American Herald Tribune | Robert Fantina: It isn’t often that Palestinians get good news. Even when there is ‘good’ news, it generally just means that things are not going to immediately get worse. Such was the case with the news that the United States embassy will not immediately move to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, as U.S. President Donald Trump promised during the campaign.
The U.S. government, in its lobby-besotted wisdom, mandated this move through legislation in 1995, but built in an every-six-month waiver, which every president since then has used. This time, however, with the unpredictable and erratic Mr. Trump running the show (aground, it seems), no one knew what would happen.
It is said the billionaire Sheldon Adelson is most displeased by this action; he donated millions of dollars to Mr. Trump’s campaign (as he did to Hillary Clinton’s; like the U.S. government itself, he knows you can’t lose if you support both sides of a conflict), and is now feeling that he didn’t get what he paid for. One cringes to think what Mr. Trump might give him to console him for this loss.
The only saving grace in all this is the fact that, with the White House in complete turmoil, with firings, investigations, rumored shake-ups and general chaos the order of the day (talk about an oxymoron!), it’s quite possible that Mr. Adelson’s millions will not be on the collective White House mind.
And now yet another monkey wrench has been thrown into the Middle East works. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a spineless, U.S-Israel puppet, has declared that he is willing to negotiate with Israel with no preconditions. It is said that this could be a brilliant move, but it is more likely a complete sellout.
Let’s look at how it might be either.
Israeli spokespeople always say they are willing to negotiate without preconditions. That sounds like a generous move on the surface, but what it really means is that Israel will continue to steal Palestinian land and displace Palestinians, thus creating new ‘facts on the ground’, while the useless and meaningless negotiations continue. This has been the pattern for decades, and has worked so successfully for Israel, so why change it now? But, if the Palestinians are now willing to negotiate without preconditions, Israel has no excuse not to come to the bargaining table. So in that, Mr. Abbas’s move could be seen as brilliant.
Yet this view is naïve. Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu has demonstrated repeatedly that he is unconcerned about public appearances. After all, with the mighty U.S. always there to defend it, and to pay its bills ($4 billion annually in U.S. aid goes a long way), why should he care about appearances? The Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement is said to be taking a significant financial toll on the country, but with the U.S. providing a never-ending tap of free-flowing money, why should that make a difference? Israel will continue to gradually steal Palestinian land until that country no longer exists.
Since the U.S. and Israel pull all of Mr. Abbas’s many strings, his proposal to negotiate without pre-conditions could just be a cover for Israel to say it is negotiating in all good faith, as it continues to destroy Palestinian homes and build new, illegal and internationally-condemned settlements on stolen Palestinian land. Mr. Abbas will have many photo-ops of himself and the murderous Israeli Prime Minister shaking hands, with their spokespeople saying they are doing the hard work of negotiations, while Palestinian land shrinks, and conditions worsen in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Therefore, we have a complete sellout.
This writer will state, once again, and at the risk of boring the reader, that negotiations can only be successful when each party has something the other wants, that it can only get by surrendering something it has. Israel takes whatever it wants from Palestine with complete impunity. Therefore, there can be no meaningful negotiations; just sham discussions between two parties, with a broker (the U.S.) strongly and completely biased in favor of one of them.
If anecdotal evidence can be presented, Mr. Abbas is not popular in Palestine. This writer is in frequent contact with many people in that country, and the Palestinian president is seen for what he is: a figurehead, installed by the U.S. and Israel and intended to give the appearance of legitimacy to the Palestinian government, when in reality Israel calls the shots. So-called cooperation with Israeli ‘security forces (read: terrorists) in the West Bank only assists in the brutal repression of the Palestinian people there, who, thanks partly to Mr. Abbas, are completely unarmed. And Israeli soldiers and settlers (again, terrorists), both heavily armed, routinely kill Palestinians with impunity, while Palestinian teens accused of throwing rocks at their oppressors are sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. This is not only apartheid, but a violation of international law.
Mr. Trump is now in the Middle East, for photo-ops with both Messrs. Abbas and Netanyahu, and the public will, no doubt, hear more about his self-proclaimed brilliant deal-making capabilities. He will talk and ‘tweet’, and nothing will change. Palestine will remain occupied, with its citizens suffering horribly, as Israeli forces steal more land and natural resources, raid homes, arrest children and kill any Palestinian they choose. And Mr. Trump will talk about the need for Palestinians to stop ‘teaching hate’, as all this continues.
Anyone who believes that negotiations will result in a fair and just settlement is worse than naïve; and the belief that the U.S. is a neutral partner in all this is beyond comprehension. Pressure must be put on Israel, the U.S., and the other countries that see the problem there in such a skewed and one-sided manner (and this includes Canada, to its lasting shame), and Israeli crimes must be widely publicized. This will not be done by the corporate-owned media, so social media is key. Without this pressure, things will only worsen for the Palestinians, who only seek the basic human rights and dignity within their own country that everyone deserves. We must all work to see that they achieve it.