In the same week as the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, in an attempt to win sympathy for the Jewish people of Israel, despite the criminal activity of the Israeli government, Trump, with Netanyahu by his side, announces measures which probably mark the death-knell for a Palestinian state. It is no coincidence that, in the same week, both men face action for crooked activity and both have elections in the offing. Coming on top of Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, Netanyahu hopes this cook–up will seal success for his Likud Party in the Israeli election and Trump hopes it will assure the Jewish vote and the rightwing Evangelical vote for him. Their blatant opportunism is exploiting the horror of the holocaust for their own political ends.
After months of shuttle diplomacy by Trump’s oleaginous son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the much-vaunted White House plan for Middle East peace was announced on 28th JANUARY.
Trump described it as “historic”and “The deal of the century”. It would more appropriately be described as the steal of the century. I do hope it is consigned to the dustbin of history. It has the sticky finger-marks of Netanyahu all over it, but no hint of concession to the Palestinians. As The Guardian commented, the Trump Plan “ticks every box on the Israeli wish-list”.
Its main provisions are:
- Palestine’s claim on part of Jerusalem for a capital is ignored. Israel is given the whole of it and Palestine can have a village on the city boundary for a capital.
- Ignoring international law and United Nations resolutions, major Jewish settlements on territory taken in war, including in the West Bank, will become permanent and recognised as such by the US. This makes a mockery of the proposed four-year freeze on settlement construction . The stable door is being shut long after the horse has bolted. The US has already recognised Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, stolen from Syria. In contravention of international law and UN resolutions, settlements have been built on the Heights.
- Only a genius like Trump could have thought of this one: Within the West Bank, Palestinians would have some pockets of ground connected to Gaza by tunnels, thus becoming what he considers a coherent territory. It is tantamount to suggesting that the Channel Tunnel restores the medieval position of England and northern France being one country.
- “Security” of all Palestinian areas would be safeguarded by Israel. In other words, Palestine would have no armed forces and the hated Israeli Defence Force would continue to reign supreme.
- Demands for the right of Palestinians to return to the properties stolen from them in the wars of 1948 and 1967 are totally ignored.
Far from being a formula for peace, this plan makes the Palestinian problem a permanent running sore. Palestinian territories are planned to remain as at present: Bantustans completely surrounded and controlled by an apartheid state. The fact that Israel now has US blessing for treating as permanent the borders won by war in 1967, gives the go-ahead for the aim of the Israeli far right to steal as much ground as possible, eventually forcing out every last Arab from within the state’s elastic borders.
The plan appears to have the blessing of such lickspittle regional dictatorships as Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE.
I would like to see the UN Security Council and General Assembly roundly condemn this plan.
I would also like to see the UN, the EU and countries all round the world recognise Palestine as a state, with the right to a seat at the UN and the right to establish embassies in countries with which it wishes to establish relations. This people without a land deserves no less. Their land was stolen by the western powers in re-drawing the map of the Middle East after the First World War. The same powers have ensured by any means, including war, that they keep control of the Middle East and its oil riches.
I have a dream that the Arab oil states will be brought down to earth by the rest of the world ceasing to buy their oil, wanting it to be left in the ground, in order to limit climate change. I dream that reality will hit the entire region by water replacing oil as the Middle East’s scarce and most valuable resource.