I never thought it could get worse. I have bemoaned the evils of Republican presidents going back to Nixon (I’ve railed against Democrats during that time as well). Each one, I believed at the time was the worst possible leader one could imagine. Reagan’s Evil Empire. George HW Bush’s “read my lips, no new taxes.” George HR Bush’s ill-fated war in Iraq and Abu Ghraib. I observed and cataloged the misguided assumptions underlying the worst of their policies. And there were many. So I naturally assumed Trump would be yet another example of the banality and stupidity of GOP politics.
But I was wrong. There can be no lower debasement of the presidency than Donald Trump. I simply cannot believe that I will see a worse, more venal, more imbecilic, more mendacious leader in my time. Just as I very much doubt there has ever been anything to match it in the entire history of the institution of the presidency till now. And believe me, we have had some truly awful presidents.
All this by way of introduction of the latest bit of idiocy in today’s launch of the much-vaunted Trump “Deal of the Century.” It has properly been labeled “terms of surrender,” and a “con,” rather than a mutually negotiated approach to resolve the issues of the Israeli-Palestine conflict. One look at the Kushner-devised map of “the future state of Palestine” tells you all you need to know about this piece of dreck.
Besides ousting Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital (it would be consigned to a tiny village lying even outside East Jerusalem) and offering Israel (not the Jordanian waqf) sovereignty over the Haram al Sharif, it also proposes expelling Israeli Palestinian villages from Israel and transferring them to the new amalgam called a potential-maybe-future state. A neat bit of ethnic cleansing few are remarking.
In his speech today, Trump stuck his feet even deeper into dog-shit when he said that Muslims who wished to, would continue to be able to worship at the “al-Aqua mosque.”
Palestine could maybe perhaps become a state within four years if it agreed to being a eunuch state with no army and no militias. Disarm the PA, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and submit to the whims of the Israeli master. And statehood would be determined not by the U.S. or any legitimate outside body, but by Israel itself. It’s something like the fox telling the chicken she must live with the fox for four years and be a very good chicken and offer all her eggs to him. If she is, then the fox promises her freedom–if he hasn’t eaten her by then!
Imagine you were a Briton during the Battle of Britain and Hitler offered peace terms that involved British acceptance of annexation of half of England to the German Reich. Imagine you had to agree to disband your army and accept German troops policing your borders. Imagine hundreds of thousands of German settlers displacing native Britons in towns and villages up and down the Atlantic coast. Or alternatively, imagine you are an American after Pearl Harbor and Prime Minister Togo offers the U.S. peace terms which demand the annexation of the entire U.S. west coast to the empire of the Rising Sun. The terms would also involve disbanding the U.S. armed forces and permitting Japanese troops to police our borders.
What would you call this? Of course, you’d call it terms of surrender no matter how much Hitler or Togo refused to use those terms and called them a fairly negotiated peace agreement. In the normal course of warfare, there comes a time when one side may be vanquished and the other triumphant. In such circumstances, there may be an unconditional surrender, with the winner dictating terms to the loser. But besides the fact that such terms of humiliation usually lead to bitter enmity and further conflict down the road (i.e. World War II), the loser has to concede his loss.
No such thing has happened to the Palestinians. They are not vanquished no matter what disparagement Jared Kushner may offer them:
“It’s a big opportunity for the Palestinians. And they have a perfect track record of blowing every opportunity they’ve had in their past.” The senior White House adviser encouraged Palestinian leadership to agree to the deal and “do what’s best to try to make the Palestinian people’s lives better.”
“If they don’t, they’re going to screw up another opportunity, like they’ve screwed up every other opportunity that they’ve ever had in their existence,” he said.
The outrageous sense of entitlement of such a statement betrays the racism inherent in Kushner, Trump, and most Israelis’ views of Palestinians.
You’ll remember that Donald Trump similarly told Black voters during the 2016 campaign that they should vote for him: “What the hell do you have to lose?” The presumption of that statement, that African-Americans were utterly hopeless and bereft of agency and that Trump was somehow throwing them a life preserver, was mind-boggling at the time. And the presumption of the current deal, which makes the same assumption about Palestinians, is breathtaking. It assumes that they have no other choice. And that the only rational decision they could make is to accept these terms. It makes the assumption that eventually they will accept terms when there is no reason at all to believe so. The Deal of the Century is delusional and rooted in the stunted minds of bigots.
They betray absolute ignorance of the history of the region and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The motto of the Palestinian struggle is sumud, steadfastness. Staying true to the cause. Never giving up no matter what happens. There can be no such thing as resigning to one’s fate. The Palestinians can accept no other fate than one that recognizes their inalienable rights.
Approaching the deal as much of world media has done, analyzing the terms and their impact, is in many ways besides the point. Netanyahu and Trump want you to think this is a serious proposal to solve a major conflict. It isn’t. This is a shabby magic trick. As you watch the magician perform the trick you know there is some sleight of hand, but no matter how hard you try you can’t detect it. Well, a trained magician can tell.
So here’s how I dissect the Trick of the Century: both the U.S. and Israeli leaders face almost insurmountable scandals at home: Trump is facing impeachment and Netanyahu is facing both a criminal trial and election. This means that unveiling their plan had nothing to do with peace and everything to do with preserving their political rein. They each desperately need to change the narrative: to distract their respective publics from their corruption and criminality and focus on a major achievement about which they can boast.
It’s no accident that almost at the same moment the Israeli leader was captured beaming with Trump by the cameras of the media, the attorney general was filing an indictment on three counts of bribery and corruption. The trial might even begin before the March election. This takes Israeli politics into uncharted territory. An indicted PM has never run for a new term. Though the Blue and White opposition appears to be slightly ahead in most polls, Netanyahu is by no means out of the running. His political fate hangs by a thread. That’s why events like the World Holocaust Forum and today’s White House dog and pony show are so critical to him.
Though Netanyahu is much the smarter of the two, both are ultimate narcissists who see the world refracted through their own self-interest. Why else would Netanyahu, for example, agree to host a Holocaust remembrance designed to beatify Vladimir Putin as leader of a heroic nation that resisted the Nazis and liberated Auschwitz? This permits the memory of 6-million exterminated Jews to be defiled by tawdry political calculation. Both Putin and Netanyahu needed to be seen by their own population and the world as the center of such a gala commemoration. It suited their political interests perfectly.
Survivors? The dead? Not so much. You have only to look at the Auschwitz commemoration in Poland that followed the one in Jerusalem to see the difference. There 300 survivors were welcome and honored guests, whereas barely 80 seats and no speaking slots were offered to survivors in Jerusalem. Not that I’m defending the ruling party’s obdurate refusal to consider Polish culpability for the Holocaust.
The worst aspect of the Deal is its total obliviousness to the Israelis and Palestinians who will suffer the consequences of its failure. Though one could argue that no one except the delusional figures who negotiated this mess ever credited it with a chance of success; any attempt to put forward any solution invariably arouses resentment and bitterness when it fails. This only exacerbates the hopelessness on each side and escalates hostility. It promotes extremism on both sides and confirms that only a one-state solution remains viable.
After all, Netanyahu is preparing as early as Sunday to convene a cabinet meeting which would annex the Jordan Valley and 30% of Palestine. Once this is done, one-state becomes the only remaining option. Clearly there can never be a Palestinian state under this regime. Thus, the real battle must now be to accept that Palestine has essentially been annexed and absorbed and transform this single state into one for all its citizens offering full democratic rights to all regardless of religion or ethnicity.
The impact of the endorsement of Israeli rejectionism in this plan can be seen in a recent ISIS pronouncement: for the past few decades Islamists have focussed their energy within the Muslim world to remake it in their image. They have largely (though not wholly) eschewed targeting Jews or Israel as the enemy, because they had so many enemies to fight among the Muslim states. But ISIS this week announced a radical shift in strategy. Its new leadership has directly targeted Israel for attack. Even if there is an element of hyperbole and boasting as there is in these sorts of dramatic announcements, Israel must take notice of this break from past behavior.
Why is ISIS even able to take such a dramatic step in the evolution of its strategic goals? Why does such an announcement even resonate outside the narrow realm of the group’s depleted leadership? Because of Israeli rejectionism. Because Israel, contrary to Kushner’s insulting claims about the Palestinians, never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. The failure to resolve this conflict has been one of the single most destabilizing factors in the Middle East for decades. Islamists themselves also seek to destabilize the societies in which they operate. What better way to do this than to draw attention to one of the deepest resentments in the Arab-Muslim world: the plight of the Palestinians.
One of among many shocks of today’s circus was the presence of ambassadors from the UAE, Bahrain and Oman offering their blessing on the proceedings. Though they did not attend the ceremony, other Sunni states allied with Saudi Arabia including Egypt, (and even Qatar!) released statements of fulsome praise. They have done this because they’ve all determined that they have bigger fish to fry than Palestine. The Saudis, whose oil wealth dominates the region, have led them by the nose to perceive Iran as their greatest enemy. Israel, instead of being the single most powerful unifying force among the Arab states as a dire enemy, has become the exact opposite. It now has joined forces in a hostile campaign to force regime change on the Iranian people. This too is a deluded effort, much like the Deal of the Century.
The only positive element of such a radical turnaround is that it indicates that if a just peace was ever negotiated amongst the parties, they too could shift their hostilities and find common ground with former sworn enemies.
Flawed though it may be, the ‘Deal of the Century’ is not a ‘take it or leave’ proposal.
‘The Deal’, is an invitation to begin negotiations.
No one, not Kushner, not Trump, and not Netanyahu, believe that the Palestinians would or could accede to all of the proposals.
‘Meeting jaw to jaw is better than war’–Prime Minister Harold MacMillan.
The deal of the century is not a deal at all other than a deal to consummate Arab betrayal of the Palestinians and satisfy personal political needs..This reveal ironically happens on the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation and contemporary with Trump’s impeachment trial. It can also be seen as a further arm of Article One:Trump’s abuse of power for personal gain. It certainly is not in our national interest or in the interest of peace in the Middle East. The deal represents the US taking sides, against our aims, at least stated, against international law, if unilateral, and the Palestinian struggle for self determination. This is notable now because Palestinians were dispossessed to make room for the “remnants” of the Holocaust (as Howard Sachar put it in his powerful book ” Redemption of the Unwanted”). and pushing Israel to legitimate statehood (accepted by the victorious Western Powers, the United Nations).
Ironic that Palestinians are that people now- unwanted, betrayed, in diaspora. And it seems this plan is only for Trump-Netanyahu’s geopolitical personal needs: deflection from criminality, craven but successful distraction-pivot antagonizing the Iranians, fear-mongering.This fits nicely into Israel colluding with Arab Sunni forever war with the Shia/Persians. It fits Trump’s destruction of the Iran nuclear agreement. Trump joins, the puzzle piece fits in for his personal-political needs. Another instance of Trump taking US foreign policy with him.. because he can.. we’ve allowed it.
*Bernie Sanders seems to be standing alone in opposition on this one too it seems.
Dont even know where to begin. How about this:
“…and transferring them to the new amalgam called a potential-maybe-future state. A neat bit of ethnic cleansing few are remarking.”
And here you show your hysterical, tendentious and dishonest reporting. They are talking about transfer of sovereignty, not moving a single resident.
Ethnic cleansing is the systematic forced removal of ethnic, racial and/or religious groups from a given territory by a more powerful ethnic group, often with the intent of making it ethnically homogeneous.[page needed] The forces applied may be various forms of forced migration (deportation, population transfer), intimidation, as well as genocide and genocidal rape.
The Palestinians immediate rejection of the plan, in the context of their repeated previous rejection of better offers, shows their dysfunctional mentality. They would rather live in eternal abject misery than come to some resolution, even if not ideal from their perspective. The prefer the status quo forever, in some pipe dream hope of something better in a parallel universe a thousand years from now.
If you want to call it a surrender, go ahead.
The Arab countries are ready to move on, and the Palestinians better get with it, or they will be forgotten.
Which universe are you living in?
Richard Silverstein says
@ DrS: Ethnic cleansing is not confined to forced physical removal of populations. Removing the population of a region based on its ethnicity or religion from one jurisdiction to another without its approval–and without even the approval of the entity to which the expellees are being transferred, IS ETHNIC CLEANSING. Just because the form of ethnic cleansing is not enforced at the barrel of a gun does not preclude that it is still imposed by force. The purpose of the expulsion is to enforce ethnic homogeneity, just as the definition you quoted notes.
No, it shows the dysfunctional mentality of the two crooks who tried to foist this sham on the world. They pissed on the world and tried to make them think it was rain, to quote an old Yiddish proverb.
No, they would rather live as proud members of a sovereign Palestinian nation than be forced to beg for crumbs from Bibi’s table. As for the deal not being “ideal from their perspective”…Gee, dya think???
Not at all. They prefer freedom and they will get it. The status quo will not go on forever. They will gain their freedom just as scores of other subject, colonized peoples have done.
You mean the kleptocratic Sunni dynastic states are ready to move on. THat is by no means the whole of the Arab or Muslim world.
No one is forgetting the Palestinians. ANd they will ensure that you don’t forget them. The thousands of Israeli killed since 1948 and hundreds more who will be killed every time Israel starts a war on Gaza, Syria or Lebanon will keep them forever in you consciousness whether you will it or not.
The real world. Welcome to it. It’s not the Hasbaworld you live in. And it ain’t pretty. But the delusional reality you exist in will only get more of you killed. COntinue at your peril.
That’s so …. 20th Century!
Donald will stick to Facts on the Ground
Praise From Ally and Friend BoJo &PMQs
n. dayan says
Dear Mr. Richard, please forward me you address so i may send you some of my blood pressure lowering pills.
you’re almost having a conniption over nothing.this is hot air that will only exacerbate the climate change that does not exist according to trump and his coward sheeps.
just read the very first bibi’s declaration, PALESTINIANS MUST (AS THOUGH THEY DO OBEY BIBI) TAKE THE FIRST STEP . really, those same palestinians who noone invited or paid attention to when creating this (one more) peace pact. Those same palestinians that as a result of this must get the israeli teudat zehut so that they may vote for knesset because they are now part of ONE COUNTRY TWO PEOPLE.
never gonna happen, if bibi’s daddy was against anything palestinians, bibi is 100 times worse, so now in his nadir something palestinians MAY happen.
is there an israeli government in place to act upon this, is there even a palestinian government in place.
you must have read the local papers that are broadcasting that the settlers are against it cuz there goes the GREATER ISRAEL DREAM. this may undo part of the likud bloc of 5 .
nothing but intrusion in local election but not even that will help likud, they know they will lose AGAIN but this time bibi will not be able to demand to be first not in his name not in likud’s name.
so what are we talking about, the weinstein trial is more interesting or the undoing of McConnell and his witnesses are more interesting.
please see WHAT WILL ACTUALLY HAPPEN as opposed to MR DEAL deals. In effect he proclaims himself as MR DEAL. how many has he in effect produced that actually FULLY EXIST out of nothing previous. ZEEERO.
Dayan- perhaps some good points, but as with Ukraine having to investigate the Bidens, this is for show..about the announcement. And then- the machine than blames the Palestinians for rejecting yet another generous offer, kicks in.
Richard. what happened to my first post??
Link above will not open …
Can Israel legally implement the ‘Deal of the Century?’ | JPost |
Netanyahu said the cabinet will vote on annexing the West Bank at its next meeting. Cohen and Fuchs explain that there is no legal barrier to the Knesset passing such legislation, as long as there is broad agreement in its favor. “At least in theory, it is possible to carry out an annexation of territories.”
David Allon says
I just want to take up your mention of ethnic cleansing. Ethnic cleansing is removing people of a given ethnicity from an area. What the deal/trick proposes is to move an area with it’s people from Israeli rule to Palestinian rule. Not ethnic cleansing
Richard Silverstein says
@ David Allon:
Bullshit. When you strip an entire ethnic population in a particular geographical area of their nationality and transfer them against their will to a different jurisdiction, that is ethnic cleansing. This is especially true because there is no real jurisdiction to transfer them to. THere is no Palestinian state. So you’re stripping them of Israeli citizenship and offering them some vague status in a non-state called the Palestinian Authority. Not only don’t the residents of these Israeli villages want to lose their Israeli citizenship, the PA itself will refuse to accept them as falling under its jurisdiction. This is a hoax. I call it ethnic cleansing. You can call it whatever the hell you want.
You broaden the term ethnic cleansing far beyond its meaning.
If transferring sovereignty can be considered ethnic cleansing, so is forcing Israelis to give up israel and receive a new citizenship of the one-state state that you preach for.
Ethnic cleansing, apartheid, colonialism, anti-Israelis adapt all kind of terminology and misuse it to blackwash israel.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Dani: Your comment is nonsense. If Israel became a true democracy instead of what it is now, an ethnocracy offering superior rights to Jews and inferior rights to non-Jews, then it would remain the same state essentially. Internally, its system of government would change. But no one would be transferred to another country entirely. Just the way East and West Germany merged and became Germany. Similar to how the Soviet Union transformed into multiple separate states. No one was ethnically cleansed.
Further, Israel is a nation conceived in sin, the sin of Nakba and ethnic cleansing. So the idea that Israeli Jews who benefited from these injustices for 70 years should object when their nation becomes truly democratic and adheres for the first time to its Declaration of Independence–well, that’s laughable.
You can be a theocracy in which religion rules and determines superior rights; or you can be a democracy in which every citizen enjoys the same basic rights. You can’t be both. So quit the charade and concede you are not now and will never be a democracy; concede you are an apartheid state. At least be honest. Kahane was an outright villain. But at least he was honest in rejecting democracy and celebrating the theocratic JUdeo-state.
nessim dayan says
as the intercept puts it : Trump and Netanyahu Dictate Terms of Palestinian Surrender to Israel and Call It Peace