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Haneyya: Three means to thwart Trump’s decision over Jerusalem

Palestine Information Center – December 14, 2017

GAZA – The head of the Political Bureau of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) Ismail Haneyya has outlined three means to confront Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and topple ‘the deal of the century’, stressing that the Palestinian people, Hamas, and the resistance will work to achieve this objective on the ground.

In a speech during celebrations marking the 30th Hamas founding anniversary in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, Haneyya stressed that his Movement is now working on two parallel goals: to thwart both the Trump decision and ‘the deal of the century’.

He added, “We will work to force the US administration to retreat from its unjust decision, our goal is to break the US position and annul the Trump decision once and for all.”

He praised the Palestinian people in Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and in the refugee camps and the diaspora. He saluted the people of all nations from Indonesia to Morocco and all the free people who responded to the call and rose for the sake of Jerusalem.

Objectives of the battle

“No one could take away our sacred sites or change their identity, and no force could grant Jerusalem to the occupier. There is no such thing as the State of Israel in the first place to have a capital called Jerusalem,” he said, stressing that this is not limited to political speeches and positions. Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem, Palestinians in the 1948 occupied territories, the refugee camps and the diaspora, know their role well. Our lives, our people and our homes are sacrificed for Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa.”

He noted that the people of Jerusalem removed the Israeli gates installed at Al-Aqsa and prayed in the streets, adding, “If they alone defeated Netanyahu and broke his decision and victoriously entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque, can’t we as a people and a nation foil the decision? Yes, we can.”

He added, “This ominous decision is no less dangerous than the Balfour Declaration,” stressing that the Palestinian and Arab Muslim generations will not allow for this decision to pass.

Haneyya stressed that the second goal of the uprising of our people and nation along with the world’s free people and their religious and political authorities is to overthrow the so-called ‘deal of the century’, which Palestinian President Abu Mazen described as ‘the slap of the century’.

He said, “We as a people and a nation are able to respond to this slap by thwarting the so-called ‘deal of the century’, because the issue of Jerusalem came at a time of proposing projects that aim at liquidating the Palestinian issue.

Three ways

Haneyya stressed that Hamas needs today to follow three paths, the most prominent of which is the achievement of national unity and partnership in the management of the country, adding, “the most effective response would be a unified Palestinian position.” He reiterated Hamas’s adherence to national reconciliation, which was revived over the last few months, with Hamas making important steps along that the path.

He said: “Achieving unity and reconciliation requires speeding up applying all the measures we have agreed upon in Cairo and Gaza and everywhere, and requires that our people live a decent and dignified life in Gaza. Gaza is the stronghold of resistance and the incubator of the national project. And despite fighting three wars, it comes out today to say we are with the resistance and unity with all of Palestine.”

He added, “We have to deal with the details quickly, the issue is bigger and is more serious. We must agree on a national strategy of struggle that takes all reasons of strength and steadfastness into consideration within the framework of the overall popular resistance to confront the occupier, and on the top of that armed and popular resistance.”

Haneyya stressed the need to work quickly to restructure the PLO, the house that includes under its umbrella all Palestinians, so tas to include all national and Islamic forces under it.

Building alliances

Haneyya stressed the need to build strong alliances at the regional and national levels. He said: “The battle of Jerusalem is not our battle alone; it is the battle of the entire nation.” He welcomed every genuine position that supports Jerusalem and every idea that could build a strong Muslim and Arab front at the regional level.”

He called for the formation of action groups that include all forces and components of the nation, adding, “Our nation is invited to forget its differences and internal conflicts and tears, and to seek to re-establish its connection to Jerusalem and the blessed land of Palestine.”

He stressed that Hamas has started and will continue to build alliances in the region to address the Israeli-American project, noting that that would also include “maintaining the strategy of openness to all Arab and Muslim countries and peoples.”

Continuation of Intifada

The third path is the continuation of the intifada, Haneyya said, stressing that it should not stop. “Netanyahu and the US administration are betting on the exhaustion of the Nation.”

Haneyya called on Arab and Muslim nations to make Friday of every week a day of anger and marches for Jerusalem.

He called on scholars and preachers to make Jerusalem present in their speeches and lessons and to incite people and the free world, until the decision is dropped.

He also called on Christian churches in Palestine and the Levant to devote their prayers on Sunday for Jerusalem, the Church of the Resurrection and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, affirming that “We still stick to the Pact of Omar.”

He called on the youths from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf to form frameworks to organize events monthly and weekly until Trump’s decision is revoked, adding: “We should not suffice with an emotional event, or with a march or a single event, but we want permanence and persistence. Let young people of our nation form national frameworks and design programs and strategies to support Jerusalem and Palestine and to foil Trump’s decision.”

Hamas and the resistance project

Haneyya paid tribute to the Palestinian people in all places of their presence, saluting the participants in the Hamas anniversary, prominent leaders of the national and Islamic factions, who attended the event, and all segments of the Palestinian people.

Haneyya stressed that this unique national presence that takes part in the Hamas anniversary is a proof that “Hamas is a natural extension of the resistance and steadfastness project on our land, and a proof of the blessed resistance that has been going on in our land since the beginning of the last century.”

He pointed out that other forces and factions preceded Hamas in this regard and will continue with it, noting that this national rally is an evidence of the popularity of Hamas, which keeps the identity and principles and stability and mobilization of our people.

He pointed out that Hamas has served as “a qualitative addition to our people and our resistance. Today, we celebrate this anniversary with these masses.”

“Let us emphasize that the Intifada was for Jerusalem and the resistance is for Jerusalem and Jihad is for Jerusalem, so are the martyrs, the blood, the wounded, the prisoners and all the heroic works”, he highlighted.

The Hamas leader said: “The celebration of Hamas is the celebration of a people and a nation and represents a great contribution to the resistance, Jihad and heroism project. Hamas gave the best of its people for the sake of Jerusalem. The entire Muslim nations celebrate this anniversary because they see in Hamas an example to follow that carries the flag of resistance and represents these nations in the battle to liberate Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

He said: “The Palestinian issue is central to our nation and our people and the free world. After many thought that the issue has been overshadowed, and that the people of the nation were preoccupied with their concerns.”

In just eight days, the issue of Jerusalem became the center issue for all Muslims and Arabs, he explained, adding that for the first time in the history of the issue, “the whole world is standing on one side, and Netanyahu and Trump are standing on the other, which asserts that the occupation no longer has an important status even among the European countries.”

December 14, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Appropriation of Jerusalem

Photo by Kristoffer Trolle | CC BY 2.0
By Liaquat Ali Khan | CounterPunch | December 14, 2017

In recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a state formed by native Jews and Jewish settlers from Europe and America, President Trump and the U.S. Congress have validated the Jewish appropriation of a disputed city. This commentary explains the foul dynamics of settlements. It also illuminates the “sacred” justifications offered to legitimize settler colonialism. In addition to Israel, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many other states, owe their origin to settler colonialism, another name for forcibly taking land from indigenous inhabitants. The criticism of settler colonialism is highly sophisticated in academic circles, college colonialism courses, this year mystifyingly trickling down in high school debates.

An unholy alliance of Zionists, evangelical Christians, politicians fearful of the revengeful Israeli lobbies, radio and TV commentators, Neocon opinion-writers, and self-aggrandizing academics refuses to see Israel as a settler state. In fact, calling Israel a settler state is condemned as anti-Semitic, a handy label swiftly invoked to stop honest conversations about the grinding appropriation of Palestinian occupied territories.

Given the successful drive to criminalize holocaust denials across Europe, efforts are underway to find pathways to criminalize the criticisms of Israel. The prospective criminalization of the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement is a shameful suppression of legitimate free speech in no other country but the United States where the First Amendment reigns as the first principle of coexistence. Muffling free speech is unlikely to suppress the fact that Israel is primarily a state of settlers who have brutally suffocated and dislocated the native population of Palestinians.

Immigrants and Settlers

Ordinarily, immigrants are distinguishable from settlers. But the distinction is not valid in Israel. Under the 1950 Law of Return, Israel invites “the child or grandchild of a Jew, the spouse of a Jew, the spouse of a child and grandchild of a Jew to settle in Israel.” Non-Jews or even Jews who have converted to another religion are ineligible to return and settle. Jews mostly from Europe and America and some from the Middle East and East Africa have “returned” to Israel. The prevailing racism prefers white Jews over Jews with darker pigments.

Under international law, immigration is relocating from one country to another. Individuals and families may migrate for economic and existential reasons. Every year, millions of people migrate to foreign countries for economic betterment or to avoid starvation, discrimination, tyranny, torture, and death. Refugees migrate from war-torn countries where the probability of death and starvation escalates. In the 15th century, Jews migrated from Spain to Turkey as the defeat of Moors opened the doors of persecution and death. More recently, Palestinians, Syrians, Libyans, Yemenis, and Afghans have been forced to leave their homes and seek shelter as refugees in neighboring countries.

Settlement too is relocating from one country to another. Unlike immigrants, however, settlers dispossess native inhabitants for ideological or predatory reasons. Immigrants do not forcibly take away the land and homes that belong to the natives. Settlers do. Immigrants live in the mortal fear of deportation. Settlers do not. Immigrants may face discrimination, racism, and hostility in employment, education, and housing.  Settlers are welcome and receive affirmative state assistance and grants. The state may offer jobs, housing, and other facilities to settlers willing to live on the land that once belonged to the natives.

Unlike immigrants, the settlers develop an aggressive relationship with the natives. The purpose of settlements is to make it highly unpleasant and oppressive for the natives to continue to live side by side with the settlers. Apartheid-like conditions are built to show to the natives that they need to relocate themselves to foreign countries. Thus, settlers not only take over the land that belongs to the natives but they also force natives, economically, socially, psychologically, and physically to leave their lands and homes. Other tactics, such as buying homes and lands from helpless natives is defended on the market theory that the real estate ought to be purchasable for a price. The art of tyranny is perfect: first, push the natives to the ground; then, offer to buy their homes.

In Israel, the state-sponsored settlements are ideological and not merely predacious. Predacious settlements may be disorganized, intermittent, and privately sponsored. Ideological settlements are highly coordinated in terms of degrading the local communities economically, morally, and socially. Stereotypes may be promoted to paint the natives as savages and terrorists. Any reactive violence by the natives may be used as a pretext to demolish their homes, issue eviction orders for entire families, arrest men, and dishonor women. The natives may be employed in menial jobs at businesses started by the settlers. In fact, the natives may have no choice but to seek employment in constructing the settlements that the natives detest in their hearts.

In Jerusalem, all distinctions between native Jews and Jewish settlers disappear for ideological purposes since most of them share the common goal of driving the Palestinians out of Jerusalem so that Israel can reclaim this historic city all for itself. Orthodox Jews who oppose the existence of Israel as an anti-Biblical entity, a fast diminishing minority, share no such platform. For Trump, the realtor, a city, any city, belongs to money merchants and any “encroachments “by the have-nots should be forcibly cleared.

Terra Irredenta

Appropriation perpetrated with moral justifications acquires a new meaning. Stealing a loaf of bread seems morally justified if the thief is starving. Land appropriation is palatable if a credible moral excuse can be crafted. Settlers know this moral trick. When settlers are highly educated, their moral justifications for the appropriation of land are crafted in more persuasive (Latin) terms. Over the centuries, settlers in various countries and continents have used moral imperatives to justify the dispossession of native populations and stealing away their lands, hills, rivers, sacred places, olive trees, playgrounds where the native children played, and the cemeteries where native elders were buried. Everything can be stolen if the moral justification is mounted at the barrel of the gun.

In the 15th century, the Catholic Church used two distinct theological edicts to support conquests and colonization. The concept of “terra irredenta” empowered Christian rulers to take away the Iberian lands from the Muslims. The concept of “terra nullius” empowered the European colonizers to take away the land from the native owners in Americas and Africa. In both cases, Christianity, presented as the one and the only one true religion, was invoked as the ultimate justification to legitimize the appropriation of land. Heathens, pagans, and the deniers of Jesus as God could be lawfully converted, enslaved, dispossessed, and even killed if they resisted the Christian Europeans, the true owners of God’s land.

In the 20th century, the European Jews invoked a complex fusion of the two edicts to lay claim to what has been Palestine for centuries under the Ottoman Empire and before. Invoking terra nullius, the Zionists argued that “a people without a land (Jews) are claiming a land without a people.” This argument derived from terra nullius denies the existence of local populations, be they Africans, Native Americans, or Palestinians.

The terra nullius concept, however, is less powerful than terra irredenta under which the land is restored to “legitimate owners.” The Right to Return is conceived in the womb of terra irredenta rather than terra nullius. Terra irredenta creates a mighty distinction between current and original owners. It reverses the logic of ownership. The current owners are deemed illegal intruders whereas the original owners are considered the lawful owners. In the Iberian Peninsula, the Moors were the actual but illegal owners. The Spaniards and the Portuguese were the lawful owners. Therefore, the Moors must be dispossessed and expelled and the land restored to the original owners.

Invoking a similar logic, the European Jews claimed to be the original owners of Palestine since the Palestinians were the illegal occupiers of the sacred land that belonged only to the Jews. Accordingly, Zionist morality dictates that the Palestinians, particularly if they resist the Right to Return, be expelled, detained, killed, and their homes demolished.

Soon after Trump, the realtor, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu argued that it is “absurd” to deny the “millennial connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem. You can read it in a very fine book – it’s called the Bible. The sooner the Palestinians come to grips with this reality, the sooner we will move towards peace.”

Much like Netanyahu, President Andrew Jackson (1829-1837) declared that “The Bible is the rock on which this Republic (U.S.) rests.” The Bible-lover Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, under which 25 million acres of land was donated to white settlers. This land had belonged to Cherokees, Chickasaw, Creek, Choctaw, and Seminole nations, the “unlawful owners” forced to yield their land rights to Jesus-loving Christians.

Trump adores Andrew Jackson. Netanyahu adores Donald Trump. The Christian removal of Native Americans created reservations. The Jewish removal of Palestinians created refugee camps. The Native American Trail of Tears caused tears and death. The Palestinian Trail of Tears caused tears and massacres at Sabra and Shatila.

Conclusion

Invoking the Bible to appropriate land is a Judeo-Christian colonial tradition. First Christians, now Jews, are invoking the concepts of terra irredenta and terra nullius to justify the taking of land from the native owners. The appropriation of Jerusalem as a Jewish city runs counter to historical facts. It simplifies the complex history of a city that experienced the pre-Christ rule of Egyptians, Syrians, and Persians, and post-Christ rule of Arabs, Turks, and the British. Jews had not owned Jerusalem for centuries. Now, they have deadly weapons to do so. The Bible is a sacred book (different parts and versions) for Jews and Christians, even for the Palestinians, but does it justify the terra irredenta appropriation of territories and cities?

December 14, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey reclaims Muslim leadership

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | December 13, 2017

The Istanbul Declaration of the Organization of Islamic Conference declaring East Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Palestine is a landmark event. The Turkish initiative to convene an extraordinary summit in Istanbul today targeted such an outcome. The summit was well attended, although convened at short notice.

A notable absentee was King Salman of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi minister for religious affairs apparently represented his country. On Tuesday, Turkey openly taunted Saudi Arabia. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, “Some Arab countries have shown very weak responses (on Jerusalem). It seems some countries are very timid of the United States.” He added that Saudi Arabia had yet to say how it would participate.

The Istanbul Declaration says it “rejects and condemns in the strongest terms the unilateral decision by the president of the United States America recognizing Jerusalem as the so-called capital of Israel, the occupying power.” It urges the world to recognize East Jerusalem as the occupied capital of the Palestinian state and invites “all countries to recognize the state of Palestine and East Jerusalem as its occupied capital.”

The OIC has set the bar high. But OIC is largely ineffectual and its declarations and statements remain on paper only. Is it any different now? Yes, it could be different. One, the Istanbul Declaration at one stroke debunks United States’ pretension so far to be the charioteer of the Middle East peace process. Washington’s locus standii as mediator has come under questioning from none other than Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas, who has been widely regarded as a cats-paw of the US (and Israeli) intelligence and Saudi Arabia.

The fact that Abbas’ back has stiffened only reflects that the ground beneath the feet has shifted. The popular opinion in the Muslim Middle East has become so overwhelmingly anti-American. This has geopolitical implications. Interestingly, Moscow deputed a representative to attend the OIC summit in Istanbul as observer.

Israel was gaining in confidence lately that it could break out of isolation and form a quasi-alliance with Saudi Arabia. It was not a realistic hope and was predicated on the political personality of the young Saudi Crown Prince. But such hopes must now be mothballed. Israel also may have to live with the reality of a strong Iranian presence in Syria for years to come. Clearly, Israel overreached. It is doubtful whether Israel gains anything at all out of Trump’s decision on Jerusalem. Even a re-location of the US embassy from Tel Aviv may take years – and, for all you know, kept in abeyance indefinitely by Washington as a matter of expediency.

The known unknown is about the mantle of leadership in the Islamic world. The Istanbul summit was a personal initiative of President Recep Erdogan. A poll conducted by Pew has come up with the finding that Erdogan is today the most popular figure in the Muslim Middle East.

For sure, Erdogan is making a determined pitch to reclaim the leadership of the Muslim world, as it used to be under Ottoman sultans. With Saudi Arabia caught up in a difficult transition and its future increasingly uncertain (plus with the brutal war in Yemen where it is bogged down), Turkey’s hour may have come. Erdogan’s main plank is his emphasis on the unity of the ‘Ummah’. His clarion call to put behind sectarian politics gets big resonance. And here Turkey and Iran on the same page, too.

A leadership role will come handy for Erdogan, as it gets him ‘strategic depth’ vis-à-vis the West, apart from consolidating his power base within Turkey. On the other hand, he may take his caliphal authority seriously to reboot the OIC as an interventionist tool to tackle Muslim issues the world over. Countries like Myanmar or India feel the pressure.

All in all, a very transformative period lies ahead for the Muslim world. Trump wouldn’t have anticipated all this in the downstream when he opened the Pandora’s box. He is not known to be a grand strategist. The Anadolu news agency featured an insightful commentary on how Trump’s sense of obligation to the Jewish lobby almost entirely led him to this fateful decision on Jerusalem. Read it here – Trump’s decision: Inside story, expected consequences.

December 14, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

70% of Palestinians want Abbas to resign immediately

MEMO | December 13, 2017

Some 70 per cent of Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip want President Mahmoud Abbas to resign immediately, according to a new poll by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research conducted 7-10 December.

The poll, conducted in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in the immediate aftermath of US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, makes grim reading for Abbas, with those demanding his resignation up three points from September.

Abbas’ net satisfaction rating, meanwhile, has dropped one point to minus 35, with just 31 per cent satisfied with his performance, compared to 66 per cent who are dissatisfied.

When asked about who should succeed Abbas, 35 per cent expressed a preference for Marwan Barghouthi, 22 per cent would vote for Ismail Haniyeh, while Mohammad Dahlan attracted the support of just seven per cent of Palestinians (15 per cent in Gaza and one per cent in the West Bank).

With regards to the national unity file, 38 per cent of Palestinians in the oPt are satisfied and 55 per cent are dissatisfied with the performance of the reconciliation government. Fifty per cent are optimistic and 45 per cent are pessimistic about the success of reconciliation; three months ago, optimism stood at 31 per cent and pessimism at 61 per cent.

Some 81 per cent of Palestinians in the oPt want the reconciliation government to pay the salaries of the civil employees of the former Hamas government, while only 14 per cent do not it to do so. The same number (81 per cent) want the reconciliation government to pay the salaries of the security sector employees of the former Hamas government.

With regards to Abbas’ call for “one government, one gun”, only 22 per cent of those polled support the disbanding of Palestinian factions’ armed wings in the Gaza Strip, and 72 per cent want those armed groups to remain in place.

Regarding Trump’s policy shift on Jerusalem, a plurality of Palestinians (45 per cent) believe that “the most appropriate” Palestinian response is to stop all contacts with the US administration, submit a formal complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and resort to an armed intifada.

Twenty-seven per cent want an end to contacts, the submission of a complaint to the ICC, and “non-violent resistance”. Twelve per cent want the Palestinian Authority to simply denounce the US step and stop contacts with the Trump administration, while another 12 per cent want just verbal condemnation.

A plurality of Palestinians (44 per cent) believe armed resistance is the most effective means of establishing a Palestinian state, 27 per cent think negotiation is the most effective means, and 23 per cent think non-violent resistance is the most effective. Three months ago, 35 per cent indicated that armed resistance is the answer and 33 per cent sided with negotiation.

While most Palestinians believe the Trump administration will not submit a plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace, 86 per cent believe that any such plan “will not meet Palestinian need to end occupation and build a state”. Nonetheless, 49 per cent think Abbas might accept the American peace plan if one is indeed submitted to him, while 42 per cent believe he will not accept it.

Regarding “public trust in the roles and positions of major Arab countries in the peace process and the US efforts to develop a regional agreement in the context of Palestinian-Israeli peace”, 82 per cent of Palestinians in the oPt say they do not trust the Saudi role, 75 per cent do not trust the Emirati role, and 70 per cent do not trust the Egyptian role.

 

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Leave a comment

Renowned South African university cuts ties with Israel

Palestine Information Center – December 13, 2017

PRETORIA – “The Council of the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has resolved that TUT will not forge any ties with the State of Israel or any of its organizations and institutions,” TUT spokesman on the issue Professor Rasigan Maharajh told the African News Agency (ANA) during an interview on Wednesday.

A December 7 press release from TUT stated: “As a progressive university in a democratic South Africa, we want to affirm that TUT will not sign any agreements or enter into scientific partnerships until such time that Israel ends its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory.

“The university will not stand back and accept the violations of the Israeli government when it confines the movement of Palestinian children and youth on their own land and restricts their ability to access education through destroying their schools,” added the statement.

South African criticism of Israel is growing, the ANA pointed out.

One of the controversial issues to be discussed at the ANC’s forthcoming 54th National Conference in Gauteng, from December 16 to 20, is the possible downgrading, or even closure, of the South African Embassy in Tel Aviv.

“As a constitutional democracy premised on the recognition of human rights, the Republic of South Africa must urgently discuss downgrading the status of its relationship with Israel,” said Maharajh.

TUT’s decision to cut all ties with the Jewish state also comes in the wake of strong condemnation from the South African government, and various political and human rights organizations across the country, following US President Donald Trump’s decision to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem while stating that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel.

Under international law East Jerusalem is occupied territory and all international embassies have based themselves in Tel Aviv until the final status of Jerusalem is negotiated through talks.

“The announcement by the Trump regime of its intentions to establish its embassy in Jerusalem further escalates tensions,” said Maharajh.

“As guided by the founding President of the post-apartheid South Africa, Nelson Mandela, who declared that: ‘We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians’, the Republic of South Africa must also condemn the actions of the Trump regime and work harder at fostering solidarity and cooperation with the people of Palestine.”

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What does Trump’s Jerusalem decision actually mean?

 US President Donald Trump at the white house, November 28, 2017 [Samuel Corum/Facebook]
By Hassan Ben Imran | MEMO | December 13, 2017

“We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past… Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital.” So said Donald Trump last week.

With such logical fallacies and ignorance of basic legal facts, as well as the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, the US President decided that it is time for a new “formula” and recognised “Jerusalem as the capital of Israel”. He overlooked the fact that Israel is far from being “like every other sovereign nation.”

No sovereign nation in modern times has ever declared independence following the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population; and no sovereign nation has broken international law concerning Jerusalem in order to annex it and claim the city as the eternal capital of the Jewish people. Trump would be totally correct in his assumption had he been talking about any ordinary sovereign nation, but certainly not Israel.

In 1967, Israel completed its occupation of Palestine, including East Jerusalem; it is still the occupying power. Everything that Israel does in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, is done to make the occupation permanent. This colonialism peaked in 1980 when the Knesset (Israeli parliament) amended the Basic Law (5740 – 1980) to annex East Jerusalem and declare that “[t]he complete and united Jerusalem is the capital of Israel”.

With a sense of self-guilt, Israel worked hard to gain international recognition of its “new capital”. Knowing the grave legal and political consequences of such an ill-advised move, even its closest allies refused to acknowledge this “capital”. It was only in 1995 that the US Congress decided (or perhaps was made to decide) to recognise the Israeli annexation, although successive US Presidents have signed a six-monthly waiver to delay the implementation of the Congress decision. Israel had to wait until there was someone like Donald Trump in the White House to make the formal announcement.

The status of Jerusalem under international law

Few cities have received as much international attention as Jerusalem. This has entrenched its status in international law.

Despite the Israeli and now, sadly, the US efforts to change the status of Jerusalem through domestic legislation, media campaigns and diplomacy, several UN resolutions have affirmed and reaffirmed the opposite of what Israel sought. International law is clear on this; no state may claim, exercise or show any aspect of sovereignty over any territory through occupation.

After the occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, Israel began a systematic campaign to force out its Palestinian citizens and change its identity, even before formally annexing the territory. This was condemned by all, including the UN Security Council, where the US abstained and did not use its veto power.

In 1971, the UN Security Council issued Resolution 298 “[deploring] the failure of Israel to respect the previous resolutions adopted by the United Nations concerning measures and actions by Israel purporting to affect the status of the City of Jerusalem” and “[Confirming] in the clearest possible terms that all legislative and administrative actions taken by Israel to change the status of the City of Jerusalem, including expropriation of land and properties, transfer of populations and legislation aimed at the incorporation of the occupied section, are totally invalid and cannot change that status.”

It was so firm a stance by the Security Council that the US refrained from blocking it. One resolution after another came from the Council, the top decision-making body in the UN structure whose resolutions are meant to be binding on all the member states of the international organisation, reaffirming the same position. The most recent was Resolution 2334 passed in December 2016 rejecting the Israeli measures related to settlements, including those in East Jerusalem, and recognising those measures as grave breaches of international law.

Furthermore, in its Advisory Opinion on the Construction of the Wall in 2004, the International Court of Justice affirmed that East Jerusalem, as a part of the occupied West Bank, is an occupied territory that belongs to the Palestinians who are entitled to self-determination.

The status of East Jerusalem as an occupied Palestinian Territory has been affirmed and upheld by almost all of the UN member states, the exception being Israel, of course, and possibly now the US following Trump’s announcement.

Can Trump change the legal status of Jerusalem?

It is ironic that the only positive aspect of Trump’s decision was that he avoided using the term so loved by the Israelis: “complete and united Jerusalem”. This was used by Israel in its 1980 annexation legislation. This is not entirely reassuring, however, as it could be manipulated given that he mentioned Jerusalem with no further detail in the full knowledge that Israel annexed the eastern sector of the city.

The major risk here is the creation of customary law recognising the “undivided” status. International Customary Law, a source of international law according to the ICJ Statute, has two essential elements which, if fulfilled, may change the legal status of Jerusalem: state practice and opinio juris. As clarified in the North Sea Continental Shelf cases, state practice has to be frequent, repetitive and consistent, as well as being conducted or used by a significant number of states participating (given the size of the international community, the practice does not have to encompass all states or be completely uniform, there just needs to be a significant degree of participation). Opinio juris is the belief that an action was carried out as a legal obligation with the full awareness of its legal consequences, which must be in existence in order for the custom to be regarded as law.

International law is about the agreement of the relevant or involved parties, and the US has been the broker of the Palestine-Israel peace process, making it a directly-involved party. As such, the US seems to fulfil both requirements, state practice and opinio juris. Even so, there has to be a significant number of states following the new US measures in order to be able to contest the current legal status of Jerusalem. The US might be pushed by the pro-Israel Lobby to exert pressure on states relying on its military assistance or financial aid to recognise the new “status quo”. This would certainly embed Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land further and encourage the state to violate international law even more than it does now.

Probable consequences

This would have dire consequences, not only for the peace process, but also the city of Jerusalem and its Muslim and Christian population. It would encourage the Israeli authorities to annex more of the occupied Palestinian territories, change their identity and complete the ethnic cleansing of their people. Even the Muslim and Christian religious authorities in Jerusalem might not be safe and could be merged with those of the occupation.

This would be even worse if other countries are forced by circumstances to follow America’s lead on the issue. Countries which depend on US aid or military protection are vulnerable to pressure from the Trump administration.

Moreover, in a worst-case scenario, the weakness of the current Palestinian leadership may lead it to proceed with the peace process under the “new terms” which keep Jerusalem off the negotiation agenda.

What is to be done?

Trump’s dangerous move needs to be met with a serious response from the Palestinians and all those who believe in the justness of their cause. The Palestinian leadership, along with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which is the official Custodian of the Holy Sites in Jerusalem, should take the issue to the UN General Assembly, and file a complaint to the Security Council. There should also be a request through the UN General Assembly for an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice on the new US measures.

Clear resolutions or even statements from intergovernmental organisations, such as the EU, Organisation of Islamic Coordination (OIC), Non-Aligned Movement and Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) affirming the status of the city as occupied territory and refusing to accept the US move would halt any possibility for any change in Jerusalem’s legal status. It would also discourage other countries from giving-in to US pressure.

The ICJ has jurisdiction to settle international disputes and adjudicate on contentious issues. Palestine or Jordan may bring the case to the ICJ on the basis that the US has breached international law in a move which has a direct impact on them both. Even if the US refuses to appear before the Court, this would weaken its position.

And within the US itself?

Article VI, Clause II of the US Constitution states that “all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land”. Despite the federal government enjoying sovereign immunity according to US law, there are several exceptions that could apply in this case. President Trump is obviously breaching treaties, such as the UN Charter and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, that are, according to Article VI, Clause II of the Constitution, “a supreme Law of the Land” and so he should be held to account under US law.

In conclusion, Donald Trump’s announcement about Jerusalem is an attack on international law and reinforces the sense that the “law of the jungle” rules in the Middle East. The international community has both the institutions and the tools to ensure the application of international law; it is time for them to be activated.

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Zionism In The Light of Jerusalem

By Jim Kavanagh | The Polemicist | December 13, 2017

Donald Trump’s official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is an embarrassment. A salutary embarrassment.

It’s a clumsy, all-too-obvious unmasking of decades of bipartisan U.S. policy whose contempt for Palestinians has been cloaked with a smile and a handshake.

As such, it’s an embarrassment for the Zionist political and media elite that prefers to operate behind smiles and handshakes, and not flaunt their power.

It’s an embarrassment to liberal Zionists and “peace process” promoters everywhere—in the American political parties and media, in European conservative and social democrat governments, and in Jewish Zionist organizations. For fifty years, they have laser-focused attention on the post-’67 “occupation,” and done all that they can [nothing concrete], in solidarity with the Israeli Jewish peace movement [dwindling to insignificance in an increasingly fascistic political culture], to end the occupation [ minimize its cost to the Jewish state, ‘cause “no concessions, no withdrawals, no Palestinian state” is already proclaimed Israeli policy].

It’s an embarrassment to the Arab monarchs and the Palestinian Authority functionaries, who for decades have collaborated in the task of subduing Palestinian rage as Israel went about its colonizing project, holding out the promise that the good American Daddy and his kinder, gentler Israeli Jewish progeny would one day reward the Palestinians for their good behavior.

It’s an embarrassment to those liberals who want to portray Donald Trump as a uniquely evil interloper imposed on American politics by a foreign power, rather than understand him as the product of an American political culture that they helped to create while obtusely refusing to recognize what they were doing.

The only parties who are not embarrassed are the “hard”—that is, intellectually honest and consistent—Zionists in Israel and the United States (many liberal Democrats included) and Donald Trump himself, who is immune to embarrassment.

All this embarrassment provides a fine example of the positive repercussions of the “Trump-effect” that I discussed in a previous essay, which is steadily eroding the thin remaining patina of America’s “soft power” in the world, an essential support of the Euro-American imperialist alliance.

After all, Israel’s relentless Judaization of East Jerusalem, consistent with its long-held declaration of sovereignty over the entire city, was proceeding swimmingly, with only the feeblest occasional murmurs of protest, accompanied by massive countervailing deliveries of arms and money, from the peace-process-loving governments of Europe and America. Trump’s gratuitous, self-aggrandizing gesture, by unmasking that as the de facto acceptance of annexation that it is, only brings unwanted attention to the whole rotten game, and to the hypocrisy of those governments especially.

Good riddance to the pretense! As Noura Erakat says: “Trump has removed the emperor’s clothes to reveal the farce of the peace process…[He] has finally ended the United States’ double-speak and should have ended any faith that the US will deliver Palestinian independence or that Israel is interested in giving up its territorial holdings captured in war.” And Rashid Khalidi: “Trump may have inadvertently cleared the air. He may have smashed a rotten status quo of US ‘peace processing’ that has served only to entrench and legitimize Israel’s military occupation and colonization of Palestinian land for a quarter-century.”

In other words, Trump has suddenly and single-handedly destroyed American’s pose as the “honest broker” in the Middle east and the Solomonic arbiter of world affairs in general, in a way that forces the European and Palestinian political leaders to make an explicit break from what is now declared American policy. For now, of course, that break is rhetorical, but should it remain so—if European and Palestinian leaders do not work a political strategy independent of, and in opposition to, the United States—there will be no denying their capitulation and servility.

Indeed, Europe, in the person of the German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, has already laid down the markers for itself: “Germany can no longer simply react to U.S. policy but must establish its own position…even after Trump leaves the White House, relations with the U.S. will never be the same.” Even after Trump leaves the White House. This is a recognition that the American regime—not just Trump, but precisely what he is the culmination of—is not a trustworthy and reliable partner for the management of global capitalist stability. This is what Trump is wreaking. And it’s a very good thing.

As excessive and gratuitous as Trump’s Jerusalem announcement was, there is no question that it is the culmination of American politics. It is the perfect example of how Trump is the symptom not the cause of long-festering political rot, the product not the antithesis of American political culture. His recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is the fulfillment, exactly as Trump says, of a promise that’s been de rigueur for presidential candidates, and of the demand of a law (Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995) passed twenty-two years ago by overwhelming majorities in both Houses of Congress. Just six months ago, the Senate—including Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Kamala Harris, and Bernie Sanders—voted 90-0  to demand that Trump “abide by its provisions.” Schumer, who believes he’s on a mission from God to be the guardian of Israel, had last week criticized Trump for his “indecisiveness” about declaring Jerusalem the “undivided capital of Israel” and moving the embassy.

Who can forget the scene at the 2012 Democratic Convention, when an amendment to the platform declaring Jerusalem the Israeli capital was adopted against the clear opposition of the majority? That was shoved down the party’s throat by Obama, who had it shoved down his throat by AIPAC. (It was language Obama had removed from the platform, which AIPAC browbeat him into restoring.) As I discussed in a post at the time, the blithely ignored floor vote was a display of Stalinist party discipline for which Obama was congratulated by an MSNBC roundtable including O’Donnell, Maddow, and Sharpton.

It was Obama, too, who (after becoming first American President to give bunker-buster bombs to Israel. He did that secretly, because he didn’t want it to be known that his really brave and progressive and highly-publicized peace-process demand that Israel stop settlement construction in exchange for such gifts, which Israel of course ignored, was another empty American bluff. And it was Obama who, in 2013, became the first American President to demand that “Palestinians must recognize that Israel will be a Jewish state.” That was a new, gratuitous and excessive demand at the time, foisted on everyone by Netanyahu and AIPAC because they knew it would be unacceptable to the Palestinians. Obama’s adoption of that requirement, which has become locked into American policy, was no less damaging to the ostensible peace-process, with its infinitely-receding goalpost, than Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, and perhaps more contemptuous of the Palestinians. It’s the equivalent of demanding that “Native Americans must recognize that America is a White Man’s state.”

Really. Think about it.

So, whatever the problem is with declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel, it’s not Trump’s. It’s America’s. It’s a problem the Democrats share responsibility for, and will not get us out of.

Past Prologue

Let’s name it clearly: It’s America’s problem with Zionism.

After the “You must accept the Jewish State” insult and the “You must accept Jerusalem as capital of the Jewish State” insult, can we dispense with the diversions? Can we recognize that the problem isn’t how many settlers are in which part of which city, or how long and where exactly the wall should be located, or the Green Line or the Blue Line, or, indeed, the “occupation”? Let’s, without any more fear or hesitation, name and critique the fundamental problem: Zionism.

Zionism is a colonialist project. Israel is a colonial-settler state. The fault lies in colonialism—you know, that thing where a group of people, who want the land somebody else is living on, take it. By subjugating, expelling, and/or exterminating the indigenous population. That’s what has to be named and opposed. Every other problem in the context is a derivative of that.

Zionism has the particular distinction of being the last major initiation of a blatant settler-colonial project. It was possible at the end of WWII (1945-8) because racism and ethno-supremacist colonialism were still integral parts of the Western worldview. The great world powers could still blithely dismiss the lives, land, and humanity of an Arab population as dispensable—secondary both to the aspirations of the largely European Jews who formed the Zionist vanguard and to the guilty consciences of European gentiles. It was compensatory colonialism, with the compensation paid by an expendable third(world) people.

In the post-WWII, post-holocaust context, Zionism had the further peculiar distinction of being able to conjure about itself an aura of virtue that effectively occluded the blatant injustice of the colonialism it is. Thanks to the consistent and intensive Zionist influence on Euro-American political, media, and cultural institutions, that aura has enshrouded Zionism for Westerners’ eyes for 69 years, long past colonialism’s sell-by date. That aura of virtue is what makes breaking up with Zionism so hard to do, for so many, to this day.

I’ve discussed more of the history and arguments about this in a previous essay. At this point, there is so much information available from so many channels, including Israeli scholars, that supporters of Israel who are intellectually-honest have a hard time denying that the Zionist conquest of Palestine was colonialist ethnic cleansing, and Israel a colonial state. Liberal Americans know very well that, if such a project were to be proposed today, they would denounce and reject it—no ifs, ands or buts. Today, any person of a modern, secular, liberal cast of mind recognizes the abolition and rejection of colonialism as one of history’s irrefutably progressive milestones, and would see any attempt at colonial conquest as an unacceptable historical crime.

Yet that is exactly what Israel is doing. Israel is exactly that attempt.

“Attempt” is an important word here. Zionists want to think all the nasty work of ethnic cleansing is in the ancient (1948) or at worst early-modern (1967 when liberal Zionists grudgingly acknowledge, colonial aggression was certainly past its sell-by date) past. They present Israel, whatever its nasty origins, as a finished historical product: a liberal democracy filled with juice bars and tech startups—which would be stable and progressive, if only the fanatical Arabs/Muslims would leave it alone.

Indeed, a favorite Zionist argument I’ve heard delivered as if it’s a killing rhetorical blow packed with irrefutable historical realism, is some version of: “So what, you’re a colonizer, too. American Indians!” Gotcha!

It baffles me that anyone thinks that’s an effective argument. Accepting the damning admission that the relationship between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs today is analogous to that between European settlers and Native Americans from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century (and leaving the ethics of that aside), one might start a reply with the following:

Being historically realist and all, we have to recognize that, tragically, over those four centuries, the Native American population was so completely ravaged that it now constitutes less than 1% of the population. If Native Americans were now the majority of the population in North America under white settler control; if they were engaged in a fierce resistance struggle to prevent being expelled or exterminated; if they had the support of hundreds of millions of their neighbors, as well as of populations and governments throughout the world, as well as of an established international ideological and legal framework that forbade and denounced the colonial project the white settlers were still trying to complete (while demanding that everyone recognize America as the White Man’s State)—then you would have a relevant analogy.

Sorry, but the Zionist project, Israel, is not finished. It is quite unfinished and precarious, and Israeli leaders know it.

Back to the Future

This is so because the Palestinians are not defeated and have not surrendered. Too few of them have been exterminated; they have not been expelled far enough away; they have not been thoroughly enough subjugated. The existence and resistance of Palestinians put the lie to the idea that Israel is a stable, finished state and that the dirty work of Zionist colonialism is in the past. As the rallying cry of many Zionists in Israel today has it, they still have to “finish ’48.”

Israel is profoundly insecure. Not because of any external military threat, but because of the presence of the Palestinians. Their defiant presence is an intrinsic threat to the Zionist project. External threats—whether ideological or economic or military, whether from specific countries or from the international community—derive from the presence of the Palestinians and what that implies about the legitimacy of the Zionist project in an anti-colonial, anti-apartheid world.

Every attack on Gaza, Lebanon, or Syria, all the hair-pulling anxiety over Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran, and where the next war will just have to be, and how many Palestinians can be dispossessed or expelled how quickly before somebody in the world—especially Americans, and most especially American Jews—starts to push back, demonstrates that Israel is an unfinished colonial project that hasn’t quite figured out how to achieve the final submission of its colonial subjects. It was as true in 1999, when Edward Said said it, as it was in 1948, and as it is now: “the contest is as alive as ever.”

Indeed, the famous loaded question “Does Israel have a right to exist?” is posed by Zionists so insistently precisely because it is an unsettled question about the future. It’s not only about past events—whether Zionists back in the day had the right to establish the colonial entity they did, but also about a present, aspirational practice—whether they now have the right to establish the colonial entity they would like to. The question, really—and those hard-core, “finish ‘48” Zionists know it—is: Will Israel exist?

The question is also asking us: “Do you agree that it is right for Zionists to be establishing a colonial-settler Jewish State, ethnic cleansing and all?” Are you going to sign on for that?

Israel will only be finished and stable if it achieves that. One can argue that it’s almost there or that it’s a long way off, but done it ain’t.

That’s why we should take the opportunity that Trump’s latest embarrassment of American policy gives us to exit for good the phony two-state peace-process paradigm, to forthrightly name and reject Zionism and the colonialism it is. We need to go back to the future, to a proposal for a single, if bi-national, secular democratic state, a de-colonized polity in the territory of historic Palestine, where Arabs and Jews can live in peace and equality. Something along the lines of the “secular, democratic state” the PLO called for in 1968 and the “full secular democracy” that Edward Said championed again in 1999.

Love It Loud

To be sure: I am not sanguine about this. The political way forward is not clear.

On the one hand, the exhaustion of the peace process and the Palestinian Authority is now a done deal, as I hope everyone now recognizes. At least as important, the de-legitimization of Zionism, is already well-advanced. Politically and ideologically, the actions and discourse of Israel and its partisans themselves do as much as anything to discredit Zionism. And, despite its being kept in the cultural shadows, more Americans are aware of the problems with the dominant Zionist narrative. The BDS movement is strong and growing. On American campuses today, Zionism is losing the all-important ideological battle, especially in the crucial constituency of young Jewish-Americans, and the effects of that are radiating throughout the culture. The reality of this effect is demonstrated by the increased anxiety among the guardians of Zionism, with their increasing efforts to censor and suppress criticism of Israel, to define anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism, and to outlaw anti-Zionism and the BDS movement. The arc of history is not bending toward Zionist colonialism.

To wax ironic, Zionism’s fatal weakness may be the effect of its greatest strength—its tenacious entwinement in our political culture, which is hard to overstate. We live in a country where powerful politicians and the wealthy donors who control them proclaim their fealty to Israel; where Israeli officials enjoy veto power over candidates for office down to the level of State Assembly. where the Secretary of State gives a “devoutly Zionist” speech and is still criticized for not being obsequious enough to Israel, where the Vice-President declares “I am a Zionist,” and where a President who was excoriated for avoiding service in the American army can say “I would personally grab a rifle, get in a ditch, and fight and die” for Israel, and nobody bats an eyelash.

Really, think about it.

Perhaps most vomit-inducing in the present context, it’s a country where the Congress has just overwhelmingly passed a bill de-funding the Palestinian Authority (except, at Israeli insistence, the PA security forces) if they give any support to any family member of a Palestinian convicted of what Israel calls “terrorism” (and others would call anti-colonial resistance), and at the same time that Congress allows the great charitable organization, The Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), to collect $50 million a night, tax-free to itself and tax-deductible to its donors. All that money is needed, over and above the $3.7+ billion the U.S. gives Israel every year, in order to provide extra-comfortable “well-being facilities” for the beleaguered Israeli “coed infantry units” who have the tough job of dragging Palestinian families from their homes and blowing them up—those families the PA is now forbidden to support. Friends of the IDF galas are hosted in New York by Republican billionaire Sheldon Adelson, and in Los Angeles by Democratic billionaire Haim Saban, and entertained by celebrities like Seal and Israeli-born KISS-er, Gene Simmons (Chaim Witz). Bi-partisanship rocks.

America has become a Zionist country. And it shows. And it’s discomfiting. For the most powerful people and institutions in the United States, Zionism has become a core component of American ideology and politics, married, like nothing else is, to capitalism and imperialism as a co-equal existential imperative.

It’s a peculiar relationship because capitalism and imperialism do not need Zionism, and may even be weakened by it. Zionism is a surplus oppression. The excessiveness and gratuity of Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem, which so many people recognize, is only a reflection of the excessiveness and gratuity of Zionism itself, which too many people have for too long taken for granted.

Dragging people from their homes and blowing them up is excessive, an atrocity too far. A partner who is addicted to such behavior will inevitably create trouble for the capitalist-imperialist family, which has enough problems of its own to deal with. It’s the U.S who insists, excessively, on including Zionism in a polyamorous arrangement, and who is, as can be expected in such cases, losing its mind over this misplaced affection, and endangering the core relationship.

This is what the German FM and other members of the European First Wives’ Club see in Trump’s Jerusalem declaration. This is what a lot of people see in all the state-destroying, jihadi-chaos-creating aggression from Iraq to Syria and heading toward Iran—all of which makes no sense until you understand that the American project throughout has been an over-complicated ménage-à-trois: capitalism-imperialism-Zionism.

As Shoshana Bryen says: “The United States military, then, is a Zionist institution.” Bryen is herself a perfect example of the intimate relations between Israel and the American military, having made the rounds as former Director of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA, the prime meeting spot where Israelis entice senior American officers to see the world as Israel does), and as a lecturer at the National Defense University and the U.S. Army War College.

The hope is that it’s all becoming too obvious and too much—an embarrassment of too many riches for Zionism. It’s why Hillary Clinton’s campaign decided not to highlight—except to donors—her passionate love for Israel: “We shouldn’t have Israel at public events. Especially dem (Democratic) activists…. What about this as a base, and then she can drop in Israel when she’s with donors.” While the donors and elite still swoon, the arc of the Democratic base is bending away from Zionism—and the Zionists know it.

There Is No Time

On the other hand, we have to recognize the persistent weaknesses of the Palestinians, who suffer constant, horrendous, human and material losses every day at the hands of a Zionist colonial machine. Israel, the Jewish State, has already established an apartheid regime, the late stage of colonialism, and has made clear that it is determined to extend that as far and as long as it can, with all necessary force. The illusion that America would do something to stop or reverse this has been finally shattered. Though it’s stance may be changing, thanks to the likes of Trump, and it is a medium- to long-term weak spot for Israel, the “international community” still grants Israel effective impunity.

The Arab countries? Ha! Saudi Arabia, the Gulf monarchies, and Egypt will supply the rope and tie the knot. The staunchest Arab supporters of Palestine—Iraq, Libya, and Syria—just happen to be the countries ravaged by that United States military institution. A weakened Syria and (non-Arab) Iran may give some assistance, but really, nobody’s coming to save the Palestinians.

External support in the way of boycott and sanctions will help also, but significant victories can only come from organized resistance by Palestinians themselves. The Palestinian political leadership which, as Noura Erakat says, “has abandoned confrontation with Israel as a matter of policy” would have to be changed. New leadership would have to emerge that renounces Oslo and forges a militant struggle for equal political and social rights, a multi-level strategy of resistance against colonialism and apartheid. This will be very tough, in a community that’s been ground down for decades by the Israeli-PA security apparatus, and the collaborationist mindset and economic interests that support it.

To be thoroughly frank: though militant non-violent civilian resistance must be the core of struggle, it has to be backed by some kind of armed power. The ANC’s victorious fight against South African apartheid was not confined to “terrorist” Nelson Mandela’s prison cell; his comrades were busy outside. A movement to defeat colonialism and apartheid must demonstrate the capacity not only to take punishment, but also to inflict it, to hurt the forces and institutions imposing Zionist oppression and to disrupt the normalcy of Zionist daily life. Everywhere, enemies of the IDF. No “well-being” respite. No justice, no peace. That is the only way victory over colonialism and apartheid ever has, or ever will be, won.

Since the Zionists’ founding spasm of brutal ethnic cleansing—expelling over 700,000 Palestinian Arabs while killing thousands of others—and since colonialism fell into disgrace, Israel has been constrained to pursue further ethnic cleansing in a fitful series of measures, with levels of brutality adjusted for various international political and ideological exigencies. But it has not ceased to probe those limits. Israel is working very hard to compress political time and make it suddenly possible again to exterminate or expel enough Palestinians (we’re talking at least tens of thousands) to stabilize Israel for most of a century. That’s one of the things Israel’s, and its American patron’s, support of jihadi chaos in the region, as well as its attempt to foment war with Iran, is all about. The fat lady hasn’t sung, but the orchestra is in full swing. The Palestinians don’t have forever to stop the music.

So, there’s no room for false hope or assumptions of inevitable victory. There’s an opportunity now for a successful fight to defeat Zionism, pitched precisely as struggle against colonialism and apartheid, and it must be seized quickly. It is also not impossible for Zionism to defeat the Palestinians in some effectively irreversible way, as it keeps trying to do.

It’s just the case—the practical, utterly realistic political case—that nothing, not a thing, can be gained by trying to revive the zombie two-state peace process that has been killed over and over again by the U.S. and Israel themselves. To seal the deal, Donald Trump just drove a stake through its heart. There is no two-state solution. There is only one state: either the one colonial, apartheid state that’s coalescing now, or the one democratic state of equal rights that justice demands.

For American left allies of Palestine, it’s time, past time, to clearly reject, not just the occupation of Jerusalem or the West Bank, but Zionism tout court.

Back to the future it is. Liberal Zionists like to imagine ’48 is finished in some democratically acceptable way. Militant Zionists know they still have to finish ’48 as ruthlessly as possible. Principled anti-Zionists—that is, principled anti-colonialists—have to work very hard to make sure that ‘48 ends in failure, and that Israel never becomes the finished colonial project it wishes to be.

_______________________________
This article incorporates parts of an earlier related post: Gaza Calling: It’s the Colonialism, Stupid!

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

OIC recognizes East Jerusalem al-Quds as Palestine’s capital

Press TV – December 13, 2017

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has invited all nations to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as the capital of Palestine, blasting the United States for disregarding Middle East peace by moving its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied city.

The 57-member organization issued a communique at the end of an emergency summit on Wednesday, declaring that it would recognize “East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine and invite all countries to recognize the State of Palestine and East Jerusalem as its occupied capital.”

The declaration was a direct response to US President Donald Trump days after he referred to the city as the “eternal capital” of Israel.

The OIC rejected and condemned “in the strongest terms the unilateral decision by the president of the United States of America in recognizing Jerusalem al-Quds as the so-called capital of Israel, the occupying power.”

Renouncing Trump’s move as “null and void legally,” the OIC members said the decision was tantamount to “an attack on the historical, legal, natural and national rights of the Palestinian people, a deliberate undermining of all peace efforts, an impetus to extremism and terrorism, and a threat to international peace and security.”

The OIC reaffirmed its continued commitment to the so-called two-state solution for ending the years-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some speakers, however, said the US was no longer deemed reliable to mediate any peace deal.

OIC members also said they would hold the US responsible for the consequences of the decision.

The communique also denounced Israel’s actions and policies against the people of Palestine as “colonial” and “racist.”

Trump has tasked the US State Department with making preparations for the relocation of Washington’s embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied Palestinian city.

The dramatic shift in Washington’s Jerusalem al-Quds policy has drawn fierce criticism from the international community, including Washington’s own allies, while triggering demonstrations against the US and Israel worldwide.

As the second-largest inter-governmental body after the United Nations, the OIC was established during a summit in Rabat, Morocco, in 1969, following an arson attack on the al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied city.

Shortly after the OIC declaration, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif hailed Islamic leaders for attending the summit in high capacities, taking an indirect jab at countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which only sent low-level officials.

Saudi Arabia only sent its minister for OIC affairs, while Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry represented Cairo.

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 1 Comment

Moroccan MPs propose bill to criminalize normalization with Israel

Palestine Information Center – December 12, 2017

RABAT – Members of the Moroccan parliament on Monday condemned the US president Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem which he has recently recognized as the capital of Israel.

During a parliament session held on Monday and attended by the Palestinian ambassador to Morocco, they called for activating a bill criminalizing normalization with Israel that has been frozen for more than four years.

According to the Moroccan newspaper Lakom, Habib El Malki, the president of the House of Representatives, said that Trump’s decision disregards the United Nations and its resolutions and lacks legitimacy and credibility.

He added that by this move the US has chosen to be a rival rather than a mediator in the negotiation process.

For his part, the president of the House of Counselors, Hakim Benchamach, said in statements quoted by the Moroccan newspaper that the US decision goes in line with the Balfour Declaration and threatens the stability of the international security.

MP for the Democratic Leftist Federation, Omar Balafrej, revealed that the statistics issued by the French-Israeli Chamber of Commerce show that the volume of trade exchanges between Morocco and Israel amounts to $4 million per month.

Balafrej during the meeting supported activating a bill to criminalize normalization with Israel and called for a serious study of the US latest move.

The Moroccan capital of Rabat on Sunday witnessed a mass popular demonstration against the US decision.

Donald Trump on Wednesday officially declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and unveiled his decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem amid Arab and Islamic condemnation and international concerns.

December 12, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | Leave a comment

Tunisians declare boycott of U.S. ships after Trump’s Jerusalem move

Palestine Information Center – December 11, 2017

TUNIS – A Tunisian labor union on Sunday evening announced its decision to boycott U.S. ships docking at a seaport in the country’s southern region of Sfax following Trump’s recognition, on Wednesday, of Occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Spokesman of the Popular Conference for the Palestinians Abroad, Ziad al-Aloul, said on Facebook that the regional executive office of Tunisia’s Trade Unions decided to boycott all American ships docking at Sfax commercial harbor.

As part of the boycott move, workers at the seaport will not empty the shipments onboard boats tied up at Sfax seaport after they had set sail from the U.S.

Prior to the boycott, mass rallies had swept Tunisia with thousands of protesters holding up Palestinian flags and banners. Protesters also burned the U.S. flag and others stepped on images of Israeli flags.

December 11, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , | 1 Comment

How Jerusalem issue plays into Iranian, Turkish (and Russian) hands

By M.K. Bhadrakumar | Asia Times | December 11, 2017

Iran has, predictably enough, taken a hard line on the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. There were public demonstrations in several Iranian cities following Friday prayers and statements by President Hassan Rouhani and other senior politicians. Notably, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, warned: “Al-Quds (Jerusalem) will be the place where the Zionist regime will be buried.”

It was Turkey’s reaction that set the mind thinking that the ground beneath our feet is shifting, however. President Recep Erdogan used exceptional language in his response, calling Israel a “terrorist” state. His stance is important for a variety of reasons. Turkey is currently chairing the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and has called for an emergency summit in Istanbul on Wednesday. This puts Erdogan in the driving seat.

The OIC has traditionally kowtowed to Saudi Arabia. But the Saudi regime finds itself on the defensive at the moment. The unsavory talk in the bazaar is that King Salman and the Crown Prince have played footsie with Trump and Jared Kushner. Erdogan hears bazaar gossip, for sure. Will the OIC recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Palestine? This is a possibility.

Both Iran and Turkey repudiate the notion of Jerusalem being Israel’s capital. Iran has brought into play the politics of “resistance,” whereas Erdogan stresses “We will continue our struggle decisively within the law and democracy.” The distinction must be noted – but then, so must the degree of convergence.

Iran and Turkey have both long wished for an end to Saudi Arabia calling the shots in the Muslim Middle East. Now that the issue of Jerusalem has come to the fore, the Saudi regime must be wary of being seen to coordinate with Israel, or dancing to Trump’s tune.

The Saudi regime is also grappling with the quagmire in Yemen, where it is shedding “Muslim blood.” Pressure will now increase to end the war in there. Rouhani put forth on Sunday two preconditions to normalize ties with Saudi Arabia – stop “bowing” to Israel and, secondly, end the war in Yemen.

December 11, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Delusions of Washington-Riyadh Ruling Elite and the Journalists Who Feed Them

By Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam | Dember 9, 2017

NYT’ pro-Israel talking heads: David Makovsky and Aaron David Miller

In the aftermath of Trump’s disastrous recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the spin from Washington and Riyadh–and the journalists and think tank analysts only too eager be spun–has been outrageous. The level of sheer delusion is stupendous. This post will offer an anatomy of delusion and why it means only more suffering and bloodshed for both Arabs and Israelis.

The Times Shills for the Two-State Delusion

The NY Times, ever the newspaper of record for the élite and their paid emissaries, purports to debate whether the two-state solution remains viable in light of Trump’s seeming endorsement of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. Who does Mark Landler quote as sources? Why, think tank talking heads who earn their keep from the Israel Lobby and its donors. Landler quotes no less than four sources affiliated with Lobby, all of whom endorse a two-state solution. And none of whom have ever offered any serious analysis or balanced discussion of the one-state solution: Martin Indyk, David Makovsky, Scott Anderson, and Daniel Levy.

How many Palestinian or Arab sources does he quote? One, Saeb Erekat.  And he doesn’t quote anything original from Erekat. He merely quotes statements the Palestinian made to other media outlets. He begins with Erekat saying:

… Erekat… a steadfast advocate for a Palestinian state, said in an interview on Thursday that Mr. Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel “have managed to destroy that hope.” He embraced a radical shift in the P.L.O.’s goals — to a single state, but with Palestinians enjoying the same civil rights as Israelis, including the vote.

“They’ve left us with no option,” he said. “This is the reality. We live here. Our struggle should focus on one thing: equal rights.”

Once Landler lays this out, he must debunk it immediately. And he does:

Mr. Erekat’s change of heart is unlikely to change Palestinian policy. The dream of a Palestinian state is too deeply ingrained in a generation of its leaders for the Palestinian Authority to abandon it now. Israel would be unlikely to accede to equal rights, because granting a vote to millions of Palestinians would eventually lead to the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

Who is a NY Times reporter who knows little about what Palestinians believe, to say that a two-state solution is “too deeply ingrained” to be abandoned? And note who he points to as the arbiters of what Palestinians accept or believe? “Leaders,” by whom he means the doddering old kleptocratic octogenarians who have sold out the Palestinian cause for decades. Landler makes no attempt to reach out to Palestinian activists or academics or indigenous NGOs who know much better what the Palestinian street is thinking. Does Landler think that only leaders matter? Does he think leaders this corrupt and out of touch can merely wave a magic wand and four million Palestinians will follow them like the Pied Piper of Hamelin?

Further, why would Israel’s objections to “equal rights” and a one-state solution be a reason this doesn’t become the eventual resolution of the issue? Why do we assume that Israel will always be calling the shots? Did Serbia call the shots regarding Kosovo or Bosnia after NATO intervened? Why does the resistance of a nation which threatens to take the entire region to the brink of Armageddon become an immovable obstacle? The sheer chutzpah of such an assumption is enormous.

Later, the article offers the administration’s rebuttal of the Palestinian perspective on Trump’s proclamation:

Administration officials strenuously reject the argument that Mr. Trump has foreclosed a two-state solution… He studiously avoided taking a position on the eventual borders or sovereignty of Jerusalem.

That is either an ignorant or disingenuous statement.  When you recognize Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem (not over “west Jerusalem,” as Trump could have said) and you omit any reference to Palestinian sovereignty over East Jerusalem, then you’ve taken a crystal clear position on borders and sovereignty. You’ve said Israel has sovereignty and the Palestinians don’t.  If you believe otherwise, you’re a fool or a villain (or both).

Then Landler chimes in with an affirmation of Trump’s claims of even-handedness:

Beyond the president’s words, there were other signs he is serious about his intentions. On the same day that he signed his name with a John Hancock-like flourish to a proclamation recognizing Jerusalem as the capital, he quietly signed another document that will delay the move of the American Embassy to the city for at least six months — and probably much longer.

How does Trump’s recognition that he can’t immediately move the embassy for a thousand logistical reasons equate to Trump being “serious in his intentions” to be fair and balanced in weighing the claims of Palestinians? Should Palestinians view the delay in moving the embassy as a gift to them? Something that has any real benefit or meaning to them?

At this point, Landler gives voice to his first pro-Israel talking head, Martin Indyk, who makes this blindingly astute observation:

“Avoiding a move of the embassy is a way of avoiding geographic definition,” said Martin S. Indyk, a former American ambassador to Israel. “Avoiding any geographic definition of their recognition of Jerusalem looks like their effort to keep the peace process alive.”

It’s hardly much of an affirmation by Indyk of Trump’s peace process. But he does seem to believe that by not moving the embassy, the U.S. believes it’s offered the Palestinians something. When of course, it’s nothing and will have no value to any Palestinian.

Landler’s coup de grâce in terms of marshalling pro-Israel analysts is David Makovsky. And his comments have to be read to be believed:

… Some longtime Middle East observers said Mr. Erekat’s talk of a one-state solution reflected anger rather than a watershed change in the Palestinian position. Given Israel’s probable rejection of equal rights, American and Israeli supporters of a two-state solution said that option, for all intents and purposes, remained the only game in town.

“I don’t want to minimize the hurt the Palestinians feel,” said David Makovsky, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “But there was a duality to Trump’s message that has gotten lost.”

Mr. Trump, he said, was not closing the door to negotiations on borders and sovereignty. “Both parts should be heard,” he said. While he questioned the timing of the move, he said the Palestinians could return to the table when tempers cool.

“Right now their anger is such that they probably can’t hear this,” Mr. Makovsky said. “But if he presents a plan in the first quarter, are you not going to want to hear what it is? The Palestinians still think Trump’s enough of a bulldozer that if he gave something to the Israelis on a Wednesday, he’s capable of giving something to the Palestinians on a Thursday.”

It’s quite amazing that a pro-Israel shill like Makovsky who knows the two-state solution is dead and knows that no one in power in Israel or the U.S. believes in it, can still sell a journalist like Landler a bill of goods.  And note that Landler only quotes analysts who support a two-state solution and a PLO official who also has supported it till now. There are no sources here offering an alternative point of view.  None.  Which means this article is journalism in bad faith, whether the reporters who compiled it were aware of this bias or not.

Note that the strongest adjective Makovsky can muster to describe Palestinians emotions is “hurt.” No, hurt is when you skin your knee or sprain your pinkie. What Trump did to Palestinians is more like a shot to the gut; a paralyzing blow that deprives them of any hope and drives them into the arms of radical extremists.

I also like Makovsky’s assurance that Palestinians will return to talks once their hot-headed tempers cool down. Those pesky Palestinians always let their tribal emotions get the better of them. If they could only realize they have no choice. That what Trump offers is as good as they’re going to get. Then they’d get down to business.

The sheer ignorance of Makovsky assuming that the Palestinians will have natural curiosity about Trump’s offer and want to come back to the table to hear it is amazing. Why would Palestinians care what Trump offered them? Why would they attribute any value to it given his current and past statements? And just what does Makovsky believe Trump is going to give the Palestinians on that proverbial Thursday?

Finally, Landler ends his piece quoting the “liberal” pundit of the bunch, the guy the reporter probably feels covers his bases on the left, Daniel Levy. The only problem is that Levy isn’t “on the left.” He’s a liberal Zionist, neither progressive or leftist. And Levy too supports a two state solution. So where is the diversity of opinion this subject demands?

“It’s hard to see how you can go down that route without at some stage divesting yourself of a semblance of a self-governing authority,” said Daniel Levy, the London-based president of the U.S./Middle East Project. “You’ve got to call time on the Palestinian Authority, which never became a state.”

Instead, Mr. Levy said he believed that the peace process, and the Palestinians, were in a “transitional period,” in which the two-state solution had failed for now. But he added, “what people have done can be undone.”

Got that? Two states are dead “for now.” But not forever. That should give Palestinians hope that at some point in the vague future we men of good faith can revive it; or rather pull it out of the dustheap of failed Middle East plans, dust it off, and pretend it’s as good as new.

And what does Levy mean “what’s done can be undone?” How do you undo the death of thousands? How do you undo fierce rage against a sociopathic American president and his narcissistic Saudi and Israeli buddies who believe they can put the Palestinians on ice and ignore their legitimate claims to land, rights and nation?

The Saudi Delusion

Speaking of the Saudis, this Reuters story conveys the views of the ruling Crown Prince on these matters. If anything, they’re even more delusional than Trump or Netanyahu’s views. Before I offer a sampling, it’s worth hearing about the plan Trump is offering (and which the Saudis are endorsing):

As told to Abbas, the proposal included establishing “a Palestinian entity” in Gaza as well as the West Bank administrative areas A and B and 10 percent of area C, which contains Jewish settlements, a third Palestinian official said.

Jewish settlements in the West Bank would stay, there would be no right of return, and Israel would remain responsible for the borders, he said.

The proposal appears to differ little from existing arrangements in the West Bank, widening Palestinian control but falling far short of their minimum national demands.

A Palestinian entity. Not even a state. And even if someone wanted to call it a state, it wouldn’t be. It would be a bantustan of Palestinian villages surrounded by massive Israeli settlements. If the proposal essentially ratifies a rotten status quo, why would any Palestinian be willing to accept it?

Here is the real zinger, displaying the absolute cluelessness of the Saudis involved with this charade:

A Saudi source said he believed an understanding on Israeli-Palestinian peace would nonetheless begin to emerge in the coming weeks.

“Do not underestimate the businessman in (Trump). He has always called it the ultimate deal,” the source said, declining to be named because of the sensitivity of the subject.

“I don’t think our government is going to accept that unless it has something sweetened in the pipeline which (King Salman and the crown prince) could sell to the Arab world – that the Palestinians would have their own state.”

In other words, because Trump offers some blather about an ultimate deal, but refuses to offer the Palestinians any details other than assure them it would be “something they would like,” then we’re to assume that it would be “sweet” enough for MbS to sell (the Saudi’s apt words, not mine) to the Palestinians. I don’t know who’s worse, Trump or MbS. It’s worse than the blind leading the blind. It’s the deaf, dumb, and blind leading the deaf, dumb and blind.

The Reuters article too suffers from a surfeit of sources who cynically ratify the status quo and the consensus as defined by the Middle East and Beltway elites:

Most Arab states are unlikely to object to Trump’s announcement because they find themselves more aligned with Israel than ever, particularly on countering Iran, said Shadi Hamid, senior fellow at Brookings Institution in Washington,

“If Saudi officials, including the crown prince himself, were particularly concerned with Jerusalem’s status, they would presumably have used their privileged status as a top Trump ally and lobbied the administration to hold off on such a needlessly toxic move,” he wrote in an article published in The Atlantic.

“It’s unlikely Trump would have followed through if the Saudis had drawn something resembling a red line.”

Even if this is true (and it very possibly is), why doesn’t anyone bother to say the obvious: that if the Saudis wish to betray the Palestinians and abandon their role as guardians of the region’s Muslim holy places (including Jerusalem), they themselves will be abandoned by the Arab and Muslim world. Why do the eminences grise think that the Saudis can act in any way they choose without paying any consequences in terms of regional influence?

In truth, the Saudis will make themselves irrelevant if they force this deal down the Palestinians throat. They will force those Palestinians who reject it to turn to Iran and its Shiite allies like Hezbollah. They will turn Hamas into leaders of the Palestinian resistance after the PA has abandoned its responsibility to defend Palestinian rights. Even those Sunni states like Jordan or Egypt who might feel compelled to go along with the Saudi plan, will do so with tepid enthusiasm. And at the first sign of failure, they will bolt from the stables like horses staring at a forest fire. Leaving MbS alone with his buddies, Trump and Netanyahu (who by then may be long gone as prime minister–perhaps even behind bars).

December 11, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment