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Trump and Palestine

Photo Source Jonas Moffat | CC BY 2.0

For decades, much of the world seemed to believe the fairy tale that the United States was a neutral broker, working for a solution to the issues plaguing Palestine and Israel. The U.S. sponsored endless rounds of negotiations, ostensibly looking for an end to these issues.

Before this writer points out the nonsense of that belief, allow him to state two, self-evident (one would think) truths:

(1) No broker is needed. All that is required is for Israel to adhere to international law. This means removing all the illegal settlers, ending the blockade of the Gaza Strip, allowing all Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and stopping the theft of Palestinian natural resources (such as water).

(2) Negotiations, even if they were required, which they certainly are not, can only be successful when each side has something the other side wants, that can only be obtained by surrendering something it has. Israel takes whatever it wants from Palestine with complete impunity; there can be no negotiations between those two parties.

Now, back to the fantasy of the U.S. as a neutral broker.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s record in this area is hardly laudable. First, he moved the U.S. embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in violation of international law. This move was condemned by most of the global community in a United Nations General Assembly session shortly after it was made. Palestinians see Jerusalem as the site of their future capital, as does most of the rest of the world.

Second, he put in charge of creating the so-called ‘deal of the century’ his incompetent, Zionist son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is a personal friend of Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu, and who has investments in illegal settlements. Neutrality, anyone?

Third, Trump cut of all funding to U.N. agencies that assist Palestinian refugees.

Fourth, he closed the PLO office in Washington, D.C.

All this plays well to his fundamental Christian base, which believes that the Bible should be a guide for governments to operate and, most bizarrely, that God determines who should live where. They also seem to believe that Deity overlooks one group of people treating another abominably; isn’t there something in the Ten Commandments (you remember those old things) about loving one’s neighbor as oneself? The cruel barbarity with which Israelis treat Palestinians doesn’t seem to meet that standard.

Trump’s goal seems to be to make things so difficult for the Palestinians that they will accept any deal, no matter how bad for them, and how one-sided for Israel. By cutting off all funds that in any way assist Palestinians, he will bring them close to starvation. He believes (erroneously) that his determination that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel makes it so.

Yet he is, incredibly, unaware of the resiliency of the Palestinian people. They have undergone over 70 years of oppression by Israel and internationally-sanctioned injustice, and yet the resist. They are deprived of weapons other than stones, but still they stand up for their rights. They bury loved ones, murdered by Israelis; they mourn them, and then return to the streets to resist. They suffer the horror of having homes, mosques, hospitals, schools and media centers bombed, all in violation of international law, and yet they continue to attend school, marry, rear children and resist.

Perhaps Trump’s blatant bias against the Palestinians will induce the rest of the world to act. His overt hostility toward the Palestinians and their basic human rights is on clear display for the entire world to see. Even U.N. Secretary General António Guterres has suggested an armed force as one possibility to protect the Palestinians from Israel. This move, unfortunately, would require U.N. Security Council approval, and the U.S., for reasons that can’t even be imagined, would veto such a resolution. Trump and his cohorts in government would prefer to watch Palestinian blood flow, rather than do anything to stop Israel from spilling it.

There have been some good signs. Paraguay, which followed the U.S.’s illegal lead in moving its embassy to Israel to Jerusalem in May has a new president, who is moving it back to Tel Aviv. In response to the U.S. defunding the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, eleven countries (Germany, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland) will send their donations early. Germany has promised to significantly increase its funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). All this, coupled with the vote in the U.N. General Assembly that declared Trump’s naming of Jerusalem ‘null and void’ (128 in favor of the resolution; 9 opposed; the remainder either abstaining or absent) indicates that Palestine has not been forgotten.

But this is not enough; the Palestinian people are suffering from decades of oppression, and it is long past time for the international community to invoke international law, name Israel an apartheid nation and isolate it, as was done to South Africa a generation ago. This isolation is being done unofficially, and with increasing success, by individuals through the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement. The nations that still do not officially recognize Palestine must do so; some of them, including Ireland and England, have passed non-binding resolutions to do so. This must now be made into law.

If left to the United States, Palestine will soon be only a note in history books, while Palestinians suffer as second-class citizens in an Israel that doesn’t welcome or accept Arabs or people of African descent. Tolerating this blatant injustice is typical for the United States, which installs brutal dictators to replace democratically-elected, leftist governments, and where citizens of African descent are routinely killed by mainly white police officers. But it isn’t typical of all other nations, and those that work to support equality and human rights at home and abroad must stand up for the Palestinians. History will already judge generations harshly for allowing this brutality, but it can record that, eventually, justice was served.

More articles by:

Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

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