At last the ‘deal of the century’ has made its offical debut at the recent Bahrain
Conference Workshop. Tony Blair was there but the stars of the show, the Palestinians, stayed at home. Here we present a rather pessimistic interpretation of the ‘deal’, and provide links to other opinions below.
The Trump-Netanyahu ‘peace to prosperity’ plan is an attempt by Israel and the USA to offer certain Arab states money provided by other Arab states to make Palestine go away. So far the ‘deal’ is all about money; the nice part. The nasty part, the political issues, will not be addressed until ‘later’.
It is difficult to believe that anyone, even Trump and Kushner, would take this plan seriously. More likely, the ‘deal’ is part of a coordinated campaign to lay the political groundwork for annexation of the West Bank and the normalisation of permanent apartheid in Palestine. It makes little difference whether the Palestinians accept the plan or not. Ethnic cleansing of the West Bank will continue, deal or no deal; if Palestinians agree to the deal they may be slightly less humiliated and impoverished while they are being cleansed. The real question for Israel is not Palestinian rights, but how many indigenous Palestinians can be permanently off-loaded onto Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan. The billions promised for economic development by Israel’s Arab allies are, for the most part, actually bribes to states expected to absorb the Palestinian population, and in any case would almost certainly never be paid.
Israel knows it does not have a moral or legal leg to stand on. Thanks largely to the internet, Israel can no longer control public opinion through a highly concentrated corporate media in the West. If they lose public opinion in the West, they lose their outsized and inappropriate influence over Western governments, and eventually they lose Jewish supremacy in Palestine. They are afraid of being labeled an apartheid state and being subjected to South Africa style BDS, especially sanctions at the state level. But at the same time they want to complete the zionist project in Palestine by colonising the entire West Bank, and Trump is an opportunity too good to pass up. Israel will want to accomplish the land grab before Trump leaves office. It seems their strategy will be to take the land while they can, and try to ameliorate the effects of a grass-roots backlash in the West.
Israel already has a major image problem in the West. It is getting worse as large numbers of ordinary people realise that apartheid in Palestine is, and always was, baked into the cake. Israel knows that time is not on its side any more. The ‘deal’ is a ploy to give the Israel lobby, politicians and corporate media fresh propaganda vignettes they can use to rejuvenate the tired old ‘blame the victim’ narrative. They are already trying desperately to kill the idea that Israel is an apartheid state. Ridiculous hasbara slogans like ‘Israel is NOT an apartheid state!’ are parroted over and over by our contemptible politicians and corporate media, as though repeating it often enough, Goebbels style, will make it true.
There are other signs that something especially unsavoury is afoot in Palestine. When Israel is doing something nasty and becomes concerned about PR, the lobby usually turns up the volume on anti-semitism. The claim that Jews everywhere face an imminent threat of violent anti-semitism is perhaps the single most important justification used by political zionism for the appalling theft and human right abuses occurring in Palestine. It is probably no coincidence that we are being bombarded with claims that anti-semitism is on the rise from a range of organisations, many purporting to represent the Jewish diaspora. However information gathered on anti-semitic incidents, and associated publicity, often comes from overtly zionist organisations that support Israel unconditionally. Without wishing to trivialise anti-semitism, which certainly exists, a certain scepticism towards press-releases from these organisations is prudent; incredulity is the unfortunate consequence of politicising anti-Jewish racism for the benefit of political zionism.
While there is much ballyhoo about rising anti-semitism, there is also a concerted effort to expand the scope via adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA) definition. This tactic is laying the groundwork for outright criminalisation of criticism of Israel, and especially support for BDS. Israel is reaching out through their lobby networks to push anti-free speech laws through parliaments wherever they can. The Canadian government, shamefully, has already accepted the IHRA definition of anti-semitism. The German parliament has already declared BDS to be a form of anti-semitism, and in a disgusting display of subservience, the Florida state cabinet actually travelled to Jerusalem to pass unconstitutional anti-BDS laws. Was this a taxpayer funded junket, or has Florida become an Israeli colony? How would you feel if your government went to a foreign state to pass laws that restrict your civil liberties, for the benefit of the foreign state?! How long before BDS is declared a form of terrorism in Florida and elsewhere?
It is hard to overstate the present danger to free speech. Apartheid in Palestine is not just a disaster for the indigenous people, but a threat to freedom and democracy throughout the world. If Israel is to survive as an apartheid state, the right of ordinary people to support Palestinian rights through BDS must be suppressed. Suppression of a genuinely grass-roots movement like BDS entails an attack on freedom of speech, and civil liberties in general, in countries like Australia. Israel is an aggressive, settler-colonial project that has no declared borders of its own, no respect for the national sovereignty of other countries, and no respect for the rights of non-Jews. If Israel and its proxies in Australia continue to have their way, our institutions, like institutions in the USA, UK, Canada and Germany, will be subjected to an increasingly onerous form of creeping colonisation; a ‘lite’ version of the political zionism that devastated Palestine. We are becoming, by degrees, Palestinians in our own country.
Trump’s ‘deal of the century’: 17 things we learned
Middle East Eye, Chloe Benoist
Ahead of the Bahrain conference this week, the White House unveiled its “Peace to Prosperity” proposal for Palestine – part of US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century”.
The plan, led by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, is a jargon-laden economic roadmap on how to distribute more than $50bn.
Its intention is clear: to build enthusiasm for turning Palestine – only referred to as “Gaza and the West Bank”, lest one believe Palestinian statehood is on the cards – into a new Dubai or Singapore.
Middle East Eye has looked at the plan – already unanimously rejected by the Palestinian leadership – to decipher its economics-heavy approach. As with all visions of the future, it is as notable for what it left out as for what it included.
U.S. launches economic formula for Middle East peace, Palestinians unhappy
Reuters News, 25 June 2019
However, today is not about the political issues. We will get to those at the right time.” It is not clear whether the Trump team plans to abandon the “two-state solution”, which involves creation of an independent Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel. The United Nations and most countries back the two-state solution, which has underpinned every peace plan for decades, but Trump’s team has consistently refused to commit to it.
Al Jazeera News, 29 June 2019
Kushner’s “deal of the century” has by far surpassed all others in this regard by completely decoupling politics from economic solutions. Since the 1990 Madrid conference, the peace process had been built on the principle of “land for peace”, where Israel withdraws from Arab land it occupied in 1967 in exchange for peace and the normalisation of relations with the Palestinians and Arabs.
The Washington Post, 24 June 2019
Unfortunately, what has been revealed confirms our belief at the Palestinian Authority that the plan, which is being drafted by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and other Trump administration officials, is simply a repackaging of a stale, discredited concept known as “economic peace” long advocated by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a longtime friend of the Kushner family.
Al Jazeera News, 25 June 2019
Over 70 years later, it is becoming increasingly common to come across analogies between Palestinian refugees such as the ones from Lydda and Ramle, and the “simultaneous uprooting” of Jews living in Arab countries. Israel’s Deputy Minister of Finance Yitzhak Cohen, for example, has said that: “The uprooted Jews’ problem is equal to, if not greater than, the Palestinian refugees’ problem.