JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TRUMP’S BIZARRE PEACE PLAN FOR THE MIDDLE EAST – IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH PEACE AND IS DEAD ON ARRIVAL – ANOTHER STUNNING DIPLOMATIC EFFORT BY A MAN WITH A LONG LIST OF FAILURES – WINDOW-DRESSING FOR PERMANENT NEW APARTHEID ARRANGEMENTS AS SHAMELESS AND UNFAIR AS THOSE OF FORMER NATIONALIST SOUTH AFRICA   1 comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT ON TRUMP’S BIZARRE PEACE PLAN FOR THE MIDDLE EAST

Jerusalem to be Israel’s “undivided” capital, but East Jerusalem is somehow also to be Palestine’s capital, an arrangement which sounds a bit like the Palestinians renting some retail store space in an Israeli Jerusalem shopping mall.

 

Trump’s foolish approach to foreign affairs is repeated in every major initiative he undertakes – North Korea, Iran, China, Venezuela, Syria or Iraq – and it is no less again in his “plan” for Israel and Palestine.

Trump glibly calls the plan “a two-state solution” and “a win-win.”

But how can something be a “two-state solution” when one of the “states” has not even been consulted?

Diplomacy always requires a thorough understanding of both sides in a conflict, listening to each of them about concerns and trying to discover a formula which works for both of them, but this is not what Trump has done. Not at all. Not even a pretense.

We have the plan’s formal announcement made with Trump in the smiling company of the leader of just one of the two ”states,” the one already holding all the power because it occupies the other.

We have the leader of the other “state,” the one being occupied, rejecting a plan he has had no role in creating right after it was announced. Rejecting it entirely.

Indeed, President Abbas said the Palestinians are ready to negotiate with Israel, but only under the auspices of the “Quartet,” a set of international mediators which includes Russia, the United States, the United Nations and the European Union.

The Palestinians will not negotiate in future with only the United States acting as mediator.

Abbas said the only way toward peace is to create a Palestinian state with borders from 1967 – that is, from before Israel’s conquest and occupation in a war – a consistent and fair demand made countless times in the past by many, including a few Israelis genuinely interested in peace, although there are not a great number of those because Israelis generally recognize that they are in control of the situation, and Trump only offers even more control. Israel’s decades of history have produced a national politics located almost exclusively on the Right.

If you look at maps of what Trump is proposing, what you see, unmistakably, is formalized apartheid. See the opening map here: https://mondoweiss.net/2020/01/the-deal-of-the-century-is-apartheid/

The other “state,” the one now occupied, almost resembles an island chain, an archipelago, locked inside the boundaries of the primary “state.”

Every important power applicable to the island-chain “state” is held by the surrounding “state.”

The primary “state” actually gets to expand its territory at the expense of the island-chain ”state.”

The surrounding “state” gets to annex the Jordan Valley and many illegal Jewish communities inside the island-chain “state,” acts effectively fragmenting the island chain further still.

The surrounding “state” holds control of all borders, airspace, underground water, maritime authority, and even radio frequencies.

On the map, you see a geography superficially resembling some North American Indigenous reservations, undoubtedly a model some Americans working on the proposal had in mind.

The North American system of Indigenous reservations very roughly works, although only with many injustices suffered and outbreaks of violence over the years. It works at all largely because of the immense disparities in population size between island-chain and mainland populations.

But the Palestinians have just as large a population – perhaps now even somewhat larger owing to higher birth rates – as the Jewish people of Israel.

Palestinians also have many rights recognized internationally, both by major international organizations and by a great many individual countries. They do not stand completely on their own.

But there is another difference in Trump’s proposal from the structure of North American Indigenous reservations, one you cannot see on a map, and one that is profoundly important.

Residents of North American Indigenous reservations are full citizens of the huge country – the United States or Canada, as the case may be – which surrounds them. Full citizens, and free to travel anywhere.

The Palestinians are not to be citizens of Israel and are to have no rights of any kind there. And the meaning of citizenship even in their own designated areas is to so be so curtailed as to be close to meaningless. They get to vote for a government, their own, which governs almost nothing, and they cannot even freely travel between the broken bits of their island chain.

It is especially in this key detail that Trump’s proposal far more exactly resembles the infamous Bantustans of apartheid South Africa than North American Indigenous reservations.

The one consolation people who are concerned about justice have here is the fact that it was not many years after South Africa vigorously pursued its Bantustan “solution” that the entire apartheid house of cards collapsed from outside pressure.

Israel works very hard at preventing such pressure from abroad developing with its lobbies pressuring legislators to curtail freedom of speech (trying to conflate criticism of the public acts of a well-armed state with the superstitious beliefs of anti-Semitism) and freedom of association (by seriously penalizing advocacy for, or membership in, free-choice boycott movements, the very things that brought an end to South Africa’s once powerful apartheid arrangements). That may work for a time, but it so fundamentally unfair that it cannot provide a lasting foundation for a new apartheid.

It seems to me it would be so much easier for Israel to make a genuine effort at peace with its neighbors, something it has truly never done. All those millions of Palestinians are not going anywhere despite years of dreams and schemes in Israel to see them get up and leave.

ADDITIONAL IMPORTANT NOTE

The iffy provision for East Jerusalem becoming Palestine’s capital applies only “when the Palestinians have taken adequate steps towards becoming self-governing.”

The patronizing qualifier reflects Jared Kushner’s words last year about the Palestinians not being ready for self-government.

The words are certainly in keeping with a sense of Trump’s “plan” having nothing to do with peace. It is about establishing virtually perpetual apartheid.

ANOTHER IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL NOTE

Well, the mystery of how you can have both an undivided Israeli Jerusalem and a possible future Palestinian capital is solved.

Although Trump speaks of “East Jerusalem,” he is, as in so many matters, simply wrong. What the plan actually promises Palestinians as their capital, provided they earn it, is a place called Abu Dis. It is not part of East Jerusalem, and it is now separated from the Old City by an eight-meter high wall. An illegal one, of course. The place is a suburban village. So, my opening sarcasm about renting space for a capital in a mall may be no exaggeration.

This might represent the plan’s most gratuitous insult because Jerusalem is just as important, sacred, and historic to Palestinians as it is to Israelis, and in fact they have lived there many centuries longer than contemporary Israelis.

But it is hard to think of what could be a greater insult than telling millions of people they are not ready to govern themselves and must earn the right to do so. People who have had a society in the region for centuries before a re-creation of Israel was imposed on them.

If you spoke that way in America about any large group of people – say an ethnic group dominating a city or state – you would be regarded as bigoted and arrogant (as well as wind up in court). Those words, bigoted and arrogant, exactly describe the people promoting Trump’s plan.

Posted January 29, 2020 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One response to “JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TRUMP’S BIZARRE PEACE PLAN FOR THE MIDDLE EAST – IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH PEACE AND IS DEAD ON ARRIVAL – ANOTHER STUNNING DIPLOMATIC EFFORT BY A MAN WITH A LONG LIST OF FAILURES – WINDOW-DRESSING FOR PERMANENT NEW APARTHEID ARRANGEMENTS AS SHAMELESS AND UNFAIR AS THOSE OF FORMER NATIONALIST SOUTH AFRICA

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Pingback: JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: IRAN AND AMERICA – HISTORY OF THE RELATIONSHIP – AMERICA’S CEASELESS, STUPID HOSTILITY OF MORE THAN FORTY YEARS – NOW IRAN WILL CAMPAIGN LONG AND HARD FOR AMERICA TO LEAVE ITS REGION – AMERICA WILL NOT

LEAVE A COMMENT

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: