President Donald Trump stands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he arrives at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, May 22, 2017, for his first official visit to Israel as president. (photo: Hadas Parush / Flash90)
Both Trump and Netanyahu want to secure their rule by attacking liberal, democratic forces. But in order to do so, they need two things: a wall and the promise of eternal war.
By Alon Mizrahi | +972 Blog | Feb 5, 2018
Physical segregation, which creates psychological separation, allows for the existence of a project of scaremongering and the enlistment of nationalists that feed the second project necessary for any fascist regime: eternal war.
“George Soros is funding the campaign against deporting infiltrators. . . . Obama deported two million infiltrators and they didn’t say anything.”
These remarks were made by Prime Minister Netanyahu during the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, according to a report by Channel 10. The prime minister’s choice of words is confusing, perhaps deliberately: is he referring to deporting foreigners in Israel or the U.S.? If it is the former, why bother mentioning Obama? And if he’s speaking about America, why is he calling Dreamers, as they are known there, “infiltrators?”
The confusion is deliberate. The actions and goals of the Trump administration are identical to those of Netanyahu. Both leaders try to sell the idea that the world is a jungle, the notion of a dichotomous division between the good guys and the bad guys, and the image of “us” as “good” — as god-like. In both camps, the Bible, money, and advanced technology are viewed as both proof of and ethno-cultural justification for moral, genetic, eternal supremacy.
Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian Authority’s Ambassador in Washington, Dec 2017. (photo: Andrew Harnik / AP)
An interview with Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian Authority ambassador to Washington.
By Robin Wright | The New Yorker | Jan 21, 2018
“You didn’t take Jerusalem off the table. You took the table altogether.”
Husam Zomlot is the Palestinian front man in Washington. Born in a Gaza refugee camp, he has a doctorate in economics from the University of London and was a research fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center. Now in his mid-forties, he represents a new generation of Palestinian politicians.
Last spring, he arrived in the United States on a wave of optimism that President Trump would reinvigorate peace negotiations, led by his adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Zomlot had unusual diplomatic access to Kushner and others in the White House.
But relations between the United States and the Palestinian Authority plummeted to their lowest point in a quarter century — since the historic Oslo Accord, in 1993 — after Trump’s decision, on December 6th, to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. Embassy there.
The announcement enraged the octogenarian Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, who declared that Washington was no longer an honest broker of peace. Abbas is refusing to see Vice-President Mike Pence during his visit to Israel on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.
On the eve of Pence’s trip, Zomlot reflected on the state of diplomacy. The interview has been edited and condensed for length.
Vice President Pence in Cairo, Jan 20, 2018. (photo: Getty Images)
Pence announces plans to accelerate the move in a speech to the Israeli Knesset.
By Oliver Holmes | The Guardian | Jan 22, 2018
Q&A: What will US recognition of Jerusalem mean for the peace process?
The peace process has been at death’s door since the former secretary of state John Kerry’s peace mission ended in failure in 2014. But the international community — apart from the US — is united in saying recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is disastrous for any hopes of reviving meaningful talks. The status of Jerusalem is one of the pivotal issues that diplomats and peacemakers have said must be agreed between the two parties in negotiations.
Palestinians will see Trump’s announcement as the end of their hopes and demands for East Jerusalem as a capital of a future independent state. While few want a return to violence, many will feel diplomatic efforts have got them no closer to a state of their own.
The Israeli government will be thrilled. Ever since it captured (and later annexed) East Jerusalem in the 1967 six-day war, Israel has claimed the city as its “eternal and undivided” capital, and has longed for international recognition. Some 200,000 Israelis living in illegal settlements will also celebrate.
The US will open its embassy in Jerusalem by the end of 2019, ahead of schedule, the vice-president, Mike Pence, has said. Arab-Israeli politicians were ejected from the Knesset at the start of Pence’s speech for heckling.
“In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the US embassy in Jerusalem – and that United States embassy will open before the end of next year,” he said in a speech to roaring applause in the Israeli Knesset.
Speaking during a two-day visit, Pence said Donald Trump had “righted a 70-year wrong” by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Vice President Mike Pence, left, had a “very frank discussion” with King Abdullah II of Jordan, right, in Amman on Sunday. (photo: Khalil Mazraawi / AFP / Getty Images)
Pence had delayed his trip to the region amid the furor over Trump’s decisions, which were seen as pro-Israel and a slap in the face to Palestinians.
By Rana Sweis | The New York Times | Jan 21, 2018
“Trump and Israel want to end the Palestinian cause; they want to erase the idea of Palestinian refugees. They want to pressure Jordan, the Palestinians and others to give into the demands of an imaginary peace process that benefits only Israel, and that is unacceptable.”
— Abdul Rahman Qanas, 52, a resident of the Baqaa, the largest refugee camp in Jordan
Vice President Mike Pence met with King Abdullah II of Jordan on Sunday, telling reporters afterward that they had “agreed to disagree” on the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The meeting in Amman, on the second day of Mr. Pence’s visit to the Middle East, came as tension has increased between the two allies over President Trump’s decision on Jerusalem last month and his decision last week to withhold aid to the United Nations agency that serves Palestinian refugees.
Speaking before the meeting with Mr. Pence at Al Husseiniya Palace in Amman, King Abdullah reiterated his support for “East Jerusalem as a capital of an independent Palestinian state living side by side with a secure and recognized Israel,” Petra, Jordan’s official news agency, reported.
Jordan is also home to more than two million Palestinian refugees who could be affected by the cut in American aid to the United Nations agency.
Mr. Pence said the two leaders had a “very frank discussion.”
Mike Pence, an evangelical Christian, has visited Israel four times before and pushed for Trump’s inflammatory policies in the Middle East. (photo: Alex Brandon / AP)
Under Trump, relations between the Palestinian leadership and Washington have soured – and Pence’s trip is expected to confirm the enmity.
By Oliver Holmes | The Guardian | Jan 20, 2018
Trump has said he wants to revitalize long-stalled peace talks in pursuit of what he has described as the “ultimate deal.” Yet when Pence touches down in Tel Aviv on Sunday evening, the US’s role as mediator in the conflict may be over for good.
It’s not the trip to the Holy Land that Mike Pence might have imagined. For a start, the US vice-president — an evangelical Christian — is no longer welcome in Jesus’s birthplace of Bethlehem.
Donald Trump doomed Pence’s chances of a visit to the West Bank when he reversed decades of US policy last month by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. This broke a longstanding international consensus that the issue would be negotiated in peace talks with the Palestinians, who also claim parts of the city.
While Trump did not rule out a future division of Jerusalem, the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, swiftly rescinded Pence’s invitation to meet him and visit Bethlehem, while senior Christian clerics in Egypt — where Pence arrives on Saturday at the start of his four-day trip — also cancelled planned events.
UNRWA supports about 5 million Palestinians. (photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters)
Belgium is the first to step up after refugee agency pleas for additional donors.
By Al Jazeera News | Jan 18, 2018
“For a lot of Palestinian refugees the UNRWA is the last life buoy. With the help of UNRWA half a million of Palestine children are able to go to school. This prevents them from falling prey to radicalization and extreme violence.”
—Alexander De Croo, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister
Belgium has pledged to donate 19m euro ($23m) to UNRWA, the UN’s aid organization for Palestinian refugees, after the US government announced it would slash its funding to the agency by half.
Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said in a statement on Wednesday that Brussels would allocate the funds over three years.
The first annual payment is being disbursed immediately “considering the financial difficulties that UNRWA currently faces,” the statement said.
Washington announced on Tuesday it is withholding $65m out of the $125m aid package earmarked for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, or UNRWA.
Palestinians hold signs during a protest against aid cut, outside United Nations’ offices in Gaza City. (photo: Reuters)
UNRWA issues a broad appeal in the wake of the Trump administration’s aid cut.
By Reuters via New York Post | Jan 17, 2018
“At stake is the dignity and human security of millions of Palestine refugees, in need of emergency food assistance and other support in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The reduced contribution also impacts regional security at a time when the Middle East faces multiple risks and threats, notably that of further radicalization.”
— Pierre Krähenbühl, UNRWA Commissioner-General
The head of the UN agency that provides aid to Palestinian refugees appealed on Wednesday for world donations after the United States withheld about half its planned funding for the organization, a move he said risks instability in the region.
Washington said on Tuesday it would provide $60 million to the UN Relief and Welfare Agency while keeping back a further $65 million for now. The US State Department said UNRWA needed to make unspecified reforms.
Palestinians, already angered by US President Donald Trump’s Dec 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, denounced the decision, which could deepen hardship in the Gaza Strip where UNRWA helps much of its population of 2 million.