Of deals and agreements – Unlearned lessons

Palestine Update 403

Of deals and agreements – Unlearned lessons

Jafar M Ramini, a Palestinian political analyst, wrote: “I believe that for us Arabs to survive and progress we must have in common more than religion, language and rhetoric. We need unity, transparency and honesty. He called out to Palestinians warning that “We are teetering on the edge of a precipice”. He laments that while, “until very recently, every Arab leader, politician, cleric and pundit, given half a chance, would mount the platform and raise the Palestinian flag promising to do what is necessary to liberate the land and restore what is rightfully ours”. Not any more, he argues. Instead, he says: “The language has changed totally from support of the Palestinian cause to condemnation of us Palestinians, accusing us of being ungrateful architects of our own demise”. The schism between some Arab regimes, especially in the Gulf and the Palestinians has been widening ever since the two Mohammads – Bin Zayid in the UAE and Bin Salman in Saudi Arabia took control.  Both, may I add, are pretenders to their respective thrones yet they are taking vital, life changing decisions as if they were the actual rulers.

All this has happened under the watchful eyes of history’s most recent political imbecile, Jarad Kushner, who is now confidently the juvenile Godfather to the destruction of Palestine. Among his cheap thrills, are that the flight between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi, which would, under normal circumstances, take seven hours, took only three only because Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, pretender to the throne of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, allowed the Israeli carrier, El Al to use Saudi air space.

Tragically, the fate of the Palestinian people has been left for Israel, the international Zionist Movement and the United States of America to deal with as they see fit. Arab States have tacitly begun opening doors for relationships with Israel with the USA being its conduit. Jafar M Ramini regrets the naivety and voracity of Arab leaders who fail to see that political accords are, by no means, in the interest of peace or peaceful co-existence. The irrational politicos in the Arab States might like to believe that their deals will suspend the threatened annexation. Annexation is already a fact on-the-ground. And Israel will never give up its desire for total control. So all these treaties – whether with the UAE or Bahrain are mere folly.  Says Ramini, “Israel is in it for whatever it can distort or squeeze from any Arab country for the betterment and expansion of Israel”. When the Oslo Accord was signed, the world believed magic had happened and that we were on the the foothold of a new dawn. Israeli illegal settlements burgeoned,  home demolitions multiplied, as they do, even as I write this. The internment of men, women and children without charge goes on in a frenzy. Crushing and humiliating raids on Palestinian families, the humiliation of fathers in front of their family and the dragging of their children into the unknown all continue without an end in sight. Gaza is besieged and suffocated within a breath of its miserable life. Israeli steals land without shutting an eyelid. 

Do those Arab leaders think for one moment that when Israel establishes a firm foothold in their countries it will play fair? Israel has never shown inclination to conform to international law or treaties. And as far as the USA is concerned, Trump is direct and brazen: “We don’t have to be in The Middle East, other than to protect Israel”

Ranjan Solomon

Bahrainis protest against normalization deal, burn Israeli flags

Bahrainis rallied throughout the kingdom last night condemning the government’s declaration on normalizing its relations with the occupying state of Israel, setting Israeli flags on fire in defiance of a government ban on protests. Protests reportedly took place in the northern villages of Karrana and Abu Saiba, the central village of Shakhura, the village of Sanabis on the outskirts of Manama, and the village of Sadad on the country’s west coast, according to Iranian state-run Press TV network.

The al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, Bahrain’s main opposition group, posted pictures of the rallies that took place in the capital Manama as well as many other locations across the country. The protesters decried the declaration as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause and condmened Manama’s intention to exchange embassies with the occupying state of Israel.The participants waved the Palestinian flags and banners expressing outrage at the normalization, and set fire to Israeli flags.


Concerned, but doing nothing:
EU repeats verbal condemnation for Israeli demolition of Palestine
The European Union Representative issues the following statement in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah. «The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah note with concern that Israeli authorities have continued to carry out demolitions of Palestinian structures in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 2020.

These demolitions, including EU and EU Member States-funded structures, have resulted in the displacement of Palestinians and negatively affected Palestinian communities. As of 31 August, a total number of 107 residential units and 46 other units (shops, storerooms, etc.) were demolished in 2020 in East Jerusalem alone.

In this context, the EU missions note with concern that demolitions have continued since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early March notwithstanding the various obligations of the occupying power under international humanitarian law. In line with the EU’s long-standing position on Israel’s settlement policy, illegal under international law, and actions are taken in that context, such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions, and confiscations of homes, the EU once again urges the Israeli authorities to halt demolitions of Palestinian structures. In this context, it welcomes the recent decisions of the High Court of Justice annulling demolition orders in Jenin and Hebron district.

The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah recall the successive Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions and statements in which the EU has repeated its strong opposition to Israel’s settlement policy and actions taken in this context. The continuation of this policy violates international law, undermines the viability of the two-state solution and the prospect for lasting peace in the region, and seriously jeopardizes the possibility of Jerusalem serving as the future capital of both States».

Israel’s officials who might be arrested if they travel abroad

C:\Users\Admin\AppData\Local\Temp\ksohtml4324\wps1.pngIn recent weeks, media reports spoke of secret lists Israel was compiling of military and intelligence officials who might be arrested when they travelled abroad if the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided to investigate war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT).  In fact, in just the five years since the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened her preliminary examination into possible war crimes in the OPT, the Israeli army has killed more than 700 Palestinians and injured tens of thousands.

These deaths and injuries were not isolated incidents, but were part of a broader policy that seeks to suppress Palestinian resistance to the colonization of their land. As a consequence of Israeli land theft, it’s illegal settlements and the transfer of its citizens to the OPT, Palestinian families have been divided, faced arbitrary detention, placed under siege and denied freedom of movement amongst many other abuses. Thus, a strong prima facie case can be made that Israel is guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes and this perhaps helps to explain why it has been unwilling to enquire further into the complaints and files in its possession.

There are a number of indicators that should lead the Office of the Prosecutor (henceforth referred to as the Office or as the OTP) to draw this conclusion. The first indicator is the number of complaints and files that were closed without a genuine, independent and impartial investigation. The second tackles fictional investigations against low-level soldiers that effectively protect the decision-makers from prosecution. The third is Israel’s ongoing unwillingness to respect international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL). In addition, the brief discusses the role of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as it relates to the ICC.

UAE Geopolitical Gamble – Palestinian Peace on Life Support
C:\Users\Admin\AppData\Local\Temp\ksohtml4324\wps2.png Like it or not, the United Arab Emirates may have done the Palestinians a favor by forging diplomatic ties with Israel. On the face of it, the agreement deprives the Palestinians of a perceived trump card: Arab recognition in return for Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied during the 1967 Middle East war even if it has not proven to be much of an asset.

Historically, forging diplomatic relations with the Jewish state has not been a magic wand to resolve a seemingly intractable dispute. The carrot of recognition has not helped solve the Palestinians’ problem 72 years after they were first displaced by Israeli occupation and independence and despite the conclusion of peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan—two states that, unlike the UAE, had and still have a direct stake in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Nor did it stop US President Donald J. Trump from accepting the legitimacy of annexation of occupied Palestinian land.Nevertheless, the UAE move contributes to salvaging options for a peace settlement that could be acceptable to both Palestinians and Israelis. Most importantly, it has helped take immediate Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank off the table by giving Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu the opportunity to temporarily set aside his pledge to incorporate Palestinian land before the November US presidential election without being seen as caving in to American pressure.

To be sure, Mr. Netanyahu has suspended not cancelled plans for annexation in exchange for UAE recognition. The reality is, however, that Mr. Netanyahu or whoever will eventually succeed him will unlikely get a US green light in the foreseeable future irrespective of who wins the American presidential election. Neither Mr. Trump nor his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, will want to jeopardize evolving relations between Israel and Arab states that annexation no doubt would disrupt. What that does is keep options open; it does not open doors, nor does it create the basis for renewed peace negotiations. The UAE has all but officially embraced Mr. Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan that explicitly endorses the principle of annexation – a non-negotiable non-starter for Palestinians.

In other words, Israelis and Palestinians will have to resolve their dispute themselves. External powers cannot do it for them. However, external powers can help ensure that Israelis and Palestinians have options and shape an environment that would be conducive to a peace process.

And that is where the problems start. Four decades of primarily US-led mediation efforts, often involving non-starters, have produced at best a seemingly intractable stalemate in which Israel has the upper hand. Successive US administrations have favored Israel and been reluctant to sufficiently pressure it to enable a viable solution.

The UAE’s halting annexation for now and keeping the door to negotiations open constitutes a gamble. The primary risk is grey swans or predictable disruptions, not black swans or unpredictable events. The biggest risk beyond an Israeli decision at some point to move forward with annexation is West Bank protest against Israeli policy to which Israel responds with a heavy hand and military escalation in Gaza.

Palestinian protest is almost a given in a world that has just ended a decade of defiance and dissent, with the 2011 and 2019/2020 popular Arab revolts as its centerpiece and the prospect of global social unrest in the 2020s as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the worst worldwide economic downturn since World War Two. Add to this the worldwide awareness of entrenched social injustice and racial inequality.

Protest is likely whatever happens. With hope for a two-state solution fading, the alternatives are a one-state solution or continued occupation. Both are potential drivers of social unrest.Israeli warplanes pounded Gaza, one of the world’s most densely populated regions blockaded by Israel as well as Egypt, on a nightly basis as Israeli and Emirati diplomats finalized terms of their establishment of diplomatic relations. The bombings were in response to the firing of rockets and flying of balloon bombs from Gaza into Israel. Potentially, heavy-handed Israeli responses to Palestinian protest and Gaza attacks could put the UAE in an uncomfortable position.