US has ruthlessly crushed Palestinian hopes

Let’s cut to the chase. The Palestinians have been abandoned by all in any meaningful sense. They are keeping up a brave front but the reality is that a two-state solution has evolved into a myth to which the international community continues to pay lip service in the absence of a realistic alternative. A much touted one-state solution is a non-starter for Israel that fears a demographic imbalance would quash its claim to being a Jewish state. The light at the end of this very long tunnel has virtually been extinguished.

When Palestinian spokespeople are interviewed, they invariably bring up international law, UN Security Council resolutions and warn they will take their grievances to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. The Palestinian National Authority signed the Rome Statute in 2015. The ICC’s chief prosecutor says her staff is monitoring the situation in Gaza and recording crimes that fall within the court’s jurisdiction but don’t bet your house on anything happening on that front.

Simply put, JUSTICE is a word which doesn’t apply to those unwanted people living under the guns of the most vicious occupying powers the world has known. US President Donald Trump’s unstinting unconditional backing of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has shattered long-held Palestinian dreams. Where is his promised peace plan? What happened to his pledge to make “the ultimate deal” between Israelis and Palestinians? Instead he has given Israel a free hand to grab Palestinian land, to increase construction of Jewish colonies on the West Bank and encourages Israel’s killing of innocent demonstrators.

Trump’s decision to relocate the US embassy to [occupied] Jerusalem poured more salt into Palestinian wounds. US Ambassador Nikki Haley’s harsh anti-Palestinian rhetoric in the UN Security Council earlier this month says it all. “No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has,” she said and that ridiculous statement was compounded by her walkout before the Palestinian representative spoke.

For the first time since 1948, feelings of helplessness are setting in. Rising suicide rates in both the West Bank and Gaza are evidence to this. The latest casualties of hopelessness experienced by those unfortunate enough to be packed into the Gaza Strip are Mohanned Younis, a 22-year-old student poised to graduate in pharmacy, whose prize-winning short stories inspired his young compatriots and Moath Al Haj, 30, a talented illustrator. These fine young men whose futures were filled with promise are among many who choose to take their own lives.

Others flocked to join protests uncaring whether they lived or died and were branded terrorists by Israeli officials even though they were unarmed and on their own soil. Journalists, doctors and even babies were unable to escape live bullets fired by Israeli snipers.

It is not that Palestine’s traditional allies do not care that women and children have been slaughtered in Gaza or will spend their lives without eyes and limbs in what the UN Human Rights chief calls an enclave where Palestinians are “caged in a toxic slum from birth to death.” They care deeply but caring without unified punitive actions cannot effect change.

Bitter truth

The Arab League has accused Israel of “blatant aggression” and demands an independent investigation. The League’s General Secretariat has been tasked to produce a comprehensive plan to confront countries recognising [occupied] Jerusalem as Israel’s capital such as Guatemala. Doubtless the United States will get a free pass.

The Turkish president has called Israel “a terror state” engaged in genocide and has asked the Muslim world to come together. Arab leaders have registered their outrage but to what avail. The bitter truth is that as long as Israel is coddled under Washington’s protective diplomatic, military and economic umbrella it can do its worst with absolute impunity.

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has voted for an “independent international commission of inquiry” into Israel’s killing of unarmed protesters in Gaza but such is not sanctioned by the Security Council because the US blames the victims and used its power of veto. Even if the probe gets off the ground, Israel has vowed not to cooperate and is not only mulling withdrawing from the UNHRC but is urging the US to follow suit.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is right to say the US has forfeited its claim to being an honest broker. Indeed, no administration has been entirely impartial but none were so blatantly biased towards Israel as Trump’s. Can he possibly be serious when his Middle East negotiators are son-in-law Jared Kushner who has funded Jewish colonies and lawyer Jason Greenblatt, an orthodox Jew who once guarded a West Bank colony wielding an assault weapon?

It seems to me that the Palestinians should exercise patience and keep hope’s flame burning until the soul-destroying Trump-Netanyahu duo leading the world by the nose is history.

Linda S. Heard is an award-winning British specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at

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