Eric S. MARGOLIS
President Donald Trump’s attempt to sell the Brooklyn Bridge to the Palestinians – using Gulf Arab oil money – has so far been a resounding failure, as was widely predicted.
The so-called ‘Deal of the Century’ turned out to be a shabby swindle.
I watched Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, deliver the first part of his big deal to a bunch of tame Arab oil monarchs and assorted hangers-on. Kushner looked like a nervous sophomore taking a tough oral exam. There were no Palestinians or Israelis present. But Israel’s powerful American backers were watching from the sidelines as their ‘deal’ was enunciated.
Trump’s offer was pure New York City real estate hipper dipper. He would get the rich Gulf Arab states, all of them American protectorates, to offer some $60 billion in payments, credits, loans and other financial inducements to the Palestinian Authority – but nothing to the democratically elected Hamas government in the open-air prison of Gaza that holds two million Palestinian refugees.
The $60 million would be a payoff to the US-managed Palestinian leadership of Mohammed Abbas, another US pawn, to give up the PLO’s rights to most of the West Bank so Israel can annex it, as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu just vowed. This follows Israel’s annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights and growing US recognition of Israel’s claim to all of Jerusalem.
In other words, Israel hopes to gain most or all of the West Bank and Jerusalem by getting the rich but dim Gulf Arabs and Saudi Arabia to pay the proposed bribe money. The US and Israel will more or less divvy up the central Mideast. Just this week, the director of Israel’s Mossad said that his spy agency had played a key role in bringing the Arab oil monarchs into alliance with Israel.
Egypt, the leading Arab military power, has been bought off with Saudi money and US protection. The military dictatorship in Cairo is, in fact, acting as a co-jailer of the Palestinians of Gaza.
Turkey, long a supporter of Palestinian rights, has suffered US-backed coup attempts and intense economic warfare orchestrated from Washington that have left it destabilized and weakened.
If the tragicomical ‘Deal of the Century’ were to actually come to pass, what will become of the Palestinians, sold down the river by their Arab oil brothers? The Trump administration has not yet specified the details. The unwritten hope is that the two million Palestinians in the Gaza hellhole will remain there, locked up by Israel and Egypt.
The three million plus Palestinians on the West Bank – which is slated for Israeli occupation – will be `encouraged’ to decamp to other inhospitable Arab countries or simply driven into neighboring Jordan, 60% of whose population are already of Palestinian origin. Israeli rightists are fond of claiming that Jordan is really the true Palestinian state.
But Israel’s Arab neighbors, notably Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, as well as Jordan, already have large numbers of Palestinian refugees and don’t want any more. Kuwait expelled 400,000 Palestinian refugees during the wars of 2001/2003. Israel, which drove the original Palestinian refugees from their homes, insists it will never take back these Arabs.
Meanwhile, no one in Washington seems to have bothered talking to the Palestinians, aside from a few quislings and yes-men. Palestinians totally reject the Trump-Kushner proposal. They have always looked on the Saudis and Gulf Arabs as traitors and back-stabbers. Young Mr. Kushner has not begun to understand these complexities.
This whole ‘peace deal’ is a big smokescreen to cover Israeli land expansion and more ethnic cleansing. Many thoughtful Israelis are dismayed by their far right-wing government’s expansionist plans, seeing nothing but more troubles and violence ahead.
In Trump’s world, almost everything can be bought. What he can’t buy directly, his mentor casino billionaire Adelson can. Trump’s real Mideast mover and shaker is Mr. Greater Israel Adelson, not junior Kushner.