Abbas on a String

CounterPunch
May 5, 2017
Robert Fantina

On May 3, Palestine’s excuse for a president, Mahmoud Abbas, grovelled at the White House, singing the praises of the U.S.’s excuse for a president, and expressing confidence that he, President Donald Trump, could bring peace to the Middle East.

Mr. Trump gathered about him for this meeting the key Zionists in his administration, none of whom think too kindly of Palestinians. But Mr. Trump did stress one thing: he told his Palestinian counterpart that the hatred that Palestinians have for Israelis must stop.

There; the problem is solved, and we can all form a circle and sing ‘Kumbaya’. The whole issue, it seems to Mr. Trump, is Palestinians’ irrational hatred for Israelis.

As this writer is wont to do, he will bring the readers’ attention to those mysterious little things called ‘facts’, that have little place in U.S. governance, and none in the White House.

  • Israel occupies Palestine in violation of international law. IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) terrorists break into the homes of Palestinians at all hours of the day and night, arresting whomever they choose, and ransacking the house while they are at it.
  • Palestinians must cross numerous checkpoints to get from point A to point B in the West Bank, point A often being their home, and point B being their place of employment, a store, or the home of a friend or relative they wish to visit. It could also be a hospital or doctor’s office. Yet they must line up at a variety of checkpoints, which are opened or closed at the whim of IDF terrorists. So, what might be a 15 minute drive without obstacles, could turn into hours, as people and/or vehicles are searched. Or, someone may be waiting in line for hours, and then, arbitrarily, the checkpoint is closed, and he or she must then take another route, encountering another checkpoint, that may or may not be closed; they don’t operate on any schedule.
  • Palestinian farmers must get permission from Israel to work on their own property. They may get permission to plant long past planting time. Or, should they be fortunate enough to be able to plant on time, when they apply for a permit to harvest their crops, such permission may be granted long after the crops have rotted in the field.
  • Unemployment in the Gaza Strip is among the highest in the world. Young people there are forced to attempt to find not only employment, but anything to occupy their time. This is because, again in violation of international law, Israel blockades the Gaza Strip, and regulates carefully what can be imported. Such dangerous items as crayons and pasta have been banned, and heaven forbid Palestinians get cement to rebuild the structures Israel bombed to pieces.
  • Soldiers who kill unarmed Palestinians generally receive no punishment. When one IDF terrorist shot in the head an unarmed and wounded Palestinian man who was lying immobile on the ground, he was convicted of manslaughter and given an 18-month sentence. Palestinian teenagers who are convicted of throwing rocks at IDF terrorists are routinely sentenced to 15 years in Israeli prisons.
  • It is the rare Palestinian who has not lost a friend or relative to Israeli violence; many of them have witnessed these brutal murders.
  • Israel confiscates Palestinian homes, evicts the owners and demolishes the house, to make room for housing that only Israelis can reside in. The owners are lucky to escape with their lives, let alone any cherished keepsakes. Salvaging any furniture is next to impossible.
  • Israeli settlers in the West Bank, numbering now over 500,000, and all living there in violation of international law, harass, bully, assault and kill Palestinians. This includes hitting children with their cars. This is often witnessed by IDF terrorists, who are there to protect the poor, defenseless, heavily-armed settlers from Palestinians.
  • Palestinians in the West Bank cannot drive their cars on Israeli-only roads. If a new, Israel-only road crosses a Palestinian road, Palestinians cannot drive through the intersection.

So, there is hatred by Palestinians for Israelis, and Mr. Trump demands that it end. It is not unusual for the elected officials in the United States to be out of touch with reality, and bias towards Israel is certainly nothing new. After all, Israeli lobbies purchase Congress and the president with their very generous campaign contributions, which seem to blind those august persons to reality. And in Mr. Trump’s statements today, there wasn’t a word of criticism of Israel.

We did hear, once again, the tired old refrain of the need for Palestine and Israel to get back to the negotiating table, which must certainly be wearing out by now, with its use over the last 20 years. Imagine the local bank being robbed; the robber is caught with the money, and the chief of police demands that the bank manager and the bank robber sit down together to see how much of the money the robber will return. And at any time, the bank robber can get up and go rob the bank again. Such a thing would never happen, yet that is what Mr. Trump and numerous of his predecessors have all suggested. Negotiations can have no chance of success, when one party can take with impunity from the other whatever it wants. Where is the incentive to negotiate?

Mr. Abbas is possibly worse for the Palestinian people that Mr. Trump is for the United States. A conviction of Israel for war crimes by the International Criminal Court is just about a slam-dunk, but still Mr. Abbas hesitates. He continues to cooperate with Israel on West Bank ‘security’, which is just more oppression of a horribly oppressed people. He sells out his country to those who would destroy it; is there any clearer definition of a traitor? One can only wonder what it is he gets in return.

It is likely that the situation will be ‘same old, same old’, with continued oppression of the Palestinians, more land theft by Israel, and U.S. politicians continuing to blame Palestine for the problems there. Much of the world seems to be awakening to the truth, but other issues, such as the war in Syria, seem to draw their attention.

Since that is likely to continue, it is people who must force the issue. Through social media, and the relentless bombardment of letters, emails and personal visits to the elected officials who purport to represent them, decent people around the world must speak for the Palestinians. We are, in the final analysis, their best and only hope for justice.

Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

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