراهن السلطة الفلسطينية في رام الله على فرص الجنرال المتقاعد بني غانتس، وبناء عليه فقد تمارس ضغوطاً على القائمة المشتركة (النواب العرب) لمنحه الثقة وذلك على قاعدة أنّ خروج نتنياهو هو المكسب وانْ لم تحصل القائمة المشتركة على أية مكاسب، قد يشاركها في الضغط الأردن ومصر وقطر وتركيا كلّ لأسبابه.

الشاغل الثالث هو صفقة ترامب (القرن) وارتباطاً بما ذكر آنفاً فإنّ هناك فرضية ترى انّ الصفقة مرتبطة بنتنياهو لا بالسياسات اليمينية في كلّ من (إسرائيل) والولايات المتحدة ـ (الجمهورية الترامبية) وانّ المايسترو الأول لهذه الصفقة هو السفير الأميركي في القدس ديفيد فريدمان قبل أن يدخل على خطها لاحقاً كل من الصهر كوشنر والمستشار غرينبلات، فمشاريع كهذه ترتبط بسياسات ورؤى تمّ العمل عليها وزرع بذورها في «أوسلو» و «وادي عربة» و«وثيقة أبو مازن – بيلين» 2005، ثم انّ عقارب الساعة لا تعود إلى الوراء فالقرارات المرتبطة بالقدس أصبحت نهائية، والقرارات التي ستتخذ في القريب العاجل بضمّ مناطق من الضفة ستصبح بدورها نهائية، ولا يمكن لأيّ حكومة (إسرائيلية) مقبلة أن تعود عنها أو أن تضعها في مكانة تفاوضية، فالدولة – أيّ دولة لا تفاوض على أراض تعتبرها جزءاً من أرضها الوطنية.

الربط بين الشواغل الثلاثة واضح، وباء كورونا على جديته لا يستحق هذه الحالة الطارئة والعصبية في تنفيذها وإغلاق الجامعات والمدارس والتي هي بؤر التجمعات الشبابية وأدوات التحرك الشعبي الذي يمكن ان يحصل عند اتخاذ الحكومة المقبلة قراراتها، وحالة الجمود والسكون والهدوء السلبي وتقطيع الوقت قد أصبحت تقليداً سياسياً متبعاً لدى القيادة الفلسطينية، وانتظار ما لا يأتي أو ما لا يستحق الانتظار دون القيام بأيّ عمل جدي قد أصبح حرفة وعادة، فهل يغيّر التشكيل الحكومي في (إسرائيل) من نتائج السياسات اليمينية المتطرفة لدى كلّ من نتنياهو وغانتس؟ وهل سيكون هناك من تأثير حقيقي على جوهر الصفقة في حال فاز برئاسة الحكومة من يفوز؟ من هنا أرى انّ دخول القائمة المشتركة (النواب العرب) على خط التصويت لحكومة برئاسة غانتس ليس عملاً من أعمال السياسة العاقلة والمدركة والعارفة للواقع بقدر ما هو عمل من أعمال النكاية في نتنياهو وهي مسألة يبرع بها الشرقيون عامة ولو على حساب ما هو أهمّ وأجدى، فالأحزاب الاسرائيلية متطابقة في نظرتها للقدس والمستوطنات وترى وفق عقيدتها العسكرية في الأغوار عمقاً استراتيجياً لا غنى عنه.

على هذا المنوال تسير الأمور في ما تبقى من فلسطين، القيادة لا تفعل شيئاً باستثناء احتراف التفاوض إنْ أمكن باعتباره فلسفه حياة والانتظار، فيما يحترف المواطن الحزن وهو يرى هذا الواقع البائس.

*سياسي فلسطيني مقيم بالضفة الغربية.

فيديوات متعلقة

أخبار متعلقة

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

By David Morrison

Source

Trump at the Israeli American Council National Summit 8b64d

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

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

Trump’s favours to Netanyahu

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

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

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

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

A much bigger favour to Netanyahu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A false notion: Israel an occupier

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

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

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

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

The internationally agreed position

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Palestinian “state”

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

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

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

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

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

Negotiations with Palestinians?

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

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

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

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

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

Are annexations going to happen?

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

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

In his response to Trump that day, Netanyahu said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is to be annexed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jordan Valley

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

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

East Jerusalem

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

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

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

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

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

International reactions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crimea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sovereignty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A demilitarized “state”

The “vision” document is clear:

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

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

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

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

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

Israel will have a permanent veto over Palestinian security capabilities:

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

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

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

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

Palestinian prisoners and administrative detainees in Israeli jails

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

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

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

Refugees

First and foremost, the “vision” document states:

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

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

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

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

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

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

A couple of pages later the document declares:

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

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

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

Conduct During Negotiations

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conditions for Palestinian statehood

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

By Jeremy Salt

Source

Trump Kushner Netanyahu Deal 31bdd

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

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

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

Abba Eban f45f6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for George Habash

George Habash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jared Kushner, here are 25 more books you should read about Palestine, Israel relations

Donald Trump’s senior advisor says he has looked at 25 books relating to the conflict – here are some more he might also want to consider
Jared Kushner, special adviser to US President Donald Trump, is regarded as a key figure in the US administration’s policy towards the Middle East

By 

Earlier this week, in the wake of the announcement of Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” for Israel and Palestine, Jared Kushner, its chief architect explained to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour just how much he had studied the region.

“I’ve been studying this now for three years,” Kuchner said. “I’ve read 25 books on it, I’ve spoken to every leader in the region, I’ve spoken to everyone who’s been involved in this.”

Most interest focused just on which 25 books Kuchner had read: some sleuthing by The Forward revealed several titles, including State of Failure and Hamas vs Fatah, by Jonathan Schanzer; and Thirteen Days in September, by journalist Lawrence Wright.

The impression from those few titles to emerge is that they are broadly written from a Washington perspective, and not necessarily that insightful about the lived experiences of Palestinians, who Kushner on Wednesday called “foolish” for rejecting his plan.

In the spirit of a geo-political book club, the editors and writers at Middle East Eye would like to offer Mr Kushner the following reading list to maybe deaden his echo chamber.

Our choices are, we suspect, more eclectic than those he has read so far, and include poetry, fiction and graphic novels amid geo-political analysis and discourse. The list, presented here in no particular order, is by no means exhaustive. We have restricted ourselves to books originally written in or translated into English.

But we hope that Mr Kushner and others engaged in securing the “deal of the century” might obtain a different perspective from the reading list below. Please let MEE know on Facebook and Twitter (@MiddleEastEye) which titles you think we have missed.

Twenty-five books, after all, barely scratches the surface when it comes to explaining what has become the Middle East’s most intractable problem.


1. The Question of Palestine
by Edward Said

"

For a long time, Edward Said was the most high-profile and internationally recognised of Palestinian intellectuals. His untimely death in 2003 was a blow for Palestinian advocacy, especially in the US, where few prominent Palestinian voices have been able to rise to prominence.

The Question of Palestine was published in 1979, a year after Said’s better-known volume Orientalism, and discusses the situation of the Palestinians, including the history of the Nakba, the dispossession and scattering of the Palestinian diaspora, and the misrepresentation of the Palestinian cause in the Western world.

Said also examines the development of Palestinian political movements, particularly the Palestine Liberation Organisation led by his then friend Yasser Arafat, and the changing perceptions of Palestinian groups towards the question of Jewish identity and Israeli statehood.

Towards the end of his life, Said espoused a humanist vision of a unified secular state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, based on equal rights and universal suffrage. The reality on the ground in Israel-Palestine suggests a one-state reality is already playing out. The result, more than ever, is that Said’s ideals need to be pushed to the fore.


2. The Gun and the Olive Branch
by David Hirst

"

Few volumes during the past half-century have been as contentious about the Israel-Palestine conflict as David Hirst’s The Gun and the Olive Branch. First published in 1977, it was initially savaged in the UK and ignored in the US (the first 14 pages of subsequent editions detail this).

Hirst’s narrative was the first of international note to question the pro-Israeli orthodoxy about the state’s creation as well as highlighting how Washington and other Western capitals had fuelled the conflict.

That Hirst, a reporter for The Guardian, had meticulously researched and presented his argument – the book comes in at more than 600 pages – only seemed to inflame his critics more.

But Hirst is even-handed in his coverage: he apportions blame to both sides, but is especially adept at examining the Israeli role in the conflict. Through this he pre-dated the later work of Israel’s New Historian revisionist school of academics, including Illan Pappe (below), who challenged the until-then accepted view of the state’s formation and past.

The most recent edition of The Gun and the Olive Branch was published in 2003, near two decades ago, during which so much has come to pass between Israel and Palestine. But Hirst’s work is still as relevant as ever: his analysis of the routes of the conflict, going back as far as the 1880s, are peerless and set the groundwork for what has come to pass since.


3. Palestine
by Joe Sacco

"

Palestineby Joe Sacco, is one of the best reads for a novice attempting to understand the situation in the land between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean – and not just because it is a graphic novel, a medium historically dismissed as juvenile by many.

Based on reporting by Sacco from Israel-Palestine during 1991 and 1992 (the tail end of the first Intifada and before the Oslo Accords), it goes into uncompromising detail about life in the occupied territories and the daily occupation and injustices faced by Palestinians.

Sacco doesn’t shy away from the personal: although a self-professed sympathiser with the Palestinian cause, he notes that a formative moment in his understanding of the conflict was the news in 1985 of the murder of Leon Klinghoffer. The 69-year old disabled Jewish-American was killed by the Palestinian Liberation Front after it hijacked a cruise liner, something which Sacco says angered and discomforted him.

Throughout, Sacco presents the lives of real people – both Palestinians and Israelis – with unflinching honesty, resorting to neither polemic nor hyperbole.


4. Palestine +100: Stories from a Century after the Nakba
edited by Basma Ghalayini

"

In the introduction to Palestine +100: Stories from a Century after the Nakba, a powerful collection of short stories in which 12 Palestinian writers imagine life in 2048, editor Basma Ghalayini considers why Palestinian writers in general eschew the genre of science fiction.

“The cruel present (and the traumatic past),” she writes, “have too firm a grip on Palestinian writers’ imaginations for fanciful ventures into possible futures.”

Palestine +100 is a collection informed by catastrophe – the forced expulsion of 700,000 Palestinian Arabs in 1948 to create the state of Israel – that triggered a refugee crisis, the consequences of which reverberate to this day.

The ideas are myriad and eclectic: they include Saleem Haddad’s Song of the Birds (the teen sister of an older brother who killed himself sees her world disintegrate – literally); Anwar Hamed’s The Key (Palestinian ghosts defy technology to torment the Israel of the future); and Ahmed Masoud’s Application 39 (Gaza City hosts the 2048 Olympic Games)

A worthy collection that excavates and probes, reacquainting the West with the horrors of Palestinian existence right now.


5. The Butterfly’s Burden
by Mahmoud Darwish, translated by Fady Joudah

"

The oeuvre of acclaimed poet Mahmoud Darwish is too large to simply select one collection over another. With more than 30 published books and poems translated into 35 languages, he is deservedly one of the Arab world’s most famous and prolific writers.

The Butterfly’s Burden pulls together three of his previously published collections: The Stranger’s Bed (1998); State of Siege (2002), his response to the second intifada; and Don’t Apologize for What You’ve Done (2003), all published in Arabic following his return to Ramallah after 26 years in exile.

In much of his work he mixed modern poetry with Arabic rhythmical meters: subjects included the Palestinian revolution of 1965-1993 and the mass exodus of 1948

The Butterfly’s Burden was awarded the Saif Ghobash-Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation in 2008, the same year that Darwish died.

It’s also worth tracking down Palestine as Metaphor, a collection of interviews with Darwish. Published last year, it includes an incisive piece with Israeli poet and magazine editor Helit Yeshurun which explores exile, memory, history and belonging through Darwish’s clear, just and poetic vision.


6. A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples
by Illan Pappe

"

During the 1980s and 1990s,  a new generation of Israeli historians sought to challenge long accepted narratives about the creation of the Israeli state and the nature of Zionism.

Arguably the most famous among these New Historians, as they are known, is Ilan Pappe, who more than anyone else broke with the establishment’s account of what happened to the native Arab population of Palestine in 1948 during Israel’s “independence war”.

He is one of the few Israeli voices to question the legitimacy of the Israeli state in its current form, for which he has earned much opprobrium from Israelis, while attracting also acclaim and support from activists, intellectuals and academics worldwide.

In A History of Modern Palestine, Pappe depicts a land which, rather than being made to flourish by intrepid pioneers, was subjected to ethnic cleansing and premised a project of demographic and cultural superiority. He rejects the viability of a two-state solution and instead offers a state where all the inhabitants of the land are on an equal footing.

Also see The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, where Pappe demonstrates how Zionist leaders planned the expulsion of Palestinians from March 1948 onwards through intimidation and destruction, challenging the official Israeli account currently accepted by many in Washington.


7. Returning to Haifa
by Ghassan Kanafani

"

Read Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” and one thing soon becomes very stark: the US administration has no conception of what Palestine means to Palestinians.

Washington has no idea why a return to their homes is such a core tenet of Palestinian identity today – even among the younger generations who have never been able to set foot on the lands of their elders.

Ghassan Kanafani’s short story Returning to Haifa, which features in his collection Palestine’s Children, sets this into perspective with its focus on a Palestinian couple coming back to the home from which they had to flee 20 years earlier

Its poignancy comes in how Kanafani demonstrates what Palestine means for refugees, including their grief for what has been lost and their steadfast determination of fighting for a future.

Also see Kanafani’s short fiction story The Land of the Sad Orange, which focuses on the journey of one Palestinian family from Jaffa, expelled from their homes during the Nakba, and the consequent strain on their mental health, not least how Palestinian children cease being children as they carry the weight of displacement.


8. The Palestinians
by Elias Sanbar, translated by John Tittensor, Nigel Palmer

"

Palestine is one of the most frequently photographed places in the world – yet, according to Sanbar, real life is almost always missing from photographs taken mainly by visitors, with their focus on conflict.

Sanbar’s avowed intention with The Palestinians is to reconstruct their history in a book which he titles a “private album”.

The result is an alternative and in-depth vision of Palestine over the course of two centuries, a highly symbolic place whose people have been both captured and abstracted by the camera.

The contents of the book include themes such as pilgrims and tourists, intermingled with coverage of everyday life and uprisings.

A 2015 winner of the Palestine Book Awards, The Palestinians offers what writer Amelia Smith called “an alternative way to look at Palestine, a glimpse beyond the headlines. But it also leaves you with a question: How do these “alternative” images come to be adopted as the “normal” lens through which the world views Palestine?”


"

9. Gate of the Sun
by Elias Khoury, translated by Humphrey Davies

Although a work of fiction by a Lebanese author, Gate of the Sun is informed by Elias Khoury’s extensive interviews and research with refugees, lending the novel its humanity and spiritual resonance.

A meandering journey alternating between the fate of Palestinians in their homeland post-Nakba, and those exiled in refugee camps in Lebanon, it is a moving testament to those who have suffered occupation and mass expulsion.

Indeed, no less than Edward Said described this epic and its 1,001 nights-style tapestry as giving “voice to rooted exiles and trapped refugees, to dissolving boundaries and changing identities, to radical demands and new languages”.

In the wake of the “deal of the century”, it makes for a moving testament to those who have suffered occupation and mass expulsion.


"

10. Palestinian Walks: Notes on a Vanishing Landscape
by Raja Shehadeh

It is impossible to address the Israel-Palestine conflict without considering land and the occupied West Bank’s changing landscape. Shehadeh addresses this through his love of “sarha” – walking or roaming in Arabic.

Through a series of seven hikes in the West Bank hills, which span 27 years, Shehadeh describes the wildness, abundance and beauty of Palestine.

But then there is the sadness, frustration and injustice of that land being snatched, severed and seized.

Palestinian Walks, which won the Orwell Prize in 2008, is also notable for the contemplations that Shehadeh weaves through his wanderings, from Oslo’s inherent failures to the growing realisation that two peoples must come to terms with one another.


"

11. My People Shall Live: The Autobiography of a Revolutionary
by Leila Khaled

Leila Khaled’s autobiography was published when she only 29, usually a premature age for someone wanting to document their life’s achievements. But by then Khaled, who gained notoriety as a plane hijacker and icon of Palestinian resistance, had already experienced more than most people manage during a lifetime.

Published in 1973, My People Shall Live details Khaled’s early years with her family fleeing the catastrophe that engulfed the Palestinians after the creation of Israel.

She then lives as a refugee in Lebanon and Kuwait, joins the left-wing Arab Nationalist Movement in Beirut at 15, and later becomes part of the Marxist-Leninist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian (PFLP).

Some of the strongest moments are the interaction between her life and that of her family, such as her mother’s disbelief when she is jailed for a hijacking: “I know my daughter … she’s not like they are saying, all this beauty!”

More than anything My People Shall Live depicts the events, tragedies and injustices that create a “terrorist” in the eyes of the Israeli government and its allies.


12. A Child in Palestine: The Cartoons of Naji al-Ali
by Naji al-Ali

"

If there was ever a book that Kushner needs to read then it’s A Child in Palestine, which beautifully presents Naji al-Ali’s illustrations of Handala, an innocent refugee boy who has become a symbol of Palestinian resistance.

For anyone who’s visited the Middle East, Handala is a common sight in souks and bazaars, his likeness adorning keychains, necklaces and T-shirts among other regalia. He’s also graffitied on the Separation Wall in Palestine, the pyramids of Cairo and the famed old city of Sanaa.

Shoeless and in tatters, Handala’s face is never shown to the audience. Like his creator Ali, who was also a refugee, Handala is forced to confront the tragedies of the region at a terribly young age.

Through his creation, Ali’s sharp and critical commentary on regional politics and the inhumanity of war has left an indelible mark, which few cartoonists have been able to replicate.

The book is short, with Ali’s cartoons filling up most of its 117 pages. But it resonates, along with the memory of Naji al-Ali: the brilliant cartoonist was gunned down in London in 1987, three years after fleeing Kuwait, where he had received death threats. His killers have never been caught.


"

13. Mornings in Jenin
by Susan Abulhawa

Susan Abulhawa’s novel is an angry and sad work that insists you see the Palestinian experience, from the 1948 Nakba to the Lebanese civil war, from a deeply personal perspective.

At the centre of the narrative is Amal, orphaned during the 1967 war and the victim of multiple displacements.

There are also her twin brothers, one brought up as an Israeli, the other a proud Palestinian embittered by tragedy.

The contrasting scenes of bucolic pre-Nakba village life and refugee camps in Jenin and Beirut are described in Mornings in Jenin in stark relief by Abdulhawa. And while Palestinian life and culture are enjoyed and treasured, they are eventually torn apart by Israeli attacks.


"

14. Teaching Plato in Palestine
by Carlos Fraenkel

Neo-conservatives are famously fond of the ancient Greek historian Thucydides –  but perhaps Kushner might find another fifth-century Athenian a better frame of reference when it comes to the Middle East.

Plato has, unfairly, a pretty poor reputation thanks to the philosopher Karl Popper. But in this essay, Carlos Fraenkel suggests several of the Greek thinker’s notions can help untangle the natural biases that each side has in Israel and Palestine.

Who decides what justice is? Have you truly examined the experience of another? Is non-violent resistance helpful in attracting support – or does it merely make you a doormat for more powerful forces?

Teaching Plato in Palestine posits these kinds of questions and others in the context of the occupation, post-classical Arab philosophers’ own reception of Plato, and how they relate to Islam and Judaism. Required reading for those wanting a different take on the conflict.


"

15. Shatila Stories

Shatila Stories is a collaborative novel written by nine Palestinian and Syrian refugees (names below) from Lebanon’s Shatila refugee camp, described here as “a prison without walls”.

Initially set up in 1949 to house Palestinian refugees, it has also come to house a recent influx of Syrian refugees from the conflict of the past decade.

Its population is now estimated to stand at more than 40,000 for a space that covers barely one square kilometre.

The authors are mostly novices, who use real life experiences – such as the very real risk of being killed by low-hanging electricity cables, which are tangled with water pipes – to inform their fiction. Through this they present a startling and vivid idea of life in the camp.

The co-authors are Omar Khaled Ahmad, Nibal Alalo, Safa Khaled Algharbawi, Omar Abdellatif Alndaf, Rayan Mohamad Sukkar, Safiya Badran, Fatima Omar Ghazawi, Samih Mahmoud, Hiba Marei, with translation by Nashwa Gowanlock.


"

16. Hamas Contained
by Tareq Baconi

You’d be forgiven, after reading the “deal of the century” proposal, for thinking Hamas is to blame for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza rather than, say, the Israel-imposed siege that has now lasted for more than 12 years.

In that case, read Hamas Contained: The Rise and Pacification of Palestinian Resistance, Tareq Baconi’s groundbreaking history based on interviews with leaders and the group’s own writings, for an informed and critical take on the movement and a deeper understanding of what has motivated it over the past 30 years.

Most people learning about Gaza from the mainstream media, Baconi argues, will either see it as a strip of land destroyed with unprecedented humanitarian suffering; or a haven run by an unruly organisation that has taken its people hostage in order to run a campaign of terror against Israel.

Both views are reductionist and unhelpful in understanding either the movement or why two million Palestinians are crammed into a land mass the size of Philadelphia today. Reading Baconi’s history is a perfect remedy.


"

17. The Woman from Tantoura
by Radwa Ashour, translated by Kay Heikkinen

Ruqayya is a young Palestinian girl, who somehow survives the ethnic cleansing of her small village, Tantoura. It shapes her life as she ultimately carries the weight of that experience into her old age.

With The Woman from Tantoura, Egyptian novelist Radwa Ashour has crafted a beautiful story that captures the essence of the Palestinian experience through Ruqayya’s existence.

The story takes as its focus the cross-border, multi-generational trauma to which Palestinians refuse to succumb in their relentless search for meaning.

The result is a haunting story about loss, survival, memory, identity, and the persistence to return home – no matter how long it takes.


"

18. I Saw Ramallah
by Mourid Barghouti, translated by Adhaf Soueif

In his forward to this memoir, Edward Said calls I Saw Ramallah “one of the finest existential accounts of Palestinian displacement that we now have”. There are few higher endorsements.

A renowned poet, Mourid Barghouti here tries his hand at prose, with natural poetic flourishes of course. Barghouti was locked out of his homeland by the 1967 war while studying in Egypt.

His memoir chronicles the strangeness of his return 30 years later: the diminished waters of the River Jordan he crosses, the absence of lost relatives and a people forever coming to terms with the violence that has cost them so much.

Ramallah, too, is a much-changed place. Barghouti finds some humour in this, but also there is an enduring melancholy that with so much time passed, home is not what it once was. Though he has returned, the poet will be eternally homeless.


"

19. Words Under the Words: Selected Poems
by Naomi Shihab Nye

Any of Nye’s books are a pleasurable and informative introduction to the Palestinian experience, but a good place to start is Words under the Words.

It’s a collection of selected poems from her previous books: Different Ways to Pray, Yellow Glove, and National Poetry Series winner Hugging the Jukebox.

Having grown up both in Palestine and the US, and travelling the world to deliver workshops and talks, Nye calls herself “the wandering poet”. She writes in English about subjects close to her heart, including her mixed heritage (she is the daughter of a Palestinian refugee father and an American mother) and being Arab American.

A Palestinian Might Say is as good a place as any to sample her work

A Palestinian Might Say
What?
You don’t feel at home in your country,
almost overnight?
All the simple things
you cared about,
maybe took for granted..
you feel
insulted, invisible?
Almost as if you’re not there?
But you’re there

Nye also writes for children and is a professor of Creative Writing at Texas State University.


"

20. Baddawi
by Leila Abdelrazaq

For younger Palestinians in the diaspora, much of their connection to their homeland and understanding of the traumatic events is understood through the recollections of their elders.

In the graphic novel Baddawi, Leila Abdelrazaq draws from her own father’s tales of childhood in the eponymous refugee camp in north Lebanon as well as his youth growing up in Beirut.

Somewhat controversially, Israeli and Lebanese aggressors are depicted only abstractly: this is a piece whose focus is very much on the Palestinian experience alone.

Threaded throughout this occasionally bleak work are patterns based on tatreez Palestinian embroidery, a poignant symbol of Palestine’s enduring folk culture.


"

21. The Sea Cloak & Other Stories
by Nayrouz Qarmout

The Sea Cloak & Other Stories is a deceptively short volume – but while the 11 stories initially appear easily digestible, they are likely to leave a sour taste.

Here Qarmout portrays daily life in Gaza, “the world’s largest prison” for a band of mostly female characters.

For anyone looking to experience what constitutes “normal life”, this collection is an introduction to what it feels like to come of age in this charged environment. There are the games played by children, such as “Arabs and Jews”, but also the traditions and heritage of a culture so often misrepresented.

A writer, journalist and women’s rights campaigner, Qarmout doesn’t portray her characters as victims: nor does she shy away from expressing the restrictive realities of her traditional upbringing either.


22. The Earth in the Attic
by Fady Joudah

"

And the sea, each time it reaches the shore,
Becomes a bird to see of the land
What it otherwise wouldn’t.
And the wind through the trees
Is the sea coming home.

The plight of Palestinian refugees, those who’ve inherited the intergenerational trauma of displacement, is often hard to articulate.

Poets like the great Mahmoud Darwish encapsulated the subtlety and pained beauty of exile, and of trying to retain the soil, both literal and metaphorical, carried by those forced to leave their homes in the Nakba of 1948 and subsequent migrations thereafter.

His work also gave birth to a second, a third and a fourth generation of Palestinians dreaming of return, and transforming that yearning into a romance of words.

Fady Joudah is one of those voices, and a powerful one. The Palestinian-American is the child of refugees and grew up between Libya and Saudi Arabia, before pursuing his career as a doctor in Texas.

His poetry – such as The Earth in the Attic – is adorned with references to his humanitarian missions, bringing him in contact with painful stories that mimic those of his own parents. Like Darwish, he leans on a connection with trees, birds and sea allowing them to speak on his behalf.

His painstaking translation of the great works of Darwish and Ghassan Zaqtan has earned him accolades, as well as a reputation for bridging the rooted tradition of Palestinian poetry-as-testament with a new audience who needs to hear and read it.


"

23. Dreaming of Freedom: Palestinian Child Prisoners Speak
edited by Norma Hashim, translated by Yousef M. Aljamal

The Israeli justice system has long been accused of being one-sided and unsympathetic to Palestinian citizens of Israel, with a conviction rate of between 85 and 93 percent.

In occupied Palestinian Territories however, the reality is grimmer. Palestinians arrested by Israeli forces in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem are mostly tried in military courts, with a conviction rate of close to 100 percent, according to Human Rights Watch.

Many of them are children, detained and charged with “security violations” that can include throwing rocks, waving Palestinian flags or simply protesting.

Once they’ve spent time in Israeli jails, these juveniles, and often their family members, are then denied work and travel visas, leaving them economically and politically vulnerable.

The story of Ahed Tamimi, the 16-year-old activist from Nabi Saleh sent to jail for attempting to stop Israeli soldiers from entering her home, shone a light on the systemic practice of child detentions.

Dreaming of Freedom: Palestinian Child Prisoners Speak, which includes a forward by Richard Falk, is a powerful collection of first-hand accounts from other Palestinian minors told from inside prisons in their own words.

Their harrowing stories of torture, humiliation and repeated incarceration tell of a generation confined within a punitive system that criminalises their existence. But there are also stories of hope, of the dreams only children can retain against often insurmountable odds.


"

24. Before Their Diaspora
by Walid Khalidi

Walid Khalidi, a Jerusalem-born Palestinian historian, takes the reader on a visual journey into the lives of Palestinians in their homeland before they were expelled in 1948.

Here he has carefully handpicked 500 photographs depicting different aspects of Palestinian society between the Ottoman rule of Palestine in 1876 until the end of the British mandate in May 1948. Their subjects include not only inhabitants of the region but also others among the diaspora in the UK and the US.

Each photograph, sourced from public or private collections, is accompanied with well-researched captions from Arabic, English and Hebrew sources.

There are few better volumes for a visual record of the rich history of the land and its people than Before Their Diaspora, from children in schools and farmers in their fields to busy city centres and acts of resistance. A must-read if you wish a better understanding of Palestinian heritage.


"

25. The Book of Disappearance
by Ibitisam Azem, translated by Sinan Antoon

For her novel The Book of Disappearance, Azem takes an interesting hypothesis: what if Israelis woke up one day to discover that all the Palestinians had disappeared?

Instead of instant celebration, what follows in her novel is initial chaos with no one left to drive the buses, deliver the newspapers or run the cafes. Palestinian prisoners are also no longer in their cells.

Azem’s narrative is a work of fantasy, but one which features historical context in the form of stories from 1948, as told to one of the protagonists by his grandmothers, which he then records in a notebook.

This record eventually lands in the hands of his Israeli friend and neighbour who then makes initially hesitant steps at usurping his disappeared friend’s home.

The Palestinians may be gone, and their houses claimed, one by one, by those who remain – but what The Book of Disappearance leaves the reader with is a sense of palpable eeriness of the ghosts and memories which do not go away.

Miscegenation as elephant in the room

February 12, 2020

Miscegenation as elephant in the room

Source

by Denis A. Conroy for The Saker Blog

In the capitalist West, a reinvention of bourgeois culture is continuously expressed through ownership of devises that legitimise power. Alternating forms of bourgeois culture come and go to allow the public to toy with alternative bourgeois values, but never with the idea of alternatives ‘to’ bourgeois values as such. The net result of all of this is that the public is permitted to pay lip service to democracy while being forced to submit to a stitch-up…or, an exogenous variable whose time-line is no longer relevant but continues to do what it has always done, allow elites to emasculate the public voice. The best example of this is to be found in private narratives that exist for the purpose of legitimising the private sector’s methods of wealth extraction by promoting a trickle-down version of philanthropic mush to those who passively accept the status quo.

This capitalist trajectory is indubitably observed in the stepping-stones that history’s dealers put in place for themselves to achieve positions of pre-eminence. From Mayer Amschel Rothchild(ren), banker, 1744-1812, to our present time, dealers have made an artform of dealership, and the current President of the USA…Donald Trump is no exception. It’s his form of exceptionality (make America great again) that we need to look more closely at.

It wasn’t serendipity that enabled elites to acquire the power needed to lord it over the masses, but rather an ability to trade a passage toward creating a centre that could ultimately achieve an institutionally sacrosanct level of security for themselves…the ‘too-big-to-fail’ phenomenon we live with today. As the fundamental building-blocks of a ‘free state’ emerged in America, a branding process was devised that would enable mainstream media and Hollywood to collaborate in imposing a narrative upon an unwitting public. As the old-world class system was introduced into the new world, it became evident that history was repeating itself; people were provided with a catechism by the elites…a propagandistic one…and they swallowed it hook, line, and sinker.

Thereafter, believing that they were baptised and rendered secure in the holy waters of patriotic impunity, they set to performing their anointed role as cheerleaders to the wacky sheriffs who ruled over them. A too-big-to-fail corporate posse came into existence to convince them…bully fashion…that America’s destiny lay in colonizing the world.

Witness the American public’s incontrovertible need to believe in their own exceptionality. They swallow the gruel that their masters feed them without it ever affecting their conscience…their rampaging foreign policy attests to this! If Trump’s blunt assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, or his administration’s Middle Eastern “deal of the century” signifies anything, it is that Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” acknowledges the success of indoctrination vis-à-vis myth. It is the elite who possess the power to awakens an innate call-to-arms mentality in the public when they choose to.

As a consequence of this, the collective mind is alerted to the possibility of losing ‘top dog’ status and it’s self-appointed role in the world. The massive military budget attests to the fact that the myth of American supremacy is to be aggressively pursued at all costs…and considering the stockpile of nuclear missiles, one must assume that this myth has been swallowed hook, line and sinker by the masses.

Washington’s commitment to power owes much to His or Her Majesties Governments when it comes to deal making. The principles acted upon during the time of the First World War are the same principles that explain the current American imperial foreign policy…focus on the money trail and to hell with insignificant natives as they have insignificant cash resources.

On the subject of insignificant natives, the White House published a 180-page document recently entitled “Peace to Prosperity: Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People”…it had all the Balfourian myopia of a similar declaration produced in 1917.

BALFOUR DECLARATION

Foreign Office

November 2nd. 1917

Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.

“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish People, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Author(s)Walter Rothschild

Arthur Balfour

Leo Amery

Lord Milner

On reading the above document, one cannot but conclude that America and Zionist Israel have one notable trait in common, the ability to feel exceptional despite the horror their settler cultures imposed on the indigenous people whose countries they have occupied. That their energies go into replicating bourgeois class values, there can be no doubt. The stratified model of class that underpins Western culture, now sadly in need of an overhaul, is of itself a blinkered vision of the world and irredeemably flawed. What the above document reveals, is the Anglo-Zionist banking system’s propensity to see the world in terms of ‘low-hanging-fruit’, especially when it is ripe for the picking.

Donald Trump’s cave-man determination and Bibi Netanyahu’s fake and sugary comity do little to disguise the fact that they are in the business of extracting what blood remains of Palestine’s corporeal existence. A beautiful country exposed to collusion and perfidy at the hands of Anglo-Zionist whose intentions all along were to devour Palestine. The duplicitous process that commenced in 1917…moved from London to Washington, where Harry Truman (1948), while acting as midwife in an onerous deal at a banker’s tea party, set in motion a move that was little more than approving the transfer of a parasite into the host body… Palestine!

That the parasite has devoured most of Palestine in this time frame, seems of little matter to Trump or his ilk. In effect, it is a deal that runs roughshod over the concept of human rights. Indeed, the cabal Trump colludes with convey the impression that they would have no compunction in stripping the Palestinians of the last vestiges of their heritage. But the truth is, contemporary elites can do deceitful things and they are especially capable of repeating this piece of infamy yet again.

And what do we Westerners do about that? Sadly, the answer is nothing, nothing, nothing, because we no longer seem to feel the rapture that comes with being alive. And not being alive, we have become inured to violence. It’s o.k. when Jared Kushner-real-estate-investor extraordinaire, Donald Trump-wheeler-dealer extraordinaire and Bibi Netanyahu-purveyor-of-biblical- myths extraordinaire come together vis-à-vis America’s elitist media to promote more cynical ‘honest-broker-tropes’ to obfuscate the truth behind the occupation of Palestine.

Trump, it must be said, is just one more presidential enabler doing it for Zionist Israel. One can imagine Don phoning Bib and congratulating him; “Bib…honey, you shrunk the Palestinian kids and you have our blessing, its’ a proud day for Zion!” It appears that the intention all along was to reduce Palestine to a few Bantustans. The deal, which proposes granting Zionist Israel all of the West Bank land where it wants to build its settlements beggars belief.

The alliance between America and Zionist Israel is based on religious mythology. Religious mythology, unlike secular mythology (or unreligious stories) tends to be male oriented and its iterations tend toward defending a patriarchal or tribal premise. In the Jewish context, it is primal to the point of loathing the concept of miscegenation…a threatening concept that stubbornly repeats itself in religious myths…and much written about in the Old Testament. It appears that Jewish religious mythology brought forth a phobic fear of emasculation that has now taken a turn for the worse in our modern era. A new iteration involving assets and concomitant devises is expressing itself in a most retrograde fashion…is phobia becoming viral, we need to ask ourselves?

In Zionist Israel, a new milieu has come into existence to launch tribalism into a secondary phase of identity politics. A phase shaped by religious mythology implying something strange and undemocratic. If you are not Jewish, then you are of a lesser stripe…or, of no worth at all!

Perspectives from beyond Zionist Israel might suggest that there is a breeding program afoot that may intensify the Jewish propensity to generate entities that end up looking like angry Meerkats wearing yarmulkes while snarling over territorial rights that keep on stacking up…and surely there must exist somewhere in their bible a text that says that God gave the entire world to them?

On the other hand, America’s part in the alliance is somewhat different. Their brand of religious fervour is part New and part Old Testament but laced with a uniquely American brand of evangelical hubris. It acts out it’s narrative on an industrial scale so as to find traction with the national psyche which loves all things big. It’s the good-guy-bad-guy component that gets it to the Box Office every time. It needs to capitalise on the myth that America as a country exists for the good of mankind. Being good guys (?) they, like the Israelis, need a very large military capability as back-up to their presence on mother earth.

So, it was against this background that Russian Jews…and there were many of them who came to America in the early part of the 20th century…to apply their talents to what might have been thought of as an amorphous culture rich for the picking. They were very talented in matters of business. Upon gaining ownership of media and having become extremely active in the development of Hollywood etc., their influence in American was soon very apparent. As time went by, the general population failed to notice that Zionism, based on religious mythology had entered the body-politic of America’s heartland to reshape the American dream as a corporate one. It was this trend that killed any chance of the Palestinians receiving justice.

To many in the outside world, their voice within the American narrative had become disproportionately righteous, and their use of money to buy support for the colonization of Palestine so egregious, that more and more people across the world were sickened by their continues carping on about the Holocaust…as though it were the only one that mattered…which many in the outside world noticed was used as a means to deflect attention away from criticism.

Eventually the world outside the American-Jewish nexus became weary of Jewish insistence that they were the only voice on the block that had credibility. They began to feel that the kerfuffle surrounding anti-Semitism was one where you were expected to passively accept the righteousness of a Judaic ‘right’ to interpret their own narrative as faultless, and if you questioned this premise, you were against them…anti-Semitic! They were demanding that their interpretations, in matters relating to the holocaust, be taken as gospel.

All of the above was allowed to happen because coup-d’etats are a feature of the American way of doing business. Yesterday it was colonial Europe (foremostly the British empire), today its’ the USA who have the gall to make proposals that concern six million Palestine lives with all the nonchalance attributable to the puerile of mind.

At what point did vulgar materialism begin to shrink the Western imagination? Does quantifying the aspirational desires of America’s notion of freedom distort the amplitude of the American dream? Do Americans and Israelis believe that only they can achieve emancipation per acquisition of other people’s assets? They both like to think that it is their God-given right to own the countries they occupy. It is already clear that these are the defining features of 21st. century statecraft and Trump and his administration is there to do deals with his mate Bibi that entails suffocating what is left of Palestine. If this is America as leader of the democratic world, God help us all!

But the multiplicity of energies that live within the strange narrative that is sold as the American way of doing business remains captive to the whims of the media. Self-congratulatory vectors operate 24/7 in the hope of keeping the average Joe and Joie focused on the splendours and opportunities that exist for them in their market culture. On the home front, political chicanery has trumped the rule of law and foreign policy has become just another way of shafting foreigners. In the main, matters of morality and lack of accountability have become de rigueur. Since money became the elixir of life, the dirty linen factor behind Donald Trump’s impeachment merits little more than a yawn. It seems that the deeds of the elite need to be kept hidden from public scrutiny.

But what is most strange with the American way of doing business is how elites have managed to reverse the roles of journalists who would otherwise disclose truth. An in-your-face culture has come into existence to target whistle-blowers and muffle their voices.

An excellent article by Caitlin Johnstone entitled, “The Primary Mechanism of Oppression is Not Hidden” (February 5, 2020) and published in Consortiumnews.

She writes;

“The key to turning this ship around does not lie hidden somewhere behind a veil of government opacity. It lies in you. It lies in all of us. We can begin awakening our fellow humans right now by attacking the narrative management of the propaganda machine that sits right in front of us, unarmoured and unhidden.”

In conclusion, it is refreshing to encounter writers whose clarity of mind and insights into mythology remain free of religious myths.

John Campbell, the author of “The Power of Myths” is one such writer.

“People say that we’re all seeking a meaning for life.

I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. Rather I think we’re seeking an experience of being alive, so that our life expressions will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture to be alive.”

Lets’ wish it to be so for the Palestinians too!!


Denis A. Conroy, Freelance Writer, Australia

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

By Jonathan Cook

Source

Jared Kushner 6dc0b

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indeed it is.

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

Preposterous conditions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impertinent questions

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

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

Kushner said:

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

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

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

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

Oppressive by design

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freudian slip

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

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

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

An unabashed partisan

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

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

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

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

CNN

@CNN

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

Embedded video

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

The Shame of the Century: Kushner’s Deal Is Dead on Arrival

The “Deal of the Century” has been written by Israeli officials

By Steven Sahiounie

Global Research, February 04, 2020

Imagine a lawsuit being tried in a courtroom.  The case is coming to a close, and one side is sure of their position of being ‘in the right’, and then the opposing side offers a ‘deal’ to settle the case out of court.  However, the deal they offer is empty and does not satisfy the basic legal claims. They decide to reject the offer, and wait for the chance of winning their full rights, depending on the justice system, and the merits of their case as presented.

Details of the deal

The “Deal of the Century” has been written by Israeli officials, which is made clear not only from the style but content as well. President Trump announced the deal in the White House’s East Room on January 28, with his guest Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and others, giving Israel full control of the settlements and Jerusalem as its undivided capital. The illegal settlements will now be considered the same as any other part of Israel under Israeli law and by the US. Netanyahu was thrilled that Israel can now annex land in Judea and Samaria, which previously had threatened to bring sanctions in the UN Security Council.  “The idea of dividing Jerusalem is buried,” Netanyahu said while adding “The idea of returning to 1967 lines as we knew it is buried. The right of return is buried; not even one refugee will be entering Israel.” Additionally, the IDF and Israeli security forces will have access to defend all territory west of the Jordan River, and  Israel will control “air, sea, land and electromagnetic fields,” according to Netanyahu. The US will accept Israeli sovereignty over all Jerusalem neighborhoods within the security fence.

The US deal sets a plan for a Palestinian state if they meet conditions within four years, including stopping: terrorism; payments to terrorists; armed resistance. If the conditions are met, then a Palestinian state could be recognized, with limited sovereignty, as Israel would have full security control.

This is an American plan, and an American map, and not binding on anyone.  Some would call it a diktat, defined as ‘a harsh settlement unilaterally imposed on a defeated nation’, or ‘terms of capitulation.’

The two-state solution

The two-state solution has for decades been the basis of negotiations in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and has been the official policy of the United States, the United Nations, the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Beginning in 1948, Palestinians fled, or were expelled from their homes; however, the UN Resolution 194 was adopted on December 11, 1948, which guarantees everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. Following the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, the UN adopted Security Council Resolution 242. The resolution calls for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the occupied territories, adopted unanimously on November 22, 1967, and those are the borders referred to in the two-state solution. Jerusalem was to be divided into an Israeli West and a Palestinian East.

The Trump deal has bulldozed the two-state solution.

Resistance

Resistance to the occupation of Palestine was most often coordinated by a committee made up of local social and political leaders, who held strikes, protests, and general political activism. The occupied people supported tax revolts, general strikes, teach-ins, prisoner hunger strikes, as Israeli law allows for the arrest and detention of Palestinians without charge or trial.

In 2005 the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement began, targeting corporations and institutions that reinforce Israeli occupation and the denial of Palestinian human rights.

All nonviolent protests have been brutally suppressed and popular resistance leaders have been imprisoned, exiled, and killed.  All public gatherings of more than 10 people are forbidden by Israeli military orders enforced by the Israeli military in the occupied Palestinian territory.  Nonviolent protest actions and public political and/or cultural gatherings of Palestinians in areas under Israeli control are broken up by the Israeli military and police, often using tear gas, pepper spray, water cannons, rubber bullets, live ammunition, and physical force, resulting in deaths and injuries.

Apartheid

The ‘Deal of the Century’ regurgitates apartheid, a racist political system, and we only have to look to Israeli historian Uri Davis’s book “Apartheid Israel”.

Under the Trump deal, the Palestinians may have limited autonomy within a homeland that consists of multiple non-connecting enclaves scattered throughout the West Bank and Gaza. Israel would retain security control over the enclaves and would continue to control borders, airspace, aquifers, maritime waters, and electromagnetic fields. Israel would be allowed to annex the Jordan Valley and Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The Palestinians would be allowed to choose their leaders but would have no political rights in Israel, the state that rules over them.

The Trump deal for racial control and segregation harkens back to South Africa, before the ANC and armed resistance groups fought a bloody fight, which had international support, ultimately winning their freedom and rights with Nelson Mandela at the helm.

Like South Africa’s apartheid, the Trump deal gives the Palestinians autonomy over matters like education and healthcare, while trade, immigration, and security would remain under Israeli control. It would give Israelis a false sense of security while living under a regime based on racial oppression. The deal may constitute a crime against humanity, under the Rome Statute (1998), since it violates the rights and dignity of the Palestinian people.

President Trump

President Trump has done more for Israel than any previous US President.  He allowed the personal ‘pet-project’ of his son in law, Jared Kushner, an Orthodox Jew, to reverse decades of US foreign policy. Many have questioned what gives the US the power to decide that Palestinians will live under apartheid?

Occupation

According to Noam Chomsky, Gaza is the world’s largest open-air prison, where some 1.5 million people on a roughly 140-square-mile strip of land are subject to random terror and arbitrary punishment, with no purpose other than to humiliate and degrade. He wrote, a visitor to Gaza can’t help feeling disgusted at the obscenity of the occupation, compounded with guilt, because it is within our power to bring the suffering to an end and allow the Samidin to enjoy the lives of peace and dignity that they deserve.

Israelis don’t like the plan

Yisrael Beytenu leader, Avigdor Liberman, said: “The Trump plan is an escape plan from the real problems on the agenda” for Netanyahu, and the PM is using the deal to hide from real domestic issues he refuses to deal with. While Trump has been impeached by the House, Netanyahu has been indicted by the courts, and it seems the two wounded leaders are using the deal as camouflage.

Palestinian Christians

Daoud Kuttab, a Palestinian journalist and secretary of the Jordan Evangelical Council in Amman, said after reading the deal, it “sounded more like a surrender dictate than a peace plan. The fact that of 13 million Palestinians, the Americans couldn’t find a single one to attend [the rollout] spoke volumes in its one-sidedness,” he added,  “It is a surrender document that will lay the grounds for Palestinians to continue to live under Israeli discrimination. This is a formula for further violence and unrest.”

The deal allows Israel to keep land they have managed illegally to grab, while they promise to pause for four years while the Palestinians capitulate to unjust terms, but the only offer on the table. If the Palestinians decide the deal is unacceptable, then Israel will undoubtedly begin to grab even more lands and justify their actions by pointing the finger of blame at the other side.  This is the likely outcome unless those insisting on justice will intervene from outside and exert pressure on Israel.

*

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

This article was originally published on Mideast Discourse.

Steven Sahiounie is a political commentator. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from Jerusalem PostThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Steven Sahiounie, Global Research, 2020

Trump Green Lights Greater Israel

Palestinians lose again

By Philip Giraldi

Global Research, February 04, 2020

Many interested parties have already weighed in on President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century.” Even though it sounds like a phrase that a used car dealer would use, the “Deal” is dead serious in that it effectively denies to the Palestinians in perpetuumany political entity that has attributes of genuine sovereignty. Israel, which has just postponed a vote to immediately annex some of its illegal settlements on the West Bank with the blessing of the White House, will completely surround the fragmented Palestinian holdings by virtue of the annexation of the entire Jordan River Valley. It is the Zionist dream of a Greater “Eretz” Israel from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea finally achieved. The empty shell swiss-cheese-like completely disarmed state of Palestine will have no authority over its borders and airspace, no means to defend itself and no right to manage its own water resources.

Within the territory granted to Palestinians by Trump there will remain Israeli settler enclaves guarded by soldiers and police. Israel will have total control over the entire West Bank. Millions of Palestinians under its control will de facto be stateless people without basic civil rights whose land will be stolen by settlers. They will be unable to travel even within their “state,” forced to pass through checkpoints, arrested and imprisoned for speech harming “public order” and jailed through indefinite “administrative detentions” without any charges or trial.

Gaza will be completely disarmed and connected to the West Bank by a tunnel controlled by Israel. Presumably, the Mediterranean will continue to be a restricted area for Gazan fishermen, patrolled by the Israeli navy with the offshore oil and gas reserves exploited by Israeli companies. In return for their complete surrender, the Palestinians will be required to express gratitude for being able to survive as helots in what will be largely an open-air outdoor prison. If they behave well, they may or may not get money doled out by Trump to Israel for distribution to the Palestinians as long as they keep quiet and smile as they writhe under the Israeli thumb.

One of the more interesting features of the Deal is that Trump insists that the Palestinians will have East Jerusalem as their capital while at the same time confirming that an undivided Jerusalem will be under total Israeli control. If one looks that the map provided by the White House when the Deal was unveiled, it appears that a piece of East Jerusalem is indeed shown as part of the Palestinian land. But obviously, even though it will have that area technically as its capital it will have no sovereignty over it. It is a detail that is clearly unsustainable and may in fact be a completely fiction designed to demonstrate how magnanimous Israel and the United States are in giving the Palestinians a “state.”

Trump’s one-sided Deal was crafted around Israeli interests, not those of the United States and without any input whatsoever from the Palestinians themselves. The team pulled together by presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner consisted of Orthodox Jews and they worked closely with U.S. Ambassador (sic) David Friedman, whose time in Israel has consisted mostly of being an apologist for Netanyahu, excusing accelerated Israeli settlement building as well as the weekly shooting party along the fence line in Gaza. Immediately after Trump and Netanyahu announced the outline of the Deal in Washington, Friedman stated that the Israeli government was at that point free to begin the annexation of any or all of the illegal settlements.Palestinians to the Woodshed? Trump Pressures Palestinians to Comply…

The sad part of what we see unfolding in front of our eyes is that the United States, long an enabler of Israel, is now openly a partner in Israeli war crimes. The Fourth Geneva Convention, adopted in 1949, was intended to protect civilians in time of war. It clearly states that occupying a territory obtained by war and colonizing it with your own people is a war crime. Germany’s demand for lebensraum for German colonists during the lead up to the Second World War and its defining the Slavs who would be displaced as Untermenschen was the crime that motivated the drafters of the Convention. Does that sound familiar? The words are probably somewhat similar in Yiddish.

Most of the mainstream media commentary on the Deal is neutral or even mildly critical, observing inter alia that it is a gift to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was at the podium and beaming alongside Trump. If the boost from the White House succeeds in getting Bibi reelected, Trump will expect payback big time in 2020 through the Israel Lobby’s influence over Jewish voters and from the generosity of Jewish billionaire donors named Sheldon AdelsonPaul Singer and Bernard Marcus.

That Trump has betrayed U.S. interests repeatedly in the Middle East and has also flipped on his pledge to remove American soldiers from its “loser wars,” makes him a disgrace as president, though he will likely be re-elected as the voters have been fed a steady diet of propaganda both by the mainstream media and government on Israel. That just might be because Jews are vastly overrepresented both in the media and in the choke points in government that deal with the Middle East and foreign policy in general. Even liberal Jews who are critical of Israeli oppression of the Palestinians tend to rally round-the-flag at election time and vote for the candidate perceived as being “strongest” on Israel. One notes with interest that while Senator Bernie Sanders roundly condemned the Deal, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi saw “some areas of common ground here” in it. She would, wouldn’t she? And I am sure Senator Chuck Schumer, the self-proclaimed protector of Israel in the Senate, is secretly delighted.

In the rather less restrained alternative media, there is much banter about how the Deal is little more than a sweeping annexation plan that is really Apartheid by another name. That in itself is a bit of a fudge as the reality in Palestine is far worse than South African Apartheid ever was. Some braver individuals have observed how the United States is controlled by Israel in terms of its engagement in the Middle East, but the language used to describe the situation really misses the point. The United States vis-à-vis Israel is not controlled by Israel per se but rather by subversion from within, Jewish billionaires having bought both major political parties and a Jewish dominated media spouting nonsense about the “only democracy in the Middle East” and “America’s best friend and ally.” Israel is neither a democracy nor a friend. And the American Jews and their allies the Christian Zionists who are full time promoters of the Israel myth are little more than traitors to the United States and everything it once upon a time stood for.

The Palestinians have already rejected the Deal, but their refusal to participate will be seen by Trump and Israel as an insult, or at least it will be spun that way. Trump has already warned that his proposal is the Palestinians’ “last chance” and his United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft has advised Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas not to raise the issue at all with the world body. Unwillingness to embrace it will provide a good opportunity to really lower the hammer on the Arabs. The map provided by Trump shows a cluster of Bantustans surrounded by Israel soldiers and police who historically have regarded nominally Palestinian areas as a free fire zone. When violence erupts, which it will, the largely unarmed Arabs will be slaughtered and David Friedman, Donald Trump and Bibi Netanyahu will all conveniently blame it on the Palestinians as it was the Israelis who “wanted peace” and the only obstacle remaining was and is the obduracy of the Palestinians. If only they had accepted the Deal, the outcome would have been different the contrived narrative will go.

*

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

This article was originally published on The Unz Review.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Philip Giraldi, Global Research, 2020

صفقة القرن: تركيا قطر وحركة حماس

نضال حمادة

نفّذ دونالد ترامب قراره وأعلن عن صفقة القرن في عملية استعراضية أراد منها إظهار وكأن الأمر منتهٍ وليس على الفلسطينيين والعرب إلا التوقيع. واستعان ترامب بثلاث دول عربية هي الإمارات وعمان والبحرين لإثبات ما قاله إن العرب موافقون على هذه الصفقة التي توعّد فيها الفلسطينيين بأشد العقوبات وبقتل قادتهم في حال رفضوا صفقته هذه.

يعلم الرئيس الأميركي ومعه صهره جارد كوشنر أن الصفقة يلزمها طرفان كي تنطبق عليها لفظة الصفقة، ولكي تنجح. ويعلم أن رفض الفلسطينيين الشفهي لهذه الصفقة يسقطها، فكيف إذا كان هذا الرفض عملياً من خلال تحرّكات شعبية وسياسية مناهضة او من خلال عمليات عسكرية. وبالتالي فهو بحاجة لدعم دول عربية وإسلامية محددة للضغط على الفلسطينيين بهذا الموضوع. وهذه الدول ليست ضمن الدول الثلاث التي حضرت الإعلان الهوليوودي عن صفقة القرن والدول التي يعتمد ترامب عليها للضغط على الفلسطينيين هي تحديداً تركيا وقطر راعيتا جماعة الإخوان المسلمين عربياً ودولياً واللتان تتمتعان بنفوذ قويّ داخل حركة حماس وتحديداً داخل الجسم الإخواني في الحركة. وليس هناك من شك في أن ترامب يراهن على الرئيس التركي رجب طيب أردوغان وعلى تميم آل ثاني أمير قطر للحصول على موافقة حركة حماس على صفقة القرن. وهنا يبدو أن الجميع أمام معادلة صعبة في العلاقة مع أميركا وفي العلاقة بينهم، وبالتالي أمامهم الاحتمالات التالية:

ترفض كل من تركيا وقطر الضغط على حركة حماس، ما يؤدي الى غضب ترامب على البلدين وتدهور الأوضاع بينهما وبين الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، في ظل الصراع القطري مع الدول العربية الأربع، والصراع التركي في سورية وليبيا وفي داخل تركيا بين الإخوان والمعارضة القومية واليسارية.

تقبل الدولتان الضغط على حركة حماس، فإن قبلت حماس انتهت كحركة مقاومة وسقطت في الشارعين العربي والفلسطيني وتعرّضت لانشقاقات داخليّة تنهيها عملياً، وإن رفضت الضغوط التركية والقطرية عليها أنهت علاقتها مع الدولتين. وبالتالي لم يبقَ لها إلا الارتماء كلياً في إيران. وهي التي تحاول منذ عقد من الزمن مسك العصا بين تركيا وإيران من الوسط.

حركة حماس التي راهنت كثيراً في العقد الأخير على التنظيم الدولي لجماعة الإخوان المسلمين وعلى تركيا وقطر في موقف لا تُحسد عليه. وهذا الأمر ينطبق على تركيا وقطر المرهونتين في اقتصادهما ونفوذهما الإقليمي للسيد الأميركي. وبالتالي سوف تكون معركة ترامب الحقيقية لتنفيذ صفقته ضمن المحور التركي القطري التابع له، لأن المحور الآخر أي محور المقاومة قد حسم أمره وقرّر الذهاب أبعد من رفض صفقة القرن إلى السعي والعمل على إخراج أميركا من غرب آسيا.

لا شك في أن صفقة القرن وإعلانها بهذا الشكل الأشهر سوف يجعل من الأشهر المتبقية قبل الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية حبلى بالأحداث الخطيرة والكبيرة التي سيكون لها تأثير على مستقبل النفوذ والسيطرة في منطقتنا لعقود طويلة مقبلة.

فيديوات متعلقة

مقالات متعلقة

Why Trump Can’t Save Israel

By Tim Anderson

Source

Trump Unveils Palestine Plan e6e65

Despite Trump’s apparent show of strength in the cynical ‘Peace to Prosperity’ plan, he is actually helping Netanyahu destroy Israel, the European colony in Palestine.

Palestinian envoy to Britain Husam Zomlot said the announcement was a “piece of political theatre” and will push the situation “over the cliff and into apartheid”. Hamas rejected the plan as “nonsense” (RT 2020). Netanyahu, who has always been focussed on the expansion of ‘Greater Israel’, said that the Zionist state owes both Kushner and Trump “an eternal debt of gratitude”.

Trump’s ‘Peace to Prosperity’ plan (“A vision to improve the lives of the Palestinian and Israeli people”) is a revised version of the 2019 Kushner plan (the so-called “deal of the century”), which offered an illusory promise of long term money (mostly Gulf Arab money) in exchange for political surrender. The new version speaks of a “realistic two state solution” – because “Israel has now agreed to terms for a future Palestinian State” – with a tiny Palestinian statelet cramming the majority Arab population of historic Palestine into 15% of the land. Israel would control the vast majority of the West Bank (White House 2020). With no sovereign powers for the statelet, this deliberately enhances the status quo of a single state.

Trump’s latest plan follows a series of initiatives hostile to Palestinian and Syrian interests: breaching international law to recognize Jerusalem as a Zionist possession, breaching international law to annex the Syrian Golan, trying to legitimize the multiple Israeli colonies on the West Bank, demanding (in the Kushner plan) an effective Palestinian surrender on statehood and adopting the IHRA claim that any anti-Israel criticism is ‘racist’ and so illegitimate (IHRA 2016).

At this stage in the history of the colony, the 72 year old illusion of a ‘two state solution’ remains the main obstacle to a democratic Palestine. Trump’s plan seems an ‘advance’ on the Kushner Plan, in trying to keep that illusion alive. A majority of liberal Jews in the USA, in for example, still hold to the two state illusion. But Netanyahu and his colleagues have always wanted it all.

The problem for the more ambitious Zionists is two-fold: (1) Palestinians have resisted, by guerrilla warfare and by not going away, and now slightly outnumber Jewish Israelis in historic Palestine; (2) destruction of the two state myth, and widespread recognition that there is only a single apartheid state, will bring a dramatic collapse in Israeli legitimacy across the world.

The more astute Zionist leaders know this. Former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert recognized that “if the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights … the State of Israel is finished” (Olmert 2007).

Historically, Israel as a sectarian European colony, has always relied on substantial ethnic cleansing. On 3 December 1947, as the campaign intensified, Zionist leader David Ben Gurion told his party faithful that the “40% non-Jews in the areas allocated to the Jewish state” was “not a solid basis for a Jewish state .. only a state with at least 80% Jews is a solid and viable state” (Pappe 2006: 76).

For that reason, Ben Gurion’s ‘Plan Dalet’ of March 1948 called for operations “destroying villages (by setting fire to them, by blowing them up, and by planting mines in their debris) and especially of those population centers which are difficult to control … [the operations required are] encirclement of the villages, conducting a search inside them. In case of resistance, the armed forces must be wiped out and the population expelled outside the borders of the state” (Pappe 2006: 68; Vidal 1997).

That plan was carried out and featured the Deir Yassin massacre of 9 April, where 107 villagers were killed, and a series of expulsions in which 531 villages and eleven urban neighborhoods were destroyed and 800,000 became refugees (Pappe 2006: xiii; Vidal 1997).

Yet despite this ethnic cleansing, military domination and annexations, Israeli agencies confirm that the current Arab population of historic Palestine (Arab Israelis plus those on the West Bank and in Gaza) is roughly equal to the population of Jewish Israelis.

A report from Jerusalem in 2011 showed that the Palestinian population of that city had risen from 25.5% in 1967 to 38% in 2009 (AIC 2011: 10, 12). The Jewish Virtual Library shows that the Jews of Israel / 1948 Palestine have declined from a peak of 88.9% in 1960 to 74.7% in 2017 (JVL 2017). In parallel, officials from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics and the military run civil administration of the Occupied Territories (COGAT) say that the Arab population of Gaza, the West Bank and Arab [second class] citizens of Israel, along with residents of the annexed East Jerusalem municipality, add up to 6.5 million, about the same number as “Jews living between the Jordan Valley and the Mediterranean” (Heller 2018).

For all the apparent advances of Israeli power, Palestinian resistance has enhanced both the ‘demographic threat’ to Israel and the colony’s illegitimacy, in the international sphere.

In that context, Trump and Netanyahu are building an even more extreme illegitimacy, by consolidating a more openly apartheid state. In a report commissioned for the UN several years back, legal scholars Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley (2017), made it clear that Israel had already become an ‘apartheid state’, which is a crime against humanity. The international community had a responsibility to dismantle such a regime, they said.

Richard Falk, who had been a Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestine for the UN, said that Palestine was wining the legitimacy battle: “Palestine is winning what in the end is the more important war, the struggle for legitimacy, which is most likely to determine the political outcome”. In the context of anti-colonial struggles, he continues, citing Vietnam, Algeria and Iraq, “the side with the greater perseverance and resilience, not the side that controlled the battlefield, won in the end” (Falk 2014).

Ironically it is the Palestinian Authority (PA), paid and contracted by the US and the Israeli regime, that helps keeps alive the illusion of two states. The PA blocks a clear and unified Palestinian strategy to dismantle apartheid Israel in favor of a single democratic state.

But where the PA has failed, Netanyahu and Trump are succeeding. While Israeli expansion has been blocked by the Lebanese resistance in the north and the resistance of Gaza in the south, Netanyahu has persisted with a steady colonization of the West Bank, undermining any viable Palestinian state.

Palestine Bantustan 2 c23e2

Now Trump has added to this drive, offering only the fig leaf of a powerless ghetto on a small part of the West Bank and in Gaza. Israel’s contempt for the people of Gaza is plain. This is reminiscent of the failed Bantustan Homelands solution offered by apartheid South Africa, just before that regime collapsed (SAHO 2020). More open apartheid in Palestine will mean the death of Israel. Thank you Trump and  Netanyahu.

Netanyahu Seeks Agreement with US to Annex West Bank Land before Election

 February 1, 2020

Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is trying to iron out differences with the US in time to annex West Bank territory before Israel’s March 2 election, Bloomberg reported, quoting a senior Israeli official as saying.

The Trump administration has a different idea on how and when that move should happen, and has persuaded Israel to put a brake on Netanyahu’s plan to annex next week, the official said on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter.

When President Donald Trump unveiled his Middle East peace plan on Tuesday, so-called “Deal of the Century”, he said the US would immediately recognize an extension of Israeli sovereignty over all Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley.

Netanyahu, who is lagging in the polls after failing twice to form a government last year, interpreted that as a green light to annex those territories. He then announced he’d ask his cabinet to vote on the issue — which has widespread support in the Zionist entity– as early as Sunday.

It’s not clear why Netanyahu made that deduction, given that Trump said a joint US-Israeli committee would have to review any annexation plan, according to Bloomberg.

But Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and architect of the ‘peace’ blueprint, scuttled Israeli timetable, saying in an interview with analyst Ian Bremmer on Wednesday that the administration hoped the Israeli government wouldn’t take action until after the vote and a government is formed.

The Israeli prime minister wants the Trump plan to give him an edge ahead of that election.

The Zionist entity is still working to take over territory before the vote, the official said. The concept of annexing land in the West Bank, where more than 400,000 settlers live among 2.6 million Palestinians, had been unthinkable for decades, because of its questionable legality and the international outcry it would provoke. Support from the Trump administration has now freed Israel to act.

The Israeli government is trying to persuade the US to allow a piecemeal approach, whereby Israel would present the Trump team smaller areas to be annexed, according to the official. That would allow it to start taking action faster, because there would be fewer details for the joint committee to review.

The unveiling of Trump’s peace plan hasn’t given Netanyahu, who’s facing trial in three corruption cases, the boost he needs to stay in office, the latest polls show.

Facing a third election in less than a year, he still won’t be able to muster enough support to form a coalition government, according to three surveys released on Wednesday by Israeli television stations.

SourceBloomberg

Don’t Take Deal of Century Seriously

 By: Hamid Reza Naghashian

01 February 2020 

A peace plan, alleged “The Middle East Peace”, has been sketched out up by Jared Kushner, senior advisor to his father-in-law

Don’t Take Deal of Century Seriously

Don’t Take Deal of Century Seriously

A peace plan, alleged “The Middle East Peace”, has been sketched out up by Jared Kushner, senior advisor to his father-in-law, U.S. President Donald Trump, and for months it has been the topic of newspapers and media. According to the reports and details of the plan, it is to be implemented in ten years and in the Occupied Lands, West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

This plan which has been named the “Deal of the Century” includes a 50-billion-dollar investment and according to its details, $25b investment will be done in Palestine and the remaining will be invested in Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon. The supporters of the plan claim that this will lead to creation of millions of jobs in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and in the wake of it, the unemployment rate will fall from 30 percent to 10 percent.

During the unveiling ceremony of the plan which was held in the White House on January 29 and in presence of the U.S. President Donald Trump as well as Israeli Prime Minister and ambassadors of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman, Kushner revealed more details of the plan whose draft had been presented earlier in a workshop in Manama, the capital of Bahrain. Kushner in his speech claimed that 179 infrastructural and trade projects would be carried out in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula where Palestinians living in adjacent Gaza Strip could invest in them.

In the ceremony, Kushner also announced readiness of some rich Persian Gulf states as well as the private sector’s readiness for investment in the plan, adding that a new investment fund for the Palestinians and neighboring states would be administered by a “multilateral development bank.” Global financial lenders including the International Monetary Fund and World Bank plan to be present at the meeting.

He sees his economic approach as resembling the Marshall Plan, which Washington introduced in 1948 to rebuild Western Europe from the devastation of World War Two. Unlike the U.S.-funded Marshall Plan, however, the latest initiative would put much of the financial burden on other countries.

Egypt and Jordan announced their readiness to take part in the second workshop which will be held in Manama to review the economic aspects of the U.S. peace plan, so called the “Deal of Century”.

Reacting to the “Deal of Century” peace plan, several high-ranking officials in the world took acceptable stands and condemned the plan. One of these officials was Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, Iran’s Armed Forces Chief of Staff, who in a message condemned this act of delusionist and terrorist U.S. President and called operationalization of the plan a big plot against the ideal and rights of Palestinian nation.

Baqeri said, “Undoubtedly, unveiling the Zionist-American plan so-called the “Deal of Century” is a historical and strategic mistake that pursues the occupation of Palestine in the region as the major part of the 70-year-old Zionist failed plot.”

Despite all of these concerns that this plan has created, I myself believe that Trump will not spend even a cent on this plan and this is the main reason for its and its unseriousness.

The current U.S. economic growth, currently under 3 percent, makes the country unable spend huge money in such projects. While Zionist regime and main supporter of the plan, the U.S., expect Persian Gulf Arab states to pay the expense of their historic dishonor, one can definitely say all people of the region and the world oppose Israelization of the first qiblah of Muslims, Bait-ul-Muqaddas. So how can one expect this project progress seriously?

It is not too far that Hand of Power and Almighty would dethrone Bahrain government and its satellite friends behind financing this plot.

MbS ‘ready to recognize Israel in return for US help’

Source

In this file photo, taken on May 20, 2017, US President Donald Trump (C-R) and the then-Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman take part in a bilateral meeting at a hotel in Riyadh. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is seen standing to the right of the US president. (By AFP)

In this file photo, taken on May 20, 2017, US President Donald Trump (C-R) and the then-Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman take part in a bilateral meeting at a hotel in Riyadh. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is seen standing to the right of the US president. (By AFP)

Tue Oct 1, 2019

A new documentary has revealed that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — also known as MbS — had promised US President Donald Trump to recognize Israel and normalize ties with the regime if the United States helped him “defeat Iran and take control of the Middle East.”

According to PBS documentary ‘The Crown Prince,’ which was broadcast on Saturday, the kingdom’s de facto ruler made the pledge in a meeting with President Trump during his visit to Riyadh in May 2017.

Martin Smith, the presenter of the documentary, said that bin Salman had asked Trump to ensure “the United States’ assistance in defeating Iran while supporting the prince’s ambitions to become the key player in the Middle East.”

In return, bin Salman offered to help Trump and his son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner, solve the decades-long Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

David Ignatius, The Washington Post’s columnist and military analyst, who was interviewed in the documentary, quoted bin Salman as saying that “I see a Middle East where Israel is a part of … I am ready to recognize and have trade relations with Israel.”

Ignatius explained that bin Salman’s proposal “tempted the US administration and became the focus of the plan that Kushner keeps on advocating.”

He was referring to Trump’s controversial proposal for “peace” between the Israeli regime and Palestinians, dubbed “the deal of the century.” Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, the US president’s special adviser for international negotiations, are reportedly the main architects of the plan.

The so-called deal of the century, a backchannel plan to allegedly reach a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, was proposed by the Trump administration in 2017. Although the plan has not been released, leaks signal that it would mainly include the same tried-and-failed ideas of the past.

In recent years, Israel has been working to improve ties with Persian Gulf Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

While little is known about Trump’s plan, leaks have suggested that it regards Jerusalem al-Quds entirely as an Israeli territory. This can be problematic since Palestinians view the eastern sector of the occupied city as the capital of their future state.

The US-drafted plan is believe to call for keeping borders and security under Israeli control, while keeping a decision over the final borders of Israeli settlements for later negotiations.

According to the Times of Israel, the Israeli regime has been conducting extensive diplomatic negotiations with Saudi Arabia and other Arab governments over the past months in a bid to convince them to establish diplomatic relations with the regime more than half a century after the Six-Day War which saw Israel occupy the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

The kingdom has expanded secret ties with Israel under the young crown prince, who has made it clear that he and the Israelis stand on the same front to counter Iran and its growing influence in the Middle East.

In highly controversial comments during an April 2018 visit to the US, bin Salman told the Atlantic that he recognized Israel’s “right to exist,” distancing himself from the kingdom’s longtime policy of opposing Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

He is also widely reported to be working behind the scenes to force the Palestinians into accepting Trump’s hugely pro-Israel deal. The crown prince has even tried in vain to bribe Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to that effect.

Related Videos

Related Stories

 

Israeli Apartheid Made Official: Annexation is the New Reality in Palestine

Annexing Palestinian land has officially moved from the right-wing fringe of Israeli politics to a centrist talking point and campaign promise.

September 17th, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is moving quickly to alter the political reality in Palestine, and facing little or no resistance.

On September 10, Netanyahu declared his intentions to annex swathes of Palestinian land adjacent to the Jordan River, an area that covers 2,400 square kilometers, or nearly a third of the Occupied West Bank. That region, which extends from Bisan in the north to Jericho in the south, is considered to be Palestine’s food basket, as it accounts for an estimated 60 percent of vegetables that are produced in the West Bank.

A Palestinian shepherd herds his flock near the Israeli settlement of Tomer in the Jordan Valley, April 2, 2017. Oded Balilty | AP

While Israel has already colonized nearly 88 percent of the entire Palestinian Ghoor (or Jordan Valley), dividing it between illegal agricultural settlements and military zones, it was always assumed that the militarily occupied region will be included within the border of a future Palestinian state.

Netanyahu’s announcement has been linked to Israel’s general elections of September 17. The Israeli leader is desperate, as he is facing “unprecedented alliances” that are all closing in to unseat him from his political throne. But this cannot be all. Not even power-hungry Netanyahu would alter the political and territorial landscape of Israel and Palestine indefinitely in exchange for a few votes.

Indeed, talks of annexation have been afoot for years and have long preceded the September elections or the previous ones in April.

A sense of euphoria has been felt among Israel’s rightwing officials since the advent of Donald Trump to the White House. The excitement was not directly linked to Trump but to his Middle East team, like-minded pro-Israel US officials whose support for Israel is predicated on more than personal interests, but religious and ideological beliefs as well.

White House senior adviser, Jared Kushner, selected his team very carefully: Jason Greenblatt as special envoy for Middle East peace, David Friedman as United States Ambassador to Israel, and layers of other second-tier officials whose mission was never aimed at resolving conflict or brokering peace, but supervising a process in which Israel finalizes its colonization of Palestine unhindered.

Kushner’s master stroke is epitomized in the way he presented his objectives as part of a political process, later named “Deal of the Century”.

In all fairness, Kushner’s team hardly labored, or even pretended to be, peacemakers, especially as they oversaw the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and of the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territories. Indeed, none of these officials tried to hide their true motives. Just examine statements made by the just-resigned Greenblatt where he refused to name illegal Jewish settlements as such, but as “neighborhoods and cities”; and Friedman’s outright support for the annexation of parts of the Occupied West Bank, and much more.

The US political discourse seemed in complete alignment with that of Israel’s right-wing parties. When right-wing extremist politicians, the likes of Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, began floating the idea of annexing most or all of the Occupied West Bank, they no longer sounded like marginal and opportunistic voices vying for attention. They were at the center of Israeli politics, knowing full well that Washington no longer had a problem with Israel’s unilateral action.

It could be argued, then, that Netanyahu was merely catching up, as the center of gravity within his right-wing coalition was slipping away to younger, more daring politicians. In fact, Israel, as a whole, was changing. With the Labor Party becoming almost entirely irrelevant, the Center’s political ideology moved further to the right, simply because supporting an independent Palestinian state in Israel has become a form of political suicide.

Therefore, Netanyahu’s call for the annexation of Palestinian land east of the Jordan River must not be understood in isolation and only within the limited context of the Israeli elections. Israel is now set to annex large parts of the West Bank that it deems strategic. This is most likely to include all illegal settlement blocks and the Jordan Valley as well.

Israel Palestine Jordan Valley

An activist is surrounded by Israeli soldiers during a protest against Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley, Nov. 17, 2016. Majdi Mohammed | AP

In fact, Netanyahu said on September 11 that he was ready to annex the Jordan Valley region even before the election date, but was blocked by the Attorney General’s office. Netanyahu would not have taken such a decision if it represented a political risk or if it faced pushback from Washington. It is, then, sadly, a matter of time.

Suspiciously absent in all of this are the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Arab League, the European Union and, of course, the United Nations and its many outlets and courts. Aside from a few shy statements – like that of the spokesperson of the UN, Stéphane Dujarric, decrying that “unilateral actions are not helpful in the peace process” – Israeli leaders are facing little or no hindrance whatsoever as they finalize their complete colonization of all Palestinian land.

Unable to stage any kind of meaningful resistance against Israel, the Palestinian leadership is so pathetically insisting on utilizing old terminologies. The official Palestinian response to Netanyahu’s annexation pledge, as communicated by Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh, came only to underscore the PA’s political bankruptcy.

“Netanyahu is the chief destroyer of the peace process,” Shtayyeh said, warning that annexing parts of the West Bank would have negative consequences.

For his part, the PA leader Mahmoud Abbas resorted, once more, to empty threats. Abbas said in a statement, “All agreements and their resulting obligations would end if the Israeli side annexes the Jordan Valley, the northern Dead Sea, and any part of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.”

Neither Abbas nor Shtayyeh seem troubled by the fact that a “peace process” does not exist, and that Israel has already violated all agreements.

While the PA is desperately hanging on to any reason to justify its continued existence, Netanyahu, with the full support of Washington, is moving forward in annexing the West Bank, thus making apartheid an official and undisputed reality.

The Palestinian leadership must understand that the nature of the conflict is now changing. Conventional methods and empty statements will not slow down the Israeli push for annexation nor Tel Aviv’s determination to expand its apartheid to all of Palestine. If Palestinians continue to ignore this reality altogether, Israel will continue to single-handedly shape the destiny of Palestine and its people.

Feature photo | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sept. 10, 2019 where he vowed to begin annexing West Bank settlements if he wins national elections. Oded Balilty | AP. Editing by MintPress News

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of The Palestine Chronicle. His last book is ‘The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story’, and his forthcoming book is ‘These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons’. Baroud has a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter and is a non-resident research fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at Zaim University in Istanbul. Visit: www.ramzybaroud.net.

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

Trump Foreign Policy as Theater of the Absurd

A nightmare that one never wakes up from

PHILIP GIRALDI • SEPTEMBER 10, 2019

One might be forgiven for thinking that the foreign policy of the United States is some kind of theatrical performance, like a comic opera, with new characters appearing on stage willy-nilly and then being driven off after committing an incredible faux pas only to be replaced by even more grotesquely clownish figures. Unfortunately, while the musical chairs and plot twists contrived by a Goldoni or Moliere generally have a cheerful ending, the same cannot be said about what has been taking place in the White House.

The latest White House somewhat unexpected departure was that of ex-real estate lawyer Jason Greenblatt, who has been hanging around for over two years putting together the Deal of the Century for the Middle East. The Deal will reportedly end forever the possibility of any real Palestinian state but has run into a problem because Israel does not want its hands tied in any way while the Saudis and friends are reluctant to come up with the cash to fund the arrangement. Back to square one, though the Administration has replaced Greenblatt with thirty-year old Avi Berkowitz, whose only qualification for the position is that he is a friend of presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner whose most recent job at the White House consisted of managing “daily logistics like getting coffee…” The president is nevertheless still insisting that the peace plan will be revealed in all its glory after the Israeli election on September 17th.

Another administration notable who now appears to be waiting for the hook to come out from offstage and take him away is National Security Adviser John Bolton. Bolton has long been regarded by those who still believe that Donald Trump actually has a heart and a mind as the eminence grise seated behind the throne who has encouraged the president’s bad angels. That may indeed be so, but leaks are now suggesting that the president has been disagreeing with his chief minister and marginalizing his presence in meetings. But as bad as Bolton truly is, one should not dismiss from consideration Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence, both of whom, like Bolton, have exhibited extraordinary ability to provide bad advice and to simultaneously say and do stupid things.

Pence’s recent error plagued trip to Ireland left one exasperated Irish journalist complaining that it was as if the Vice President had been invited to someone’s home and had “shat on the new carpet in the spare room, the one you bought specially for him” before his departure. Pence had unwisely made comments about Brexit that were both uninformed and regarded as “humiliating” by his hosts. But his real crime was that he blamed his boss for the ridiculous decision to stay at a Trump property 180 miles away from Dublin. President Trump denied the claim and, as he does not like being embarrassed by his subordinates, there is already talk that Pence will be replaced on the Republican ticket in 2020. Unfortunately, Attila the Hun is no longer available but it is certain that the GOP will be able to come up with someone else who will, like Pence, offend almost everyone. Tom Cotton maybe? Nikki Haley?

Now that North Korea is not cooperating with Trump’s distinctive brand of diplomacy, the Great Negotiator has turned to America (and Israel’s) enemy number one, suggesting a sit down with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The only problem with that is that Rouhani is not playing because the United States has been engaged in nothing less than “maximum pressure” economic warfare against his country. End the sanctions and Rouhani would consider talking directly.

Israel, of course, is deeply concerned lest American and Iranian heads of government actually get together to discuss things. According to some observers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is believed to be somewhat nervous over that possibility and wants to get a hotter war going in the region to disrupt any consideration of entente between Tehran and Washington. That is why the Israelis have been escalating their attacks against claimed “Iranian targets” in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, an initiative intended to provoke an Iranian reaction which will then be escalated by Netanyahu to draw Washington in supporting Israel while also putting an end to any consideration of top-level talks.

As a side show to the deep thinking going on in the White House, there is the Iranian tanker saga. One might recall that the tanker Adrian Darya 1, which claimed to be registered in Panama while carrying alleged Iranian oil allegedly bound for Syria, was halted in Gibraltar by the British at the request of the American State Department even though it was in international waters at the time. The U.S. has been sanctioning nearly everything having to do with Iran, to include its export of oil, and is also enforcing sanctions imposed on the government in Syria. Pompeo claimed, in fact, that he had “reliable information” the ship was transporting oil to Syria in defiance of wide-ranging U.S. and European Union initiated sanctions directed against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over false claims that it had been using chemical weapons. The Treasury Department added that the vessel was “blocked property” under an anti-terrorist order, and “anyone providing support to the Adrian Darya 1 risks being sanctioned.”

After six weeks detention, the British released the tanker on August 18th when a Gibraltar judge ruled that there were no grounds for seizing it in the first place, adding that it could not be turned over to Washington. Since that time, it has been making its way across the Mediterranean headed for ports unknown. It is, inevitably, being stalked by the United States Navy, which may or may not attempt to take control of it before it heads to shore in Lebanon or Syria.

The entire situation is farcical, but here is where the fun comes in: Brian Hook, a true Trumpean know-nothing who somehow has been designated U.S. Grand Poobah for Iran, sent an email on August 26th to the ship’s Indian captain Akhilesh Kumar. The message said “This is Brian Hook . . . I work for secretary of state Mike Pompeo… I am writing with good news.”

The “good news” consisted of an offer to give Captain Kumar millions of dollars if he would sail the Adrian Darya 1 to a port that would impound the ship for the U.S. Kumar did not respond to the offer to turn pirate and steal the vessel, so “Captain” Hook dropped the hammer in a second email, writing that: “With this money you can have any life you wish and be well-off in old age. If you choose not to take this easy path, life will be much harder for you.”

The sublimely ridiculous proposal to Kumar comes on top of a similar appeal from the Department of State, which last week offered rewards of up to $15 million for information that would enable the disruption of the financial mechanisms used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). State, acting through its humorously named “Rewards for Justice” program, will pay money for any information regarding the revenue sources of the IRGC, which was listed as a foreign terrorist organization in April.

The State Department announced the rewards at a briefing late last Wednesday morning, with Brian Hook saying that “The IRGC trains, funds, and equips proxy organizations across the Middle East. Iran wants these groups to extend the borders of the regime’s revolution and sow chaos and sectarian violence. We are using every available diplomatic and economic tool to disrupt these operations.”

Having experienced schemes involving paying rewards for information while I was overseas with the CIA, I can with considerable confidence predict that the U.S. Embassies in Turkey and Dubai will be flooded with desperate Iranians peddling what stories they have made up in exchange for money or visas. The actual information obtained will be approaching zero.

The American beneficence towards the Middle East currently also includes, apparently, intervening yet again in Syria to prevent the Syrian Army and its Iranian and Russian allies from eliminating the last major terrorist pocket in the country’s Idlib province. Fact is, it is the United States being led by the nose by Israel that has both supported terrorists and created most of the unrest and violence in the Middle East, central Asia and North Africa.

Additionally, also last week, the Treasury Department’s Office for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence headed by Under Secretary Sigal Mandelker, an Israeli, sanctioned more than two-dozen entities and individuals as well as 11 ships allegedly supporting IRGC oil shipments going to Bashar al-Assad’s Syria and other “illicit actors.” One has to wonder if the Treasury’s Office “for Terrorism” might actually be “for Terrorism” as long as it is carried out by the U.S. and its “best friend and closest ally” in the Middle East.

All in all, one hell of a week. A Greenblatt gone replaced by a Berkowitz, possibly Bolton and Pence going, piracy on the high seas, cash for info schemes, and lots more sanctions. Can’t get much more exciting than that, but let’s wait for next week to see what Donald Trump will give his good buddy Benjamin Netanyahu as a pre-electoral gift. Rumor has it that it will include American recognition of Israel’s right to annex most of the rest of the West Bank plus security guarantees that the U.S. will have the Jewish state’s back no matter what it seeks to do with its neighbors. Stay tuned!

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

%d bloggers like this: