Jerusalem is ready to explode – the world can’t say it wasn’t warned

The Palestinians have been abandoned, neglected and betrayed. Now their fate rests in the streets. It has always been this way

Israeli policemen arrest a Palestinian protester near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City, on 25 April, 2021

David Hearst reports in Middle East Eye 30 April 2021

Barely a month has passed since Jared Kushner, former US President Donald Trump‘s son-in-law and Middle East envoy, declared the Arab-Israeli conflict over.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Kushner declared that “the political earthquake” unleashed by the latest wave of Arab normalisations with Israel wasn’t over. Indeed, Kushner enthused, more than 130,000 Israelis had already visited Dubai since Trump hosted the signing of the Abraham Accords last September.

Even among secular nationalists, Kushner is by no means alone in thinking that the seven-decade old conflict is over bar the shouting

New friendly relations were flowering between Jews and Arabs. Just wait for the direct flights between Morocco and Israel. Saudi Arabia would soon be next. “We are witnessing the last vestiges of what has been known as the Arab-Israeli conflict,” Kushner wrote triumphantly.

No US figure has written anything so arrogant and been so wrong since President George W Bush landed on an aircraft carrier after the invasion of Iraq sporting the fateful banner: “Mission Accomplished”. It was a claim Iraqi IEDs made US coalition soldiers swallow for many years thereafter.

Kushner regrets nothing. He knows he is right, because he has God on his side. But even among secular nationalists, Kushner is by no means alone in thinking that the seven-decade old conflict is over bar the shouting.

Minority rule

To be Israeli is to notch up one territorial victory after another – the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, the settlements around it, the Jordan Valley. Each year the state of Israel expands to inhabit a little bit more of the Land of Israel, the traditional Jewish name for territory that stretches far beyond the 1967 borders.

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Israel has long since established itself as the only state between the river and the sea, one increasingly incapable of tolerating any other political identity alongside it. This is their solution to the conflict, where the Jewish minority rules over an Arab majority.

To be Palestinian is to receive one blow after another – America’s acceptance of Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel; a new president in the White House who once said that if Israel did not exist, the US would have to invent it; the headlong rush to invest in, and trade with, Israel – even by Arab countries which have yet to recognise it.

Their own leadership is isolated and hopelessly divided. On Thursday, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, officially postponed the first elections in 15 years. Israel’s refusal to allow Jerusalemites to vote was the pretext for this. “As soon as Israel agrees [to let Palestinians vote in Jerusalem], we’ll hold the election within a week,” Abbas said in a televised speech. But, as everyone knows, the cause of this indefinite delay resides in the certain blow Abbas would receive if he did go to the polls. His party, Fatah, has split into three lists, of which the list he heads is the least popular. Abbas’s search for a popular mandate is looking increasingly troubled.

So this is what the end of conflict looks like. It’s only a matter of time before the Palestinians see that their best interest lies in giving up, Kushner and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calculate. Besides, the Palestinians already have a state of their own. It’s called Jordan.

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