Running through Israeli and, to an extent U.S. policy toward Palestine is a current which rejects political rights in favor of economic amelioration. The underlying sentiment is that Israel can avoid recognizing Palestinian rights, including statehood, if it improves the quality of life for Palestinians under Occupation. Supporters of this view repeatedly trot out dubious statistics pointing to the improvement of the economy, as if Israel somehow miraculously waved its wand and caused jobs and largesse to fall from the heavens upon Ramallah.
In truth, Occupation has burdened both Israel and Palestine with enormous costs: in Israel it has compelled the expenditure of billions of dollars to maintain the Israeli military presence and build settlements; in Palestine, it has suppressed economic and entrepreneurial innovation and stunted the country’s output.
Analysts and the political class have watched with interest as Trump puts his own indelible stamp on Israel-Palestine relations: he’s already said that he might approve of a one-state solution, which no American president has ever supported. Since then, his statements have become much more boring and conventional.
The latest U.S. peace envoy, this one dispatched by Trump, is Jason Greenblatt. He is an Orthodox Jew and Trump’s real estate lawyer. He has stated that he gets all the information he knows about the region from Aipac briefings and Malcolm Hoenlein’s radio show. He once studied at the Har Etzion settler yeshiva in occupied Palestine.
Greenblatt spent five hours talking with Netanyahu today: and what a love fest it must’ve been. Greenblatt’s meeting today (Palestine time) with Mahmoud Abbas promises to be quite a different affair. Here is what press statement said on the subject:
“Greenblatt stressed how important enabling the growth of the Palestinian economy and improving the quality of life for Palestinians are to President Trump.”
Bibi’s selling both sides a bill of goods. Palestinians will never accept this mess of pottage being offered by a con artist seeking to bilk them out of their national inheritance. But given Trump’s ignorance and the settler Jews with whom he’s surrounded himself, he appears ready to drink this toxic Koolaid. It promises to turn into bile in his mouth and will lead to ever greater rounds of violence.
It’s unsurprising Abbas has agreed to meet with yet another settler-supporting Trump envoy (the other is new U.S. ambassador, David Friedman). The Palestinian leader has already sold out his constituents. Apparently, he’s willing to sell what little that remains to Trump and his pals. Imagine what Abbas’ White House visit will be like. They will be all over him, berating him, and lecturing him about how weak the Palestinian position is, and how beneficent Trump is being in proffering the few tiny territorial crumbs which remain, on which he may hoist his Palestinian flag (some day).
Remember those South African Bantustans Ciskei and Transkei? Well, add to that Palestine as envisioned by Bibi Netanyahu and blessed by Donald Trump.