By David Sole
U.S. President Donald Trump proudly announced his long awaited Middle East “peace plan” on January 28. Standing next to him was a beaming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Conspicuously missing, however, were any representatives of the Palestinian people. Speaking from the West Bank, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the proposal as “nonsense.” And no wonder!
Billed as “the Deal of the Century” Trump’s plan is in complete agreement with right-wing Israeli claims. All Zionist settlements with over 700,000 settlers in the West Bank, illegal under international law, will remain as sovereign Israeli territory. A patchwork of Israeli territory would therefore cover the so-called Palestinian state offered by Trump. The Palestinian demand for East Jerusalem as their capital was disregarded, replaced with an area of poor neighborhoods abutting large concrete barriers.
Netanyahu, naturally, called it a “great plan for Israel.” Thousands of Palestinians protested in the West Bank as Trump and Netanyahu plotted against them.
The “peace plan” is just another in a series of steps taken by the Trump administration against the Palestinian people and in support of the U.S. client state of Israel.
- On December 6, 2017 Trump gave formal recognition to Jerusalem as the capital of the Zionist state of Israel. This reversed many decades of U.S. and international policy.
- In May 2018 the United States moved its embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the city half of which was conquered and occupied by the Zionists in the 1967 War.
- U.S. aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to assist the U.N. work for Palestinian people was cut in August 2018. The funds went to programs affecting about five million Palestinians including schools, health care and other social services. Refugees in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are recipients of U.N. aid as well as Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.
- In September 2018 Trump ordered the closing of the Washington, D.C. office of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Even USA Today had to admit “The Trump administration has shed any pretense of being an honest or effective broker.” (USAToday.com, Sept. 12, 2018)
- A proclamation signed by Trump on March 25, 2019 further undermined any peace prospects in the region when he gave U.S. recognition to Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, Syrian territory conquered and occupied by Israel in 1967.
- June 2019 saw an international economic conference or workshop, called by the U.S., but held in Bahrain with the stated aim of encouraging economic investment in the Palestinian territories. This was central to Trump’s “deal of the century,” the political aspects of which were announced in Washington last week. The Palestinian Authority boycotted the conference and masses of West Bank Palestinians protested it as a fraud.
- In November 2019 U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reversed long time U.S. policy by giving recognition to all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories. It has been long established that territory conquered in a war cannot be annexed by the occupying power. This reversal of policy encourages Israel’s further expropriation of Palestinian land and resources that has been going on for decades.
While this list of Trump’s attacks on the Palestinian people is extensive, it is not a change in overall U.S. policy. The very creation of the State of Israel in 1948 through the expulsion of the Palestinian people was an enterprise designed by U.S., British, and western imperialism/colonialism. They sought to establish a dependent settler state, using Jewish victims of the Nazi holocaust funneled into the volatile and growing Arab nationalist Middle East. It should be remembered that the U.S. closed its borders to Jewish holocaust refugees following World War II forcing them to stay in Displaced Persons camps or be taken to Palestine.
Since 1948 the United States has been providing economic and military aid – many billions of dollars each and every year – to keep the Zionist entity ready and able to make war on the Arab masses and protect imperialist oil interests in the region. This has gone on through Republican as well as Democratic administrations, whether liberal or conservative in their orientation. Any recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people has only come from their heroic and unending mass struggle, political, economic and military.
In recent years, inside the U.S. itself, there has been a growing awareness of the injustices done to the Palestinian people and the many crimes of the apartheid Israeli government. This has especially been true among many young people and has crystalized in the “BDS” movement – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions directed at Zionist Israel.
U.S. imperialist circles are worried about this new movement against Zionism. President Trump, therefore, signed an Executive Order on December 11, 2019 that will equate criticism of Israeli political policies (anti-Zionism) with persecution of Jewish people or their religion (anti-Semitism). The Order is directed toward Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and may authorize the Federal government to cut Federal funds to educational institutions that don’t crush anti-Zionist activities on their campuses. Zionist sources hailed this Executive Order and heaped praise on Donald Trump (Jewish Press.com, Dec. 18, 2019). What these same people dishonestly ignore is that Trump’s pro-fascist, bigoted pronouncements are a major cause of the many murderous assaults against Jewish people, immigrants, LGBTQ communities and others.
What is certain is that none of the attacks on the Palestinian people can or will end their struggle for justice, nor will attacks on the freedom of speech in the United States hide the crimes of Zionist Israel or silence the growing anti-imperialist movement.