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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/27/16

What Should Palestinians Expect -- Can Trump Be Any Worse?

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From Ramzy Baroud Website

Fear and trepidation are slowly building up, as US President-elect, Donald Trump, is fortifying his transitional team with people capable of bringing about a nightmare scenario, not only for Americans but for the rest of the world, as well.

For Palestinians, however, the signs are even more ominous. From former New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani, to Republican leader Newt Gingrich, the Trump team is filling up with dishonorable men who have made careers out of pandering to Israeli interests and unabashedly discounting Palestinian rights.

While Gingrich had claimed in 2011 that Palestinians are "invented" people, Giuliani, according to Jewish News Service "is fondly remembered in the Jewish community for expelling Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chief, Yasser Arafat, from a United Nations concert at Lincoln Center in 1995."

Considering earlier statements made by Trump himself last May -- that the expansion of illegal Jewish settlements in the Occupied West Bank "should keep moving forward" -- to more recent comments by Trump's point person in Israel, Jason Greenblatt, that the illegal colonies are "not an obstacle to peace," it is fairly certain that the Trump administration is decidedly anti-peace and anti-Palestinians.

Israeli officials are, of course, rejoicing at the opportunity of working with such an administration, with Education Minister Naftali Bennet celebrating the "end of a Palestinian state" era and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman inviting Trump to "coordinate the development" of the illegal settlements.

But the media forecast for the next four years in US foreign policy towards Palestine and Israel is also prejudiced. It is true that Trump's prospective line-up of old politicians is not conducive to the achievement of a just peace in Palestine by any stretch of the imagination, but presenting the news as if the prospects of a thriving just peace had existed under the administration of Barack Obama is simply laughable.

The Obama administration, despite the uneasy relationship between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has been one of the friendliest and most generous towards Israel. Obama has remained steadfast on Israel's side as they both fought against Palestinian political aspirations in international institutions.

Only recently, Obama signed a "landmark agreement" by giving Israel $38 billion in military funding, the largest aid package in US history.

So those worried about things getting worse for Palestinians under a Trump presidency can take comfort in the fact that they already have.

But will this impact the American position towards a Palestinian state?

Not in the least because, again, Obama, like his predecessors fought tirelessly to prevent a Palestinian state from ever taking form. If a distinction is to emerge between the Obama and Trump administrations, it is likely to be manifested in rhetoric, not in action: the former refined and articulate, the latter belligerent and demagogic. Either way, Palestinians lose.

In his last speech before the United Nations, Obama dedicated a single sentence to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict -- a sentence that accurately reflected his failure to positively affect the outcomes of the Middle East's most protracting, destabilizing conflict.

Both sides would "be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel, but Israel recognizes that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land," he said. Nothing more.

While his previous speeches dedicated much rhetoric to the conflict in Palestine and Israel, the last UN speech -- and that sentence alone -- was a more honest indication of eight years that lacked vision, or even a sincere attempt at finding one.

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Ramzy Baroud is the Managing Editor of Middle East Eye. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold (more...)
 

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