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7 December 2017

Is the Trump administration trying to get Palestinians to declare defeat?

By: Daoud Kuttab
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Acurious thing is happening in Washington. Three major anti-Palestinian decisions have taken place in the last few weeks. It began with the US refusing to renew the PLO mission in Washington, then the US congress passed the Taylor Force act defunding the Palestinian government because of its support to families or prisoners and now the US president wants to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
 
Combined, these US decisions point to one clear direction. The US government has adopted the point of view of Daniel Pipes. Pipes, a Jewish American Islamophobic racist, has called on Palestinians to declare defeat as the fastest way for a resolution of the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
 
The Trump administration said something to this effect.  The New York Times has said that the Trump administration believes that the question of the embassy “hastens the peace process by removing a thorny political issue that recurs every six months”.
 
With or without possibly knowing this tactic, a senior PLO official responded to this shock and awe. Mohammad Ishtieh a member of the Fateh central committee said that the Palestinian leadership, in coordination with Jordan as well as Arabs, will resist the US dictates. “We have the ability to say no to any plan that touches on the status of Jerusalem.”
 
Last summer when the Israeli government tried to impose metal detectors at the entrances of Al Haram Al Sharif/Al Aqsa Mosque, Palestinians of all walks of life demonstrated outside the mosque for two weeks before Israel rescinded its unilateral decision. Three hundred thousand Palestinians who live in East Jerusalem along with 11 million Palestinians around the world, 350 million Arabs, 1.5 billion Muslims and many other peace loving people of all creeds and faiths support the just demands of Palestinians for a shared and agreed to solution in Jerusalem.
 
The US attempts would make sense if Palestinians were being totally unreasonable and making excessive demands. It would also make sense if the Trump administration position is supported by others in the international community and has the overall support of the American people. Neither is true.
 
The overwhelming opinion of the entire world is more supportive of the Palestinian moderate position calling for the two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state. Successive world body resolutions in the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council as well as in the International Court of Justice all side with Palestinians just and reasonable demands.
 
Even in the US, the idea of two states for two people is supported by the majority of Americans including American Arabs and American Jews.
 
The only group that supports the current extreme US position is that of the small group of Christian Zionists and the pro-Israel lobby. Even in Israel many are not in favour of an attempt to dictate hawkish US positions on the region. Twenty-five prominent Israelis including former diplomats, army generals and academicians signed a letter denouncing the unilateral US position on Jerusalem saying that “the status of Jerusalem, the city that houses the holy sites of the three monotheistic religions, lies at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and must be determined within the context of resolving that conflict.”
 
Analysts in Israel doubt that the Israeli government and military establishment genuinely support such drastic ideas about Jerusalem outside the confines of negotiations and agreements that are based on compromises on both sides that are based on fairness and proportional justice.
 
Attempts at peacemaking require that any peace deal can weather the test of time. In order to be able to persist a deal has to be fair and just. Any deal imposed against the will of the people and is inherently unjust will not be accepted by Palestinians even if their leadership signs off on it.
 
History is full of examples of peace deals that have broken down before the ink of the signatures had dried.

The issue of Jerusalem has sparked waves of protests that have reached the far ends of the world. The issue of Jerusalem has proved over and over that it is not simply a Palestinian issue but it is of keen and emotional interest to Arabs, Muslims and other peace supporters around the world. The idea that forcing a solution down everyone’s throat will resolve the problem is unwise and will not work.

* A Palestinian columnist based in Amman, Jordan. - dkuttab@ammannet.net



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