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April 26, 2019

Trump trio

Opinion

April 26, 2019

Over the past two years, the Trump administration has launched an all-out diplomatic assault on the Palestinians, while preparing a new initiative to resolve the Middle East conflict. It has claimed its plan is different from any other, downplayed anything said about it as wild speculation, and accused critics of rushing to judgment before they have seen it.

Indeed, the Palestinians have not seen the actual plan, but they have a pretty good feeling about what it will involve. They have watched closely as the Trump administration has spat out one policy after the other with the clear intention of humiliating and subduing them.

Over the past year and a half, US President Donald Trump administration has been giving Benjamin Netanyahu’s government one political “gift” after the other.

In December 2017, his administration recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv in May 2018. In January 2018, it froze all assistance to UNRWA, the UN agency tasked with supporting millions of Palestinian living as refugees, and in June that year, it quit the UN Human Rights Council after accusing it of having a bias against Israel on account of its policies in occupied Palestine. In September, the Trump administration closed the representative office of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in Washington.

Meanwhile, it gave Netanyahu freehand to expand Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which the State Department stopped calling “occupied” in official documents and instead designated as “Israeli-controlled”.

Then, just before this year’s Israeli elections, President Donald Trump signed a proclamation recognising Israel’s annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights, which had been previously declared “null and void” by the Reagan administration and the UN Security Council.

Perhaps most alarmingly, his administration pushed certain Arab countries towards normalisation of relations with Israel without any Israeli concessions being made.

These US policies have encouraged Netanyahu, who will serve a fifth term as prime minister, to boast of maintaining forever Israeli sovereignty over a “united Jerusalem”, as Israel’s “eternal capital”, and to vow to never relinquish Israel’s control over any Palestinian territories west of the Jordan River. He has also pledged to annex all the illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

In the meantime, the Palestinian leadership and Arab rulers have done little more than issuing inconsequential statements.

These and other changes to the traditional US foreign policy in the Middle East have come at the initiative of Trump’s three top Middle East advisors: his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his two former New York lawyers, Jason Greenblatt and David Freedman, who have been actively promoting pro-Israeli policies for decades.

These three proud radical Zionists have clearly demonstrated their enthusiasm for Israel’s illegal settlements in the Palestinian territories and their rejection of the label “occupied” for the West Bank and Jerusalem.

But the Trump trio continue to surprise, and not in a good way. Kushner and company are so extreme that they make Netanyahu look moderate in comparison.

They are part of a group of American Zionist hardliners who opposed the “Oslo Peace Process” in the 1990s and have even made comparisons between Israeli peacemakers and Nazi collaborators. They have dismissed Palestinian national and historical rights out of hand and defended Israel’s actions as ordained by God.

Excerpted from: ‘The logic behind US humiliation of the Palestinians’. Courtesy: Aljazeera.com

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