Palestine Update 253
Israel fumbles with the music as Kushner dances on one foot
All eyes are now focused on the ‘Deal of the century’ and what its release will mean for Palestinians, the Middle East, and the world at large. The US is sending out a variety of messages to test the grounds. Each message is bullying in nature and scope. Palestinians reject that harrying and stand constant; knowing that what the US pursues is plain and simple capitulation to Israeli maneuvers. What is clear is that whatever “deal” is presented or released, it has no destination. As Hanan Ashrawi puts it: … “Jason Greenblatt, Jared Kushner, and David Friedman (are) “a group of ideologically driven men with personal ties to the U.S. president and Israel, no experience in world politics and no interest in international law or the universality of human rights.”
With Netanyahu in the dock on serious corruption charges, and his dismal failure to get anywhere close to government formation, many of the abhorrent designs of Israel are stalled.
The Bahrain conference – another case of playing with fire – will be scrutinized not only for its results, but for who joins it and what they do at the conference and after. . Trump is truly the world’s most reckless leader for now. Of course, when assessed, he will not end up looking worse than his predecessors; only more brazen. Or, for that matter, many European leaders who repudiate bold answers to the Palestinian Question. Little wonder, Palestinians must cope with what they do every day.
When Ambassador Friedman declared that Israel had the right to annex some of the West Bank, one wonders if he was suffering from a bout of inanity. But it was a message that intended to seek a response that could forewarn the US and Israel what might become of the situation on the ground if the announcement were pursued.
Arab and Muslim world countries have demarcated the parameters of the minimum basis for the resolution of the Palestinian problem in the recently held Arab and Islamic summits in Mecca. They conditioned the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the two-state solution, with East Jerusalem serving as the capital of the Palestinian state in all of the West Bank. Any deviation from this Arab and Islamic principled proposal for ending the Palestinian case is obviously and automatically rejected outright.
Washington will do best when it pays heed to this firm and principled Arab and Muslim standpoint on the Palestinian problem if it is ever serious about ending it.
The question has often been posed: Is Israel the “holy cow” no one dares touch? The news you read below must be seen in this question.
Hamas says US envoy’s annexation remarks encourage violation of Palestinians’ rights
The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has lashed at US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman after he said the Tel Aviv regime has the right to annex “some” of the West Bank, arguing such comments amount to “legitimization of settlement expansion activities” in the occupied territories. The movement, in a statement announced that the remarks which equal “an attack on Palestinians’ rights and are in violation of UN resolutions and international law” come on the 52nd anniversary of Naksa Day, during which the Israeli army occupied the city of al-Quds, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as well as other Arab land in the 1967 Six-Day War, noting that “the United States will complete its hostility toward our nation through such comments, and strip it of the remaining rights.”
“The American administration carries full responsibility for any repercussions of these snide remarks, which encourage the Israeli occupation to commit further violations against our people, their rights and their land. The Palestinian nation will continue to resist the occupation and defend its rights,” the statement pointed out.
Netanyahu’s Government fail should postpone Trump’s Middle East peace plan
Palestinians heaved a sigh of relief when they saw Israel would hold new elections, and the United States would have more time to do the diplomatic work needed. Even by the standards of Israel’s famously tumultuous politics, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s unprecedented failure to form a government Wednesday, triggering second round elections, is a seismic event. And it is not only Israeli voters who find themselves buffeted by the aftershocks.
While Israeli politics has been thrown into disarray and campaign posturing is scheduled to trounce policymaking until the new vote on September 17, the Trump administration will likely find itself equally stymied in any significant attempt to move forward with its Middle East peace effort. That is undoubtedly frustrating to the administration’s peace team, headed by presidential advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner, which has been working on the plan for more than two years. But, to paraphrase political leaders at least as far back as Machiavelli, this is exactly the kind of crisis that should not be wasted.
Anxiety and concern have long been the watchwords for many in the Arab world and Europe as the administration has moved closer to an anticipated unveiling of the plan this summer. The collapse of the Israeli coalition talks may well prove to be a blessing in disguise if it pushes back the deal’s release and buys the administration time to overcome the serious flaws that threaten to produce a stillborn plan.
German firm escalates its war crimes against Palestinians
German construction giant Heidelberg Cement is expanding its plunder of Palestinian resources, a war crime punishable under German and international law. HeidelbergCement operates a stone quarry in the occupied West Bank without permission of the Palestinians. After exhausting the Nahal Raba quarry, the Israeli army has now given the firm permission to exploit another 25 acres of occupied West Bank land. Most of the quarried products are used for the Israeli construction industry, including settlements in the occupied West Bank whose construction is also a war crime.
The Palestinian people’s right to self-determination includes permanent sovereignty over natural resources, even while under occupation. Israel has no authority to grant HeidelbergCement permission to extract Palestinian natural resources for its own benefit or that of a foreign company.
Gaza medic shot in the head by Israeli forces dies from injuries
A Palestinian medic shot by Israeli forces last month in the besieged Gaza Strip died from his injuries on Monday. The ministry said Mohammed al-Judeili, 36, died in a West Bank hospital Monday of a wound from a rubber bullet to his head. His death brings the toll of medics killed while tending to the wounded at Gaza’s weekly border protests up to four. At least 240 Palestinians have been killed by Israel since last year, when protests began to demand an end to Israel’s blockade and the right of return for Palestinian refugees. The protests have often escalated into cycles of cross-border conflicts defused with short-lived truces mediated by Egypt, Qatar and the UN.
Palestinians plan ‘popular uprising’ against ‘deal of the century’
Palestinians pray in front of the Dome of the Rock shrine on the start of Eid al-Fitr holiday in Jerusalem last week
Palestinians are preparing for a “popular uprising” in protest at US President Donald Trump’s so-called “deal of the century” which is set to be unveiled at a Bahrain conference later this month. Demonstrations will take place as the US-led gathering discusses the first part of Washington’s “peace plan.”
The controversial proposals have already been rejected by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). It called for a global boycott of the event which it views as a platform to sell out Palestinian rights. It said the so-called “deal of the century” would “enforce the Israeli occupation and erase the national and legal rights of the Palestinian people.”
Details of the deal are not known at this stage. It is believed to involve planned investment in the West Bank and Gaza in exchange for Palestinians giving up certain rights and historical claims. Yesterday’s gathering in the West Bank city of el-Bireh brought together representatives of the PLO factions along with Palestinian civil society organisations and independent figures.
They called for the “popular uprising” to coincide with the US-led conference and urged Palestinians to join “action to foil the ‘deal of the century’ and its economic aspect, and voice their rejection of all American policies.”
Palestine: A Four Thousand Year History
by Nur Masalha
London: Zed Books Ltd., 2018.
In February 2019, two Israelis found a 1,900-year-old coin from the time of the Jewish Bar Kochba revolt against the Romans (132-35 C.E.) in an area southwest of Jerusalem. Inscribed on one side of the coin were the words the “second year to the freedom of Israel.” This kind of evidence connecting the Jewish people to the land of Israel is exactly what Nur Masalha seeks to undermine in his new book, a dense and redundant effort to undercut what he calls “the foundational myths of Zionism.”
As an anti-Zionist historian, Masalha exhibits typical contempt for “Zionist settler colonialism,” but he distinguishes himself in one important way. He also endeavors to challenge “the fictional narratives of the Old Testament.” In other words, he seeks to deny the Jewish connection to the Holy Land. For example, he asserts that “there is no empirical historical evidence or facts to corroborate positively the Old Testament Exodus text.” He further finds a “lack of material or empirical evidence for a ‘United Kingdom of David and Solomon.'” He sneers at what he calls Jewish “myths of ‘exile and return’ and ‘return to history.'” When he does acknowledge Jewish connections, he claims that the Jews were “Palestinians”—seemingly with no claim to the land. In contrast, he posits that “Palestine and its local heritage have survived across more than three millennia through adaptation, fluidity, and transformation.” In disjointed, repetitive, academic language, he labors to draw a continuous arc from the Late Bronze Age to the current day. Of course, Arabs have connections to the land they today call “Palestine.” But to assert a continuous four thousand-year history is absurd. The territory has changed hands countless times, as Roman, pre-Islamic, Islamic, and modern empires came and went.
Not surprisingly, Masalha reserves his most unhinged treatment for the present, devoting a full seventy-nine pages to a chapter entitled “Settler-colonialism and disinheriting the Palestinians.” He rants about Israeli “appropriation of Arabic toponyms” (a word he uses incessantly) and consumes eight pages excoriating European Jews for taking Israeli names upon emigrating at the turn of the last century.