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‘Trump will only accelerate the creation of a new political movement in Palestine’: Nidal al-Azza on the impact of US policy towards Palestine

Israel/Palestine
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Nidal al-Azza, 50, is a Palestinian activist and the director of a local organization that works with Palestinian residency and refugee rights. Al-Azza is a Palestinian refugee himself, and was born and raised in a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, where he still lives. He has a Master’s degree in Human Rights Law from Columbia University in New York.

Like many other activists and community leaders in the West Bank, al-Azza has been dealing with the repercussions of the Trump administration’s foreign policy in the region, specifically the massive cuts to Palestinian aid and policy changes over the course of the past year.

Al-Azza sat down with Mondoweiss to discuss the current US foreign policy in Israel and Palestine, and the effects of Trump’s political decisions on the Palestinian people, Palestinian leadership, and the future of the Palestinian cause.

Mondoweiss: What do you make of the current American policy towards Palestine?

Al-Azza: The American policy towards Palestine has become very clear now. Historically the Palestinian people have believed that the US is biased, and has always been the strategic supporter of Israel. So during the what they called “peace process,” our leaders, the Palestinian leaders, tried to convince our people that we need to cooperate and depend on the US. They tried that strategy for so long, but now it has become clear that the US foreign policy is built on the support of Israel and support the denial of our fundamental rights as Palestinian people.

And now, I believe that the Palestinian leadership is stuck, because within the last 25 years since Oslo, they depended on the United States and they tried to believe that the US could facilitate in concluding a peace agreement with Israel. But now, they are shocked by the new policy of the new administration.

Mondoweiss: Do you believe that the shock displayed by Palestinian leaders is genuine?

Al-Azza: The leaders are genuinely surprised, yes, because they are the ones who got themselves in the process to begin with. Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) is the one who lead the negotiations during the Oslo period. He has a strong belief, and he never hesitated to announce it several times, that only with the United States can we reach a peace agreement with Israel.

I personally regard Abu Mazen himself as playing the major role in involving the United States in the so-called peace process. So when we talk about the current leaders, yes, they believed in the United States and its ability to conclude an agreement, and that the us would facilitate such an agreement.

I do believe they are really shocked. They didn’t expect this to happen. Our leaders have always attempted to positively market every new president of United States to the people. This includes George Bush. They tried to market him as a possible arbiter of a solution, despite the fact that in  2003 he publicly promised the Prime Minister of Israel at the time, Ariel Sharon, that there will not be return of refugees to Israel, Jerusalem will remain the “united capital of the state of Israel,” and that Israel has the right to maintain their illegal settlements in the West Bank.

So when they were negotiating about the Palestinian state, what they were really talking about was a kind of arrangement that would maintain what Israel created on the ground in Jerusalem and the West Bank, regarding the denial of refugee rights and the expansion of settlements.

So our leaders, they marketed Bush, they marketed Obama, who did nothing for Palestine, and also they even tried to market Trump to us, saying they expected that Trump would bring some benefit to the Palestinian people because he was talking about his insistence to achieve the “final solution” for this conflict.

President Abbas even visited the US twice since Trump took office, and the Palestinian intelligence had secret meetings with US officials, and they were waiting for what they thought could be a deal. But they didn’t expect that Trump will make this huge turning point by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and all the measures he has taken since targeting the Palestinian people.

Mondoweiss: Do you think the leaders were naive in their trust of the US?

Al-Azza: The former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, during his reign, said that 99% of the ability and power to have a settlement here in the Middle East, lies in the hands United States. So our leaders used the same strategy. And Abu Mazen himself said many times that “we will continue negotiations because we have no other option.” So he believed in that and he put all the eggs in this one basket, and went through the  motions of this peace process.

At the same time, over the past the 25 years, Palestinian leaders have now developed their own interests. I believe that the PA has become something like a company, and the senior Palestinian leaders have stakes in this company, so they will do anything to protect their interests. Our leaders deal with the PA government as if it’s something that they own. And they know that if they stop cooperating with Israel and the US on security, they will lose everything.

Mondoweiss: Have you been surprised by all the moves that Trump has been taking against Palestinians?

Al-Azza: Honestly, no. And if you ask our people when you discuss this issue with them, they will say the same. The people never trusted the US from the beginning, they knew that the US is the strategic ally of Israel and has supported Israel at the cost of  justice and human rights. It will support Israel no matter what. And this whole so-called peace process has been designed only to serve and secure Israel, and to gradually bring an end to the Palestinian claims over this land and our demands for our basic human rights.

So for me I wasn’t shocked. I expected this — that eventually, the US will reach a point where it stands completely and clearly with Israel, with no attempts to pretend to support the Palestinians. We have nothing. The Palestinian political parties have lost all their power in the last 25 years. They have no choice but to keep on going in this peace process negotiation.

And we know, as we learned from Oslo, that if you don’t have power you will not achieve anything on the table of negotiations. From the beginning, our leaders went through these rounds of negotiations with no power, and what we see happening today is the result of that.  

Mondoweiss: In your opinion, what has been the most detrimental policy change that has been taken over the past few months?

All of these decisions — cutting funding of UNRWA, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, etc. — they all very dangerous consequences on our national and fundamental rights. It is difficult to compare between them.

But I would say that the US policy or strategy regarding UNRWA  is much more dangerous strategically on the whole Palestinian cause. The targeting of UNRWA is not necessarily a new strategy. Since Oslo, not just the US, but all western powers have put pressure on UNRWA itself to terminate certain programs and to change its policy in dealing with refugees. Over time donors have conditioned their funds on specific programs, and have favored that policy over providing funds to the general budget.

This strategy is designed to gradually transfer UNRWA’s responsibility over servicing refugees to host states, and eventually end UNRWA’s existence so that when it comes time for a “final solution” there is no agency to represent the rights of refugees, and the 5 million Palestinian refugees around the world are settled in host states, rather than being granted their right of return.

Over the years, prior to the Trump administration, the US has implemented this strategy by providing project-based funding over general funding. This has had negative effects on UNRWA’s operations in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the West Bank, and Gaza. UNRWA has been struggling for years to collect money to cover the budget it needs to run its main programs such as education, healthcare, and financial relief for refugees in need, which are typically funded from the general budget.

Mondoweiss: What can be done to remedy some of these issues, aside from more fundraising on the part of UNRWA?

Al-Azza: We have been studying and following this phenomenon, and have sent many memorandums to the Palestinian leadership. For years now we have been trying to raise the issue of UNRWA, saying that the PA and  PLO have to take concrete steps in facing the reduction in services. The whole financial structure of UNRWA, which is based on voluntary contributions, needs to be changed.

But there was no response from the government. The  PA and the PLO’s focus was on the peace process and negotiations. And now we have to face this campaign targeting UNRWA, which aims to dry out the agency’s funds and to eliminate the international responsibility to Palestinian refugees. The current US and western strategy is to transfer the responsibility of UNRWA and Palestinian refugees to the Arab Gulf states and the host states. Then, within a few years the question of refugees will be an issue for the Palestinians and other Arab states to deal with, with no international responsibility. Which is dangerous not just in terms of services, but about the right of return and property restitution for refugees.

Mondoweiss: Is it possible to gauge the human cost of Trump’s policies over the past year?

Al-Azza: Currently we don’t have exact numbers, but we have estimates, yes. For example, UNRWA runs more than 700 schools. About half a million students are going every day to these schools. This is the biggest program at UNRWA. If UNRWA has no more money to keep running this program, these 500,000 students will find themselves in the streets. The PA and the host states cannot take on this responsibility alone.

If we look at the amount of people employed by UNRWA, we are looking at around 30,000 Palestinian employees currently working in different programs. If these programs stop, these 30,000 individuals and all their family members will find themselves without resources to live.

If we talk about health care, which is already insufficient, UNRWA runs decent clinics in different areas, providing very good basic healthcare for things like blood pressure, diabetes, pregnancy treatments, and vaccinations for children. These programs are very important for refugees and they get these services only from UNRWA. Ao if they stop these programs it will be a disaster for refugees.

If we talk about those families who are under living under the poverty line, I think UNRWA now in the West Bank alone provides relief for 38,000 refugees. These families are in dire need of such relief, they depend on it. It will be a human disaster for these families.

Mondoweiss: How long do you expect UNRWA to survive under its current conditions?

Al-Azza: I expect UNRWA will manage for this year, but the problem will arise again next year. Because of this i think there should be a strategic solution regarding the financial system of UNRWA and how to fund it. If we go back to international law and to the decisions regarding Palestinian refugees, it’s an international responsibility. So the UN General Assembly has to reform the financial system of UNRWA to secure at least the budget needed to run the main programs. And I believe that the Palestinian leadership has to take the initiative on this. They can draft a resolution through the Arab league, and I believe they can achieve the support of the vast majority of states in support of such a resolution to reform the financial system of UNRWA.

Mondoweiss: Aside from the human impact of these policy changes, what effects do they have on the current and future political climate of Palestine?

Al-Azza: I believe European countries are afraid of waves of Palestinian refugees that would leave Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine and go to Europe. If UNRWA gets shut down, they should be ready to receive 5 million registered Palestinian refugees.

There will be new wave of violence in the area. And I expect that refugees will create something revolutionary — maybe outside of the PLO, maybe against the PA, maybe in support of other radical movements in the area. This is the natural result of the ongoing disregard of their rights. They will not remain silent. I’m sure of this. There will be something revolutionary, maybe against Israel, maybe against the PA, against the host states. This is the expected reaction when people feel the international community, for 70 years, has continued to ignore their fundamental rights.

Tens of thousands will manage to reach Europe, but what about the others who can’t? They will not just sit back and do nothing.

The vast majority will remain in the host states and they will not accept to be ignored any more. So they will make a change, and they will not accept the failure in this peace process. So they will react. How? I don’t know exactly. But there will be a strategic change.

Mondoweiss: What is the lasting impact of Trump’s presidency on Palestine?

Al-Azza: The PA or the the current leaders of the PLO will continue playing this role in between: not completely against the US, and avoiding getting in real challenges against Israeli policies.  They will continue using these nationalistic speeches encouraging Palestinian people to be “steadfast” and “resist” the occupation, but without doing anything on the ground. They will continue doing this to maintain their control over the people and those relationships under the table with other states.

On the other hand, on a popular or community level, I think people have reached the point where they do not accept this strategy of the leadership. The people need something new, something new in terms of having a clear strategy regarding liberation or freedom or achieving our rights.There is a change happening, people are being more critical of the PA and the Palestinian leaders. The leaders believe that we need the support of the international community and international civil society. But we shouldn’t depend on these alone, we have to mobilize the Palestinian people to have a new strategy. People have started to discuss a future in terms of a final solution, and what would be the best, in light of the facts that Israel has created on the ground. So people have started to question whether the two state solution is workable or applicable. Or if we go with a one state solution, how should it be.

So I feel that a new political movement is going to be created out of all of this. They are not organized yet, but these ideas will lead to something new which is very good I think.

Trump will continue imposing these policies attacking us, but this will only accelerate the creation of a new political movement in Palestine. I think the people can learn from the lessons of the past and they can build on a new strategy.

I have debates and talks with many of these activists and actually now they are talking about the urgent need for a new political movement. It is impossible to reform the Palestinian Authority. It is worthless to revive the PLO or the established political parties. So let’s go back, they say, to the roots, as Palestinians. We have fundamental rights and we can learn from our long experience.

Mondoweiss: What do you say to the international policy makers that still promote the two state solution as a viable option?

Al-Azza: The Palestinian people have never been given the opportunity to choose for ourselves. In the 1920’s, the international community through the league of nations imposed on Palestine the British mandate, and in that document they included the Balfour Declaration to create a national home for the Jewish people.

So it wasn’t our choice. We didn’t select that. The international community decided to do that here. In 1947 here, the international community decided to divide Palestine against the will of the people and the surrounding Arab states. And they gave the Jewish people  56% of Palestine, despite the fact that they were less than one third of the Palestinian people at the time.

It wasn’t our choice to divide people from one another. Before that, the Palestinian people, Jews, Christians, Muslims, and other religious minorities lived together as one. The international community decided to divide us.

Also they decided in this peace process, that the best solution for the Palestinian people or the best solution of the conflict that was imposed on us, is to have two states. On state for Palestine on borders of 1967, and the rest of Palestine, more than 78% of Palestine, for Israel. It wasn’t our choice.

The international community has no authority to decide in the place of Palestinian people what they need — including the two-state solution. If we trace all these “solutions,” we can see that they were designed to serve Israel.

So I want to say that if you want to solve this conflict, you have to address the root causes of the conflicts. We are talking about colonization, an institutionalized discriminatory regime in Israel, supported by western powers. So we have to deal with these root causes: colonization, apartheid, and ongoing forcible transfer and displacement of Palestinian people, and then we can reach a durable and just solution.

So I believe that the international community should listen to the Palestinian people and if they want to end and uproot the conflict, they have to deal with the root causes, not with the results or the features of the conflict. It’s not just settlements and expansions of settlements and a matter of borders, and services and the right to movement. We have institutionalized discrimination, a regime of colonization, a regime designed to continue displacing Palestinian people and preventing them from returning. So they have to deal with these issues. And then things like Jerusalem, and religion, and right to movement will become administrative issues that could be dealt with by any municipality.

Because of this, I am with having a solution based on human rights for all. And logically, this will not be a two-state solution. This will be a one state solution, so we have to have a strategy of how we will achieve this.

yumnapatel
About Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is a multimedia journalist based in Bethlehem, Palestine. Follow her on Twitter at @yumna_patel

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28 Responses

  1. DaBakr
    DaBakr
    September 26, 2018, 12:30 am

    Maybe that is the point.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      September 26, 2018, 10:11 am

      Breaking news:

      https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Jeremy-Corbyn-Promises-to-Recognize-Palestinian-State-as-Soon-as-We-Take-Office-20180926-0011.html

      telesur, Sept. 26/18

      “Jeremy Corbyn Promises to ‘Recognize Palestinian State as Soon as We Take Office.’”

      “‘In order to help make the two-state settlement a reality we will recognize a Palestinian state as soon as we take office,'” Corbyn said.

      “Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn received a long standing ovation Wednesday after pledging to officially recognize a Palestinian state once he takes office as prime minister.

      “‘In order to help make the two-state settlement a reality we will recognize a Palestinian state as soon as we take office,’ Corbyn said.

      “Labour party supporters waved Palestinian flags as the announcement was well received by the audience at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool.

      “Corbyn’s announcement, however, wouldn’t come as a shock to many close followers of Labour party policy. In June, during a visit to Jordan, Corbyn said: ‘I think there has to be a recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people to their own state which we as a Labour Party said we would recognize in government as a full state as part of the United Nations.'”

      Also, just passed: “UK’s Labour Party Passes Motion to Ban Arms Sales to Israel”

      • amigo
        amigo
        September 26, 2018, 1:51 pm

        “”Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn received a long standing ovation Wednesday after pledging to officially recognize a Palestinian state once he takes office as prime minister.” Misterioso

        This dirty antisemitic Jew hater is willing to Partition the one and only Historic Homeland of The Jewish People.Is he willing to kill the “Greater Israel Project ” just to placate a bunch of People who would drive all Jews into the sea if they had a chance.

        We , the Jewish People have dreamed of a Greater Israel for 2000/3000/3500 –oh ffs , 5000 years and in any event , it was promised to us by God, who will curse Jeremy Corbyn if he causes harm to the chosen People or interferes with the sovereign state of Yisroyal , (sans frontier-my addition). Israel does not interfere with other Sovereign nations.Israel is the only democracy in the ME and is located in the most dangerous part of the World and still manages to obey International laws .

        Why doesn,t Jeremy Corbyn concern himself with The Syrian conflict where hundreds of thousands of people have been and are being killed and driven out of their homes.What does he have against Jews.

        Signed–Yossi Cohen.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        September 26, 2018, 2:13 pm

        “Jeremy Corbyn Promises to ‘Recognize Palestinian State as Soon as We Take Office.’”
        ————————————-

        The two-state idea. Alive and well.

  2. Nathan
    Nathan
    September 26, 2018, 7:35 am

    Nidal al-Azza tells us that “if UNRWA gets shut down, they [the European countries] should be ready to receive 5 million registered Palestinian refugees”. That was a very clear statement. But, then, he tells us that “tens of thousands will manage to reach Europe, but what about the others who can’t? They will not just sit back and do nothing”. And that, too, was a very clear statement. It reminds me of Misterioso’s oft-repeated list of contradictory “predictions”.

    Nidal al-Azza tells us that “the Palestinian people have never been given the opportunity to choose for ourselves”. Well, that’s totally absurd. The PLO was, without doubt, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, period. This was true from the point of view of international decisions, and this was true from the point of view of Palestinian society. Mr Arafat signed the Oslo Agreement in the name of the Palestinian people, period. It’s okay to come out and say that you are against the Oslo Agreement, but it’s simply untrue to say that the two-state solution was imposed on the Palestinians by outsiders. No, their leader signed the agreement with full authority.

    Finally, we hear the belly-aching again about the Partition Plan (1947). The international community did NOT impose the Partition Plan on the Palestinians. The UN plan was a recommendation, and the Palestinians rejected it. The Palestinian collective will, without doubt, was fulfilled entirely: The Partition Plan was not implemented, and the Palestinian state was not founded. We should all be pleased that the Palestinians succeeded in foiling the international decision. Generally, it really is much better going to war and suffering total defeat than accepting a compromise or a political arrangement. I am willing to guess that the new political movement that Nidal al-Azza is talking about shall continue this very wise line of action.

    • Joshua Laskin
      Joshua Laskin
      September 26, 2018, 10:19 am

      No-one wanted to divide the Land. The Zionists agreed to Partition, only because they saw it as their first step in getting all the land. The American Zionists went to the small, 3rd-world, UN-member nations, who of course supported Palesitinian self-determination, and threatened them, that if they voted against partition, the Zionist lobby would then prevent their receipt of any US aid. Magnes clearly saw that Partition would result in endless war and hatred. He begged President Truman, to oppose any unnatural partition, and for the US to instead take up the Mandate, and organize Jews and Arabs to govern Palestine together. But Truman was a Protestant rube who wanted Jews’ ‘return’ to the Holy Land, where Jesus could find them all. Wait; does this mean, we can’t just sit back, and let the US President solve all our problems? No, that’s treasonous crazytalk! Hail to the Chief.

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      September 26, 2018, 2:46 pm

      Nathan: “The international community did NOT impose the Partition Plan on the Palestinians.”

      That’s correct. The Zionist imposed partition through war and expulsion.

      Nathan: “… and the Palestinian state was not founded.”

      The Palestinian state allready existed under mandate. Is this too difficult for you to comprehend?

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      September 26, 2018, 8:55 pm

      “The Palestinian collective will, without doubt, was fulfilled entirely: The Partition Plan was not implemented, and the Palestinian state was not founded.”

      On the contrary, the Palestinian collective will was that a Zionist state should not be founded. They knew that the Zionists would use a Zionist state as a base from which to take over the rest of Palestine. They knew this because the Zionists said so.

      “it really is much better going to war and suffering total defeat than accepting a compromise or a political arrangement.”

      The Palestinians kept offering compromises and political arrangements because they wanted to avoid the war of conquest which would follow the establishment of any Zionist state. But the Zionists rejected all those compromises and political arrangements, and has rejected them ever since.

  3. Misterioso
    Misterioso
    September 26, 2018, 9:41 am

    @Nathan

    Reality:

    By signing the 1993 Oslo Accords, the PLO accepted UNSC Res. 242 and thereby agreed to recognize a SOVEREIGN ISRAEL within the 1949 armistice lines, i.e., as of 4 June 1967 – 78% of mandated Palestine. Although “Israel” agreed to Res. 242, it has refused to comply with its terms (e.g., the preamble, which governs all that follows: “Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war….”) Indeed, ”Israel” has illegally annexed East Jerusalem and Syria’s Golan Heights, maintained its occupation of Lebanon’s Shebba Farms/Kfarshuba hills and in gross violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention (e.g., “Collective Punishment”), turned the occupied Palestinian Gaza Strip into the world’s largest out door and impoverished prison.

    The PLO also agreed to the US/EU/UN supported 2002 Arab League Beirut Summit Peace Initiative, which offers “Israel” full recognition as a sovereign state (per UNSC Res. 242, i.e., within its June 4/67 boundaries with possible minor, equal and mutually agreed land swaps), exchange of ambassadors, trade, tourism, etc., if “Israel” complies with international law (e.g., the UN Charter, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, resulting Resolution 194 and the Fourth Geneva Convention.) Fully aware of “Israel’s” demographic concerns, the Beirut initiative does not demand the return of all Palestinian refugees. In accordance with “Israel’s” pledge given to the UNGA in 1949 and by signing the 1949 Lausanne Peace Conference Protocol to abide by UNGA Res. 194 regarding the then 800,000 Palestinian refugees (determined by Walter Walter Eytan, then Director General of “Israel’s” Foreign Ministry) as a precondition for admittance to the UN (after being rejected twice), the Arab League’s Initiative “calls upon Israel to affirm” that it agrees to help pursue the “achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem…” “Israel” also rejected this peace overture.

    On 16 June 2009, after meeting with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Ismail Haniya, prime minister of Hamas’s Gaza Strip government, announced that “If there is a real plan to resolve the Palestinian question on the basis of the creation of a Palestinian state within the borders of June 4, 1967 [i.e. 22% of historic Palestine as per 1949 armistice agreements] and with full sovereignty, we are in favour of it.” “Israel” ignored the offer.

    http://www.haaretz.com/isra…
    “‘We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees,’ Haniyeh said, referring to the year of Middle East war in which “Israel” captured East Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories. ” (Haaretz, December 1, 2010) No response from “Israel.”

    In its revised Charter, April, 2017, Hamas again agreed to a Palestinian state based on the 4 June 1967 borders. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, “Israel” rejected the Hamas overture instead of using it to open a dialogue.

    https://www.haaretz.com/isr…
    “Senior Hamas Official: ‘I Think We Can All Live Here in This Land – Muslims, Christians and Jews.’” By Nir Gontarz. March 28, 2018, Haaretz. No response from “Israel.”

    As for the much touted 2000 Camp David Summit, working in tandem, Barak and Clinton tried to shove a very bad deal down Arafat’s throat. It could only be rejected. Suffice to quote Shlomo Ben-Ami, then “Israel’s” foreign minister and lead negotiator at Camp David: “Camp David was not the missed opportunity for the Palestinians, and if I were a Palestinian I would have rejected Camp David, as well.” (National Public Radio, 14 February 2006.)

    The “offer” made in 2008 by then Israeli PM Ehud Olmert was never seen as serious because it lacked cabinet approval, he was under indictment with only a few weeks left in office, had a 6% favorable rating, and therefore, couldn’t have closed the deal even if the Palestinians had accepted it. (Olmert was imprisoned.)

    Unfortunately, “Israel’s “response to every peace overture from the Palestinians and Arab states has been an escalation of illegal settlement construction and accelerated dispossession and oppression of the indigenous Palestinians in their illegally occupied lands.

    Nathan wrote:
    “Finally, we hear the belly-aching again about the Partition Plan (1947). The international community did NOT impose the Partition Plan on the Palestinians. The UN plan was a recommendation, and the Palestinians rejected it. ”

    More reality:
    Palestinian Arabs, who made up 69% of the population, rejected the Partition Plan (UNGA Res. 181, Nov. 29/47) for entirely justified reasons based on international law. While Jews made up just 31% of the population (90% were of foreign origin and thousands were illegal immigrants) and privately owned only between 6% and 7% of the land, the Partition Plan (recommendatory only, no legal foundation, contrary to the British Class A Mandate and the 1941 Atlantic Charter, never adopted by the UNSC) outrageously recommended they receive 56% of Palestine (including its most fertile areas) in which Palestinians made up 45% of the population. (10% of Palestine’s Jewish population consisted of native Palestinian/Arab Jews who were vehemently anti-Zionist.)

    In 1947, 48% of the total land area of Palestine was privately owned (‘mulk khaas’) by Palestinian Arabs. (As noted above, total Jewish privately owned land was only between 6% and 7%.) About 45% of the total land area was state owned, i.e. by citizens of Palestine and it was comprised of Communal Property (‘mashaa’), Endowment Property, (‘waqf’), and Government Property, (‘miri’.) Importantly, only 30% of the Jewish immigrants had taken out citizenship. (The British Mandate kept an extensive land registry and the UN used the registry during its early deliberations. It has in its archives 453,000 records of individual Palestinian owners defined by name, location & area.)

    Rubbing salt into the wound, the United States quashed a proposal based on international law put forth by Arab delegates at the UN that a referendum be conducted in Palestine to determine the wishes of the majority regarding the Partition Plan. The United States also thwarted their request to have the matter referred to the International Court of Justice.

    Land ownership by Sub-district in all of mandated Palestine, 1947:
    Acre: 87% Palestinian Arab owned, 3% Jewish owned, 10% state owned; Safed: 68% Palestinian Arab owned, 18% Jewish owned, 14% state owned; Haifa: 42% Palestinian Arab owned, 35% Jewish owned, 23% state owned; Nazareth: 52% Palestinian Arab owned, 28% Jewish owned, 20% state owned; Tiberias: 51% Palestinian Arab owned, 38% Jewish owned, 11% state owned; Jenin: 84% Palestinian Arab owned, less than 1% Jewish owned, 16% state owned; Beisan: 44% Palestinian Arab owned, 34% Jewish owned, 22% state owned; Tulkarm: 78% Palestinian Arab owned; 17% Jewish owned, 5% state owned; Nablus: 87% Palestinian Arab owned, less than 1% Jewish owned, 13% state owned; Jaffa: 47% Palestinian Arab owned, 39% Jewish owned, 14% state owned; Ramleh: 77% Palestinian Arab owned, 14% Jewish owned, 9% state owned; Ramallah: 99% Palestinian Arab owned, less than 1% Jewish owned, less than 1% state owned; Jerusalem (West and East): 84% Palestinian Arab owned, 2% Jewish owned, 14% state owned; Gaza: 75% Palestinian Arab owned, 4% Jewish owned, 21% state owned; Hebron: 96% Palestinian Arab owned, less than 1% Jewish owned, 4% state owned; Bersheeba (Negev): 15% Palestinian Arab owned, less than 1% Jewish owned, 85% state owned. (Village Statistics, Jerusalem: Palestine Government, subsequently published as United Nations Map no. 94b, August, 1950)

    In 1947, despite massive immigration of foreign Jews, Palestinian Arab citizens made up at least 69% of the total population and to repeat, privately owned 48% of the land. Jews privately owned only 6-7%. However, the Partition Plan unjustly recommended Palestinians receive only 42% as a state. (The 2% of Palestine comprised of Jerusalem and Bethlehem was to be placed under international control, i.e, a corpus separatum.)

    No wonder Palestinians rejected the Partition Plan. Indeed, it proved so unworkable that when Polish born David Ben-Gurion (nee, David Gruen) et al. declared the “Jewish State” of Israel effective 15 May 1948, after Jewish forces had already dispossessed and expelled 400,000 Palestinians (e.g., 30,000 from West Jerusalem in March and a further 30,000 in May, 60,000 from Haifa in April, 75,000 from Jaffa in late April and early May), the UNGA was in the process of shelving the Partition Plan in favor of a UN Trusteeship.

    When war erupted due to necessary intervention by reluctant outnumbered/outgunned Arab state armies to stem the accelerating expulsion of Palestinians, a US proposed cease-fire was accepted by the Arab League but rejected by Israel.

    During the war Israel seized 78% of Palestine (22% more than the Partition Plan recommended, including large portions of the proposed Palestinian state, e.g., Jaffa and Acre), expelled 400,000 more Palestinians for a total of about 800,000 (according to Walter Eytan, then Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry) and went on to destroy over 500 of their towns and villages, including churches, mosques and cemeteries. It was only the beginning of the Zionist’s conquest of Palestine and the expulsion of its indigenous inhabitants. By June 1967, about one million, 250,000 Palestinians, had been dispossessed and expelled.

  4. brent
    brent
    September 26, 2018, 3:03 pm

    Misterioso did an outstanding job of laying down relevant facts. Could have mentioned the founder of Hamas, blind Sheik Yassein, mad the fatal error of calling for a 40 to 50 year cooling down and adjustment period, a Hudna. He bought that Israel was sincere about the “security argument”.

    A positive facilitation from the US, will necessarily entail the security and safety of Israelis. It’s about the “political narrative”.The US has long clarified how important politically it is to have a one gun (one rock) approach and condemning certain actions. Its about the politics in the US. Have to understand one cannot expect the US to do the right thing on bio-fuels, media mergers or on Palestine.

    The case that Trump made a huge shift hasn’t been conclusively made. If you take him at his word, he did something that, every Congressman had voted up multiple times, for, he said, the purpose of getting talks rolling. He saw himself as accepting a given. I’m curious if-if he was referring to the boundaries of “Greater Jerusalem” and/or “Arab East Jerusalem”? Since he has said he could live with a secular one state result, I wonder if he has thoughts about what it would take to make that workable. His was the original opener for the PLO and it was Israel who was the rejectionist party? Seeking human rights was characterized as seeking the “destruction of Israel”. The belief/fear the world would respond positively to the PLO’s peace offer could have led to grabbing four different territories then and the nation state law of late.

    Seems to me the campaign for full human rights by Israeli Arabs has long been the logical place to launch the campaign for equal human rights in one state. As it progressed and resonated, many Israelis would get more serious about proposing a two state solution that could possibly work.

    Senator Tim Kaine asked David Friedman at confirmation if there was one state, would Palestinians settle for anything less than full equality. “No”, said Friedman.

  5. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    September 26, 2018, 3:09 pm

    The US has to be ignored at least until neoliberalism collapses. Palestinian agency is really important because the wider Jewish community has run out of ideas. Maybe greater Palestinian involvement could bring forward a more humane Israel. The current path is disastrous.

  6. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    September 27, 2018, 4:42 am

    I think there is a sizable chance that Trump will bankrupt the US. Debt is so big that interest payments will soon exceed military spending. In addition, to pay for the tax cuts he wants to slash social spending. Plutocrats do not support the real economy.Ordinary people do.

    GOP Quietly Sends Bill To Gut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid By $2 Trillion
    (link: http://washingtonsources.org/gop-quietly-sends-bill-to-gut-social-security-medicare-medicaid-by-2-trillion/)

    Israel is a plutocrat project. If the US goes bankrupt the dynamics change. So it is not just about the Palestinians.

  7. Brewer
    Brewer
    September 27, 2018, 4:45 am

    Israel missed the tide. Its turning.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWkrGsq0UVo

    Hezbollah now have the capability to target anywhere in Israel in numbers sufficient to overwhelm Iron Dome.
    Syria will have adequate defense against the IAF – the only truly formidable Israeli force.
    What is the bet settlers are departing the Golan?

  8. Citizen
    Citizen
    September 27, 2018, 7:31 am

    I’d like to see a referendum by all Palestinians now on what they want. I don’t see anybody in a leadership position anywhere making such a recommendation in public. Does anybody?

  9. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    September 27, 2018, 8:12 am

    @amigo
    “This dirty antisemitic Jew hater is willing to Partition the one and only Historic Homeland of The Jewish People.Is he willing to kill the “Greater Israel Project ” just to placate a bunch of People who would drive all Jews into the sea if they had a chance”

    The quotte could have come staight from the mouth of the Barking Yenta Dm Hodge except there is no f- word.
    http://normanfinkelstein.com/2018/09/06/barking-yenta-dame-margaret-hodge-tells-packed-news-conference-i-obey-my-uh-i-mean-israels-leader-im-leaving-for-the-philippines/

    If the polls start to show a Labour surge expect Ziocentral to order its troops and agents in the UK to mount a second and even more laughable campaign perhaps with demands for mandatory life sentences for any UK citizen who criticises Israel.

  10. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    September 27, 2018, 2:20 pm

    Christine Blasey Ford has given Trimp a massive kick in the nuts today. Let us hope it is the start of something.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      September 27, 2018, 4:55 pm

      Oh, don’t worry, Brett Kavanaugh is putting on a performance which validates Dr. Ford’s testimony as much as he can without actually taking his pants off over his head. Crying and making all kinds of libelous threats against the Dems.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        September 27, 2018, 7:48 pm

        I think he was shooting and crying, in fact. He must be Israeli!

      • Boomer
        Boomer
        September 28, 2018, 7:14 am

        re: “Oh, don’t worry, Brett Kavanaugh is putting on a performance which validates Dr. Ford’s testimony as much as he can without actually taking his pants off ”

        Indeed. Evidently he is just the kind of man Lindsey Graham has been looking for.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      September 28, 2018, 2:19 am

      I don’t follow the details of America’s loony politics, but I came across this.

      Quite interesting.

      https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/09/kavanaugh-nomination-battle-like-orwells-1984/

      • Keith
        Keith
        September 28, 2018, 4:34 pm

        ROHA- “I don’t follow the details of America’s loony politics, but I came across this.”

        Something little discussed is the monopoly that the Ivy League law schools have on the Supreme Court. Ruth Bader Ginsberg received her law degree from Columbia after transferring from Harvard Law. The rest are either Harvard of Yale graduates, as is Kavanaugh. It is safe to conclude that the constitution is being interpreted by the 1%. Why is this not seen as a problem? How about some diversity? How about some middle class kids with tons of student debt? Nominees from the Ivy Leagues should be banned for at least 50 years. Power to the people!

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 28, 2018, 8:29 pm

        I suppose Kavanaugh could help by announcing that he identifies as a middle-class black woman. He would then be treated as a woman, and, since women have a right to be believed, his claim of innocence would be accepted. Also, as a middle-class black woman, he would bring some diversity to the Supreme Court.

        On a side note, the phrase “America’s loony politics” is not intended to suggest that Unamerican politics are markedly deficient in lunacy.

      • Keith
        Keith
        September 29, 2018, 11:19 am

        ROHA- “I suppose Kavanaugh could help by announcing that he identifies as a middle-class black woman.”

        A middle-class black woman with tons of student debt enrolled in Yale law school? What have you been smoking? I don’t care. Ban the Ivy League law schools for 50 years! It is bad enough that the CIA recruits heavily from the Ivy League, Harvard dirty tricks central. If you consider the spoiled brats of the 1% as jurists of your peers, you need to head for detox.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 29, 2018, 2:36 pm

        “I suppose Kavanaugh could help by announcing that he identifies as a middle-class black woman.”

        Or a poor Irish Catholic, held in suspicion by the elite Protestant majority.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 29, 2018, 7:45 pm

        Maybe I don’t understand how this “identity” stuff works. I thought the principle was “if you identify as X, then for all practical and impractical purposes you are X”.

        So if he identifies as a person with tons of student debt, and didn’t go to Yale, then that is what he is.

        I certainly don’t consider the spoiled brats of the 1% to be jurists of my peers. I am peerless.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 30, 2018, 2:44 pm

        “Maybe I don’t understand how this “identity” stuff works. I thought the principle was “if you identify as X, then for all practical and impractical purposes you are X”.” “RoHa”

        And “RoHa” puts the question of identity into play like a true master of the Sarcratic Method. Or a real do-do.

  11. CHUCKMAN
    CHUCKMAN
    October 8, 2018, 2:09 pm

    An excellent and interesting interview.

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