Archives‎ > ‎

Abbas,Trump and more, by Mazin Qumsiyeh

Factoid of the day: Did you know that Jericho is derived from Yerihu(Aramaic for beautiful smell) after the fragrant balsam plant that used togrow all around that area of the Jordan valley. It was the main ingredientin Cleopatra's perfume that the queen of Egypt used to give as gifts toimpress her visitors. Jericho is the oldest continuously inhabited town onearth (11-12,000 years).Donald Trump and Mahmoud Abbas both accomplished what they wanted toaccomplish from the meeting at the White House. I could only think of thestatements of Martin Luther King Jr and of Edward Said as I watched thetheater unfold in DC. Just a reminder of what MLK Jr said 50 years ago asleaders of South Vietnam trashed leaders of North Vietnam: Their questionshit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against theviolence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spokenclearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my owngovernment.  This was one of his most analytical and important speecheswhich should still be read carefully today (full text at Little changed in those 50 years since then and Trump (like Obama andother presidents before him) gave green light to his military to bomb poorneighborhoods around the world (killing hundreds of civilians mostlychildren in Mosul alone) while hosting compliant leaders and speaking of“peace” (like fucking for virginity!?). Excuse my language. Let me stepback into analytical mode. In meeting with Abbas, Trump wanted to get theaura of working for a peace process so that when he goes to Saudi Arabiaand Israel later this month they can be more comfortable increasing thewars on Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and Iran (the remaining axis of rebel statesin an otherwise US/Israel dominated Middle East). This public relationsploy worked historically. Trump and his advisors praised Abbas for thecontinued close security cooperation with Israel (the main function forkeeping the Palestinian Authority in the past 24 years). Trump said thatcooperation between “Palestinians” (the PA) and Israel is “workingbeautifully” and encouraged further emasculation of any potential futureleverage for the Palestinians (I cringe when I hear terms like “incitement”used for native people who want their rights back).Oppressors and enablers of oppressors use the same language. Clinton usedit 20 years ago for Arafat. This is the usual carrot and stick approach.Trump asked Abbas to stop the verbal acrobatics of appearing to support“terrorists” (resistance) pushing him strongly in private and nudging himgently in public. Husam Zomlot (PLO representative in Washington) tried hisbest to facilitate and get some productive outcome but the decks arestacked and the PLO has long been stripped by the PA of its original roleas a “Palestine Liberation Organization” (it neither reflects all ofPalestine nor Liberation and no longer an organization but a club). Itcannot apply any pressure since it has been stripped of all such cards andthere is little prospect of democratizing it now (I hope I am wrong).Abbas got what he came for: appearing “presidential” and relevant to thefuture, international visibility, and most importantly continuation of thestatus quo that guarantees continued “financial support” that allows thesystem to go on.I just finished reading a book received last week by Andy Clarno titled“Neoliberal Apartheid: Palestine/Israel and South Africa after 1994”.Meticulously the author explains why despite some differences between thetwo apartheid regimes, that after 1994 the rich got richer (the rulingwhite and Ashkenazi elites and some blacks in South Africa and somePalestinians) while millions of poor get poorer, more disenfranchised, morebitter etc. This trend will increase even more now that neoliberal trendsget “validated” via a successful PR meeting. Beneficiaries of this meeting:neoliberalism, Zionism, the elites. Targets in the cross-hairs: resistanceforces, the prisoners on hunger strike, and the common people in the Arabworld (many who will also be bombed soon). Maybe I am wrong and if so Iwish colleagues like Dr. Husam Zomlot and Dr. Saeb Erekat tell us exactlywhat materially was accomplished. Will Israel stop torturing prisoners?Will it stop or even dismantle continued colonial activities?  Will we atleast get our act together as Palestinians or will the division with Hamasonly intensify serving Zionist interests? Why not implement the Cairoagreements with Hamas? Why insist on continuing this charade of “authority”under occupation (both Hamas and Fatah fell into that trap)? I wouldgenuinely like to hear the logic of what we are doing. If you are aPalestinian leader, email me even privately and explain (I will keepconfidential).We certainly miss our friend Professor Edward Said who was so right in hisanalysis of trends and current events. The brief notes I made above are notconvincing and not well articulated for example compared to this stillrelevant analysis from Edward Said written in 1994: Who is worse?..on ahumiliating year this one in 2003: A Road Map to Where? the most important article of his which pierces through speaking Truthto Power (including Said’s brilliant analysis shortly before he died): OfDignity and Solidarity said it: pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will! We must havethe latter and continue working very hard. The stakes are far too high andnot just for Palestine but the whole world. Brainstorming yesterday onlyconvinces us of the need to act today. And there are so many good peopleacting that we indeed become optimistic for the future (evenintellectually):What is behind Hamas new charter is winning, admits top Israeli “sabotage” strategist Victory for BDS Activists at UBC and Canadian Campuses Human and come visit usMazin QumsiyehA bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at homeProfessor and (volunteer) DirectorPalestine Museum of Natural HistoryPalestine Institute of Biodiversity and SustainabilityBethlehem UniversityOccupied Palestinehttp://qumsiyeh.orghttp://palestinenature.orgJoin me on facebook