The goal of Israel and the US is not to end the occupation or secure equal rights for all citizens of a single democratic state. Their preferred option is apartheid.
By Saeb Erekat | Project Syndicate | Feb 12, 2019
The US and Israeli governments may truly believe they are fulfilling a divine prophecy by denying the Palestinian people their rights, or they may merely be appeasing the extremists among their electorates. Either way, they fail to address what the endgame looks like, perhaps because they know the world will not accept it.
Since December 6, 2017, US President Donald Trump’s administration has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, closed the Palestinian mission in Washington, DC, moved the US embassy to Jerusalem, and defunded humanitarian support provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA), among other steps. And yet we Palestinians are hounded by claims that the US really wants to pursue peace and that somehow the only problem has been our reluctance.
Nobody can claim that we did not engage Trump’s administration. We held almost 40 meetings during 2017, answered all questions, and put forward our vision of peace based on the two-state solution. But the US envoys always refused to engage in matters of substance. In fact, on the eve of a visit by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Washington, the Trump administration broke its commitment not to take unilateral steps and announced the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Whatever the reason — ideological bias, lack of diplomatic experience, or both — the Trump team ended up destroying any prospects for the US to play a positive peace-making role.
People such as Vice President Mike Pence, Ambassador David Friedman, envoy Jason Greenblatt, and Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, are ideologically committed to Israel’s colonial-settlement enterprise. Judging by Pence’s address to the Israeli Knesset last year, one could assume that Israel has a “divine mandate” to violate Palestinian rights. By taking such positions, the Trump administration has brought about one main outcome over the past two years: strengthening extremists in our region.