I learned of Trump’s choice for his ambassador in Tel Aviv ten days before it was announced (and published that in Russian), so I had enough time to discuss the nominee with Palestinians and Israelis, as well as with Russian diplomats.
The nomination of David Friedman horrified liberal Israelis, cheered Palestinian activists, befogged the Israeli and Palestinian officials, and created a great rift among US Jews. With one brilliant stroke Donald Trump made more mischief than one would think possible. If you have no time for details, I’ll tell you: it is a good, even very good development for Palestine and Palestinians, and it is likely to save Trump’s skin back home.
For many years, liberal Israelis perpetrated a hoax (yes, I’ve said, hoax) of “struggling against occupation” and wishing to divide historical Palestine into two states, a Jewish state and a Palestinian state. Israeli officials negotiated for years and years with the US, with the quartet, with PA, and gave absolutely nothing in return for the time they gained. Millions of dollars, of European and American tax-payers money were poured into soft life of these negotiators. How could the Israelis achieve this glorious (for them) result? Thanks to liberal progressive Israelis. Without liberal Israelis complicity, Jewish moderate nationalists of Bibi Netanyahu wouldn’t be able to slowly and at peace devour and digest Palestine piece by piece.
Every year they confiscate a few hundreds strategically located square miles, and plant there a few thousand of settlers. Step by step, they ate Palestine like mouse eats cheese. Now they are shocked that their charmed life will soon be over and their fraud is out.
Hard Jewish nationalists always wanted to annex the whole of Palestine. The moderates and the liberals thought it would implode the Jewish state, as in the new one state the Jews will hardly be in majority. There are various statistics and different assessments, but by the most optimistic (for Jews) count, they will present 50% of the population. The One state won’t be “Jewish” or it won’t be “Democratic”, is a usual answer. The hard nationalists answered that “we’ll see”. Let us get there, and we shall work it out.
The smart moderate bastards and their liberal crypto-supporters would answer: we’d love to, but America does not allow us to do it. And the US obediently provided the Israeli Jews with alibi: yes, we would not allow you to annex Palestine, yes, we want you to negotiate in order to reach Two States’ Solution. Now this is over, too.
If the Jews will annex Palestine, their long systematic fraud of “occupation” and “struggle against occupation” will be over. They will give Palestinians equal rights, including the right to vote for Knesset, and then there will be power-sharing, and other fruits of democracy. If they won’t give Palestinians equal rights, there will be something simple and clear to struggle for, namely for equal rights and against vestiges of apartheid.
This is a view of a marvelous activist from Bethlehem, Prof Mazin Qumsiyeh, the Director of Palestine Natural Museum, previously of Yale. Qumsiyeh signs himself:
“A Bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home”, and he is a scion of an old Christian family. Reflecting on this nomination of Friedman, Qumsiyeh writes: “This maybe better as it can remove the fog and perhaps the last fig leaf covering the absurdity that is the endless “negotiations” for “two-state solution” (aka mirage to hide ongoing apartheid and colonialism)”.
This is more or less what I wrote in long-gone 2001: “the idea of two states in Palestine is, and has always been, a bluff. No Israeli politician, including the late lamented Mr Rabin, has ever seriously considered relinquishing any part of historical Palestine. The endless negotiations have been a sideshow designed to mollify the public. Behind the smoke screen of ‘temporary military occupation’, the hard-nosed Israeli leadership has confiscated Palestinian fields and houses to make room for Jewish settlements, and imprisoned and killed thousands of Palestinians.
A succession of leftist and rightist Israeli regimes perpetuated this legal fiction in order to deny the civic rights of the conquered population. It was a brilliant idea, worthy of the Jewish genius: to carry on negotiations forever while giving lip service to the idea of two states.
My Palestinian and Israeli friends, you’ve been duped. Our wise men played a cruel game with you, teasing you with empty promises like the stale old ‘tale of two states’. There have always been only two paths for the Palestinians to emerge from serfdom. One is to beat Israel; the second is to join it. The third option, of a new partition, is just an illusion: a juicy but unreachable carrot dangled in front of the donkey.
If I were a fan of conspiracy theories I could well imagine that these good people of the Israeli peace movement intentionally supplied this left leg to our shaky apartheid structure. By continually re-painting the [old armistice] Green Line, they have endorsed the non-citizen status of the Palestinians in their own land. By calling some lands ‘occupied territories’ they have exempted themselves from the need to battle against the exclusion of Palestinians from the country’s political life. By combating the annexation of the territories they have helped to concoct the fraud of independent Palestinian Bantustans.
A better strategy leads through annexation of Palestinian territories and full equality for all dwellers of historical Palestine. The Jews do not like to give, but can’t restrain themselves from taking. The result can be the same.
There is an old oriental story about the wise joker Haji Nasreddin, who passed by a lake and saw a drowning man. Many bystanders tried to save him. They stretched their hands and shouted: Give me your hand! But the drowning man was going down. Who is this man?- asked Haji. – He is a moneylender, people replied. That is not the way to save a moneylender, – said Haji. Moneylenders do not know how to give. Instead, shout: “Take my hand!” and he will clutch at it. This is what Haji Nasreddin did, and saved the drowning man.
Even a kid watching James Bond movies eventually understands that the hero won’t be eaten by crocodiles and won’t die in the flames, and that there is no reason for expecting these eventualities. There is even less reason for expecting that an Israeli government will sign a just peace with the Palestinians. They will always deploy an exit-strategy in the `peace process’.
Using his advice, we should say to the Jews, “Annex the territories, but give the Palestinians full equality.” The way out of present situation is not partition into two states but absorption and equality”.
For this reason, I am not scared by nomination of Mr Friedman. Let him lead Israel into annexation of Palestine, and equality for its dwellers. He seems to be a fair man, as much as a Jewish lawyer can be. He even established a rehabilitation clinic for Jewish AND Palestinian kids in the South of Israel.
Sure, a US ambassador in Israel has less powers than a Roman prefect of Judaea had. But it would be difficult for an Israeli leader that he does not annex Palestine because of American veto. After annexation, we shall all push for equality with greater ease.
This solution makes more sense as there is great dissatisfaction in the Palestinian territories. Last elections were held in 2006; for last five years Mahmud Abbas’ PNA rules without a people’s mandate, by virtue of Israeli permission. For this Israeli support, the PNA swore to “security cooperation” with the Jews. Israeli soldiers and police can (and do) come into Palestinian territories anytime they want and seize whoever they wish. People are unhappy about this cooperation, as PNA police arrests demonstrators against Israeli occupation.
They see the PNA as a junior partner in the Israeli occupation apparatus. It is not necessary to compare them with Vichy France, with Quisling of Norway or with Jewish Judenrat: the situation is different, and people need some local authority to sweep the streets and deliver mail.
PNA is not terribly bad; the majority of officials are good and sincere people, though their ability to do something good is very limited by Israelis. Lack of democracy is a problem: in the last elections, the majority voted for Hamas, a moderate Islamic party similar to one of Erdogan in Turkey, but at Israeli and American insistence, the winners went mainly to jail, instead of forming the government. Since then, the PNA finds new reasons why to postpone new elections: they do not believe they will win.
Hamas runs Gaza, where they succeeded in coming to power legitimately, but people there are also tired of their rule. Palestinians say, the Hamas-controlled Gaza would vote for Fatah, while Fatah-controlled West Bank would vote for Hamas. Perhaps. Last month, there were violent clashes between PNA police and supporters of Mr Mohammed Dahlan, an exiled ex-minister, who wants to become the new president. Mahmud Abbas does not want to part with his presidential seat despite his age (over eighty).
Israeli and Palestinian observers think that the PNA is likely to collapse this year. Abbas said many times that he is ready to return the keys to Israel: let them rule, for they made his job impossible.
Palestinians would prefer to be absorbed into Israel, with its limited democracy, law and order and relative prosperity. No Palestinian village in Israel would agree to be absorbed in the PNA-ruled Palestine: this was discussed many times, and the offer had no takers. Palestinians are smart enough to run a country, but limitations imposed by Jews are too severe to manage. So let it be annexation and equality.
Palestine/Israel will be transformed into a democratic state, where Jews and Palestinians will live happily ever after, as equals. But the Democratic State wouldn’t be a Jewish state, people would object. That is the best part of it, I would say. The Jewish state is as bad as the Aryan state, or the Islamic state, and whoever rejects the Aryan state and the Islamic state, should reject the Jewish state, as well. This would impact the Obscure Entity: Israel has an important place in their plans, and disappearance of the Jewish state will undermine these plans.
Without the Jewish state, the Jews of the US and other lands will return to their normal life, will forget the wet dreams of the world domination and become law-abiding citizens of their respective countries.
And how this nomination will save Trump? It will mobilise hard-core Zionists to support him against their moderate and liberal brethren. The hard-core Zionists fought against moderate Zionists in Palestine in 1947-48, and they can easily fight against liberal Jews.
Though for the reasons of political correctness people refer to Jews as “Zionists”, it is just a figure of speech. Their priorities are very different. The liberals want to establish New World Order, that would have a good and generous place for the Jewish state. For the hard-core, the world is of little importance, they want Palestine now.
The hard-core Zionists are not clever enough to understand that the moderates are going in the same direction. They want to take what they can now. That’s why they will get carried away by the idea of the whole hog now. I think they will support Trump, and perhaps this support will help him to get through Scylla of Electoral College and Charybdis of the House of Representatives.
Israel Shamir can be reached at [email protected]
This article was first published at The Unz Review.