Palestine Update 249
Israel manipulates peace, US acquiesces
In an article in Israel Times, the writer points to how the ‘Deal of the Century’ is mere American acquiescence to the right-wing mentality that has ruled Israel for over a decade. The ‘New Palestine’ will be established on territorial fragments of the West Bank, as all illegal Jewish settlements would permanently become part of Israel. If Palestinians refuse to accept Washington’s diktats, according to the report, they will be punished through financial and political isolation. The newspaper has described the so-called deal “not an American peace overture, but an egregious act of bullying. However, it is hardly a deviation from previous rounds of ‘peace-making,’ where Washington always took Israel’s side, blamed Palestinians and failed to hold Israel to account.
Netanyahu, however, is likely to wait for Palestinians to reject the deal, as they certainly should. Then, with the help of pro-Israel mainstream western media, a new discourse will evolve, blaming Palestinians for missing yet another opportunity for peace, while absolving Israel from any wrongdoing.
Palestinians say the Trump administration’s team has shown a clear bias toward Israel. In addition to Kushner and Greenblatt, it includes David Friedman, Trump’s former bankruptcy lawyer, now the US ambassador to Israel. Friedman, an Orthodox Jew, recently declared that Israel was “on the side of God” in peace negotiations, and asked prominent Israeli rabbis to pray for Trump’s reelection. The three Trump aides are vocal supporters of the settler movement, which builds towns for Israeli Jews on land claimed by the Palestinians, a project considered illegal under international law. Previous US administrations opposed or sought to discourage such construction.
Catholic Bishops lament setbacks for Holy Land peace, call for a better path
Peace, mutual equality, and respect must be the foundation of progress in Israeli-Palestinian relations, despite continued setbacks, the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land said this week.
Continuing difficulties in Palestine and Israel have caused many people to question “whether international diplomacy and the peace process were ever actually based on justice and good will,” the ordinaries said in a May 20 message. “Many in Palestine and in Israel feel that since the launch of the peace process, their lives have become more and more unbearable,” the ordinaries said. “Many have left; many more consider leaving and some are resorting to violence. Some die quietly and others are losing faith and hope.”
The ordinaries represent a diverse group of Middle East Christians in communion with Rome. Their message was signed by current and past patriarchs, archbishops and bishops, exarchs, men and women religious, and other leaders, from the Maronite Catholic Church, the Melkite Catholic Church, the Syrian Catholic Church, the Armenian Catholic Church, the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land.
The infamous scheme to liquidate the Palestinian case
Many commentaries have been made about the so-called “deal of the century”, better known as the infamous scheme to liquidate the Palestinian case for as long as one can see. Various negative shades of opinion have already been expressed about the deal even before its “birth”, but they all agree that the plan is totally and unequivocally unacceptable to the Palestinians. Even though the description of the contents of the plan varied, they all share a common thread: Perhaps a mini Palestinian state without the normal attributes of statehood, annexation of most of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, especially the big ones, keeping Jerusalem united under Israeli sovereignty, building a bridge joining Gaza with the West Bank, etc. etc.
None of the versions already circulated or disclosed by purpose or otherwise come near the peace plans offered by former Israeli Prime ministers Ehud Barak in 2000 or Ehud Olmer in 2008. The Palestinian leadership rejected both offers of peace as incomplete even though they envisioned an Israeli withdrawal from more than 96 per cent of the West Bank and keeping East Jerusalem and its holy places under Palestinian control. If such “generous” peace offers were rejected outright as incomplete… why would the sponsors of the deal offer something that is much less fulfilling of the Palestinian inalienable rights to have a sovereign state of their own on Palestinian soil in all the West Bank, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
PA will reexamine agreements with Israel
Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet leader Mohammad Shtayyeh said that the Palestinian National Council and the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee would review all the agreements signed with Israel. Speaking at an Iftar meal, which ends the daily Ramadan fast, with the families of dead terrorists and ones imprisoned in Israel, Shtayyeh said that “it is impossible to continue to recognize Israel as long as it does not recognize us.”
“Israel is conducting a fight against us on the narrative. It wants to falsify our narrative about Al-Aqsa in order to make the Jewish narrative dominant. But as much as it tries, it will never falsify history because we are rooted in this land,” he continued. He called on the Palestinian Arabs in the diaspora to come to “Palestine” to invest in it.
‘Israel’s extreme right wing government extinguishes hope for a Palestinian state’
Last year, Palestinian citizens of Israel suffered two major set-backs in their ongoing fight for equality. The first was the Nation-State Law, which basically turned non-Jews into second class citizens. The second, which is related to the first, was a slump in Palestinian and Arab representation within the Israeli Knesset (parliament).
For the 2 million Palestinians who make up almost 22 per cent of the population of Israel, discrimination and institutional racism has been a reality since the Nakba of 1948. Even though “the right to equality is not yet enshrined in law regarding most aspects of life,” no previous decree with constitutional status has relegated non-Jewish Israeli citizens to an inferior status resembling the apartheid laws in White-ruled South Africa rather than the equal rights and democracy celebrated in the West.
Israeli settlers again storm Al Aqsa Mosque
A group of Israeli settlers, accompanied by Israeli forces, stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque for the third time during the past two weeks of the Holy Month of Ramadan (an important annual holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide). The Israeli military has, during the past week alone, invaded the mosque compound twice in order to harass and intimidate worshipers. Israeli settlers and right-wing extremist Jewish religious groups have, in recent months, increased the number and severity of their invasions of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which are carried out with the full support of the Israeli military.
Amnesty International demands Trip Advisor to stop promoting Israeli settlements
Amnesty International has called on the US-based company, Trip Advisor, to stop promoting tourist sites in illegal Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian lands.
Amnesty indicated that Trip Advisor’s site promotes about 70 properties and places in illegal Israeli settlements constructed in occupied Palestinian territories. The promotion of those locations, via the company’s website, contributes to the expansion and legalization of the Israeli settlements’ economy. Israeli settlements are illegal under the international law and are considered as a war crime for being established on stolen Palestinian lands. Thus, the Israeli settlements should never be considered as a holiday destination.”.