Palestine Update 336
The deal of the century is replete with illegalities. So are businesses that prop up the settlement enterprises
Here are two articles that further dissect the “Deal of the Century” – one from a London-based writer, and another from a Palestinian research centre.
Also find a piece on the recently released data base of all business enterprises involved in the Israeli settlements in violation of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.
Palestine is (still) the issue
Excerpts of article by Louis Allday is a writer and researcher based in London.
Had Edward Said been alive to witness the sordid spectacle of the Trump administration’s announcement of the so-called Deal of the Century, there is little doubt he would have been disgusted. But he would not have been surprised. After Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo accords with Israel in 1993, Said saw, with his typical lucidity and foresight, the damning implications of this supposed peace treaty. In the wake of the optimism that the deal engendered in some quarters, Said commented scathingly that the accords were “more flawed” and “more unfavorably weighted than many had first supposed.” He added that the “fashion-show vulgarities of the White House ceremony” had only served to temporarily obscure the “astonishing proportions of the Palestinian capitulation.”
“Between the sword and the neck”
Principled and genuine revolutionary leaders of the Palestinian cause such as George Habash had similarly predicted the disastrous outcome of this approach, which, though concluded in Oslo, began through a series of smaller capitulations and errors decades before. In 1984, Habash stated that Arafat’s decisions meant that he “had lost the faith of the Palestinian masses without gaining anything.” Before then in 1970, Habash’s close friend and comrade, Ghassan Kanafani – murdered by Israel in 1972 – stated with his characteristic combination of eloquence and directness that any “peace talks” with Israel were in fact “capitulations, surrendering … a kind of a conversation between the sword and the neck.”
In March 1967, the Third Afro-Asian Writers’ Conference held in Beirut passed a resolution on Palestine declaring Israel to be “an imperialist base and tool used for aggressive purposes against Arab states in order to delay their progress towards unity and socialism, and as a bridgehead which neo-colonialism relies on in order to maintain its influence over African and Asian states.
Hasan Nasrallah, leader of the Lebanese resistance movement Hizballah – and an astute and implacable foe of both Israel and US imperialism whom Habash once described as a “true revolutionary” – explained it in this way in 2015: “Imagine if America came to be weakened or expelled from the region or preoccupied by internal social and economic issues, what would Israel’s fate be? Is Israel viable in our region? Never. Israel is an American tool.” It is the United States that bears primary responsibility for Israel’s crimes, according to Nasrallah, because without US support, Israel would not persist.
Demanding Palestinian surrender
It is clear, therefore – as has so often been the case during Trump’s presidency – that despite the Deal of the Century’s crudeness and unfathomable disdain for those it would impact, its essence is the continuation and intensification of the policies of all previous US administrations. The US-led peace process has always been a means of ensuring Israeli dominance and Palestinian surrender, and never a sincere effort to bring about a just and lasting settlement.
Ultimately, Israel, the US and its allies want to crush any international solidarity with the Palestinians, as evidenced by the numerous attempts to criminalize or block boycotts of Israel in the US, UK, Germany and France, as well as the now habitual conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.
The dishonest argument that not even people in the region care about Palestine anymore must be viewed as a further component of this effort to undermine public support for the cause. The steadfastness or sumoud of the Palestinians is not in doubt. And so it is incumbent upon those of us who care about the cause to ensure that – in spite of the imperialist delusions and wishful thinking of the likes of Jared Kushner and their venal allies in the media.
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Public Opinion Poll No (75) Press-Release
94% of the Palestinians reject the “Deal of the Century;” large majorities support various responses to the plan including ending the WBGS split, the withdrawal of PA recognition of Israel, the ending of security coordination with Israel, the ending of the implementation of the Oslo agreement, and the resort to armed struggle; more than 80% believe the plan returns the conflict to its existential roots; support for the two-state solution drops to its lowest level since the signing of the Oslo agreement; and while about two-thirds endorse president Abbas’s policy against the plan, about 70% believe that he will not keep his word or follow through.
This quarterly poll was conducted one month earlier than planned in order to measure, in a timely manner, the immediate public response to the American plan known as the “Deal of the Century.” Findings show a Palestinian consensus against the plan as a package and against each of its components, including the economic part if linked to acceptance of the political section of the plan. Moreover, more than 80% of the public believe that the plan has returned the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to its existential roots. The majority speculates that the Trump plan has been deliberately designed to ensure a Palestinian rejection in order for the US to allow Israel to unilaterally annex the Jordan valley and the Jewish settlements. Findings also show that two-thirds of the public support president Abbas’ policy against the plan. But the majority, ranging between two-thirds and three quarters, does not trust the president’s word, as it believes he will not implement his own decision to end relations with Israel and the US. In response to the Trump plan, the overwhelming majority wants the president to end the split between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, to withdraw PA recognition of Israel, to end security coordination, to stop the implementation of the Oslo agreement, and to even resort to armed struggle. Findings also show unprecedented decline in support for the two-state solution to less than 40%, the lowest reported by PSR since the signing of the Oslo agreement. They also show a rise in the percentage of those who think that the most effective means of ending the occupation is armed struggle; they also show a decline in the percentage of those who think negotiation is the most effective means. In domestic matters, finding show a decline in Abbas’ popularity and that of Fatah compared to our findings two-months ago. They also show a rise in the popularity of Hamas’ Ismael Haniyyeh during the same period. If presidential elections were to take place today, 50% would vote for Haniyyeh. Findings also show a drop in the level of optimism regarding the prospects of holding of parliamentary elections soon. But optimism about the prospects for reconciliation increases a little compared to two months ago and about half of the public indicates that if elections were to take place today, they would contribute to the reunification of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”
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UN releases database of companies operating in illegal settlements
The UN released the highly-anticipated database of companies that operate in Israel’s hundreds of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released the list on Wednesday to Palestinian fanfare and Israeli condemnation. The list names 112 business enterprises – 94 Israeli and 18 international – that have ties to illegal settlements, and are involved in one or more of the following 10 activities as stated by the OHCHR. According to the council, the initial investigation began with a potential list of 321 companies, but was eventually narrowed down to the business enterprises listed below. The database is expected to be updated every year, with more companies to be added to the list.
The high commissioner of the council, Michelle Bachelet, released a statement along with the report, saying she was “conscious this issue has been, and will continue to be, highly contentious…However, after an extensive and meticulous review process, we are satisfied this fact-based report reflects the serious consideration that has been given to this unprecedented and highly complex mandate, and that it responds appropriately to the Human Rights Council’s request contained in resolution 31/36.”
In 2016, the UN Human Rights Council adopted resolution 31/36, requesting the OHCHR to produce a report investigating the “implications of settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.” Due to heavy Israeli and US pressure, the publication of the report was delayed for years, to the disdain of human rights groups around the world. The release of the report on Wednesday was swiftly criticized by Israel and its supporters. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz called it a “stain” on the OHCHR, and threatened action against the council by Israel.
Read full report from Mondoweiss