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PLO Mission shuts down DC office, hours later Pompeo cuts $165 million to Palestinian government

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A month after the Trump administration ordered the delegation for the Palestine Liberation Organization, or PLO,  to end operations in Washington DC, consular staff vacated their four-story red brick building yesterday afternoon in the upscale Georgetown neighborhood.

The “unusually hostile decision,” said consular affairs officer Shahinaz Wafi, strips the Palestinians of its only representative office in the U.S., “thus severing diplomatic and political ties between the two governments.”

In a September 10, 2018, letter, the State Department told the PLO that its bid to sanction Israel at the International Criminal Court is a violation of an obscure U.S law. The result was the staff would lose their status but were given an additional 30 days to move out.

That initial announcement was soft-toned, and State spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters last month that she would like to see the office stay open. But when asked if  State “would… like to see the office reopen and relations resumed?” yesterday another spokesperson said he would have to get back to reporter on the question.   

Hours after the PLO Mission closed, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a gala for the Jewish Institute for National Security of America Awards Dinner in Washington DC I actually signed a memo today with respect to the Taylor Force Act denying $165 million that would have been appropriated to the Palestinian Authority,” he said referencing a law passed by Congress in March to withhold money from the Palestinian government.

When Donald Trump first took office, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with him four times, including once in Washington. It was the most any U.S. president has conferred with a Palestinian leader. Yet relations began breaking down last December when President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Shortly after, Abbas and Trump abruptly stopped talking. In May, Ambassador Husam Zomlot was recalled to Ramallah just as the U.S. relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Over recent weeks the Trump administration cut more than $300 million to support for Palestinian refugees, with more cuts announced yesterday.

At the same time the U.S. special envoy Jason Greenblatt and the president’s son-in, Jared Kushner, pressed forward with crafting what they have billed as a comprehensive deal for a Middle East peace agreement with Israel, albeit without Palestinian participation.

Palestinian consular official Shahinaz Wafi addressed reporters outside of the PLO Mission in Washington DC, October 10, 2018. (Photo: Allison Deger)

(Photo: Allison Deger)

“The Unites States government was supposed to be the guide,” Samer Khalaf, president of the Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, told a media scrum outside the PLO office moments before a plaque was removed. “What Donald Trump has done the last year or two has sort of laid bare the truth of the matter. The truth that the Americans were never really a neutral mediator.”

Head of the Arab American Institute, James Zogby, said the Mission was opened in the context of the Oslo Accords in 1994, which gave Palestinians a direct channel in Washington. Over the last 25 years, Israel, he charged, “violated every single condition of that peace accord and has never been sanctioned, and not only that, but is receiving increasingly more aid and acceptance of all of their illegal policies.”

By contrast, “The weakest party,” the Palestinians, “was always expected to do the heaviest living, has been repeatedly sanctioned, and today their office is being closed.”

Zogby continued, “What we’re here to say quite simply is, you can close the office and you can silence the voice, but the Palestinian people will not go away they remain they remain on their land, they remain in their camps waiting to return, and we here, as a community, remain as their voice, the voice of the Palestinian people.” He described Palestinians’ treatment as “the wound in the heart of the Arab world that never healed.”

“They have not given up before, and they will not give up now,” he said. 

There are also practical matters. Without a diplomatic post in the U.S. many Palestinian-Americans are in a quagmire when it comes to travel documents and buying or selling properties held in the West Bank. 

“There are land issues, there are burial issues, there are registration issues. Babies want to be registered Palestinian, to get a Palestinian ID,” Zogby explained. “Like Cuba used to operate out of the Swiss embassy, they will seek one of the Arab embassies to allow them to have consular services and the State Department will have to approve that.”

The PLO’s Wafi later told Mondoweiss no such alternative venue is lined up. “We are waiting for our government to decide, this is going to be soon because we are not going to leave our people without someone to take care of them.”

When asked if two oversized Palestinian flags perched street-facing would be lowered, Wafi said, “It’s going to stay up.” She would not confirm rumors that the State Department has requested the flags come down. The building itself was purchased by Palestinian haircare billionaire Farouk Shami, a former longtime business associate of Donald Trump who appeared on the president’s show, “The Apprentice.”

Allison Deger
About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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28 Responses

  1. Eric
    Eric
    October 11, 2018, 6:45 pm

    If this guy is a billionaire and a friend of Trump, why isn’t he donating bigly to the Republican party and various PACs so as to put Palestinian interests forward? Seems to me his money would be as well-received as Adelson and Singer’s. Zionist influence doesn’t come out of thin air; it requires cheques to be written. Couldn’t wealthy Palestinians copy the model?

  2. Kay24
    Kay24
    October 12, 2018, 6:06 am

    Zionist evil permeating in DC. I guess if the Palestinians, like Saudi Arabia, bought weapons from us, for billions of dollars, and Kushner was a good buddy with them instead of Nutty, this would not be happening today.

  3. Misterioso
    Misterioso
    October 12, 2018, 10:51 am

    For the record:

    https://israelpalestinenews.org/sheldon-adelson-spending-100-million-total-to-keep-control-of-u-s-policies-on-israel/

    “If Americans Knew Blog,” Sept. 23/18

    “Sheldon Adelson spending $100 million to keep control of U.S. policies on Israel”

    “Casino billionaire’s total contributions on behalf of Israel in 2016 & 2018 reported to surpass $100 million, possibly making him the largest single donor in American politics today”
    By Amir Tibon, reposted from Ha’aretz

    EXCERPT:
    WASHINGTON – “Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson is reportedly spending at least $55 million during the upcoming midterm elections in order to keep Republicans in control of Congress. Adelson’s spending commitment was first reported on Saturday by the New York Times, in an article describing how Adelson has become the most influential donor in the Republican Party during U.S. President Donald Trump’s time in office.

    “According to the report, Adelson’s total spending on behalf of the Republicans in the 2016 and 2018 election combined, will surpass $100 million, probably making him the largest single donor in American politics today. Adelson had previously spent tens of millions of dollars during the 2012 election in a failed attempt to help Mitt Romney, that year’s Republican nominee, oust Barack Obama from the White House.”

    (2)
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50387.htm
    Sheldon Adelson: “Best Government Money Can Buy” By Philip M. Giraldi
    October 6/18
    EXCERPT:
    “Very few Americans know who Sheldon Adelson is and fewer still appreciate that, as America’s leading political donor, when he speaks the Republican Party listens. By virtue of his largesse, he has been able to direct GOP policy in the Middle East in favor of Israel, which might well be regarded as his true home while the United States exists more as a faithful friend that can be produced at intervals whenever Israel finds itself in need of a bit of cash or political cover.”

    Also:
    https://fas.org/sgp/crs/mid…
    “Congressional Research Service, U.S. Foreign aid to Israel, Jeremy M. Sharpe, Specialist in Middle East Affairs, April 10, 2018.”

    “Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel $134.7 billion (current, or non inflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance and missile defense funding. Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance, although in the past Israel also received significant economic assistance. At a signing ceremony at the State Department on September 14, 2016, representatives of the U.S. and Israeli governments signed a new 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on military aid covering FY2019 to FY2028. Under the terms of the MOU, the United States pledges to provide $38 billion in military aid ($33 billion in Foreign Military Financing grants plus $5 billion in missile defense appropriations) to Israel. This MOU replaces a previous $30 billion 10-year agreement, which runs through FY2018.”

  4. brent
    brent
    October 12, 2018, 4:26 pm

    This article goes a long way to explain the current status of Palestine.

    Has there ever been any doubt the US stands firmly for the right of Jews to live in Historic Palestine and to have access to West Jerusalem?

    Abbas’ response to Trump’s declaration on West Jerusalem was to cut diplomatic relations. When Trump tested that and sent his VP for talks, he was insulted. Trump warned he would not pay the bills without diplomatic contact.

    Abbas apparently thought he could pressure Trump into changing his declaration by spitting in his face. He would do well to study how other world leaders deal with that giant ego.

    Where have been the Palestinian intellectuals to point out Palestinian muscle will not achieve a state, that part non-violence will not work and renders ineffective peace activists?

    America has long been a system of competing interests where ideas can resonate. Trump clearly said he would be good with one state or two, so long as both sides agreed. Netanyahu defended against the one state (the opening position of the newly formed PLO) by creating his nation-state law instead of a plausible 2SS. He knows he could stand alone against the world on equality.

    Palestinian people should expect their leaders to become effective at converting their fortunes and injustices into gains. If they can’t get to independence via two states, they will do well to get advice on how to turn toward one.

    • gamal
      gamal
      October 12, 2018, 5:18 pm

      “and to have access to West Jerusalem?”

      sometimes brent things are too perfect to be messed with, let me tell you we are going to haunt your dreams, never listening to your weak nonsense,

      “If they can’t get to independence via two states, they will do well to get advice on how to turn toward one”

      who really knows how to be Palestinian? is there an institute in Texas do you think?

      honestly brent you are really, really disgusting.

      • brent
        brent
        October 12, 2018, 9:07 pm

        gamal, I’m not nearly as good as you at being a tribalist

        About 1980, I’d written a letter to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Chuck Percy, asking him to become more even handed on the Question of Palestine, which he eventually did and that led to his defeat. I gave a copy to a Jewish friend to read which he did. He looked up and said, “Look, we have the right to do what we are doing and we are going to do it even if this whole goddammed world comes apart.” That was breathtaking. Are you saying this too? What do you mean by “haunt your dream?”What do you see as my most weak point or where I went off the rails. Perhaps your insights on how to be a Palestinian could be shared. Are you spitting on me?

        I’m not a good tribalist.

      • annie
        annie
        October 13, 2018, 2:58 am

        you want to know your weak pt and where you’re off the rail? too many to mention but here’s a start.

        apparently thought he could pressure Trump into changing his declaration by spitting in his face.

        refusing to “negotiate” when trump already gave away jerusalem (so called “final status” issue), what they were negotiating over, is not “pressure”. it’s simply refusing to pretend to negotiate.

        Where have been the Palestinian intellectuals to point out Palestinian muscle will not achieve a state

        not surrendering to incomprehensibly ridiculous status agreements is not “muscle”. read the palestine papers. the negotiators had already offered virtually everything and israel turned it down (livni’s refusals). don’t blame palestine for not “achieving” a state when the US was acting as israel’s lawyers and israel never offered that opportunity, hasbara aside.

        that part non-violence will not work and renders ineffective peace activists?

        now that’s the most irrational thing i’ve ever heard. there’s been story after story in the press lately of israel and pro israel jews throwing hundreds of millions of dollars after bds. are they all stupid? why pray tell spend anything on bds if, as you claim, “non-violence will not work and renders ineffective peace activists”. why not sit back and do nothing if that’s the case? maybe you could peddle your so-called logic to a bunch of billionaire jews for a commission of 10%. you’d never have to work another day in your life. i know why, because they won’t believe you. they are smarter than you. they know non-violence bds will work and it scares the heck out of them.

        #Fail. logically, you’re off the rails.

        Are you spitting on me?

        you made it too easy ;) let’s call it something less derogatory why don’t we.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      October 13, 2018, 2:31 am

      ‘He looked up and said, “Look, we have the right to do what we are doing and we are going to do it even if this whole goddammed world comes apart.” That was breathtaking.’

      Truly.

      Where did he get the idea that “they” have a right to do so much wrong?

      Where did he get the total lack of concern for other people?

      • brent
        brent
        October 13, 2018, 4:41 pm

        Annie, thanks for taking your time to offer an analysis.

        Refusing to meetTrump’s VP envoy was taken as a sharp rebuke and in front of the world. What he did on the embassy was not something I’d advised but it was done. Dealing with Trump requires savvy…. note, Kim. You don’t wrestle with a hog so to speak. Trump is a bully with a bizarre style of leadership. Not the mad dog style Moshe Dyan favored, more like breaking eggs to make an omelet. He’s said its more difficult than being “presidential”. I would have characterized Pence’s coming for talks, not negotiations. They needed to talk, among things, about which Jerusalem was envisioned, the status of East Jerusalem, The Old City?What was in it for them, etc. Generally, when negotiations are public, its best to not jump to “No”, to be diplomatic almost regardless.

        Muscle was not a good choice of words for me. A better way of making that point, a top Palestinian academic says privately, stones and rockets are counter-productive, but would not say so in public. All violence (muscle) is Netanyahu’s game. Only civil rights intimidate him. Not the best example, but it would have been counter-productive for those working for justice in Ferguson to tolerate violence toward police. As things are now every Member of Congress, even Keith Ellison, will have to say Israel has the right to defend itself…. politics, media narrative, hasbara, etc. Thousands attending the funeral of the killer of young parents undercuts our efforts to make headway with Congress. Anger consumes.

        We are on page about non-violence being what intimidates most effectively. And we agree Israel has never sought peace, not even honored a ceasefire. My hunch is Netanyahu is the one most intimidated by Trump whose ego is greater than friendship and has positioned himself where Netanyahu can’t say no to him.

        I believe uncondemned, lone wolf violence has spoiled the greater non-violence stew. Hence the headway of anti bds legislation and the lack of safe political ground to persuade our Members to.

        Trump said he wants a deal in his first term and it won’t happen if Palestinians don’t get respect. He explained his logic saying it was a given Jews would have a capital in Jerusalem and Palestinians would get something good in return. He says a greater ME peace will be an objective in a second term. To me this justifies some benefit of the doubt. Victory can go to those who figure Trump out.

      • annie
        annie
        October 13, 2018, 9:51 pm

        Refusing to meetTrump’s VP envoy was taken as a sharp rebuke and in front of the world.

        he wasn’t invited. trump and pence are not presidents of the world. when you go to someone’s house you knock. trump and pence knew abbas would not meet with pence before he came, and they went anyway. it was highly disrespectful after such a slap in the face (the announcement of jerusalem) to show up and expect an audience. trump deserves no respect.

        stupid words “Trump said he remained “deeply committed” to finding a peace agreement” if he was ‘deeply committed’ he would not have unilaterally given away the prize before any such discussions. it was trump, in front of the world, who offered the sharp slap in the face, to abbas who had met with him several times..

        He explained his logic saying it was a given Jews would have a capital in Jerusalem and Palestinians would get something good in return.

        that’s not good enough, “something in return”. for one second had he ‘given’ jerusalem to palestinians and said to jews ‘you’ll get something in return’, in what world would that have been considered acceptable or “explaining his logic”?

        What he did on the embassy was not something I’d advised but it was done.

        this is what i hear you saying: what he did was done (because what you would or would not advise is irrelevant), like duh. and to expect no repercussions? to expect to just continue, and play a broker? are you kidding me? to expect respect? no, he deserves the door shut in his face.

  5. brent
    brent
    October 14, 2018, 12:48 am

    Annie, thanks again,

    I see your sense of fairplay and indignation with Trump. Probably “no respect” should apply to most Americans, all Administrations, all Congresses and media organizations for the last 70 years as well. Trump has not earned the respect of Europe, China, Russia, Canada, etc. but that has not translated in overt rebukes. Sophistication influences how anger is shown. It saddened me to see Abbas and Erekat, lacked the savvy and sophistication to contend with the circumstances.

    My tendency is to analyze based on the political landscape and psychological dynamics.
    involved. All Presidents I remember kissed up to Israel to position themselves to make a difference later on. That has been determined by the landscape not a sense of fairness. Is it your opinion Netanyahu is confident in Trump? Perhaps you know what Trump has in mind, I’m not sure I do.

    Having spent much of my adult life trying to make a difference with Congress and the media, I’m keenly aware how the issue of violence/non-violence plays out. Probably thats was my main point. Wondering if you’ve had much time on Capitol Hill offices or have an opinion on how violence has played into the cultivated narrative. And yes I know very well who perveys the great majority of violence. If Palestinian violence dies down, Israel incites for more of it. The “security ” argument is a successful double game.

    In short, I’m uncomfortable moving forward on the necessity to bring America down and see it more reasonable to manipulate it to a better endgame. Abbas has said, he’ll go one state if he’s disrespected in negotiations. If he plays a good hand, Netanyahu could have to confront our Congress along with the whole world on equality.

    My Senator, Tim Kaine, understood my suggestion to him that the key to the Palestine Question was “equality”. He asked David Friedman during his confirmation hearing if he thought in a one state arrangment, Palestinians would settle for less than full equality. After a long pause, Friedman said, “No, I don’t think they would”. Later when I thanked Kaine for that, he, with some excitement said, “Did you notice he gave me the right answer?” This is what I mean by “safe political ground” for a politician to stand on.

    • annie
      annie
      October 14, 2018, 2:16 am

      It saddened me to see Abbas and Erekat, lacked the savvy and sophistication to contend with the circumstances.

      you mean kowtow to their master? what does that even mean. where i come from showing up on someone’s doorstep when the host has already informed you they do not want to host you at that time shows a total lack of savvy or sophistication. trump had just f’d them in the a**, and you expect them to take a call? for what pray tell?

      Probably “no respect” should apply to most Americans, all Administrations, all Congresses and media organizations for the last 70 years as well.

      if you’d like to neutralize the impact of a president who equalizes nazis w/anti fascists and calls for muslim bans w/’everyone else’ in america be my guest. it’s not worth counter-arguing. i get it, the palestinians were too uppity for your taste and general protocol for knowing one’s place wasn’t applied.

      My tendency is to analyze based on the political landscape and psychological dynamics.

      uh huh. as in What he did on the embassy … was done. Dealing with Trump requires savvy…. note, Kim.

      speaking of psychological dynamics, kim has a nuclear arsenal to play around with.

      All Presidents I remember kissed up to Israel to position themselves to make a difference later on.

      and they’ve gotten no where.

      Is it your opinion Netanyahu is confident in Trump? Perhaps you know what Trump has in mind, I’m not sure I do.

      i think netanyahu has confidence in kushner and friedman. i think what trump has in mind is to do what adelson requests, leave it to bolton, kushner and friedman. to understand what adelson, bolton, kushner and friedman have in mind, just look at groups like one jerusalem, gatestone, the emergency committee for israel, and every extremist right wing zionist talking pt you’ve ever interacted with, and aipac. palestinians don’t really exist, they are not refugees, they should go to jordan, it’s all hamas fault, etc etc etc. the colonialist settler mentality. y’know, like emit:

      Let them go back. Let them go back to Arabia, to Syria, to Iraq, to Jordan, or anywhere east of the river Jordan. They are not coming to Jaffa and they are not coming to Haifa.

      for me, “trump” and “mind” don’t really segue. he just tweets weird stuff, knows very little about very little, and follows the money.

      I’m uncomfortable moving forward on the necessity to bring America down and see it more reasonable to manipulate it to a better endgame.

      you think abbas manipulating the trump admin is more reasonable than turning their noses up. manipulate w/what? their nuclear armament, like kim? i think maybe you’re uncomfortable with abbas not going along with the game. maybe you’re uncomfortable with the whole world witnessing the slaughter in gaza, the closing of the DC office, the end of UNRWA funding, the blockade of gas to gaza, the humanitarian disaster. is it happening too fast? time to save america’s face? palestinians should wear the facade of reasonableness? i can see your point. if i were an israel supporter i’d want that too. but i think those days are over, at least for this admin.

      If he plays a good hand, Netanyahu could have to confront our Congress along with the whole world on equality.

      you mean our tough as nails congress who continually confront and pressure israel (hold their feet to the fire) over matters of equality and justice. oh yeah, i totally hear you. maybe we could drag this out another century if abbas just got a “good hand”.

      if i were abbas, i’d thumb my nose at DC and make a b line straight to the ICC. in fact, i think that’s what concerns israel. hence, the recent threats against the ICC. none of this is complicated.

      Later when I thanked Kaine for that, he, with some excitement said, “Did you notice he gave me the right answer?” This is what I mean by “safe political ground” for a politician to stand on.

      because all progressive politicians really care about “safe political ground” and moderate dems (go #resistance!) are scoring big time w/the people. guys like kaine, so impressive, a real progressive when it matters most. did kaine ask freidman a followupup, if israel would every willingly grant equality? of course not. a moot point now after the new nation state law. would kaine ask if equality was off the table? of course not.

      where’s the loo

      • brent
        brent
        October 14, 2018, 2:45 pm

        I’ve met many people who dedicated their lives to IP peace. Al Lilienthal, Elmer Berger come to mind. Its possible you and I will suffer the same lack of success. How to make lemonade is our challenge, not only for Israelis and Palestinians but all humankind.

        Savvy and sophistication do not equate to kowtowing or surrender to a master. Exactly the opposite. They entail, especially with a worldwide audience, being calculating, not being belligerent or blinded by anger…. trying to occupy the high ground and exposing the flaws for all to see. Yes, Kim has nuclear weapons but he’s brought Trump to the point of saying, “We fell in love”. That’s savvy, regardless of how matters play out. An example of the art of diplomacy

        Your take on Trump seems set. I’m not so sure. When it comes to his ego, everyone can get sacrificed. Having Netanyahu in a position he can’t say no has advantages.

        I didn’t’ intend to say Palestinians were too uppity or didn’t know their place. Instead, I see things have not gone well for them for a very long time and that is the heart of my concern. Not only for them but the region and the world. We see the dominant narrative, “Israel has the right to defend itself”, has undermined Palestinian fortunes, undermined the safe political ground we would like our politicians to move to. I believe a nsuccessful narrative could be the original PLO position, one Abbas has also mentioned, a secular democratic state with equality for all. This entails angling toward positive neighborly relations while knowing that is a great threat and will be attacked.

      • annie
        annie
        October 14, 2018, 3:46 pm

        Having Netanyahu in a position he can’t say no has advantages.

        say no to what? no one is pressuring netanyahu, least of all trump. i’m not following what you mean by netanyahu being in a position he can’t say no.

        Savvy and sophistication do not equate to kowtowing or surrender to a master.

        what savvy and sophisticated action or words do you think abbas should have employed? israel doesn’t want abbas going to the ICC. they initiated actions that led to the 2014 summer slaughter after the last “negotiations” ended and hamas and fatah were planning on going to the ICC. do you think palestinians moving forward with the UN lacks savvy and sophistication. do you think it would have been better to keep taking money from the US under the pretext of some deal as they continue to have the noose tightened? what exactly are you suggesting? the last negotiations it was apparent israel would never allow a palestinian state, the one before that too. i guess i don’t get what abbas or palestinians have to gain at this juncture by meeting with the israeli government’s representatives (from israeli or US admin), because neither respect them.

        but if you’ve got an idea that have not been tried before, (politeness has gotten them nowhere) what is it?

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        October 14, 2018, 3:22 pm

        Likud won power in 77, two years before Thatcher in the UK and Reagan in the US. Israel went neoliberal with them. Neoliberalism is all about enriching the rich and Israeli society shows it. Another aspect is « fuck you » – the GOP and the Tories destroyed labour unions and Israel embarked on murderous rampages.
        Israël is comfortable in DC, has bought off the House and Senate. Netanyahu projects this power.

        Cluny was a famous monastery in Burgundy, immensely powerful.

        France ran an economic system of debt expansion, same as neoliberalism, in the 1700s. Debt systems all collapse.
        When the system collapsed, Cluny was trashed because it was associated with the ancien regime. The people decided.

        This is Israel’s fate. Israel never did anything for Americans and will be easy to pick off when the wind shifts.

        Ma sha Allah

      • gamal
        gamal
        October 14, 2018, 3:50 pm

        ” met many people who dedicated their lives to IP peace. Al Lilienthal, Elmer Berger come to mind. Its possible you and I will suffer the same lack of success. How to make lemonade is our challenge, not only for Israelis and Palestinians but all humankind”

        Yes there are no Palestinians in the Palestinian struggle,

        “Savvy and sophistication do not equate to kowtowing or surrender to a master”

        “Savvy and sophistication”…prideful ok for some then? you really think you can mask your malice with claims of savoir faire and sophistication,

        “They entail, especially with a worldwide audience”
        The world has for a longtime supported Palestine, have you not noticed in your yankee fishbowl?

        “being calculating, not being belligerent or blinded by anger…. trying to occupy the high ground and exposing the flaws for all to see.”

        The insults just flow freely now, because of your suffering?

        “Yes, Kim has nuclear weapons but he’s brought Trump to the point of saying, “We fell in love”. That’s savvy, regardless of how matters play out. An example of the art of diplomacy”

        He has an independent nuclear armed state allied with China “An example of the art of diplomacy” go back to “He”

        “Your take on Trump seems set. I’m not so sure”

        You are not sure about what?

        ” When it comes to his ego, everyone can get sacrificed. Having Netanyahu in a position he can’t say no has advantages”

        “can’t say no”? but Palestinians are blinded by anger?

        “Instead, I see things have not gone well for them for a very long time and that is the heart of my concern. Not only for them but the region and the world. We see the dominant narrative, “Israel has the right to defend itself”, has undermined Palestinian fortunes, undermined the safe political ground we would like our politicians to move to. I believe a nsuccessful narrative could be the original PLO position, one Abbas has also mentioned, a secular democratic state with equality for all. This entails angling toward positive neighborly relations while knowing that is a great threat and will be attacked”

        its like your just happy to write nonsense about what you believe? “not gone well for them” ?

        you are a complete fraud and no friend of the victims of your vile sadistic and larcenous empire and its murderous local allies and your deranged oligarchs..waging war everywhere..on everyone..even the savvy and chic

        We are not blinded by anything that happens to us, weird premise, it’s like you’re prejudiced or something.

      • annie
        annie
        October 14, 2018, 4:12 pm

        you are a complete fraud and no friend of the victims of your vile sadistic and larcenous empire

        gamal, not impressed with brent’s claim that the “heart” of his concern is things not going well for Palestinians? me neither. he revealed himself early on. and contrary to his claims i think he’s a “good tribalist”.

      • gamal
        gamal
        October 14, 2018, 4:50 pm

        ” i think he’s a “good tribalist”. ”

        Yeah but if only that were a positive thing, it all depends what you mean by tribalism, take me I am not actually a member of the tribe of which my family were a central part from before my birth, it is my Grandmothers’ tribe, we were subsumed within them (her children and issue) out of need, from poverty and rejection and then we and they became one and now can protect each other from the powerful and the corrupt, we probably are a little too clannish for an overall score of civilized,

        but we are not stupid and guys like brent give tribalism a bad name, we do too, but we have panache and elan and ride white horses in sharkia and are neither perturbed nor lachrymose tough as life is..we not worried.

  6. brent
    brent
    October 14, 2018, 11:48 pm

    annie, I found it noteworthy when Trump, about 9 months back, out of the blue said he questioned if Netanyahu was serious about working out a deal. Found it relevant,at his first meeting with Netanyahu, he surprised him with, one state or two, so long as both agree, he’d be good with it. He put the big consequence to Netanyahu’s refusal to agree to a respectable 2SS on the big table. I suspect the nation/state law was a defense to the one state getting traction. It’s long been recognized any deal would require Presidential pressure on the GOI and that’s why I note Trump has positioned himself, if he determines he needs to, to apply pressure. Note how Obama’s ability to apply pressure was defended against, by making him an adversary. Note also that Clinton used his final days at Taba trying unsuccesfully to use the political capital he’d tried to gain by Dennis Ross type decisions throughout his Presidency.

    You asked how I would have advised Abbas to respond to Trump’s embassy declaration. I’ll give a shot expecting it will bring more ridicule. First, I would have avoided reinforcing the longtime charge of always saying “No”. Tried to avoid reinforcing the idea that Jewish interests would not be respected in the endgame. (Yes, I’m fully aware of the longtime disrespect toward Palestinians.) Tried to come across as willing to find the way to a deal while identifying what cannot be agreed to. Perhaps asking for clarifications about which Jerusalem, what were the boundaries, what about Arab East Jerusalem, Silwan? Let Israel be the belligerent one.

    I wasn’t trying to short Palestinian activists by referring to Al Lilienthal and Elmer Berger, but to say they both told me Palestinian leaders could play a better hand. However, a couple days ago, a Lebanese friend bemoaned the minimal role of the “thousands of Palestinian millionaires”. That I don’t know. However, most Palestinians I’ve met in America aren’t looking back.

    Clearly, there is widespread support for justice for Palestinians from all over the world. Why has that support not translated to political gains is important to get a handle on. I’ve tried to address that in this thread and am puzzled that hasn’t been commented upon.

    My central concern is not for Palestine or Israel but for a more peaceful world and the rule of law threatened by America and Israel. I think its more the case Israel takes from America more than America gives. We are pushed into fighting Israel’s wars largely because of hashbara successes at portraying Israel the victim, hence the imperative of coming to terms with that. That’s PR work.

    Perhaps I’d been better to say I’m not a Hatfield or a McCoy, instead of not a tribalist, meaning not a partisan without a commitment to the common good.

    • annie
      annie
      October 15, 2018, 12:52 am

      He put the big consequence to Netanyahu’s refusal to agree to a respectable 2SS

      oh really, was it a mystery consequence and did he name it? that kind of news bite is good for image/propaganda but has no teeth. i’d think you’d know that. you reference “having Netanyahu in a position he can’t say no either way” but thus far you, as well as trump, have not articulated any consequence. are you now using it to position the nation state law as a response/”defense”? clever, but i am not biting. there’s little traction in the ‘occupiers/aggressors defending themselves’ meme, except for dummies.

      Trump has positioned himself, to apply pressure.

      his positioning is irrelevant if we all know he won’t. get back to me when he’s put a consequence on the table, because unlike all the severe pressure he’s put on palestinians (jerusalem/unrwa/money etc etc), all he’s done is kiss israel’s a**, which is why right wing israelis adore trump.

      Tried to come across as willing to find the way to a deal while identifying what cannot be agreed to.

      palestinians have already identified that: https://mondoweiss.net/2014/04/the-borders-stupid/

      i recommend reading the whole article.

      Why has that support not translated to political gains is important to get a handle on.

      i have a handle on it. money, the lobby, a bought congress.

      • brent
        brent
        October 15, 2018, 1:35 pm

        Good article, remember reading it back then. Can we stipulate Netanyahu has no interest in an agreement? That is central to why greater diplomatic sophistication is necessary. That Trump knows it too is central and highly relevant to all I’ve written.

        We disagree as to whether there is tension between them, carefully hidden for sure. I fear that it not being understood, especially by Abbas, will result in Netanyahu being able to milk more from Trump who likely feels compelled to continue to prove his friendship and keep his ability at leverage for when he determines he needs to employ it. Hence time is not to be wasted, nor unnecessary mistakes made.

        As to Trump’sconsequence threat. In my judgment, a Jewish State in most important to Netanyahu. Trump’s speaking about a 1SS as an acceptable outcome rattled Netanyahu, as I reason…. and because there would be no defense against equality, he put the nation/state proposition on the table. So, in effect, if Abbas can not agree to the 2SS Trump puts down, the secular state could take center stage…. and gain resonance in the political arena worldwide, even ou Congress. Abbas has said he may shift to the one state (I hope he uses a good PR advisor). Let’s hope those with the most to gain recognize how it could unfold to their advantage. Here we come back to Trump’s ego and how he’s cornered/positioned Netanyahu. That he’s spoken so much about making an agreement, I find somewhat encouraging.

        Of course, this is speculation, I’d like to think informed speculation. The entire world has been trying to figure/speculate on Trump so I don’t see the upside of insisting on who is correct. Identifying logic and reason, yes.

        I believe those who zero in on notions of fair play may arrive at different approaches to those actively seeking to influence political leaders and the prevailing narrative. That does not mean they are blind to fair play. We have witnessed a very sophisticated double game for many years. I think in terms of exposing it to stop it. That will take sophistication and savvy.

      • annie
        annie
        October 15, 2018, 2:10 pm

        Trump’sconsequence threat

        again, no consequence has been uttered towards israel or netanyahu, hence there is no threat.

        with the spectacle of trump&co closing the plo dc office, defunding unrwa, and all of it framed as a reaction to abbas not budging on negotiations (and no reprimand or even a slap on the wrist for slaughtering civilians in gaza), how you can claim trump has “cornered/positioned” netanyahu and call it “informed speculation” is beyond me.

        we’ve been hearing ‘as long as both parties agree’ (knowing very well it’s a free pass for israel because they won’t ever agree or even put a proposal on the table) since the last century. you might be the only person left in the universe who perceives this as pressure on israel coming from the US. there’s simply no perceivable pressure, it’s the same facade of israeli engagement that’s provided cover for israel’s decimation of palestine for decades.. think i’m done here brent.

    • gamal
      gamal
      October 15, 2018, 11:12 am

      “annie…..good”

      empty crocus bag na stan’ up

      • annie
        annie
        October 15, 2018, 12:18 pm

        gamal, it’s a charade. for trump, no consequence for israel — obviously.

      • gamal
        gamal
        October 15, 2018, 1:06 pm

        ” it’s a charade”

        they try to sell their “hollow gow”…we not listening, the last encounter Arab/Israeli i went to was 1996 and even then i only went because i was sent, pointless i have a particular distaste for special pleading and smart alek bullshit and bullying, fuck them you treat people the way they treat us and what will come is inevitable. we will weep when it’s over task of generations.

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976
      October 15, 2018, 12:54 pm

      It’s true that the Abbasites have a duty to act as intelligently as possible in the interests of their people but their reaction to the Jerusalem Move may turn out to have been quite well considered, by being unexpected and surprising perhaps to the point of making Trump and Kushner pause before releasing their whole horrible plan and by aligning themselves at the right time with the emerging anti-Trump majority in the United States itself and elsewhere. I’m not sure of any of that but we should be wary of jumping to the ‘missed opportunity’ story which itself is part of the nastiest, most appealing to Western racism, Israeli rhetoric.
      I agree that we should ask ourselves why the Palestinians have made so few political gains. The basic fact is surely that the forces that support them are quite weak in terms of this world’s powers, the forces that support Israel unconditionally much, much mightier. Their basic advantage is that mixture of postwar Western guilt and influence flowing from the Bible and the way it is interpreted these days. We need to keep on and on, in season and out of season, in the argument to put these things in proper perspective. We should be concerned with Palestinian rights, I think, rather than with putting the world to rights.

      • brent
        brent
        October 15, 2018, 2:41 pm

        MHughes, thanks for the logic and reason. gamal seems proud of having a closed mind. He reminds me of my Jewish friend who looked up from my letter to SFRC Chairman Chuck Percy asking for even-handedness and said, “Look, we have the right to do what we are doing and we are going to do it even if this whole goddammed world comes apart.”

        You are likely correct, Abbas’s response resonated. It was expensive. Seldom is rebuke effective and especially with an egomaniac who occupies a big chair. That was a gamble with the well being of his people. Let’s hope it pays a dividend. I appreciated Kim’s savvy with Trump.

        I think Trump knows Jerusalem is a world issue and some measure of justice there is essential to his own success at making an agreement. He clearly said he’d be good, ‘if both sides agree’.

        Also, I’ve discussed the Question of Palestine enough with Members of Congress over the years to know many resent that bit in their mouth but feel trapped by the victim narrative Israel is able to advance as the result of lone wolf violence that gets celebrated by the community and goes uncriticized by leadership. And the uncertainty about future intentions re co-existence. (from the river to the sea).

        Arafat once, under pressure, hired a PR firm. The head guy said to me about Arafat, “He won’t listen to a thing I say”. Arrogance and pride carry a price, something gamal hasn’t learned.

  7. brent
    brent
    October 15, 2018, 10:10 pm

    Annie, at least we came to disagreeing agreeably.. Thanks for your speculation and responding to mine. Believe I’ll be able to read your articles with greater understanding.

    No doubt you’d like to see banking sanctions implemented. Me too.

    Believe if you look back several months at what and how Abbas referred to possibly shifting to a campaign for equality in one state, you’ll see an element of threat. When Trump in a seemingly uncalculated, off-handed way, referred to a 1SS being ok with him, he took Netanyahu by surprise and probably rattled him. made him nervous.

    It’s my hope if and when Abbas shifts to the equality in 1S, activists will recognize their full-throated support is justified and needed. That there is no winning defense against equality or for superiority.

    While I wished we had gotten to other relevant considerations in our thread, I do think we accomplished something worthwhile Thanks again for your thoughts!

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