I wrote several articles in Al-Quds about American policy before President Donald Trump’s visit to our sacred lands, which was tourism par excellence and had no significant political dimension, although some pinned great hopes to the visit. They were, and are, hoping that Trump’s policy on Palestine will change, highlighting President Mahmoud Abbas’ visit to Washington and knowing that Washington’s policy has significantly reversed from our expectations after the historic Oslo Accords, the essential provisions of which the occupiers, i.e., the Israelis, only implement when it fits their interests, like the security arrangement, which is now a thing of the past.
Every morning the occupation, i.e., the Israeli occupation, surprises us with new decrees that make it impossible to coexist with this radical, right-wing government because of its positions and its practices, particularly with respect to the violation of sacred places. The last of these decrees permits the ministers of the occupation and members of the Knesset to enter al-Aqsa Mosque, and legitimizes daily Israeli incursions. All Muslims consider this a desecration of one of the most important Islamic sites. After that, the Netanyahu government undertook the operation at Bab al-Asbat as a pretext for closing al-Aqsa to worshippers, storming the mosque, searching its courtyards, buildings and confiscating papers and historic documents. This was accompanied by new procedures, the most important of which are the detention of al-Aqsa guards, the placement of metal detectors at the mosque’s entrance, among other procedures, all of which constitutes prejudice toward Muslims and against the principle of freedom of worship, as they violated the sanctity of al-Aqsa.
With these actions, Netanyahu might have canceled the one-sided agreement signed with Jordan.
After the signing of the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian people believed that the agreement was going to end the occupation in 1998, because the Oslo Accords, signed in the White House, set five years for the occupation to end. However, unfortunately, neither America nor Israel respected the agreement they signed.
After the end of President Bill Clinton’s term, Republican George W. Bush took office, and then Barack Obama, who promised us in his famous Cairo speech that independence was at the doorstep. However, he wrote off everything he promised the Palestinian people. Now, we are living with Trump, who is drowning in the Israeli swamp, and who appointed the majority of his advisers from among the Jewish lobbies that support occupation and settlement.
After Trump’s visit to Riyadh, his meeting with Gulf state leaders and then his meeting with leaders of Muslim-majority nations, some thought there could be an American breakthrough, suggesting that now the new administration would be able to pressure the party uninterested in any international decision—Israel. However, President Trump left just as he came, treating the visit as nothing but a busy political greeting from us.
Three weeks after this visit, Trump sent his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who met with Netanyahu. Trump dictated to Kushner all of the occupier’s new demands so Kushner could pass them along to the Palestinian side. The demands have nothing to do with the underlying issues, which generates discontent on the Palestinian side absent a real peace initiative with an occupier who knows nothing of peace. Instead, Netanyahu began focusing on the subject of cutting off stipends for the families of martyrs and prisoners, as if the freedom fighters were bandits or criminals.
Then, Kushner met with President Mahmoud Abbas without any mention from the American administration of beginning serious talks to end the occupation. And so, Kushner did not notify the Palestinian Authority of any agenda that the new administration wants to implement for starting these talks. Instead, he dictated to us what Netanyahu wants, meaning the agreement to cut off financial support for the families of martyrs and prisoners, as well as the occupier’s broken record about “Palestinian incitement.” Then Kushner returned to Washington. This prompted the occupier to indulge in its provocative policies, like the daily land confiscations, the agreement to build more armed settlements in the West Bank, and authorization by ministers and members of the Knesset to make repeated incursions into the al-Aqsa Mosque. This is an indication of the new administration’s folly and its ignorance of our sacred cause.
In light of the challenges the occupation is imposing as well as America’s bias for Israel, it is necessary for the leadership in Gaza and the leadership in the West Bank to compromise in order to end this abhorrent division and set a defined Palestinian policy for achieving the legitimate goals of our people. Neither America nor Europe nor Russia can come up with realistic solutions for ending this crisis, the impact of which has become a global crisis.
We are in no way objecting to the presence of Jews among American representatives, however it is necessary for them to respect the legitimate rights of our people, as well as international law and international resolutions connected to the Palestinian issue, as did Bernie Sanders, one of the Democratic candidates in the last presidential election.
The Palestinian people can no longer fall for repetitive statements like those about a commitment to the peace process, or for meetings and in-depth communications with an American intermediary, whose efforts have produced no tangible results on the ground, other than Israeli escalation and American silence.
There can be no doubt that the Palestinian people value what the Palestinian Authority has done and is doing to affirm Palestinian rights, especially the right of our people to establish their own state on their own land, as well as all it has done to erect the framework of a future state. Unfortunately, however, it cannot force the occupier to agree to and abide by any of the international laws and resolutions that the Americans and the occupiers have signed.
We are still working with an American intermediary who lacks the courage to speak the truth for fear of the Zionist lobby “boogeyman” in Washington. Take Congress, for example, which tramples the Constitution while boasting it is the protector of democracy and human rights.
We accepted the existence of an Israeli state on historically Palestinian land in a major, painful concession. We recognized this country in exchange for its recognition of our national rights in order to spread peace, not only in Palestine, but throughout the Arab world. With this peace, we are condemning all of the terrorist organizations that use terrorism as a pretext for the Palestinian cause.
Some believed that Trump delayed proposing his magical solution to our intractable problem because he wants its implementation guaranteed in exchange. Then, suddenly we’re surprised to find out that the magical solution he promised us begins by condemning our just cause and turning our martyrs and prisoners into criminals.
Trump’s failure to declare his support for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state along the 1967 borders reinforces our doubts about what is really lurking under the surface. Perhaps he’s writing off the Palestinian state and planning to annex the remains of the West Bank to Jordan and Gaza to Egypt in exchange for unlimited spending to house the refugees. Of course, this will not happen, because no Palestinian leader will accept it, nor will our people, nor our Jordanian brother, nor our Egyptian sister.
The Palestinian Authority has been patient with Israeli practices, believing that the new administration must realize and understand that the occupier is at fault, and that it cannot adopt their demands and convey them through its Israeli-biased envoys.
All previous American presidents, including the ultra pro-Israeli occupation Republicans, said that all the settlements that were built on lands which were occupied in 1967 are not legitimate. None of these presidents was able to pressure the occupier into serious talks to end this occupation which has lasted 50 years.
It is possible to end the occupation, but only if America actually wishes to solve the Palestinian issue and participate in solving all the security issues around the world. If future American administrations remain prisoners of the Zionist lobby, the Palestinian Authority must withdraw its recognition of Israel and call on the international community to take responsibility.
We are saying to the occupier that the time has come to stop shedding Israeli and Palestinian blood. The time has come to sit down and end the tragedy of continued occupation.
We have said and continue to say that the Israeli side cannot eliminate the Palestinian side. Likewise, the Palestinian side cannot wipe the Israeli side off the map. There is no need to prolong a disastrous crisis that does not serve the interests of either side.