Tag Archives: Palestinians

When All You’ve Got Is Bullying: A New Way of Dealing With America, by Ted Snider

The world is figuring out workarounds for US insistence that the world play by its rules. From Ted Snider at antiwar.com:

The secret comments that Donald Trump made off the record leaked. He was not sincerely negotiating a compromise: he was bullying his opponent. If any deal was to be made, he boasted, it would be “totally on our terms.” America’s negotiating partner was “working their ass off,” Trump admitted, but “every time we have a problem with a point, I just put up a picture of a Chevrolet Impala.” The Impala is a car that would be affected by U.S. auto tariffs. Imposing auto tariffs would “be the ruination” of that country: “all I have to do is tax their cars, it would be devastating,” Trump said. Trump would only boast off the record about his threat to ruin the country if they dare to negotiate rather than yield because if he says publicly what he threatens privately, it’s going to be so insulting they’re not going to be able to make a deal.”

Trump’s negotiating partner was not Iran. It was not North Korea. It was Canada. Canada! Not America’s enemy, but, historically, one of America’s closest friends. And the negotiations were not over a nuclear weapons program: they were over a free trade agreement. But, even here, the president who boasts that he is a great deal maker had nothing but bullying. No negotiating, no diplomacy: “totally on our terms” or it will be the “ruination” of you.

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Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses, by Sheldon Richman

Trump is probably not going to solve the Israel-Palestinian situation. From Sheldon Richman at antiwar.com:

The Trump administration’s “Deal of the Century” for the Palestine-Israel has, predictably, gone over like a lead balloon. So it’s shifting gears. The Washington Post reports, “With President Trump’s promised Middle East peace plan stalled, administration officials are focusing on improving conditions in the impoverished Gaza Strip – a move that could put political pressure on Palestinian leaders to come to the negotiating table.”

Don’t hold your breath.

The “Deal of the Century” was dead on arrival because it was based on the idea that Saudi Arabia and Egypt would “deliver the Palestinians” on the cheap in return for a more formal Saudi-Egyptian-Israeli-US alliance against Iran. The Palestinians were expected to be satisfied with economic-development aid while their aspirations for their own state were essentially tabled, that is, confined to the rubbish bin.

Unsurprisingly, as elements of the deal got around, the demoralized Palestinians were underwhelmed. They already had lost confidence in President Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority, which under the Oslo Accords had become Israel’s subcontractor for suppressing the occupation resistance. Nor had the Palestinians forgotten how Abbas and his negotiators tried, unsuccessfully, to compromise to an extent that would have destroyed any prospect of a viable independent Palestinian state. This was revealed by the leak of the Palestine Papers, more than 1,600 secret documents, memos, transcripts, and maps from private Palestine-Israel-US talks held over a decade (1999-2010). The release by Al Jazeera TV and the Guardian in 2011 demonstrated the Palestinian officials’ willingness to give Israelis stunning concessions on virtually every major issue while asking little in return, including accepting illegal West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements (with minor land swaps), ceding sovereignty over a vast swath of East Jerusalem, forgoing control of the Muslim holy site Haram al-Sharif to a multiparty committee, and relinquishing the right of return for all but a token few of the millions of refugees created by Israel’s officially unacknowledged ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948 and 1967. The Palestinian delegation also said the refugees would not be allowed to vote on the eventual settlement proposal, and it made no objection to Israelis description of their country as the Jewish State, despite the fact that 20 percent of the population is Arab Muslim and Christian.

To continue reading: Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses

Palestinians: Victims of Arab Apartheid, by Khaled Abu Toameh

When Israel “oppresses” Palestinians, it’s news. When Arabs “oppress” Palestinians, it’s ignored. Nobody should be oppressing Palestinians, but Khaled Abu Toameh argues there’s a clear double standard in media coverage. From Toameh at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • Tens of thousands of Palestinians are now living in a Lebanese ghetto called Ain Al-Hilweh, and the world seems to be fine with that.
  • No one cares when an Arab country mistreats and discriminates and kills Palestinians. But when something happens in the West Bank or Gaza Strip, the international media and community suddenly wake up. Why? Because they do not want to miss an opportunity to condemn Israel. One can only imagine the uproar in the world were Israel to pass a law denying Arabs jobs or the right to inherit property.
  • There are no protests on the streets of London or Paris. The UN Security Council has not — and will not — hold an emergency session to condemn Lebanon. Of course, the mainstream media in the West is not going to report about Arab apartheid and repressive measures against Palestinians. As for the leaders of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, they do not have time to address the problems of the camp residents. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas are too busy fighting each other, and the last thing they have on their minds are the interests and well-being of their people.

Lebanon is one of several Arab countries where Palestinians are subjected to discriminatory and apartheid laws and measures. The plight of Palestinians in Arab countries, however, is apparently of no interest to the international community, and pro-Palestinian activists and groups around the world.

Recently, the Lebanese authorities placed electronic screening gates at all entrances to Ain Al-Hilweh, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. The move has sparked a wave of protests in Ain Al-Hilweh and among Palestinians living in other refugee camps in Lebanon, who are describing the installation of the electronic gates as collective punishment.

Until a few years ago, Ain Al-Hilweh had a population of 75,000. However, with the influx of refugees from Syria, which began in 2011, the camp’s population is now estimated at more than 160,000.

To continue reading: Palestinians: Victims of Arab Apartheid

West’s Failure to Act Will Be Cause of the Next Gaza Massacre, by Jonathan Cook

Does Israel really need to gun down Palestinian protestors? Good luck even asking that question, much less answering it. From Jonathan Cook at antiwar.com:

There are no calls for embargoes on sales of arms, no demands for war crimes investigations, no threats of trade sanctions

The contrasting images coming out of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories on Monday could not have been starker – or more disturbing.

Faced with protests at the perimeter fence in Gaza, Israeli snipers killed dozens of unarmed Palestinians and wounded more than 2,000 others, including children, women, journalists and paramedics, in a hail of live fire. Amnesty, the international human rights organization, rightly called it a “horror show”.

Such horror is now so routine that TV anchors could only headline the news as the worst day of bloodshed in Gaza in four years, when Israel massacred civilians in its last major military assault.

Already gasping from the chokehold of Israel’s decade-long blockade of Gaza, local hospitals are now collapsing from the weight of casualties.

A few kilometers away, meanwhile, Israelis were partying.

So-called “liberal” Tel Aviv was busy “chicken dancing” with Netta, who had just won the Eurovision Song Contest and gave a free open-air performance to celebrate.

And in Jerusalem, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was glad-handing a bevy of US officials, including Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and policy adviser. They were there to beam for the cameras as the US opened its embassy in the occupied city.

The move pre-empts negotiations over the city’s fate and sabotages Palestinian ambitions for East Jerusalem to become the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Netanyahu’s grin said it all. As he mouthed platitudes about “Middle Eastern peace”, he finally had Washington’s blessing for all of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. And next year Europe will give its implicit blessing too by hosting the Eurovision Song Contest there.

But amid the euphoria, a few Israeli commentators understood that politics is about more than power – it’s about imagery too. The champagne-quaffing in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem while Gaza drowned in blood left a profoundly sour taste in the mouth.

There was more than a whiff of hypocrisy too in statements about “defending borders” from a state that has refused to declare its borders since its creation exactly 70 years ago – as well as from a Netanyahu government currently trying to establish a Greater Israel over the Palestinian territories.

To continue reading: West’s Failure to Act Will Be Cause of the Next Gaza Massacre

Fifteen Thoughts About Israel, by Caitlin Johnstone

Israel is the Middle Eastern branch of the Western empire. From Caitlin Johnstone at medium.com:

1. I hate writing about Israel. The accusations of anti-semitism which necessarily go along with literally any criticism of that nation are gross enough, but even worse are the assholes who take my criticisms of the Israeli government as an invitation to actually be anti-semitic. They really do hate Jews, they really do think that every problem in the world is because of Jews and they post Jewish caricature memes and calls for genocide in the comments section on social media and it’s incredibly gross and I hate it. It feels exactly as intrusive, jarring and violating as receiving an unsolicited dick pic. But the Israeli government keeps committing war provocations and massacring Palestinians, so it’s something I’ve got to talk about.

2. Anti-semitism (or whatever word you prefer to use for the pernicious mind virus which makes people think it’s okay to promote hatred against Jewish people) is a very real thing that does exist, and I denounce it to the furthest possible extent. Anti-semitism is also a label that is used to bully the world into accepting war crimes, apartheid, oppression, and mass murder. Both of those things are true.

3. There were dozens of Palestinians killed and well above a thousand injured in the Gaza protests over the US moving its embassy to Jerusalem yesterday. I haven’t found any report of so much as a single Israeli injury. The only way to spin this as the fault of the Palestinians is to dehumanize them, to attribute behaviors and motives to them that we all know are contrary to human nature. To paint them as subhuman orc-like creatures who are so crazy and evil that they will keep throwing themselves at a hail of bullets risking life and limb just to have some extremely remote chance of harming a Jewish person for no reason. This is clearly absurd. A little clear thinking and empathy goes a long way.

4. Trump could have prevented all this violence by doing what previous administrations had done and keeping the US embassy in Tel Aviv. Experts warned that this would happen. Trump ignored them. He is ultimately responsible for the mounting pile of corpses resulting from this provocation.

5. The Trump campaign was given $25 million by billionaire oligarch Sheldon Adelson (the largest campaign donation made by anyone to any candidate), who provided a further $5 million for Trump’s inauguration. Adelson is a sociopathic pro-Israel hawk who once called on the US to drop a nuclear bomb on Iran. He was present at the opening of the Jerusalem embassy, getting what he paid for.

To continue reading: Fifteen Thoughts About Israel

The Dark Side of Israeli Independence, by Brett Wilkins

Nobody asked the Palestinians if they wanted to make room for a Zionist state. From Brett Wilkins at antiwar.com:

On May 14, 1948, Israel declared its independence. Each May 15, Palestinians solemnly commemorate Nakba Day. Nakba means catastrophe, and that’s precisely what Israel’s independence has been for the more than 700,000 Arabs and their five million refugee descendants forced from their homes and into exile, often by horrific violence, to make way for the Jewish state.

Land Without a People?

In the late 19th century, Zionism emerged as a movement for the reestablishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, then part of the Ottoman Empire. Although Jews ruled over kingdoms there more than 2,000 years ago, they never numbered more than around 10 percent of the population from antiquity through the early 1900s. A key premise of Zionism is what literary theorist Edward Said called the “excluded presence” of Palestine’s indigenous population; a central myth of early Zionists was that Palestine was a “land without a people for a people without a land.”

At its core, Zionism is a settler-colonial movement of white, European usurpers supplanting Arabs they often viewed as inferior or backwards. Theodore Herzl, father of modern political Zionism, envisioned a Jewish state in Palestine as “an outpost of civilization opposed to barbarism.” Other early Zionists warned against this sort of thinking. The great Hebrew essayist Ahad Ha’am wrote:

We… are accustomed to believing that Arabs are all wild desert people who, like donkeys, neither see nor understand what is happening around them. But this is a grave mistake. The Arabs… see and understand what we are doing and what we wish to do on the land. If the time comes that [we] develop to a point where we are taking their place… the natives are not going to just step aside so easily.

Jewish migration to Palestine increased significantly amid the pogroms and often rabid anti-Semitism afflicting much of Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century. As control of Palestine passed from the defeated Ottoman Turks to Britain toward the end of World War I, British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour declared “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” Israelis and their supporters often cite the Balfour Declaration when defending Israel’s legitimacy. What they never mention is that it goes on to state that”nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”

To continue reading: The Dark Side of Israeli Independence

American Empathy Gap: Massacres in Gaza and US Silence, by Danny Sjursen

Most Americans ignore the Palestinian issue and the US media, when it reports on it, generally slants toward Israel. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

For a writer, any criticism of Israeli military action is a veritable “third-rail” in American politics. Touch that nerve and you’re open to charges of anti-Semitism or worse.

Still, recent events in Gaza demand that some of us, at least, shed light on the plight of Palestinians.

Let us begin with a thought experiment: imagine dozens of unarmed, protesting Caucasian Christians or Jews – say, Israelis or Europeans – were shot dead by heavily armed brown folks, like, say Palestinian Muslims. What would we call this? That’s easy: terrorism. How would the media cover such an event? Simple: extensively and emotionally, probably for many days. The smiling faces of the victims would be splashed across the screens of television networks from Fox News to MSNBC.

Heck, for proof just look to the recent past: terror attacks in France and Belgium, for instance. Certainly, even decades back, Americans demonstrated more empathy for white, Christian victims. When, in 1972, British paratroopers fired into a crowd of demonstrators in Northern Ireland, killing thirteen, the episode was christened Bloody Sunday. I come from a city (New York) where sympathy for the catholic Irish was so robust that certain bars overtly collected money in tip jars for “terrorists” in the IRA well into the 1990s.

Well, something remarkably similar has occurred over the last two weeks, as thousands of Palestinians – protesting the deplorable conditions for the 1.8 million human beings besieged in Gaza – were subjected to Israeli Army gunfire that has left dozens dead and hundreds wounded. To date, not a single Israeli has been killed. This is typical of the recurrent violent episodes in Gaza. Scores or hundreds of Palestinians die – often including many women and children – whilst a few, if any, Israelis are killed or wounded. Still, mainstream U.S. media covers each incident as though there is parity of blame, responsibility, and suffering. It’s a very old and very persistent farce.

To continue reading: American Empathy Gap: Massacres in Gaza and US Silence