Opinion |

Trying, Failing to Buy Off Palestinians

The Palestinians don't have much sway over the Americans, and still, despite the tremendous suffering caused them due to the occupation, they’re winning big

Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat
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Senior Advisor Jared Kushner and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt returned to Israel and met today with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem, June 22, 2018.
American and Israeli official at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem, June 22, 2018Credit: Matti Stern / The US Embassy in Jerusalem
Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat

The Palestinians don’t have nuclear warheads hidden under the floor tiles. Nor do they have tank divisions scattered in the courtyards of the Shoafat refugee camp. Worse, they don’t have a prince married to the daughter of the U.S. president – like their brothers the Jews have.

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Nor do they have a U.S. ambassador of Palestinian descent in Ramallah; they don’t have a U.S. ambassador at all. And the U.S. envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, is not Palestinian, either.

Furthermore, they don’t have a Palestinian ambassador in the United States – an activist like Ron Dermer to organize an impressive show for the chairman of the Palestinian Authority in Congress, despite the objections of U.S. President Donald Trump.

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The Palestinians have none of these things, and still, despite the tremendous suffering caused them due to the occupation, they’re winning big.

These words are written in light of the resounding failure of Jared Kushner, who brought the curse of the “ultimate deal,” which is composed of two elements: absolute power and lots of money. It may even turn out that these are no more than numbers on paper, and if some of the monetary plans are implemented, the money will flow into the pockets of the machers. But what’s worst of all is that the U.S. administration is trying to cause the Jews to be seen by the world as Shylock. With money you can buy anything, even the fates of nations.

What’s absurd is that the deal leaves the occupation alive and kicking, and when the high-ranking guests from Washington return to their spacious homes, after implementation of the deal, God forbid, the Palestinians will continue to request travel permits and to encounter the same checkpoints. Kushner believes that for the Palestinians, a change in the packaging is enough to change the content. Stamp everything with the Badatz seal of approval and everything is kosher.

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is more the chairman of the prisoners’ committee than the chairman of the PA, and whose movements are dictated by Israel, said “no,” and everything collapsed. The collapse was so total that the leaders of Arab countries (according to Haaretz’s Jack Khoury last week) begged the Americans not even to publicize their plan, so that their regimes, which are shaky in any case, won’t be destabilized, God forbid. Apparently none of the leaders of Arab countries in the U.S. sphere of influence was able to force the hand of the Palestinian prisoners of freedom in the West Bank and Gaza.

Now it’s becoming clear that the plan was designed not only to sink Palestinian interests, but also to impose the total cost on Arab states. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, which channel hundreds of billions to America, are also supposed to pay the cost of the destruction that Israel is causing the Palestinians. Even worse, Egypt is supposed to allocate land from Sinai to improve the economic situation of Gazans – at a time when in Egypt the storm aroused by the transfer of the islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia has yet to die down.

According to Egyptian sources, the U.S. plan would lead to the transfer of four square kilometers of the territorial waters of the Tiran Straits to international ownership, which would enable Israel to carry out plans leading to a reduction of the revenues from the Suez Canal.

And so we can learn about another side of the deal: The dignitaries who for the past year have been engaged in preparing it have no compassion for their Egyptian and Saudi friends. There is no respect for Arab public opinion. There is only respect for Jews in the world, and not for all of them. The main thing is that MK Bezalel Smotrich of Habayit Hayehudi will be pleased, although everyone knows that it’s hard to satisfy the hunger of the group Smotrich represents.

And so the strength of the Palestinians stems only from the justice of their struggle, which is recruiting the world, in other words the world of the ordinary people, to their side. Actually what happened is cause for a great deal of optimism. Yes, it’s possible to bring down the arrogant and bombastic building of U.S. President Donald Trump, with determination and steadfastness; and by sticking a middle finger into this overblown balloon, one can remove all the air from it.

Palestinians’ strength stems only from justice, which is recruiting the world – the world of ordinary people – to their side.

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