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Bahrain conference is a stab in the back to every Palestinian

Opinion
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Everybody is talking about the two-day Bahrain Conference held in Manama entitled “Peace to Prosperity Workshop” to discuss “prosperous” economic development proposals in Palestine. This conference is said to come as the first stage of the so called the “Deal of the Century.” But this is not true. The deal already started when the U.S. moved its embassy to Jerusalem last year after declaring it, all of it, as the capital of the Jewish state of Israel as Israel killed 62 Palestinians participating in the peaceful demonstration of the Great Return March.  Moreover, the U.S. declared Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights. And that the West Bank could be annexed to Israel. The “Peace to Prosperity Workshop” simply represents an economic aspect of this slowly unraveling deal.

On the surface, this conference looks exclusively economic but it goes beyond this.  The danger of this conference not only manifests in boosting normalization between Arab countries, especially the Gulf, with Israel, but also minimizing the Palestinian struggle into an economic crisis. Meaning, it depoliticizes the Palestinian cause and portrays it as a humanitarian issue in the first place, denying the fact that Palestine suffers from a multi-tiered system of oppression enshrined in Israel and incarnated in occupation, settler-colonialism and Apartheid.

This conference, in fact, is one step in the continual dehumanization of the Palestinian people. It says that the Palestinian cause costs as much as 50 billion dollars as distributed to Palestine ($28 billion) and surrounding countries like Egypt ($12 billion), Jordan ($7 billion) and Lebanon ($6 billion) within the next 10 years. It says that the blood of the Palestinian martyrs and the people’s long suffering can be bargained upon. That money can make up to Palestinians for the ongoing ethnic cleansing which began in 1948. That the incremental genocide inflicted by Israel on Palestinians can be forgotten for crumbs of bread and a trivial sum of money. And most importantly, that the unquestionable right of Palestinians to return to their usurped homelands and compensation as guaranteed in Resolution 94 can be alienated.

What Kushner wants to convey is that peace can be achieved in the Middle East through building infrastructure in trade, transportation, tourism and digital services, forgetting the fact that Israel is the main reason behind the destruction of this infrastructure. Whatever apolitical projects are proposed will be deficient and unsuccessful, though it may prove the opposite in the short run, because the root of the problem lies in the existence of an apartheid state in Palestine.

Occupying the senior adviser in Trump’s current administration and living in a post-colonial America which wouldn’t have been the America known today without the genocide against its indigenous population, Jared Kushner insists on giving the impression of doing the Palestinians a favor by bringing “peace” and “prosperity” into their “reactionary” and “poverty-stricken” homeland.  This colonial white supremacist mentality asks Palestinians to be the good slave by obeying and cooperating. The good Palestinian is the one who admits total submission to their master. Palestinians are expected to thank the American administration for saving them from themselves. Earlier this month, Kushner expressed racist remarks regarding the incapability of Palestinians to govern themselves. Therefore, Palestinians need a superior side, who are capable and advanced, to take control of them and direct their affairs.

From their side, Palestinians, inside the occupied Palestine and in the diaspora, announced their rejection of Manama conference and, consequently, its outcomes. Palestinians in the West Bank led civil demonstrations in the street condemning this conference, which is an auction in its essence, and those taking part in it. Gaza also has showed its rejection with a general strike. The Palestinian leadership asserted that this conference is empty of meaning as it comes against the will of Palestinians, and opens the gate to undervaluing the Palestinian cause. On the 63rd Friday of the Great Return March, Palestinians went out protesting under the slogan “Land Is not for Sale

The power remains with the people. The civil society in the participating countries need to protest their governments’ participation. Palestinians bank on the conscientious people to heed their call of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, known widely as BDS, which aims at isolating Israel from the world until it ends its violations of human rights and complies with the international law. It is Palestinians who determine the form of solidarity with them as they are the oppressed. Palestinians seek freedom, justice and equality.

Once again, Kushner uses a decorated language to evade the fact that his plan aims at liquidating the Palestinian cause once and for all by obliterating the refugees cause. If the U.S. really had cared a bit about the economic status of the Palestinians, it would not have tried to shut down UNRWA or halted its aid in the first place! The picture is made even clearer by the Israel’s UN ambassador, Danny Danon, asking Palestinians to surrender and yearning for the late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat who officially normalized with Israel in signing the Camp-David treatment in 1978.

This deal is beneficial to Israel only. After all, Trump and Kushner strive to maintain Israel’s security as if Israel is the not the real threat in the Middle East. Lately, the US ambassador, David M. Friedman, said that “Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank.”

The Oslo Accords evidently constitutes a fertile ground for the “Deal of the Century.” When signed in 1993, Oslo implanted the hope of bringing about prosperity in Palestine within 5 years and turning it into Singapore. After half a century of futile and fruitless peace process, the Palestinian situating is worsening. Jerusalem is gone, the West Bank is annexed, and the Gaza Strip has become the biggest concentration camp and largest open-air prison on Earth. And Palestinians annoy the world by not dying in silence.  Because they keep banging on the tank!

What Kushner fails to understand is that freedom, justice and equality and dignity are rights that cannot be bought. The great late Egyptian poet Amal Donqol described this case well in his verses

“Do not reconcile
even if they give you gold
I wonder
if I were to gouge out your eyes
and replace them with two gems
would you see?
These things are priceless”

Aya Al Ghazzawi

Aya Al Ghazzawi is a BDS activist based in Gaza. 

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6 Responses

  1. Kay24 on June 26, 2019, 7:02 pm

    CNN Breaking News: Kushner refuses to endorse 2 state solution to I/P conflict.

    How many people around the world are duped by this bogus “peace plan”? He is only giving the Israelis the justification to annex the W. Bank and other places, and rid the territories of the Palestinian people. They are going to turn this joke of a peace plan down, and Crooked Bibi will be using that excuse to continue their occupation and land theft. Jared Kushner is as slimy as his father and father in law. I guess they will name another illegal settlement for Kushner.

    It is a shame his good buddies in the Arab world, are going along with this farce.

  2. brent on June 27, 2019, 12:54 am

    Some assertions made in this article leave me wondering. The author says the first stage of Trump’s “peace” plan was the embassy move after he first declared “all” of Jerusalem as the Capilal of Israel. Immediately after the signing, he was quoted as saying, “In making these announcements, I also want to make one point very clear: This decision is not intended, in any way, to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement. We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians. We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved.” What to think?

    The article ends with a quote from a poet, “Do not reconcile, even if they give you gold.” There is an American saying about talking and chewing gum at the same time. I’d like to understand better the problem with talking and standing ground at the same time.

    Am looking forward to reading how and a plan for reconciliation, especially one with details.

    • Mooser on June 27, 2019, 6:14 pm

      “Am looking forward to reading how and a plan for reconciliation, especially one with details”

      Gee, “brent”, after what the Palestinians have done to the Israelis, do you think reconciliation is still possible? Can the Palestinians afford the reparations?

  3. Misterioso on June 27, 2019, 9:47 am

    Words of wisdom:

    Trump’s “Deal of the Century”—An Analysis (26 June 2019) by Professor Lawrence Davidson

    Part I—The Deal of the Century

    President Trump’s peace plan for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, or at least the economic side of it, was discussed at a meeting in Bahrain on June 25 and 26. The plan, euphemistically entitled “Peace to Prosperity” and the “Deal of the Century” is also, inaccurately, likened to a “Marshall Plan for Palestinians.” It is based on the assumption that money, ultimately the better part of $50 billion, can lure the Palestinian people into surrender—that is, the surrender of their right to a state of their own on their stolen ancestral land as well as the right of return for the 7.5 million Palestinians who have been forced into exile. Upon surrender, according to the plan, “an ambitious, achievable … framework for a prosperous future for the Palestinian people and the region” will be put into place. How this idealized future is to be integrated into the apartheid and Bantustan system of control that constitutes the Israeli government’s “facts on the ground” is left unexplained.

    This bit of gilded bait was put together by “senior White House adviser” Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law; Jason Greenblatt, chief lawyer of the Trump Organization and now U.S. envoy for international negotiations; and David Friedman, the president’s bankruptcy lawyer who is now the U.S. ambassador to Israel. All of these men are at once unqualified for their present positions as well as Zionist supporters of Israeli expansionism. It is not surprising then that the Israeli government has welcomed this effort. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he “would listen to the American plan and hear it fairly and with openness.” On the other hand, the Palestinian West Bank leader, Mahmoud Abbas, who is boycotting the Bahrain meeting, said, “As long as there is no political [solution], we do not deal with any economic [solution].”

    There is no doubt that some Palestinians are upset at Abbas’s position: perhaps some business people, often-unpaid bureaucrats, and a portion of the frustrated middle-class, who will be dearly tempted by the promise of all that money. These are people who, given over a century of struggle, see no hope of a just political settlement. Nonetheless, those tempted might consider these facts: (1) All those billions of dollars are, as yet, hypothetical. The money is not in the bank, so to speak. And, it is not a given that Trump can actually raise the funds. Thus, for all those ready to trade justice for dollars, it might be premature to actually make the leap. (2) There is a prevailing belief among the Trump cabal putting this plan together that the Palestinians themselves are incapable of running the proposed development programs. They are assumed to be too corrupt or tainted with “terrorist” backgrounds to be trusted. Thus the question of who would run this effort (Israelis? American Zionists? anyone other than those dedicated to Palestinian interests?) is left unanswered. Relative to this question, it should be kept in mind that the Israelis have made something of a science of robbing the Palestinians of their resources. They are hardly likely to stop now. (3) The raising of money for the Trump plan is in competition with a UN effort to raise $1.2 billion for UNRWA, the agency that supports programs for Palestinian refugees. This fund-raiser is literally running at the same time as the Bahrain meeting. If the Trump plan gains traction, there might well be pressure to shut down UNRWA altogether.

    Is this really an honest proposal to provide the Palestinians with prosperity? The history of “third world” development efforts sponsored by and run under the guidance of “first world” powers, be they Western governments or institutions like the IMF, is largely one of failure. There is no reason to believe that the Trump plan will fare any better. While these problematic economic efforts may eventually fall short, the political conditions almost certain to be attached to the aid will probably require immediate cessation of all anti-Zionist activities, including the relatively successful ongoing boycott of Israel.

    Part II—The Precedent

    It might come as a surprise, but this is not the first time that financial bribery to procure Arab cooperation with Zionist ambitions has been tried.

    There is a historical precedent for Donald Trump’s attempted “deal of the century” that is detailed my book, America’s Palestine (cheap used copies of which are available on line). Here is how that precedent went:

    Back in 1942, the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann told members of the U.S. State Department’s Division of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) that Winston Churchill wished to make the Saudi king, Ibn Saud, “the boss of bosses in the Arab World.” The only condition to this offer was that Ibn Saud must “be willing to work out with Weizmann to achieve a sane solution to the Palestine problem.” Weizmann further claimed that the U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt was “in accord on this subject.”

    The response of the head of the NEA, Wallace Murray, a man who knew the Middle East much better than did Chaim Weizmann, was one of skepticism. Murray noted that British influence over Ibn Saud was small and that he doubted the Saudi king wanted to be the Arab “boss of bosses.” Finally, he expressed doubt that anything the Zionists would consider a “solution” would be something Ibn Saud would consider to be “sane.”

    Nonetheless, the Zionists persisted along these lines and soon came up with a plan where, in return for a Jewish Palestine, Ibn Saud would be made the “head of an Arab federation in control of a ‘development’ budget of 20 million British pounds.”

    At this point Murray became adamant that this would never work. He predicted that Ibn Saud would interpret the offer as a bribe—the offer of a throne in exchange for turning Palestine over to the Zionists. He would interpret the 20 million pounds as a “slush fund.” Consequently, there was every reason to believe that the Saudi ruler would see this whole plan as a personal insult. So Murray suggested that “the less we have to do with the … proposals of Dr. Weizmann the better.”

    As it turned out Roosevelt disagreed with Murray and after a conversation with Weizmann in early June of 1943, authorized an approach to Ibn Saud along the lines of the Zionist plan. Why did he ignore Murray in favor of Weizmann? Because Murray’s accurate assessment of Ibn Saud conflicted with FDR’s stereotyped view of Arabs. This is revealed in the minutes of the June meeting with Weizmann wherein the president said that “he believes the Arabs are purchasable.” In other words, following a common Western view, the president saw the Arabs as a backward people who would do just about anything for the right amount of “bakshish.”

    Subsequently, the entire scheme came to naught when, in the fall of 1943, Ibn Saud rejected it out of hand. He would subsequently tell FDR that the Jews should “be given the choicest lands and homes of the Germans who had oppressed them.” When the president replied that the Jews would not wish to stay in Germany after the war, Ibn Saud noted that the “allied camp” had “fifty countries” in it. Surely they could find enough open space (he even alluded to the underpopulated areas of the American West) to take in Europe’s Jewish refugees. Roosevelt came away from the exchange rather shaken. He finally understood from it that “the Arabs mean business” when it comes to Palestine.

    Part III—Conclusion

    The world has changed a lot since the 1940s. Ibn Saud has been replaced by the Saudi Crown Prince Muḥammad bin Salmān. This can be seen as real step down in terms of personal integrity and strategic judgment. Franklin Roosevelt has been replaced with Donald Trump. I will let readers make their own judgments on this change. Actually, the thing that has stayed constant, perhaps because it was always devoid of real empathy for the Palestinians, is the nature of Zionist leadership. Thus, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, has said that the only way the Palestinians can be economically liberated is through their political surrender. But as suggested above, Israel is now a confirmed apartheid state that feels its own “security” necessitates both military and economic control of the Palestinians. Given that reality, Danon’s notion of economic liberation means about as much as Weizmann’s promise of someone else’s (i.e., Britain’s) money. And then there is the replacement of Chaim Weizmann (the Zionist pre-state leader) with Benjamin Netanyahu. The former may have had more persuasive charm than the latter, but certainly their goals were, and continue to be, the same.

    It is Zionism’s ambition to possess biblical Palestine that has reduced the Palestinians to destitution. Perfectly predictable and legal Palestinian resistance is the excuse the Israelis use to cover up the segregationist and impoverishing policies that are necessitated by their ideological worldview. And now Donald Trump and his Zionist son-in-law come forward with their plan, fully expecting the Palestinians to trust the Americans and their Israeli allies to make them “developed” and prosperous? I wonder what Ibn Saud would say to that?

    Lawrence Davidson
    [email protected]

    • LiberatePalestine on June 27, 2019, 2:18 pm

      → In other words, following a common Western view, the president saw the Arabs as a backward people who would do just about anything for the right amount of “bakshish.”

      He probably thought much the same of Jews.

      → He would subsequently tell FDR that the Jews should “be given the choicest lands and homes of the Germans who had oppressed them.”

      I have long expressed similar sentiments. As I have made clear, I reject supremacy of whatsoever form, be it ethnic, racial, or religious, and therefore any exclusive «homeland». But if a «homeland for the Jews» had been needed after World War II, and had been justified by the Holocaust, it should have been established not in Palestine but in, say, Brandenburg.

      → Roosevelt came away from the exchange rather shaken. He finally understood from it that “the Arabs mean business” when it comes to Palestine.

      Why, fancy that! An Arab refused to sell the Palestinians for 20 million nicker!

      → Ibn Saud has been replaced by the Saudi Crown Prince Muḥammad bin Salmān. This can be seen as real step down in terms of personal integrity and strategic judgment.

      A good argument (as if one were needed) against hereditary political power. Personal integrity and strategic judgement do not pass from father to son.

  4. JustJessetr on June 27, 2019, 10:22 am

    Countries talking instead of fighting! What a horrible thought! LOL.

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