Real politik versus Trump’s ‘Apprentice’ 

Palestine Update  150

Real politik versus Trump’s ‘Apprentice’ 
If Donald Trump thought that the Middle East was as easy to deal with as his TV show ‘The apprentice’, he has probably realized by now that impetuous political decisions don’t add up to sensible diplomacy.  His decision on Jerusalem has close-to-nil support around the world. If Trump thinks he has been triumphant in getting Jerusalem off the table in the Israel-Palestine equation, he may have a thing or two to unlearn. On the surface, Israel may have got its way but the masses of Palestinians, the Arab Street, churches, Jewish organizations, and civil society in influential western nations, notably the USA, have rejected the gambit in totality. It has not taken Trump back to the drawing table. But a mere executive decision by a US President does not become law. Trump probably knows this by now but rigidly sits in denial of his blunder. Trump is negotiating a deal without the Palestinians included. The deal of the century stands on sinking sand mainly because it excludes the Palestinians. Israel is just the illegal colonialist occupier who have no rights at all to discuss Jerusalem minus the Palestinians.

It is this which prompted IfNotNow to launch a campaign towards critical examination of the way American Jewish institutions teach and talk about the occupation. During the violence of Operation Protective Edge in 2014, young Jews angered by the overwhelmingly hawkish response of American Jewish institutions came together under the banner of IfNotNow to demonstrate their resistance. They had three demands: Stop the War on Gaza, End the Occupation, and Freedom and Dignity for All. The demand for American Jewish institutions to end their support for the occupation is based on their conviction that an irrelevant establishment speaks in immaterial tones while the American Jewry is increasing in its fervor for change.

“IfNotNow’s campaign is targeting: an education that whitewashes, pinkwashes, and greenwashes Israel’s human rights abuses, and conflates an appreciation for Israel’s culture and history.

IfNotNow believes that the American Jewish community must confront the myths manufactured and institutionalized whether in day school classrooms, youth group trips, and summer camp celebrations of “Israel Day.” Pretending that the occupation does not exist, and obfuscating the fact that Israel is a colonialist-racist establishment skirts reality. It is this very attitude that allows Far-Right Israeli protesters to celebrate the death of a Palestinian baby burned to death by Israeli soldiers. This is unthinkable in an enlightened and cultured society.

The recent decision of Councilors in the Spanish city of Pamplona offers hope. They want the Spanish government to cease arms trade with Israel and on their municipality to declare Israeli officials as “persona non grata” until Israel halts oppressive policy against the Palestinians. They demand Palestinian “right of return” and Palestinians’ right to hold a peaceful protest.

Ranjan Solomon

Trump on sinking sand. Deal of the century runs into rough weather
Trump administration officials are getting a daunting view of some of the gigantic blockages to their possible design for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

Blockaded Gaza has been sinking deeper into a humanitarian crisis in recent months, while cross-border violence between Gaza’s Hamas rulers and Israel flared again this week. Mahmoud Abbas has hardened his rejection of any U.S. proposals, including large-scale Gaza aid projects meant to stabilize the territory.

So far, the team may not even have a clue as to their end-game. The long-awaited U.S. peace plan isn’t expected to be unveiled before August, following several postponements. The envoys are trying to raise $1 billion from Gulf countries for economic projects in Gaza and will bring up the idea in meetings this week. Palestinians suspect the aim is to get Palestinians to settle for a “mini-state” in Gaza and parts of the West Bank, with a foothold in Jerusalem. This would fall far short of long-standing Palestinian demands for a state in the entire West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in 1967, with minor border adjustments.

Abbas says he will reject any peace proposal made by the White House unless it rescinds its Jerusalem decision. Abbas fears that without an acceptable peace framework, such efforts are aimed at pacifying Gaza so it can anchor a Palestinian mini-state. The Palestinian leadership “will not recognize the legitimacy” of alleged U.S. plans to “separate Gaza from the West Bank under the title of humanitarian aid to Gaza.” Abbas also fears that investments pouring into Gaza will inadvertently help Hamas stay in power.

With Hamas’ tight grip on Gaza vexed Mideast mediators, Abbas couldn’t really claim to represent all Palestinians while militants controlled a large area sought for a Palestinian state.  Hamas has recently organized weekly anti-blockade marches near Gaza’s perimeter fence with Israel, with some of the protesters burning tires, throwing stones or more recently sending off incendiary kites and balloons that have set Israeli fields on fire.

The Trump administration, which has good ties with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, appears to be banking on them to pressure the Palestinians to accept the plan. The US must soon spell out its peace plan if it hopes to get Arab states to underwrite large-scale Gaza projects. But it is likely to be dead on arrival,” because there’s no direct U.S. contact with the Palestinian leadership.

Trump’s pompous peace plan lies entangled in the complexity of Palestine in particular, and the Middle East as a whole, that his simplistic mind fails to grasp.

‘You never told me’: Confronting American Jewish myths about Israel
Extracts’ from an article by Emma Goldberg

U.S. anti-occupation movement IfNotNow released its “Liberation Syllabus” last week. It offers a collection of resources — from picture books to nonfiction, cookbooks to podcasts — that Jewish institutions can integrate into their curricula to offer more balanced and just lessons about the occupation. The syllabus is part of IfNotNow’s “You Never Told Me” campaign, in which alumni of Jewish summer camps, day schools, and youth groups are calling on their institutions to change their Israel education to include honest understandings of the occupation and Palestinian narratives.

IfNotNow’s campaign is a critical call to action. For American Jews distressed by the intransigence and violence of the Netanyahu government – enabled and encouraged by the Trump administration – distance does not permit inaction. Meaningful responses can start in the U.S., with critical examination of the way American Jewish institutions teach and talk about the occupation. Most importantly, this examination must begin early in the pipeline… In classrooms where eight year olds were asked to draw the map of Israel from memory and were taught to refer to the West Bank by its biblical names, Judea and Samaria: IfNotNow’s campaign is targeting: an education that whitewashes, pinkwashes, and greenwashes Israel’s human rights abuses, that stubbornly insists on conflating an appreciation for Israel’s culture and history with support for its current government. Kushner’s callousness shows the long-term costs the Jewish community pays for institutions that fail to intervene and teach the inconvenient truths. For Palestinians on the receiving end of Israel’s abuses, the price is far higher.

The American Jewish community must confront the myths manufactured and institutionalized in day school classrooms, youth group trips, and summer camp celebrations of “Israel Day.” Tomorrow’s American Jewish leaders deserve a better, more nuanced education. A syllabus that only tells one side of this complex story does a major disservice to young American Jews. Neglecting to teach about the occupation does not skirt the issue — silence is just as much of a political statement.

Malice and barbarity on display: Far-Right Israeli protesters celebrate Palestinian baby burned to death

On Tuesday, two dozen far-right protesters celebrated the death of an 18-month-old Palestinian child murdered in July 2015 as the toddler’s remaining family members walked out of the Central District Court in Lod, Israel. In July 2015, 18-month year-old Ali Saad Dawabsha was killed in an arson attack by Jewish right-wing terrorists on his Palestinian family’s home in Duma, a Palestinian town in the northern West Bank. The toddler’s parents, Riham and Saad Dawabsha, also died from their injuries within weeks of the attack. The couple’s other child, Ahmed Dawabsha, who was five years old at the time of the attack, survived, although he suffered severe burns that required months of treatment.
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Spanish city councilors call for boycott of Israel
Councilors in the Spanish city of Pamplona, the capital of the Navarre province, have called on the Spanish government to stop its arms trade with Israel and on their municipality to declare Israeli officials as “persona non grata” until Israel stops its “oppressive policy against the Palestinian people”. The resolution expressed support of the Palestinian “right of return” and the Palestinians’ right to hold a peaceful protest “which has been suppressed with force by the Israeli army.”

The Pamplona municipality condemned the IDF for killing at least 100 Palestinians and wounding thousands during the recent “March of Return” demonstrations along the Gaza border and offered its support and condolences to the families of the victims. It also called on the European Union’s governments to increase the pressure and impose sanctions on Israel to force it to stop its “aggression” against the Palestinian people. In addition, the resolution slammed the U.S. decision to move its embassy to “occupied Jerusalem,” describing this move as extremely dangerous and in contravention of international law.
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Don’t befriend me for a day, and leave me a month. Don’t get close to me if you’re going to leave. Don’t say what you don’t do. Be close or get away.
 لا تصاحبني يوماً .. لتهجرني شهراً ولا تقربني .. لتبعدني .. لا تقل ما لا تفعل كُن قريباً .. أو ابتعد.

Mahmoud Darwish.