It is on Tuesday 28 January. It is the very moment when U.S. President Trump is being impeached before the Senate for abuse of power. He 0announces his misnamed “Peace” Plan for the Middle East. It is a Plan thought up by his son-in-law. There Trump is standing next to Prime Minister of Israel, Netanyahu, who is being formally charged that same day with corruption. So, there is a kind of desperation in the air.
You might be pardoned for thinking the whole event was just a tactic for each of these two master-bullies, who specialize in “fait accompli”, to distract the world’s attention from their respective disgrace so that they can get away, on the quick, with yet another new “fait accompli”. Israel, the Plan says, will, with USA backing, just go ahead and annex the West Bank (leaving Bantustans peppered inside it) and take over Jerusalem.
The installation of Apartheid in the illegally seized and occupied territories will now accelerate.
This is against all international law and against all civilized convention.
It is eerily reminiscent of Nazi German fait accompli and how people who should not have, normalized such actions. Remember how British Prime Minister Chamberlain was appeasing Hitler until 1939 a full year after the annexation of Austria, and after the annexation of Czechoslovakia? And look how lenient Winston Churchill was on Hitler as late as 1935. Remember this was after Hitler had been elected to power for two years. In Churchill’s own words in Great Contemporaries, “It is not possible to form a just judgment of a public figure who has attained the enormous dimensions of Adolf Hitler until his life work as a whole is before us. Although no subsequent political action can condone wrong deeds, history is replete with examples of men who have risen to power by employing stern, grim, and even frightful methods, but who, nevertheless, when their life is revealed as a whole, have been regarded as great figures whose lives have enriched the story of mankind. So may it be with Hitler”.
So, this new “Peace” Plan is both a dangerous distraction from Trump and Netanyahu’s respective own corruption cases, and also an extremely dangerous degeneration of the little rationality left in international affairs, as the world again drifts towards hell as it did in the 1930s.
The ceremony for the unveiling of the “Peace” plan was particularly grotesque. Again reminiscent. A little crowd of Republican right-wingers stood there in the White House surrounding the main actors. They were carefully choreographed teenage-style hand-clappers and “your clothes are not invisible, dear emperors” boot-licking standing ovationers.
The longest standing ovation was a bloodthirsty one. Everyone really whooped it up for the assassination by Trump in cold blood of the Iranian general Soleimani. Only the suits and ties on the pale-male-dominated audience and Sunday best on the ladies separated the scene from some even more ancient barbarie than Nazism.
This is surely the deathknell of the doomed two-state solution. This is surely the institutionalization of a new Apartheid. This is surely the denial of the existence by Trump and his egger-on Netanyahu of the existence of Palestinians as people. To them, Palestinians are no more than worrisome creatures that happen to inhabit the face of a bit of terra nullius earth that they (Trump and Netanyahu) want to colonize. Or, to be more accurate, colonize further. The excuse of Trump and Netanyahu is both fundamentalist (overtly claiming Biblical rights, not unlike Modi’s Government’s claim on the god Ram’s birthplace) and also linked to a strange form of “compensation”. It is as though the West is ensuring the right of Israel to colonize the entirety of the Palestinians’ land as “their” (the West’s) compensation to Jewish people for the Holocaust that began in 1941 when Hitler (part of this West) had been in power 8 years, and then went on for four whole years until the end of World War II, a holocaust which murdered millions of people (on political and ethno-religious grounds as well as eugenic and sexual orientation grounds), and included immense proportions of the Jewish people living in Germany, Austria, Poland and France for centuries. It is truly the most cruel ceremony in memory for most of us alive today.
Anyway, the Palestinian representatives are not present. They are not treated as people at all. But that is not all.
There was a particularly bizarre moment when Trump finally, for the first time, mentioned the Palestinians. There was no clapping at what they were supposed to get from the Plan. Silence fell. Only the elephant in the room could be heard breathing. Trump, ever the neglected toddler now being found out, said something along the lines of “Don’t clap for that, OK?”
Anyway the Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s document is entitled Peace to Prosperity: A vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People. The document, as we have mentioned, is first of all, thus, a bid for Israel’s lebensraum (dictionary definition: Territory which a Group, state or nation believes is needed for its natural development) which includes the annexation of the part of the West Bank all along the River Jordan plus all illegal West Bank colonies and links between them, plus Jerusalem. This all comes after the Trump blessing of Israel annexing the Golan Heights, part of Syria it has occupied illegally. It is hard to grasp the enormity of Trump ceding part of Syria to Israel as though it was his, and now in this Plan giving away Palestine to Israel.
The Plan also contains a mirage of a private sector investment plan of $50 billion, to be raised in Arab states!
So, the Palestinian State will be Bantustans in the West Bank and a bit of vague territory just outside Jerusalem maybe. Gaza will be linked to the West Bank by rail. Hamas that is the government in Gaza will be disbanded. The over 300,000 Israeli citizens who are also Arab seem to be due to be stripped of their rights in Israel by this Plan. Their demonstrations against this “Plan” are reminiscent of South Africa’s uprisings in the 1980s.
To make the plan worse still, it proposes abolishing the right of return of the five million refugees that the Israeli State has expelled.
We need say no more. The Plan represents horror for the Palestinian people. And it is a wake-up call to the rest of us in the world as to what Israel and Trump are up to. This will affect us all. At the same time, Modi was receiving Bolsonaro as guest of honour at the Republic Day ceremony in India, so soon after annexing Jammu and Kashmir. And Netanyahu, remember, on his way home from the unveiling of the “Peace” plan, popped in to see Putin.
It is time to organize politically against this extreme-right world-wide attack on working people. We must never lose sight of the private companies and private profit interests that are the real push behind the leaders of the different countries master-minding events in the oil-rich Middle East. Otherwise we will not understand what is going on.