By Syed Zubair Ahmed
February 11, 2020
US President Donald Trump has unveiled his latest Middle East peace plan, to keep Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the Jewish state of Israel. His proposal came out with the establishment of a separate and independent Palestinian state, and recognition of Israeli sovereignty over West Bank settlements and the Gaza Strip.
Trump’s peace plan is labeled as the ‘Deal of the Century’ and Israel has expounded what it wants to be the next step. It chooses “conditional, limited sovereignty” for the Palestinians. It’s clear now that the deal of the century is specifically packaged for Israel. It features a new roadmap of what Israel’s new borders will look like based on a specific territory. President Trump declared the occasion as a historic, bold, generous, and selfless attempt to bring peace in the Middle East.
The blueprint is veiled in secrecy, and a roadmap for permanent Palestinian subjugation and apartheid is prepared under the stewardship of Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President Trump. The plan has a loud claim to resolve one of the longest ongoing conflicts the world has ever seen.
The plan effectively gave US endorsement to Israel’s maximalist position on the lines of the 1967 war. It bestows not only complete control but also comprehensive annexation of the Jordan Valley, integrating all of the settlement blocs of the West Bank, and all part of Jerusalem to Israel.
Palestinians across the political spectrum have strongly denounced the plan, expressed their disappointment, and said the proposal would give Israel most of what it has sought. Fakhry Abu Diab, a Palestinian activist in East Jerusalem, in an interview with Al Jazeera, said: “It is obvious that Trump is trying to repeat history by establishing a new Balfour Declaration”.
The Six-Day War, or 1967 Arab-Israeli War was when the Israelis launched a ground offensive and conquered what was left of Palestine, the West Bank, and the Gaza. The territories seized by Israel in the 1967 war are in direct contravention of international law. There is a shocking truth behind the story, at the height of the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War, the Israeli Air Force jet fighter aircraft launched on 8 June 1967, the worst attack in history against a non-combatant US naval spy vessel – the USS Liberty, the joint operation of air and sea attack killed 34 American servicemen, and wounded 171 crew members. Though the vessel did not sink, the Liberty was severely damaged. The ship was monitoring the conflict from the international waters in the Mediterranean. Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and annexed the Golan Heights in 1981. It has virtually turned the West Bank and Gaza into open-air prisons controlling all entrances and exits and invading as and when they decide to do. Every day Israeli soldiers invade Palestinian villages, beat and abduct Palestinians including children, and destroy Palestinian property. Israel has practically blockaded Gaza for 13 years causing widespread malnutrition, huge unemployment, and relentless harassment. 70 percent of Gazan families are refugees pushed out by Israel in 1948, their ancestral homes and land forcibly snatched by the new Jewish state.
In 1896, Theodore Herzl, born as German, was the first Zionist leader to have outlined his vision for a Jewish state in Palestine, and a homeland for the Jewish people in his renowned book, ‘Der Judenstaat’ (The State of the Jews).
The Balfour Declaration was the first step towards the achievement of the objective of political Zionism as outlined by the First Zionist Congress in its meeting at Basle, Switzerland in 1897, “Zionism seeks to establish a home for the Jewish people in Palestine secured under public law.”
This unique phenomenon was well explained by the British Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann by saying, “There is a British proverb about the camel and the tent, “At first the camel sticks one leg in the tent, and eventually it slips into it. This ought to be our policy.” Hence, ultimately it became reality.
On November 2, 1917, almost a century ago, Arthur James Balfour, the British foreign secretary, conveyed his pledge in a public letter to a discernible British Zionist, Lord Walter Rothschild, the favour for establishing a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. The public pledge is commonly identified as The Balfour Declaration by the then the Allied powers comprising Britain, France, Belgium, Russia, Italy, and later the United States of America. By the end of World War I (1914-1919), the kingdom of Great Britain was the most powerful empire and world’s strongest maritime power. The Allied powers were engaged in a devastating war with the Central Powers consisting of the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Bulgaria.
The United States is by far the biggest contributor of aid to the state of Israel. The Jewish lobby has already procured the largest aid package in US history, 38 billion dollars of US tax money to Israel over 10 years, which works out to over 10 million dollars per day. Israel has always managed to skew US foreign policy in its favour. It was predictable that the lobby would attempt to procure a deeply unfair pro-Israel plan. Regretfully, the so-called plan would not bring peace and tranquillity to the region. Violence can breed injustice, and certainly, enough has not been done to prevent injustice. If injustice prevails, it never ends violence. Ironically, the recent Israeli atrocities in the Palestinian territories are not even reported in the US media. Israel has been exerting the full spectrum dominance over the United States, and the dominance can be obviated when the Israel lobby is removed from influencing the US policies. Thereafter, it can be expected to see a plan that has a chance of ensuring peace. Until then we will continue to see the violence, tragedy, and oppression that has adversely marred the region for over 70 years. The time has come to stop the US initiative on the behest of Israel. It raises the spectre of more bloodshed and gory violence across the region.
Syed Zubair Ahmed is a freelancer
Original Headline: The deal of the century — the devil is in the detail
Source: The Daily Times, Pakistan