America's words and deeds are finally consistent—full unconditional support for Israel, and a halt to the pretence in creating a Palestinian state.
Palestinians are angry about the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
We are angry because such a recognition is an acknowledgement that the US supports Israel in its colonisation of our land. In Jerusalem, this colonisation is translated into the ethnic cleansing of our people from the city. But this support isn’t new. It is a century old, and our anger is that old too.
For Palestinians on the ground, Trump’s announcement is the normalisation of Israeli policies of colonisation. With the fear of putting things in a positive light, I dare say that this is the most honest US administration. Its positions and actions are consistent regarding the occupation of Palestine.
Throughout the history of the Zionist project, successive US administrations have been supportive. Political, military and financial support was given to the Zionist movement prior to the Nakba in 1948, and has continued and grown since the declaration of independence by the state of Israel on Palestinian lands.
Politically, this support has best been demonstrated through the use of the veto power at the UN Security Council. The US has used its veto power a total of 79 times, 42 of which have been used to protect Israel. Financially and militarily, Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of US foreign assistance since World War II. By the end of 2016, the United States had provided Israel with a little more than $127 billion in aid.
In September 2016, Obama gave Israel a “goodbye gift”. A new 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) according to which the United States pledges to provide $38 billion in military aid ($33 billion in Foreign Military Financing grants plus $5 billion in missile defence appropriations) to Israel. The previous MOU, which ended in 2016, was a $30 billion, 10-year agreement.
In Jerusalem, this money supports Israeli plans to ethnically cleanse as many Palestinian residents as possible, with a declared aspirational demographic “balance” of 70 percent Israeli and 30 percent Palestinian. The Israeli authorities have been bureaucratically and silently displacing Palestinian Jerusalemites.
The policies are known to all: land confiscation, home demolition, residency permit revocation, the suffocation of our economy and intentional neglect and underdevelopment in general.
There are many reasons for the historic unconditional, diplomatic and financial support that the US provides Israel with. Among these is intelligence sharing, ideological unity, the strong Zionist lobby and more. This support has been steadily growing and evolving over decades, and the Trump Administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a natural result of a long-term process.
I fulfilled my campaign promise - others didn’t! pic.twitter.com/bYdaOHmPVJ— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2017
Yet Trump’s announcement caused a storm in the media.
Statements were issued condemning, expressing concern, calling and alerting that the announcement jeopardises “stability in the region” and harms the “peace process and the two-state solution”. Summits and emergency conferences have been held, rehashing the same old words: human rights, international law, decisions, steps and so on.
These are the voices of the Palestinian Authority, Arab and some foreign leaders and NGOs. They are angry too, but for a different reason: the announcement declares the bankruptcy of their discourse and project.
While Israel has been putting "facts on the ground," creating its own Zionist state through the killing, dispossession and oppression of the Palestinian people —and while the US has been supporting this settler-colonialist project—the PA and the “International Community” (including the US, absurdly) have been insisting on a framework for a peace process and negotiations aimed at lead to a two-state settlement in Palestine based on "international law".
But this peace process has been dead for a long time, and for more than 69 years, international law has been failing the Palestinians.
The toolbox of human rights has not been helping, but rather stifling our struggle for freedom and dignity. While we have been formulating statements, citing international law and UN resolutions, Israel has been strengthening its grip over more and more Palestinian land, while also normalising its relationships with as many countries as possible through economic ties.
In the face of these challenges, one would expect the Palestinian Authority (PA) to be defending the Palestinian people and their struggle. Yet the PA is the biggest obstacle in the people’s way to liberation. The PA is considered by many here in Jerusalem as a collaborator with the occupying force.
Palestinians are aware that the biggest obstacle in our way to liberation is the PA’s continuous security co-ordination with Israel, and its insisting on the “peace process” and international law frameworks.
For all these reasons, Palestinians are protesting in the streets. It is crucial that we see this wave of protests within a wider political context. This is not an uprising against Trump’s announcement alone, but a natural part of an ongoing confrontation with the Israeli occupation.
For Palestinians, the announcement is an opportunity to remind the world of this context, and to raise a louder voice that we refuse to remain trapped in a situation which undermines our struggle for freedom and self-determination.
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