What Comes After Bahrain?

6 Jul

Is there an ‘After’ After the Kushner show in Bahrain?

 

 

[Prefatory Note: The interview below was published by Tasmin New Agency on July 2, 2019, conducted by Mohammad Hassani. The text below has been somewhat modified.]

Q1: Bahrain hosted the so-called “Peace to Prosperity” conference to discuss what the US has described as the economic part of President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century”, a plan which aims to consign the Palestinian cause to oblivion. The Palestinian leadership boycotted the meeting on June 25 and 26 in Manama, leading critics to question the credibility of the event. In your opinion, what goals are the US and Israel pursuing by holding the conference? Would they reach their goals?

 

The ‘workshop’ in Bahrain should never have been evaluated without considering the overall approach taken by the Trump presidency to Israel and Palestine. The relationship to Israel pre-Trump had been one of leaning toward Israel while purporting to be ‘an honest broker,’ a thinly disguised partisanship. Since Trump became president the U.S. has dispensed with thin disguise, and become the avowed

partner of Israel and adversary of Palestinian goals. It manifested this shift in several concrete unprovoked policy shifts that were deliberately punitive toward the Palestinians. Such behavior was a strange prelude to a proclaimed ‘diplomatic’ initiative hyperbolically called ‘the deal of the century.’ Washington’s behavior clearly signaled an end to diplomacy based on agreement and consent of the parties, substituting coercion on behalf of the favored party and seeking submission by its adversary.

 

From such a perspective it should be understood that the purpose of ‘Peace to Prosperity’ is neither peace nor prosperity, but securing an Israeli ‘victory’ and a Palestinian surrender with respect to the political agenda of achieving basic national rights, especially the right of self-determination. Thus, the Manama meeting is a success to the extent it made the proposed bargain of economic normalization in exchange for political defeat seem of material benefit to the governments of the region and had some attraction for the Palestinian Authority and segments of the Palestinian people. The reactions to the event seem very subdued suggesting that the Kushner/Trump initiative has had very little, if any, political impact so far. The secondary objective is one of public relations, being able to blame the anticipated failure to achieve ‘the deal of the century’ on the Palestinians. I fear the Western mainstream media will lend some support to this outrageous claim, which confuses the rejection of American ultimatum, preceded by a series of pro-Israel policy moves (Jerusalem, settlements, UNRWA funding, closing the PLO information office Washington, endorsing Golan and West Bank annexations) hostile to the Palestinians as signaling this Trump shift from pro-Israeli partisanship of the Obama era to pro-Israeli coercive diplomacy currently practices by Washington.

 

Against this background, it is disingenuous for Israeli apologists such as Dershowitz and others to urge the Palestinians to listen with an open mind to what the Trump ‘peace initiative’ is proposing. To lend legitimacy to such coercive diplomacy would be a sign of weakness and an expression of illegitimacy by representatives of the Palestinian people. It would have been seen as an expression of Palestinian hopelessness. Instead, if their refusal to participate in such a macabre charade is linked to the resistance struggle in Gaza embodied in the Great March of Return, it is a moment for those of us in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle to lend greater support to nonviolent initiatives, including the BDS campaign.

Q2: Some analysts say that the Trump administration’s focus on an economic plan, led by his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, is a strategic mistake that could stymie the peace negotiations even before they begin. What is your assessment of the US approach to the conflict and the future of the plan? Is it practical at all?

 

The Trump/Kushner ‘plan’ is not looking toward genuine diplomatic negotiations. It is trying to impose a one-sided Israeli victory, and treat the conflict as resolved. This overlooks the robustness of Palestinian resistance, dramatized by the Great March of Return in Gaza, and by the growing global solidarity movement, as featuring the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) Campaign. It should be appreciated that such a campaign managed over time delegitimized South Africa’s apartheid regime to such an extent that it collapsed. Such a soft power Palestinian victory can still be expected if this combination of resistance, solidarity, and patience persist in a manner that imposes sufficient costs on Israel for its reliance on an apartheid structure to achieve its ‘security’ at the expense of Palestinian basic rights. The hope of most activists is that Israeli leaders and citizens will recalculate their interests so as to accept a political compromise based on the equality of rights of the two peoples coexisting with mutual respect in historic Palestine. Remember that all of the anti-colonial victories of the 20th century were achieved by the weakerside militarily and geopolitically.

Q3: Israeli occupation forces have killed 84 Palestinians during the first half of 2019, including eight women and 19 children, according to local media reports. On Friday, Israeli forces once again opened fire on Palestinians taking part in the peaceful “Great March of Return” protests, along the separation fence between the besieged Gaza Strip and occupied territories. According to media reports, more than 270 people, including 52 children, have been killed since the demonstrations began in March 2018. Most of the dead and the thousands wounded were unarmed civilians against whom Israel was using excessive force. Why has the international community, particularly the Western mainstream media, made a muted response to the Tel Aviv regime’s crimes against Palestinians so far?

Israel reliance on excessive force and collective punishment to deal with the Great March of Return, and its grievances and lawful demands, should be treated as violations of international humanitarian law of a severity that amounts to crimes against humanity. It is a shocking reflection of media bias that it accords massive attention to human rights violations in Turkey of a relatively lesser character, while ignoring and even rationalizing much more serious violations by Israel. Although Western liberals have counseled Palestinians to rely on nonviolence in their opposition to Israel, such reliance as in the Great March has been consistently met with brutal force by Israel and by virtual silence in the world media, by the governments of the world, and even by the United Nations. It is a case of geopolitics eclipsing moral and legal accountability exposing the lack of political

will to protect the innocent and vulnerable from abuse by the vindictive and militarily powerful.

 

The growing movement of global solidarity as reinforced by Palestinian acts of resistance to apartheid structures of oppression is the sole basis for a peaceful future for both peoples, Palestinians and Israeli Jews.

 

 

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10 Responses to “What Comes After Bahrain?”

  1. Gene Schulman July 6, 2019 at 3:18 am #

    Richard,

    This is an excellent analysis of a disgusting situation. In my estimation, nothing looking anything like peace in the area will come to pass until the US finally decides to terminate its favoritism toward Israel. That is highly unlikely until the masses finally wake up and decide on peaceful revolution. Not in our lifetime!

  2. Beau Oolayforos July 6, 2019 at 4:26 pm #

    Dear Professor Falk,

    ‘Macabre charade’, indeed. Jared is still the dull little punk whose ex-con dad had to bribe into Harvard. The Palestinians really should listen, says Dershowittz, to a guy who once reserved some of his real estate units “for Orthodox Jews only”. Among the Israeli crimes you mention here, you omit that grand day when, amid much reactionary fanfare, the US embassy moved to Jerusalem, even as Gazans were being slaughtered at the fence…Listen to us! We have the Deal of the Century for You!!

  3. ray032 July 7, 2019 at 2:02 pm #

    Richard, I thank God you are still a very strong voice crying in the Wilderness.

    I just read this excellent article by another admirer of your courage, strength and steadfastness continuing the struggle for Justice in Palestine in the face of dishonest, corrupted opposition.

    ‘The (Continuing) Vilification of Richard Falk’
    https://ahtribune.com/world/asia-pacific/3289-vilification-of-richard-falk.html

    • Richard Falk July 8, 2019 at 7:00 am #

      Thanks so much, Ray. Your affirming and supportive words keep believing that I have no choice but to continue working for what
      we both believe is right.

      With greetings from Perth,

      Richard

  4. Mike 71 July 10, 2019 at 6:18 pm #

    What comes after Bahrain? Absolutely nothing! In boycotting “Peace to Prosperity” after rejecting the “Deal of the Century (sight unseen),” given the pace of negotiations, Palestinian leaders ensure that they will remain isolated, impoverished and stateless for at least another quarter century, if not more. Why is it a crime for Zionists to have self-determination (Statehood and U.N. Membership recognized in 1949), while Palestinians have rejected the same option for over 7 decades? In their demand for a “single-state solution,” they have painted themselves into a corner, from which it is impossible to extricate themselves, and under the “law of unintended consequences,” made Israel the “one democratic state” at the Palestinians’ own expense. There is no historic Palestine, a fictional entity, only the reality of Israel, the ancestral home of the Jewish people for over 4,000 years.

    In an “Orwellian Inversion (war is peace, poverty is plenty and ignorance is strength),” Palestinians seek to impose a 20% minority “Arab Supremacist Apartheid Regime” over a 75% majority Jewish Israeli population. How that would differ from the former “Apartheid” South Africa, once ruled by a 10% minority “White Supremacist Apartheid Regime” over a 90% majority Black and Mixed Race African population, they refuse to explain! Just as South Africans are entitled to democratic majority rule in their nation, Israelis are entitled to the same in their nation!

    In answer to the first question, the objective of the Bahrain Conference was to improve the economic life of Palestinians, based on the Post World War II Marshall Plan. Gulf Cooperation Council members see “Peace to Prosperity ” as an opportunity to “normalize” an alliance against a common enemy, Iran, as well as a regional trade bloc, which now exists largely “under the table.” While the Sunni states still insist on resolution of the Palestinian – Israeli Conflict, they will not wait forever if Palestinian intransigence becomes a barrier to regional stability. Will the Palestinians become irrelevant to a regional solution? Time will tell!

    In imposing unreasonable unacceptable “preconditions” to resuming direct negotiations with Israel, particularly demands that Israel recognize East Jerusalem as “occupied,” Palestinians ensure that negotiations will never resume. Note that in the 25 years preceding the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital, legislation calling for the move was waived by successive Presidents every six months to allow for a negotiated sharing of the city. Mahmoud Abbas sat on his hands years, thus forfeiting any rights to the city. To quote comedian/actor Jim Carrey in “The Cable Guy:” “He who hesitates, masturbates.”

    By analogy, surrender was a precursor for World War II adversaries Germany and Japan for receipt of Marshall Fund reconstruction aid, both of which emerged prosperous nations. Unlike the Germans and Japanese, the Palestinians prefer to sacrifice future prosperity for their Imperial Ambitions. Alan Dershowitz, unlike some on the Israeli Right, favors an open mind on the “two-state solution,” already rejected by Palestinians. See his: “The Case for Israel.” Others see him as hopelessly naive and Palestinian rejection as acquiescence in the status-quo, in effect making a decision to make no decision, a decision for no change.

    In answer to the second question, the Trump/Kushner economic plan is not a strategic mistake by the U.S., but its rejection by the Palestine is a serious mistake. As the Gulf States and others “normalize” under the table defense and economic relations with Israel, Palestinians will become irrelevant to growing regional common interests between Arab states and Israel.

    In answer to the third question and in conclusion, Palestinians under-estimate the resolve of the IDF to defend the nation and its population against terrorists, who target civilians in violation of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, such as during the “Second Intifada,” in which over 1,000 Israeli civilians were murdered in bus and cafe bombings, defining the deliberate targeting of civilians as a War Crime. The vast majority of Palestinians killed in the “Border Riots” were identified members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, both recognized terrorist organizations and thus legitimate targets for the IDF. If the “Border Riots are “Peaceful Protests,” all the IDF is doing is staging a “counter-protest!” In invoking Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, recognizing an “inherent right of individual, or collective self-defense” Israel is using legitimate force to protect the nation and its population from terrorist aggression!

    • Beau Oolayforos July 11, 2019 at 7:56 pm #

      Marshall Plan? Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan? The aftermath of Hiroshima/Nagasaki? Your nomenclature is as telling as your historical confusion. The “Victory Caucus” hasn’t won yet, Sir.

      • Mike 71 July 15, 2019 at 10:31 pm #

        Perhaps, the “Victory Caucus” as you put it, has not yet won the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but it has made enormous advances, including some because of the self-defeating, counter-intuitive conduct of the Palestinians. Passing up the Bahrain Economic Conference, a regional iteration of the post World War II “Marshall Plan” was a major blunder, which will keep Palestinians impoverished for at least another quarter century awaiting a political solution. But it will ensure continuation of the Palestinian Authority kleptocracy, running an additional $2,000 per month for each Minister and an increase in “Pay-for-Slay” for some incarcerated terrorists, or their survivors, and will not improve the quality of life of the average Palestinian.

        In his surrender message to the Japanese people, Emperor Hirohito asked them to “endure the unendurable,” knowing that continued war should only lead to continuing death and devastation of the nation’s housing and infrastructure. The occupation of Japan, under the government of General Douglas MacArthur, led to the adoption of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, renouncing the right to wage “wars of aggression,” which if adopted by the Palestinians, would allow the diversion of resources from war to reconstruction. Twenty-five years later, Emperor Hirohito saw a reconstructed and prosperous Japan. In “enduring the unendurable,” Japan regained it sovereignty and prosperity, something which the Palestinians will never do if they don’t get to first base!

  5. ray032 July 11, 2019 at 5:55 am #

    Why is it a crime for Zionists to have self-determination (Statehood and U.N. Membership recognized in 1949)

    Israel is the terrorist aggressor and all the “Zionist self-determination” has been gotten by illegal Wars that same United Nations prohibits. Once the Jewish State got it’s foot in the door, the United Nations was of no further use.

    Of all the Nations on Earth, the US-Israel are exceptional only in their belief UN International Law applies to other Nations, not them.

  6. Kata Fisher July 11, 2019 at 7:33 am #

    Dear Professor Falk,

    When Nelson Mandela stopped to expose the real or true face of humanity and instead started to preach … Reconciliation and Forgiveness that was not existing nor possible to that which he originally was exposing – he really failed and plunged entire South Africa into the same curse that he was preaching — against.

    Therefore, they have a situation that they have now. Still, South Africa’s case is not the same as the case of the Holy Land.

    It’s a Potter Field with a amount of dispersed coins with blood price – where the wicked of these contemporary times can’t help themselves to fight over to pick them up.
    Yes, we all see and have seen the true or real face of humanity that is taking place in Holy Land.

    Today, American tax-money / Welfare to the Zionist establishment (not to Israel or Jewish people) acts as same today as those dispersed coins with blood the price.

    While tax-money should be paid without complaint – that does not mean that those who do appropriate it will not receive a double curse.

    Further, humanity should never forget the Zionist collaboration with Hitler and the Nazi Party.

    Return to the Land of Israel should not have been a trail smeared with the blood. That’s of that unclean and accursed woman (a Biblical concept) that has a round silver tongue of the satan.

    I can feel that atmosphere here is changing and it’s really hot and getting more hot – its like that nuclear testing ground for Trinity back then. Stil. that had nothing to do with Roman-Catholic Church order, sacraments – or rites.

    Therefore, I get now and there a barn furrows that eat all nearby wasps.. and I can enjoy a natural revelation that tell a story about God. It’s a natural miracle!

    K.F.

    • Mike 71 July 15, 2019 at 8:31 pm #

      Kata,

      If there is to be peace in the Middle-East, it must meet the requirements of UNSCR 242 and 338:

      “Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area and the right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats tracts of force.”

      There has not yet appeared a Palestinian Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., or Gandhi as a proponent of peace and co-existence between Palestinians and Israelis. The antisemitic trope that Zionists collaborated with Hitler has been exposed among the examples of such bigotry in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definitions and examples.

      Kata, you should be aware that such Jew hatred had been condemned by the Catholic Church during the 1962 Vatican II Conference, when the Church officially abandoned antisemitism. To quote Pope Francis: “To attack Jews is antisemitism, but an outright attack on the State of Israel is also antisemitism.” What will you tell the Priest when you go to Confession next Sunday? Will you confess your sin, or lie in the Priest’s face Kata?

      Here are some things to read and consider before going to Confession:

      http://www.catholic.com/encyclopedia/war/

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/war/

      http://www.iep.utm.edu/justwar/

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