War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, February 28, 2020

Global Research 8 January 2009

Eleven years ago, Israel invaded Gaza under “Operation Cast Lead”.

The following article was first published by Global Research in January 2009 at the height of the Israeli bombing and invasion under Operation Cast Lead.

***

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Author’s Note and Update

The purpose of Operation Cast Led was to confiscate Palestine’s maritime natural gas reserves. In the wake of the invasion, Palestinian gas fields were de facto confiscated by Israel in derogation of international law.

A year following “Operation Cast Lead”,  Tel Aviv announced the discovery of  the Leviathan natural gas field in the Eastern Mediterranean “off the coast of Israel.”

At the time the gas field was: “ … the most prominent field ever found in the sub-explored area of the Levantine Basin, which covers about 83,000 square kilometres of the eastern Mediterranean region.” (i)

Coupled with Tamar field, in the same location, discovered in 2009, the prospects are for an energy bonanza for Israel, for Houston, Texas based Noble Energy and partners Delek Drilling, Avner Oil Exploration and Ratio Oil Exploration. (See Felicity Arbuthnot, Israel: Gas, Oil and Trouble in the Levant, Global Research, December 30, 2013

The Gazan gas fields are part of the broader Levant assessment area.

What has been unfolding is the integration of these adjoining gas fields including those belonging to Palestine into the orbit of Israel. (see map below).

It should be noted that the entire Eastern Mediterranean coastline extending from Egypt’s Sinai to Syria constitutes an area encompassing large gas as well as oil reserves.

While the debate regarding  Trump’s “Deal of the Century” has largely concentrated on the de facto annexation of the Jordan Valley and the integration and extension of  Jewish settlements, the issue of the de facto confiscation and ownership of  Palestine’s offshore gas reserves have not been challenged.

Michel Chossudovsky, February 28, 2020


War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields

by Michel Chossudovsky

January 8, 2009

The December 2008 military invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israeli Forces bears a direct relation to the control and ownership of strategic offshore gas reserves. 

This is a war of conquest. Discovered in 2000, there are extensive gas reserves off the Gaza coastline. 

British Gas (BG Group) and its partner, the Athens based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) owned by Lebanon’s Sabbagh and Koury families, were granted oil and gas exploration rights in a 25 year agreement signed in November 1999 with the Palestinian Authority.

The rights to the offshore gas field are respectively British Gas (60 percent); Consolidated Contractors (CCC) (30 percent); and the Investment Fund of the Palestinian Authority (10 percent). (Haaretz, October 21,  2007).

The PA-BG-CCC agreement includes field development and the construction of a gas pipeline.(Middle East Economic Digest, Jan 5, 2001).

The BG licence covers the entire Gazan offshore marine area, which is contiguous to several Israeli offshore gas facilities. (See Map below). It should be noted that 60 percent of the gas reserves along the Gaza-Israel coastline belong to Palestine.

The BG Group drilled two wells in 2000: Gaza Marine-1 and Gaza Marine-2. Reserves are estimated by British Gas to be of the order of 1.4 trillion cubic feet, valued at approximately 4 billion dollars. These are the figures made public by British Gas. The size of Palestine’s gas reserves could be much larger.Will Israel’s Gas Hopes Come True? Accused of Stealing Gas from the Gaza Strip


Map 1

Map 2

Who Owns the Gas Fields

The issue of sovereignty over Gaza’s gas fields is crucial. From a legal standpoint, the gas reserves belong to Palestine.

The death of Yasser Arafat, the election of the Hamas government and the ruin of the Palestinian Authority have enabled Israel to establish de facto control over Gaza’s offshore gas reserves.

British Gas (BG Group) has been dealing with the Tel Aviv government. In turn, the Hamas government has been bypassed in regards to exploration and development rights over the gas fields.

The election of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001 was a major turning point. Palestine’s sovereignty over the offshore gas fields was challenged in the Israeli Supreme Court. Sharon stated unequivocally that “Israel would never buy gas from Palestine” intimating that Gaza’s offshore gas reserves belong to Israel.

In 2003, Ariel Sharon, vetoed an initial deal, which would allow British Gas to supply Israel with natural gas from Gaza’s offshore wells. (The Independent, August 19, 2003)

The election victory of Hamas in 2006 was conducive to the demise of the Palestinian Authority, which became confined to the West Bank, under the proxy regime of Mahmoud Abbas.

In 2006, British Gas “was close to signing a deal to pump the gas to Egypt.” (Times, May, 23, 2007). According to reports, British Prime Minister Tony Blair intervened on behalf of Israel with a view to shunting the agreement with Egypt.

The following year, in May 2007, the Israeli Cabinet approved a proposal by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert  “to buy gas from the Palestinian Authority.” The proposed contract was for $4 billion, with profits of the order of $2 billion of which one billion was to go the Palestinians.

Tel Aviv, however, had no intention on sharing the revenues with Palestine. An Israeli team of negotiators was set up by the Israeli Cabinet to thrash out a deal with the BG Group, bypassing both the Hamas government and the Palestinian Authority:

Israeli defence authorities want the Palestinians to be paid in goods and services and insist that no money go to the Hamas-controlled Government.” (Ibid, emphasis added)

The objective was essentially to nullify the contract signed in 1999 between the BG Group and the Palestinian Authority under Yasser Arafat.

Under the proposed 2007 agreement with BG, Palestinian gas from Gaza’s offshore wells was to be channeled by an undersea pipeline to the Israeli seaport of Ashkelon, thereby transferring control over the sale of the natural gas to Israel.

The deal fell through. The negotiations were suspended:

 “Mossad Chief Meir Dagan opposed the transaction on security grounds, that the proceeds would fund terror”. (Member of Knesset Gilad Erdan, Address to the Knesset on “The Intention of Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Purchase Gas from the Palestinians When Payment Will Serve Hamas,” March 1, 2006, quoted in Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, Does the Prospective Purchase of British Gas from Gaza’s Coastal Waters Threaten Israel’s National Security?  Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, October 2007)

Israel’s intent was to foreclose the possibility that royalties be paid to the Palestinians. In December 2007, The BG Group withdrew from the negotiations with Israel and in January 2008 they closed their office in Israel.(BG website).

Invasion Plan on The Drawing Board

The invasion plan of the Gaza Strip under “Operation Cast Lead” was set in motion in June 2008, according to Israeli military sources:

“Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago [June or before June] , even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.”(Barak Ravid, Operation “Cast Lead”: Israeli Air Force strike followed months of planning, Haaretz, December 27, 2008)

That very same month, the Israeli authorities contacted British Gas, with a view to resuming crucial negotiations pertaining to the purchase of Gaza’s natural gas:

“Both Ministry of Finance director general Yarom Ariav and Ministry of National Infrastructures director general Hezi Kugler agreed to inform BG of Israel’s wish to renew the talks.

The sources added that BG has not yet officially responded to Israel’s request, but that company executives would probably come to Israel in a few weeks to hold talks with government officials.” (Globes online- Israel’s Business Arena, June 23, 2008)

The decision to speed up negotiations with British Gas (BG Group) coincided, chronologically, with the planning of the invasion of Gaza initiated in June. It would appear that Israel was anxious to reach an agreement with the BG Group prior to the invasion, which was already in an advanced planning stage.

Moreover, these negotiations with British Gas were conducted by the Ehud Olmert government with the knowledge that a military invasion was on the drawing board. In all likelihood, a new “post war” political-territorial arrangement for the Gaza strip was also being contemplated by the Israeli government.

In fact, negotiations between British Gas and Israeli officials were ongoing in October 2008, 2-3 months prior to the commencement of the bombings on December 27th.

In November 2008, the Israeli Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of National Infrastructures instructed Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to enter into negotiations with British Gas, on the purchase of natural gas from the BG’s offshore concession in Gaza. (Globes, November 13, 2008)

“Ministry of Finance director general Yarom Ariav and Ministry of National Infrastructures director general Hezi Kugler wrote to IEC CEO Amos Lasker recently, informing him of the government’s decision to allow negotiations to go forward, in line with the framework proposal it approved earlier this year.

The IEC board, headed by chairman Moti Friedman, approved the principles of the framework proposal a few weeks ago. The talks with BG Group will begin once the board approves the exemption from a tender.” (Globes Nov. 13, 2008)

Gaza and Energy Geopolitics 

The military occupation of Gaza is intent upon transferring the sovereignty of the gas fields to Israel in violation of international law.

What can we expect in the wake of the invasion?

What is the intent of Israel with regard to Palestine’s Natural Gas reserves?

A new territorial arrangement, with the stationing of Israeli and/or “peacekeeping” troops?

The militarization of the entire Gaza coastline, which is strategic for Israel?

The outright confiscation of Palestinian gas fields and the unilateral declaration of Israeli sovereignty over Gaza’s maritime areas?

If this were to occur, the Gaza gas fields would be integrated into Israel’s offshore installations, which are contiguous to those of the Gaza Strip. (See Map 1 above).

These various offshore installations are also linked up to Israel’s energy transport corridor, extending from the port of Eilat, which is an oil pipeline terminal, on the Red Sea to the seaport – pipeline terminal at Ashkelon, and northwards to Haifa, and eventually linking up through a proposed Israeli-Turkish pipeline with the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

Ceyhan is the terminal of the Baku, Tblisi Ceyhan Trans Caspian pipeline. “What is envisaged is to link the BTC pipeline to the Trans-Israel Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline, also known as Israel’s Tipline.” (See Michel Chossudovsky, The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil, Global Research, July 23, 2006)


Map 3The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2020


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إنْ لم نغيّر الواقع فسيأتي من يملأ الفراغ ويقوم بالعمل\

سعادة مصطفى أرشيد

ما هي إلا أسابيع قد انقضت على الإعلان الأميركي –الإسرائيلي عن مشروعهم الذي أطلق عليه اسم “صفقه القرن” (صفقه ترامب)، إلا وقد تلاشى مفعول الردود الفلسطينية الرسمية الغاضبة والمندّدة بهذا المشروع والمهددة إسقاطه، حتى عادت الأمور إلى سابق رتابتها، فقد تراجعت تلك النبرة ولم تعد لازمة حديث كلّ مسؤول، بل بدأنا نسمع بعض الأصوات الرسمية الداعية إلى النظر إلى الجزء المليء من كأس صفقه ترامب (إنْ كان في قعر الكأس بقية)، ولم تغيّر السلطة جوهرياً أو شكلياً من أدائها المعتاد أو في خطابها الذي استعاد هدوءه، كما بدا أنها عصية على أن تتغيّر مهما واجهت من محن. التنسيق الأمني لا زال بوتائره السابقة (على مستويات رفيعة وفق ما يقول الأميركي والإسرائيلي) والعلاقة والاتصال مع الأميركان و”الإسرائيليين” من محبي السلام ومبغضيه على حالها، وأشكال التطبيع قد أخذت جرعة دعم جديدة منذ أيام، حيث زوّدهم الرئيس الفلسطيني بغطاء الشرعية، حين استقبل رئيس وأعضاء “لجنة التواصل مع المجتمع الإسرائيلي” والذين كان لهم نشاط تطبيعيّ مؤخراً جوبه بردود فعل شعبية حادة، وذلك في مقرّ الرئاسة وشدّ على أيديهم واعتبرهم أبطالاً وشجعاناً، اخترقوا خطوط الخصم وأوصلوا رسالة الشعب الفلسطيني المحبّ للسلام.

من جانب آخر أبدت الحكومة الفلسطينية مزيداً من الارتخاء والارتماء، حيث أوقفت العمل بقراراتها السابقة الداعية إلى وقف استيراد بعض السلع من الجانب “الإسرائيلي”.

في الثالث من آذار القريب ستجري الانتخابات البرلمانية في الداخل الفلسطيني، حيث تستعر المعركة الانتخابية بين نتنياهو وفريقه وبين غانتس وفريقه، تدور الدعاية الانتخابية للفريقين حول مَن منهم أكثر غلواً وتطرفاً، ومن منهم يفوق منافسه عدوانية وشراسة، ومن منهم أكثر رفضاً للقبول بحلّ الدولتين او بإقامة دولة فلسطينية حقيقية، كما يتنافسون في قدرة كلّ منهم على اختراق جدار المقاطعة العربية المتهاوي أصلاً والسير نحو مزيد من التطبيع مع العالم العربي وفي المزيد من التشدّد في الشأن الفلسطيني.

في الوقت ذاته تتسارع خطوات الحكومة “الاسرائيلية” نحو تنفيذ بنود “صفقه ترامب” على أرض الواقع من دون أن تجد لها أية معيقات لتفرض أمراً واقعاً يكون من الصعب تجاوزه تفاوضياً في المستقبل، فتهويد القدس لا يجد من يعيقه والتضييق على سكانها الأصليين يبلغ مراحل لا تحتمل وعمليات شراء العقارات في البلدة القديمة على قدم وساق، ولم نسمع شيئاً عن النتائج التي توصّلت لها لجان التحقيق في العقارات التي تسرّبت الصيف الماضي والتي شكلتها السلطة الفلسطينية، أما عمليات مصادرة الأراضي وإغلاقها في ما تبقّى من الضفة الغربيّة ففي حالة تسارع باتجاه المناطق التي تضمّها الصفقة لدولة الاحتلال، ومنذ أيام قام الجيش “الإسرائيلي” بتعليق لافتات على أبواب عديد من القرى الفلسطينية المحاذية للمناطق التي سيتمّ الإعلان عن ضمّها وذلك باللغات العبرية والعربية والإنجليزية تقول: أنت تدخل إلى منطقة الدولة الفلسطينية، هذه المنطقة هي جزء من الدولة الفلسطينية المستقبلية وفقاً لـ “صفقة القرن”.

هذه إذن هي الدولة الفلسطينية الموعودة وبما أنّ الكلام يطلق أحياناً على عواهنه وبلا مسؤولية، فمن الممكن إطلاق صفة دولة على هذا الكيان لا بل وما هو أكبر وأعظم من دولة، ولكن الحقيقة التي لا يغطيها غربال الباطل ترى أنّ هذه (الدولة) وفي مرحلتها الأولى التي تطلّ علينا بملامحها لا تمثل الحدّ الأدنى لمفهوم أو تعريف الدولة، فهي منزوعة من السلاح اللهم إلا الخفيف (الشرطيّ)، فاقدة للسيادة على أرضها، ممنوعة من الدفاع عن مواطنيها، محرومة من ثرواتها ومياهها، يتواجد جيش الاحتلال على حدودها فيما يسيطر موظفوه على معابرها ويملكون حق السماح والمنع في القدوم والمغادرة لمن يريدون ومتى رأوا ذلك، اقتصادها وماليتها مرهونان لنظم جباية الاحتلال وكرم المانحين، مناهجها التربوية مكرهة على تزييف حقائق التاريخ وثوابت الدين، وفوق ذلك كله مقطعة الأوصال فاقدة الاتصال بين فتات أجزائها، ناهيك عن الغموض الذي يحيط بمكان عاصمتها والتي وإنْ كان اسمها القدس إلا أنها لن تكون في القدس.

هذه الصورة لا تذهب بالتشاؤم إلى منتهاه وإنما تحذّر من حالة الارتخاء والجمود واللامبالاة غير الخلاقة التي يُبديها صنّاع السياسة في فلسطين في السلطة والمعارضة على حدّ سواء، فهؤلاء يجب دفعهم لشحذ أدمغتهم إنْ وجدت وأسلحتهم إنْ بقيت للتصدّي لهذا الواقع البائس، وإلا فإنهم سيكونون عبئاً على فلسطين وأهلها كما الاحتلال ودولته. فهذا الحال الجامد وإنْ بدا أمراً قائماً، فإنّ الواقع ليؤكد أيضاً أنّ الحركة سنة الحياة ولا يمكن لهذا الحال أن يستمرّ فإما أن نغيّره وإنْ لم نفعل فسيأتي من يملأ الفراغ ويقوم بالعمل.

*سياسيّ فلسطينيّ مقيم في الضفة الغربيّة.

The Delusion of Palestinian Independence Through The Deal of Century

Source

US President Donald Trump and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu take part in an announcement of Trump’s Middle East peace plan in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on January 28, 2020. – Trump declared that Israel was taking a “big step towards peace” as he unveiled a plan aimed at solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Today, Israel takes a big step towards peace,” Trump said, standing alongside Netanyahu as he revealed details of the plan already emphatically rejected by the Palestinians. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

Written by: Andi Annisa Nur Dzakiiyyah., S.Pd

By Andi Annisa -February 24, 2020017

President Trump on some days ago released his long-awaited Middle East peace plan which he has also referred to as the “deal of the century”. Trump planned to  give what Israel has long sought, including allowing for immediate expansion of territory, In his speech Trump said, “My vision presents a win-win opportunity for both sides, a realistic two state solution that resolves the risk of Palestinian statehood to Israel’s security,” , Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, warmly welcomed Trump’s plan.

Even though Trump planned to give a $50 billion US investment in Palestine and vowed that he would create more than 1 million jobs over the next 10 years, Palestinians rejected it. They called it as a ‘bribe’ which weakens their struggle for realizing an independent Palestine as a sovereign state.

This surely would be a profitable plan for Israel, but Palestine would not.  That was why Palestinians took to the streets as part of a “day of rage”. In line with that, the Islamic organizations from other countries did it as well. In Indonesia, Koalisi Indonesia Bela Baitul Maqdis (KIBBM) with 20 organizations focused on Palestinian issues held peaceful demonstrations in front of the American embassy on February 14, 2020.

Palestinians’ problems is our problems even their sorrows are ours. The Deal of Century surely will give Israel legitimacy to annex the territory of Palestine more broadly.

Indeed, the solution to solve Palestine’s sorrow is not by agreeing to divide territory in the form of a peace agreement. That is not solution because the territories of Palestine belong to Palestinians. If we trace the history, Palestine is a region which was liberated since the leadership of Khalifah Umar Bin Khattab and moslems have been staying in Palestine for centuries. How about Zionists? They don’t have region at all.  Even when Zionists wanted to buy the region of Palestine, Sultan Hamid II rejected it and he said “I will not sell a single inch of the country, because it is not mine, it belongs to all the Muslims. They paid for this empire with their blood. And we will redeem it with our blood. Let the Zionists keep their millions.”

The statement of Sultan Hamid II showed the firmness of a moslem. We should remember the tragedy in 1917, the British government approved the establishment of the Israeli state on Palestinian land through the Balfour declaration. this agreement became the forerunner of the founding of Israel. It showed that Israel was originally the region of Palestine. The Zionists actually did not have rights to the territories of Palestine. Unfortunately, they were successful to annex the territory of Palestine by doing devious strategy. What was happened in the past should be reminder that making deal the enemy will harm Palestine.

Therefore, what was annexed by the Zionists should be returned to moslems. This of course will not be realized when the presidents of moslem countries only criticize, ignore, and make cooperation agreements, dialogues, or even resolutions with the enemy. In addition, the solution is not by calling for an international conference in which all colonial countries and criminals will gather against the Palestine. Then, who will we rely on? United Nations? The UN Security Council, which becomes the agent of the peace mission, has not been successful to actualize peace for Palestine. In doing this, Palestinian citizen will successfully defend and reclaim their rights and territories when there is a single leader throughout the world named “caliph” who will attack the enemy.

Rasulullah SAW said, “Indeed the Imam (the Leader/Sultan) is a shield. You fight behind him, and you protect yourself with him.” (Muslim).

Based on the hadith above, as moslems, we need the existence of caliphate who will unify all moslem countries in one shade and mobilize the armies to do jihad and against the enemy. This is the only one solutions that can solve all of the problems of moslems not only in Palestine, but also in Uyghur, Myanmar, Syria, and others. The caliph of moslems is the only one leader who will not bow down in front of the enemy as what Sultan Hamid II and Caliph Umar Bin Khattab had done. Moreover, he will lead by implementing all the commands and prohibitions of Allah including the command of jihad against the enemy.

Allah SWT said, ” And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know [but] whom Allah knows. And whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged.” (Al-Anfal: 60)

Wallahu A’lam Bish Shawab

فلسطين سند طرمان

فلسطين مقالة وليد شرارة السبت 8 شباط 2020

سند طرمان، لِمَن لا يعرفه، هو الفدائي الفلسطيني الشابّ الذي قام بدهس 12 جندياً فجر الخميس في السادس من شباط/ فبراير الحالي. وقد ترك الفدائي، الذي بات أسيراً لدى الاحتلال، عبارة «وجدتُ أجوبتي»، وهي عنوان كتاب الشهيد باسل الأعرج وختام وصيّته، على صفحته في «فايسبوك» بضعَ ساعات قبل تنفيذ العملية. وسرعان ما تلت هذه الأخيرةً عمليتان في القدس ورام الله ضدّ جنود الاحتلال وعناصر شرطته. أبرز التعليقات، الفلسطينية والصهيونية على السواء، حول هذه العمليات، تقاطعت عند اعتبارها ردّاً على «صفقة القرن».

أبو حمزة، الناطق باسم «سرايا القدس»، الجناح العسكري لحركة «الجهاد الاسلامي»، رأى أنها «تأكيد بالدم والسلاح على رفض شعبنا لصفقة القرن وتهويد المقدّسات»، قبل أن يدعو «كلّ المقاومين الفلسطينيين لحمل السلاح، ومهاجمة الحواجز الإسرائيلية، وأن يباشروا حالة من الاشتباك الشامل والمباشر بما يتوفّر لهم من إمكانات». الطرفان، الصهيوني الرسمي، والفلسطيني المقاوِم، متّفقان على تحديد الوظيفة الفعلية لـ«صفقة القرن»: تسريع عملية استيطان وضمّ وتهويد الأرض الفلسطينية. المشروع الصهيوني، كما أثبتت التجربة التاريخية على مدى قرن كامل، هو مِن نمط مشاريع الاستعمار الاستيطاني الإحلالي، الذي يقوم على اقتلاع السكان الأصليين وإحلال المستوطنين في مكانهم، كما جرى في الولايات المتحدة وأستراليا ونيوزيلندا، مثلاً لا حصراً. وككلّ عمليات الاستعمار الاستيطاني الممتدّة زمنياً، عَرف المشروع الصهيوني فترات تتسارع فيها وتيرة التطهير العرقي للفلسطينيين والاستيلاء على أرضهم، كحربَي 1948 وبدرجة أقلّ 1967، وفترات تتراجع فيها هذه الوتيرة لكن من دون أن تتوقف أبداً، بحيث يستمرّ الاقتلاع والاستيطان والضمّ على «نار هادئة». صفقة ترامب تهدف إلى تسريع مسار الاقتلاع. هذا ما فهمه الشعب الفلسطيني وقواه المقاومة من جهة، وقطعان الصهاينة وقياداتهم من جهة أخرى، والنتيجة المباشرة هي تصاعد المواجهة في فلسطين، وفي سياق إقليمي ملتهب

صفقة ترامب تهدف إلى تسريع مسار اقتلاع الفلسطينيين

في مقابلة شهيرة مع «هآرتس» أجراها بعدما أصبح رئيساً للوزراء في شباط/ فبراير 2001، لخّص آرييل شارون، «آخر ملوك إسرائيل»، حسب أنصاره، بدقّة وصراحة شديدتَين، طبيعة المشروع الصهيوني عندما جزم، على رغم ما سمّي آنذاك بمسار التسوية، أن «حرب الاستقلال لم تنتهِ». وأكّد شارون أن المطلوب هو الاستمرار في الاستيلاء على الأرض الفلسطينية واستيطانها «متراً بعد متر وحجراً بعد حجر». أهمية هذه المقابلة تكمن في قطعها مع الخطاب التضليلي الذي اعتُمد خلال تسعينيات القرن الماضي مِن قِبَل «الحمائم» الصهاينة، كإسحاق رابين وشمعون بيريس، عن التسوية بين الشعبَين والتنازلات المتبادلة وبناء الثقة وغيرها من الترّهات. مرّ 19 عاماً على حديث شارون، ومن الواضح اليوم أن الحكومات الإسرائيلية المتعاقبة مضت بالسياسة نفسها. وقد أصبحنا أمام إدارة أميركية تُزايد بصهيونيتها على حكومة إسرائيلية تضمّ اليمين واليمين المتطرّف. انتهت أكذوبة التسوية وانكشفت حقيقة العرّاب الأميركي وحلفائه من «المعتدلين» العرب. حَشْرُ الفلسطينيين في أرخبيل المعازل الذي رسمت «صفقة القرن» حدوده التقريبية القابلة دائماً للتعديل وفقاً لرغبات إسرائيل، واستكمال الاستيلاء على ما بقي من أرضهم، هو عنوان المرحلة الراهنة مِن مسار الاقتلاع. الأهوال التي ستنجم عن هذه المرحلة لم تدفع السلطة الفلسطينية، إلى الآن، على رغم إعلان معارضتها صفقة ترامب ووقفها التعامل مع الحكومتين الأميركية والإسرائيلية، إلى إجراء مراجعة جدّية للنهج الذي تبنّته، واتّخاذ الخطوات التي تَفرض نفسها دفاعاً عن بقاء الشعب الفلسطيني في أرضه، وأولاها وقف التنسيق الأمني والسماح لجماهيره ولقواه المقاومة بمواجهة الاحتلال. لكن، بما أن الصراع في طريقه إلى الاحتدام نتيجةً لتسارع مسار الاقتلاع، لن تستطيع السلطة الاستمرار في النهج ذاته، وهي ستضطر إمّا للتحول إلى مجرّد قوة رديفة للاحتلال تحرس المعازل وتصطدم بشعبها، أو على الأقل أن تتركه ومقاوميه، أمثال سند طرمان، يتصدّون لهذا الاحتلال. إن انطلاق انتفاضة ثالثة، شعبية ومسلّحة، في ظلّ تحوّلات تدريجية في موازين القوى في الإقليم لمصلحة محور المقاومة، الحليف الوحيد للشعب الفلسطيني، كفيل بأن يفرض متغيّرات ميدانية وسياسية، محلية وإقليمية ودولية، تفتح آفاقاً جديدة أمام نضاله. وتستطيع شعوب الأمة وقواها الحية المشاركة في هذه المعركة، من خلال استهداف الوجود الأميركي، راعي سار الاقتلاع وداعمه، بجميع الوسائل الضرورية. وما يزيد من فرص الانتصار في هذه المعركة الوجودية، هو أن جبهة الأعداء الأميركية – الإسرائيلية أضعف مِن السابق، وهي ستُجبَر على التراجع وتقديم التنازلات عندما توقن أن المنطقة ستتحوّل إلى كتلة من لهب.

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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.

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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

Palestine: Legally Overriding a UN Security Council Veto. In Response to Trump’s Annexation Scheme

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, February 03, 2020

In response to the Trump regime’s annexation scheme of the century, Palestinians have binding recourse — in the General Assembly, not the Security Council.

US veto power prevents adoption of a SC resolution that upholds their rights under international law.

By invoking General Assembly Uniting for Peace Resolution 377 (1950), SC actions can be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote of UN member states.

This step if taken and adopted by the GA cannot be overturned by SC veto.

GA Res. 377 can be invoked immediately by a UN member state at times when SC members fail to act as required to maintain international peace and security.

The State of Palestine exists — on the one hand as a PLO-represented observer state.

More importantly, the PLO  adopted the Palestinian Declaration of Independence on November 15, 1988 — drafted by Law Professor Francis Boyle, its legal advisor at the time.

He explained that Palestinian statehood is “determinative, definitive, and irreversible,” adding:

Palestine satisfies all essential criteria for sovereign independence and full de jure UN membership.

All UN Charter states (including America and Israel) provisionally recognized Palestinian independence in accordance with UN Charter article 80(1) and League Covenant article 22(4).

As the League’s successor, the General Assembly has exclusive legal authority to designate the PLO Palestine’s legitimate representative.

The Palestine National Council (PNC) is the PLO’s legislative body. It’s empowered to proclaim the existence of Palestine.

According to the binding 1925 Palestine Citizenship Order in Council, Palestinians, their children and grandchildren automatically become citizens.

So do diaspora Palestinians.

Those living in Israel, Jordan, and elsewhere have dual nationalities.

Occupied Territory residents remain “protected persons” (under Fourth Geneva) until a final peace settlement is reached.Obama Rejects Palestinian Statehood

According to the following characteristics, Palestine qualifies for world community recognition as a de jure UN member state — with all rights and privileges of other world body members:

It’s territory is determinable even though not necessarily fixed, its borders negotiable, the state comprised of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza — where Palestinians have lived for thousands of years, deserving legal recognition of sovereignty over their homeland.

Palestine has a fixed population and functioning government. It supports peace, stability, and cooperative relations with other nations.

It accepts UN Charter provisions and can administer them on their own, along with the ability to establish diplomatic relations with other states.

Palestine fully qualifies for world recognition as a UN member state. If gotten, it can render Trump’s no-peace/peace scheme stillborn.

The General Assembly has sole UN member state admission authority, not the SC.

By invoking GA Res. 377, Palestinians can petition the General Assembly for de jure recognition as a UN member state.

Yet Israeli installed Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas never took this step and is highly unlikely to go this route ahead — why new leadership is essential to pursue fundamental rights Palestinians have been long denied.

Francis Boyle earlier predicted that Palestine “would eventually achieve de jure diplomatic recognition from about 130 states” if its leadership formally seeks it.

He prepared the roadmap for its recognition as a UN member state — by “invok(ing) the UN General Assembly’s Uniting for Peace Resolution…to overcome US vetoes at the Security Council.”

Never taken before, now is the time to go this route in the wake of Trump’s annexation scheme.

Separately I said united under new leadership there’s hope for Palestinians. Divided under traitors in Ramallah serving Israeli interests as its enforcer there’s none.

On Friday, Trump regime UN envoy Kelly Craft warned Palestinians against pursuing their case in the Security Council.

Its UN envoy Riyad Mansour said he’d seek SC support for a draft resolution that counters Trump’s scheme by upholding Palestinian right — a dead-on-arrival initiative.

If followed by invoking GA Res 377, General Assembly UN member states can override the SC veto as explained above.

Mansour said no “Palestinian official will meet with American officials now after they submitted an earthquake, the essence of it the destruction of the national aspirations of the Palestinian people.”

Israel’s UN mission said it’s working to thwart (Palestinian) efforts, and will lead a concerted diplomatic campaign with the US.”

Palestinians have a choice. Invoke GA Res. 377, seeking a two-thirds UN member state majority for their rights or face continued subjugation under Israel’s repressive boot — fully supported by the US and West.

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

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

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.

Trump deal will fell peace process house of cards

Omar Karmi Power Suits 24 January 2020

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu on the campaign trail.
 Gili YaariZUMA Press

Brace yourselves, here it comes.

After years of mounting excitement, the time is finally ripe. The US administration is going to show its hand and unveil the “closely-held” Ultimate Deal of the Century™ before the main contenders for Israel’s leadership go to Washington on Tuesday.

Maybe.

It’s “a great plan,” according to man-of-the-hour Donald Trump, the US president, neatly dispelling any complaints from moaning snowflakes who keep harping on about rights and history and justice and truth and sustainability and blah, blah, blah.

But what exactly is this great plan?

According to Trump, it’s not what you’ve read already.

What you may have read already comes courtesy of unnamed “senior Israeli officials.” According to them, the plan will see Israel annex all of Jerusalem as well as between 30-40 percent of Area C of the West Bank (the 60 percent of the West Bank already under full Israeli control). This includes the Jordan Valley and thus access to the outside world.

The plan would also give Israel a green light to annex all but 15 settlements in the occupied territory – illegal under international law, but no longer in the eyes of the US administration.

Israel will maintain uncontested military control over all the territory of historic Palestine and Palestinians will have to disarm Hamas and demilitarize the Gaza Strip.

Just words

But what do the Palestinians get? As anyone with any sense knows, a deal can only be “great” if all parties walk away feeling they’ve gained something.

Business mogul handbook 101.

Palestinians get statehood. Apparently. Some Israelis are not happy about that, so maybe not. Who knows? But according to “senior Israeli officials,” part of a plan that “really would work” is Palestinian statehood.

Over what? Not clear. Whatever is left, presumably, once Israel has had its fill. Territory-wise there would apparently be some land swaps, though with whom, where and how much has not been divulged.

Jerusalem? “Symbolic access,” whatever that means.

Sovereignty? No army, no control over borders, no control over airspace. So no.

Right of return for refugees? None. The US administration has made its own calculations, determining that the number of Palestinian refugees is roughly equivalent to Jews who fled Arab countries, therefore negating any right of return or even right to compensation.

Oh and Palestinians get $50 billion from “Sunni countries.” Thanks, guys.

Why now?

Palestinians have rejected the plan out of hand.

What else is the Palestinian Authority going to do? There is nothing in the plan, as outlined above, that any Palestinian leader could ever accept.

But that may be to miss the point.

Partly, this administration wants to ride roughshod over international law. After all, superpowers should not feel restrained by things such as rules. That’s what makes them powerful.

No better place to signal such intent than with Palestinians, whose case in international law is clear, open and shut.

But also, of course, this is about helping a friend in his time of need.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the incumbent prime minister, is trying to ward off corruption prosecution, a prosecution that will be brought should he fail to ensure immunity for himself.

He may not secure immunity if he does not form the next government. Trump is simply trying to help.

And with two Israeli elections already last year, Trump has had plenty of chances to prove his generosity.

First, he granted US blessing to Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem. Next, he recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights.

Then he reversed the US position on settlements in occupied territory.

Cognizant of this, Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s main rival, has been falling over himself to promise that his annexation will be bigger than Netanyahu’s.

Not only is he trying to win votes, he is also showing that he knows how to play along with a US president who seems to appreciate sycophancy.

What now?

The plan is yet to be published. Many stalwart supporters of Israel have in the past cautioned against publishing such an obviously imbalanced deal.

There’s a good reason. This forces the hand of the Palestinian Authority. It ends its very reason to exist, namely in preparation for statehood. Real statehood. It crosses every “red line” the PA has ever marked out, whether on refugees, territory, sovereignty, Jerusalem, etc, and so on.

It pulls down the whole peace process charade.

Too many institutions, businesses and industries have been built and too many livelihoods are at stake for the PA to disband itself with immediate effect, however advisable that might be.

Indeed, it may well be that the PA leadership will try to simply sit tight and wait Trump out.

But there really is no time for that. The land is disappearing beneath the Palestinians’ feet.

Trump’s Ultimate Deal is the end of the PA.

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

Trump Kushner

Al-Manar Website Editor

August 13, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Returning with Oslo: Stateless, without Identity

By Al-Ahed

Gaza – Ayman Matar, a Palestinian from the besieged Gaza Strip, had the opportunity to work as a teacher in a school in Kuwait. But sadly, he won’t be able to travel because he has a “zeroed” passport.

People with “zeroed” or invalid passports are those carrying the temporary Palestinian passports, who entered the Gaza Strip after the return of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, filed family reunion applications years ago to obtain an identity card with an official number, but still didn’t receive any endorsement by the ‘Israeli’ occupation authorities regarding the “family reunion”, hence their passports carry zeroes as their serial numbers.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian and Jordanian authorities stopped dealing with people carrying “zeroed passports” under the pretext of lacking identification papers that qualify them for traveling.

Ayman is shocked for not being able to leave the Gaza Strip to build his future. “I am jobless in Gaza. I’ve made the impossible to be accepted among the teachers’ mission to Kuwait… but I am deprived of my simplest rights, God will suffice me,” he says.

Ayman adds that his right to travel is one of the simplest rights in other countries, as well as for other Palestinians who enjoy travelling freely without any obstacle.

“Why there are not yet any solutions for the people with ‘zeroed passports’,” Ayman asks, adding that: “We have the right to travel, receive medical treatment, study and work just like any other human being.”

Noting that he had entered Gaza via his ‘zeroed passport’, Ayman called on the Palestinian Authority to find solutions for those people to be able to travel and fulfill their needs.

Another case is Mrs. Sahar al-Baz. Her ‘zeroed passport’ banned her from seeing her father before he died in 2009 after she came to the Gaza Strip where she made a family and settled without her parents who remained abroad.

“There are different examples and painful stories of the people with ‘zeroed passports’… for what is this pain they are rooting in our hearts? We need a solution to our problems, it is enough of grief, sorrow and suffering,” Mrs. al-Baz says.

“I have the right to own a Palestinian identity and be recognized in the entire Arab world.”

The lady, in her forties, called on the Palestinian Authority to communicate with the Egyptian government to allow them pass through the Rafah Checkpoint to access the outer world.

People carrying these passports hold sit-ins in front of the Refugees Affairs Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO] in Gaza to demand radical and quick solutions for their cause that is still extending.

According to Palestinian Journalist Muthni al-Najjar,

“We are protesting in front of the PLO’s gate to convey a message of protest and ask all the concerned parties whether in Gaza or Egypt to stop the suffering of more than 5000 Palestinians for not being legally nor internationally recognized.”

The journalist returned to Gaza from Iraq in 1994 and remained there without a national record. He has a blue identity card issued by the Gazan Interior Ministry which allows him to enjoy domestic rights but is not recognized abroad.

There are some 5000 Palestinian nationals carrying the ‘zeroed passports’, lacking all rights that range between the right to receive medical treatment abroad to seeing their family members outside the Gaza Strip, not to mention their natural right to receive education in a foreign country.

The ‘zeroed passports’ term is referred to the people who were displaced due to the ‘Israeli’ occupation of Palestine and returned with the Palestinian Authority as part of the Oslo Accord between 1994 and 2000, without obtaining the regular ‘green’ Palestinian identity card. They were rather offered the ‘zeroed passport’ by the Refugees’ Affairs Department of the PLO, an unofficial document that is supposed to ease their living.

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

By Jonathan Cook

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

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

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

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

That was why the Palestinian leadership stayed away.

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

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

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

But the real story is rather different.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump Admin Dangles $50Bn Bribe for Palestinian Surrender

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Netherlands recognizes Gaza, West Bank as official Palestinian birthplaces

This undated photo shows Palestinian protesters demonstrating in front of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the Netherlands. (Photo by Reuters)

This undated photo shows Palestinian protesters demonstrating in front of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the Netherlands. (Photo by Reuters)

Authorities in the Netherlands have allowed Palestinians living in the country to register the besieged Gaza Strip and the West Bank as their official places of birth, instead of registering under such designations as ‘the Israeli-occupied territories’ or ‘unknown’.

Dutch State Secretary Raymond Knops, in a letter addressed to the House of Representatives in The Hague on Sunday, stated that he intends to add Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem al-Quds, to a list of official states used by the Dutch civil registry.

Knops added that the new category is in accordance with “the Dutch viewpoint that Israel has no sovereignty over these areas.”

The Dutch minister further highlighted that the new category was named based on the Oslo Accords and the United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Dutch news outlets reported that the new category will be available to Palestinians born after May 15, 1948, when Israeli forces displaced some 700,000 Palestinians, forcing them to flee to different neighboring countries. Israeli soldiers also wiped nearly 500 Palestinian villages and towns off the map, leaving an estimated total of 4.7 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants dreaming of an eventual return to their ancestral homeland more than six decades later.

The Israeli-occupied land was the only birthplace available to Palestinians registering in the Netherlands up until 2014. The category “unknown,” also known as code “0000,” was made available to Palestinians living in the country after opposition to listing Israel as their birthplace.

While the UN General Assembly and at least 136 countries have recognized Palestine as a sovereign state, the Netherlands has refused to do so.

Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank including East al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip, and are demanding that Israel withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories. Israel, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss the issue of al-Quds.

The Palestinian people’s principal problem is their own leadership

Abbas at the UN

September 27, 2018

By Abdel Bari Atwan

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

***

We ask President Abbas:

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

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

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

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

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

08-01-2018 | 13:24


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

Us President Donald Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: NYT, Edited by website team

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The United States: Destroyer of Nations

The United States: Destroyer of Nations

WAYNE MADSEN | 30.12.2017 | OPINION

The United States: Destroyer of Nations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

كلام باسيل وانزعاج ريفي

كلام باسيل وانزعاج ريفي 

ناصر قنديل

ديسمبر 29, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Times of Israel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unified Muslim voice on Jerusalem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


06-12-2017 | 10:11

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

AlQuds


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: The Independent, Edited by website team

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