Category Archives: Palestinians

RESPONSE TO TRUMP PEACE PLAN

BLOG 461
February 24, 2020

free Gaza

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

RESPONSE TO TRUMP PEACE PLAN

Last week I made an initial examination of the Peace Plan for the Middle East that Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, submitted to the Palestinians and Israelis. Here’s some additional update insights.

Tovah Lazaroff writes for The International Jerusalem Post. His analysis offers us further details. The Trump Plan totally dismisses the l967 line and offers the Palestinians less territory than any previous plan. On the other hand, the plan does not offer what the right-wing elements in Israel want and the settlers what they feel they need.

Settlers remain concerned for the fate of 15 isolated Jewish settlements that they believe Trump’s plan would ultimately leave doomed. They view his guidelines as making it untenable for residents to continue to live there.

Israeli elements do not want the creation of any Palestinians state in the West Bank in any form. They had hoped the Trump Plan would recognize their concerns. While Trump has pontificated about what eventually might be offered, initially nothing is on the table.

The Trump Plan suggests that people of every faith should be able to pray on the Temple Mount. (Called Haram al-Sharif by Muslims). In the past, Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount has been a flash point for violence. Muslims claim allowing such could start a religious war.

Trump’s Plan would leave Israel in control of security from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. The IDF (Israeli Defense Force) would not leave the West Bank. At the same time, the plan does not include immediate recognition of a Palestinian state. Rather, it recognizes Israel’s willingness to accept a pathway to statehood based on specific territory that makes up about 70% of Judea and Samaria. A Palestinian state would come four-years after the Palestinians recognize the plan. They must also recognize Israel’s right to exist.

The bottom line? Dead on arrival. The Trump Plan is far too favorable to Israel. Makes sense to many in America, but not to Palestinians in the West Bank. It is hard not to believe this wasn’t clear when Kushner developed the plan. Many are concluding that the plan has more to do with politics than peace.

Will it finally be accepted? Not by the Palestinians.

You might find my collection of Holy Land experiences to be helpful.
BIBLE LANDS: An illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places
Barbpir books Publishers

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SEVEN THINGS TO KNOW AFTER FEBRUARY SEVEN

BLOG 459
February 10, 2020

conflict

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

SEVEN THINGS TO KNOW AFTER FEBRUARY SEVEN

Keep your seat belt fashioned. Things may begin to heat up in Israel and the Palestinian area. Always an explosive situation, the Trump Peace Plan may have lit a fuse. Here’s Seven Key Points that the media in Israel is saying is immediately ahead.

1. Attack o’clock: A string of attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank Thursday have pushed tensions simmering just below the surface into full view, raising fears of a fresh wave of violence.

The front page headline in Yedioth Ahronoth reads “Non-stop terror,” which like other tabloids and TV news, is a mix of jingoism, fear and blame casting.

Just don’t mess up: “Don’t try us,” threatens Israel Hayom on its front page. The media focus is on troops being beefed up in the West Bank, Jerusalem and near Gaza. “The string of attacks in the West Bank have an especially flammable potential,” writes Israel Hayom columnist Yoav Limor. “It requires Israel to act with determination, but also smartly, in order to avoid turning this into a mass, deadly wave.”

3. Mistakes were made: The need for not messing up seems obvious, but it apparently was not heeded a day earlier, in Jenin, where Israel went in to demolish a home, leading to intense clashes and a Palestinian police cadet being killed, apparently by accident, after he was misidentified as a terrorist. Such sparks lit forest fires.

4. Mistakes were claimed: Meanwhile, the media reports on car-rammer Sanad al-Turman Friday, focusing on his claim that it was an accident and he lost control of his car, careening into a group of soldiers before fleeing the scene.

• Television news reports that Israeli authorities didn’t believe him for a second. “Firstly, the sources say, the car-rammer blew through a checkpoint while trying to escape [toward the West Bank] — even though soldiers there did not have guns drawn.”

The meaning? “I’m ready for war,” the channel reports.

5. Intifadeal: But the real blame is not pointed at the attackers but rather Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and US President Donald Trump. There seems to be no doubt that the failing deal is to blame for the attacks.

• “The writing was on the wall from the moment Abbas spoke out publicly against the ‘deal of the century’,’” writes Amir Buhbut in Walla! news. “Abbas is sending double messages to the Palestinian public, not calling for violence … but not hurrying to put out the fires in flashpoint spots.”

• Television news reports that among those blaming Abbas is the architect of the plan, Jared Kushner, calling his comments a “harsh attack.”

6. Ehud-sucker proxy: Most other Israeli outlets focus on Kushner’s comments calling out a planned meeting and press conference between former prime minister Ehud Olmert and Abbas.

• “Olmert is voluntarily volunteering to give credence to the claim pushed by Abbas that only Netanyahu is to blame for the lack of a peace deal,” he writes. “While Abbas is backing ‘days of rage’ Olmert is enlisting to shield him, and hurting not just Netanyahu, but all of us.”

7. If you annex it, it is no dream: Israel Hayom’s Nadav Shragai looks on the bright side of things. Abbas’s rejection means it’s time to rock out with your annexation unfreezing pens out.

• Shragai adds that if Netanyahu cannot start annexing because the US wants him to wait until after elections, he can at least unfreeze building in parts of Jerusalem and the West Bank known as E-1 and Givat Hamatos, stopped because of bitter international opposition.

• “Diplomatic sources say that Netanyahu is devoting hours every day, either directly with the Trump administration or through pressure from Trump’s Evangelical supporters trying to extract something before the Israeli election, some kind of mini-annexation, anything to appease his disappointed base.

Sound ominous? It is.

You might find my collection of Holy Land experiences to be helpful.
BIBLE LANDS: An illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places
Barbpir books Publishers

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THE SETTLEMENT SITUATION

BLOG 453
December 16, 2019

israel

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

THE SETTLEMENT SITUATION

One of the major headlines in Israel has been the American declaration that the Israeli settlements in the area claimed by the Palestinians are now not considered illegal. In a historic reversal of US policy, the Trump administration announced that settlements in the West Bank area are now considered acceptable. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo referenced a position once taken by former President Ronald Reagan that they were not considered inherently illegal.

The Trump administration felt it was ambushed in the waning days of the Obama Presidency when Obama went against Trump’s expressed wishes and allowed the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 that claimed such settlements were a “flagrant violation under international law.” The position stated by Pompeo rejects that previous perspective.

Of course, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately praised the decision as correct and rejected the idea that under international law the settlements in Judea and Samaria were illegal. In turn, the Palestinians completely rejected the new US position and saw the statement as further evidence of the American basis against the Palestinians. Their denunciation was scathing.

A letter from 106 Democratic representatives to Pompeo called on him to reverse his declaration that the settlements were currently considered legal. They stated that Pompeo’s declaration blatantly disregarded international legal standards. The letter written by Dore Gold claims that this decision casts doubt on Israel’s moral position.

What’s going on here?

Fundamentally, it’s politics. Netanyahu is in serious legal trouble and could wind up in jail. Trump has stuck his nose in Israel’s business to affect how Netanyahu is viewed. Nothing new here. Trump had sided with Israel previously with such moves as bringing the American Embassy to Jerusalem. Trump is now facing impeachment and his own legal troubles.

How one feels about these divisive issues rejects the position one took before the turmoil ever began.

Enthusiastic supporters of Israel view these actions as affirming their position. Individuals concerned with the rights of the Palestinians consider the matter as further evidence that America has lost all credibility in the Middle East and no longer can act to bring peace.

Fundamentally, the issue reflects the deep divide in American politics. Republicans do not seem to care what is the evidence against Trump. Democrats don’t want to just impeach Trump. They want to launch him.

Once more. a deep divide exists around the world. With Christmas shortly upon us, perhaps this is a good time to reconsider the meaning of the coming Prince of Peace. The world needs a new perspective.

You might find my collection of Holy Land experiences to be helpful.
BIBLE LANDS: An illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places
Barbpir books Publishers

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YOU THOUGHT AMERICA HAD POLITICAL PROBLEMS

BLOG 445
September 23, 2019

isreal

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

YOU THOUGHT AMERICA HAD POLITICAL PROBLEMS

The situation in Israel makes America’s political issues almost look like a kindergarten problem. Like a Kentucky Derby ending in a dead heat, Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz finished the campaign for a new prime minister in a deadlock. Neither candidate won the election.

Now Netanyahu is scrambling day and night to make a deal with anybody in sight to establish a new government. He needs the Knesset’s support to survive the legal process that is after him. Should he fail, Bibi will be faced with criminal charges that now hang over his head, including bribery. The charges are serious business!

What is going on?

Once a military and public hero, Netanyahu has turned into little more than a conniving, manipulative politician who will say and do anything to win. The people who depend on him don’t care about the charges. They’ll do anything to keep him at the top.

On the other hand, a voter like Mrs. Yael Shrem Senator said she was so fed up with Mr. Netanyahu’s divisiveness and what it was doing to Israel that she had thought about emigrating if he wins. She said, “Every time I open the newspaper I want to cry.”

However, Mrs. Senator said of Benny Gantz, “He’s too nice. And I don’t think he has enough experience. But listen, we have no choice.”

Interestingly enough, this woman’s statements reflect the tension in Israel. Even people who voted for Netanyahu concede he lies, manipulates, and is clearly poised to snatch land from the Palestinians. President Trump’s backing that he has campaigned on, only defines and illuminates the dark side of the man.

On the other hand, critics have said that Gantz’s Blue and White Party’s strategy was indecipherable and their message muddled. A former general, Gantz’s biggest asset was his image. His combat experience and towering statue with steely blue eyes make him highly appealing. A spokesperson for Gantz said that Israel deserves a value-driven political culture as well as a needs-driven political platform. They want the current government without Netanyahu’s destructive rhetoric and behavior.

There you have it. At this very moment as Netanyahu’s Likud party scrambles to form a government before White and Blue pulls it off, you can bet the smoke-filled back rooms are humming with hot conversations. There is a strong feeling that if Netanyahu can’t pull off forming a government, he won’t get a third chance.

At this point, who can call what’s coming next? They make movies about this stuff.

You might find my collection of Holy Land experiences to be helpful.
BIBLE LANDS: An illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places
Barbpir books Publishers

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ISSUES THAT CANNOT BE IGNORED

BLOG 444
September 16, 2019

gaza

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

ISSUES THAT CANNOT BE IGNORED

In these weekly responses, I have attempted to be objective. Rather than being persuaded by political circumstances or opinion, I attempt to let the chips fall where they may. One reader complained that I didn’t fully support Prime Minister Netanyahu and she thought he was wonderful. I pointed out that thinking any political figure was wonderful was the quickest way to be deceived and never see the light at the end of the tunnel. Didn’t suit her, but I pointed out that I went where the facts led. End of story.

In order to understanding the never-ending conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, one must consider both sides. Currently, Americans tend to consider only the Israeli position. The unequivocal total support by President Donald Trump has colored the picture considerably.

However, there are two sides.

The issues between Israel and the Arabs remains complex. Hatred exists in both camps.

Here’s some of the current problems on the Israeli side. The current government often talks of annexing the West Bank, but almost never of peace initiatives with the Palestinians.

While it is true Israel respects and often exceeds the standards of human rights and the Palestinians generally do not, Israel has the greatest military capability in the Middle East. Israel causes far more damage to the Palestinians, including citizens. Israel protects its citizens far better than the Palestinians can.

One of the biggest problems is that Israel builds settlements on Palestinians land but will not give Palestinians the right to do the same. The constant encroachment on Palestinian territory remains one of the most divisive issues that halts a peace treaty.

One of the thorniest issues between Israelis and Arabs is reflected in the fact that Israel has a substantial minority of Arabs while Arab countries do not allow Jews.  On the other hand, Israel often acts like a colonizer. The birth of the Israel nation also displaced ancestral land of some Palestinians. That issue has never been settled. Fifty-two years later Palestinians must still struggle for self-determination.

Israelis refuse to admit there is an occupation. However, Palestinians experience a painful and humiliating daily reality. I have seen this every time I’ve been in the Holy Land and was there last March. The prejudice against using a Palestinian Christian guide inside Israel makes it impossible for them to work inside Israel. In turn, Jewish guides are shut out of Bethlehem. The situation remains impossible and volatile.

My point? Don’t listen to only one side of this complicated situation. Recognize more is going on that is seldom fully and objectively reported. The complexity demands tolerance and careful consideration of all sides of the issues.

You might find my book on near-death experiences important for you:
CROSSING THE THRESHOLD OF ETERNITY
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ANCIENT TREASURES

BLOG 442
August 26, 2019

m desert

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

ANCIENT TREASURES

One of the fascinating dimensions in the Middle East is the near ending archaeological discoveries that continue to pop up. Of course, the well-known ancient history of the entire region provides a fertile bed for new discoveries. Nearly every major American university annually sends teams of students and professors over to dig.

In addition, Israel knows that these finds collaborate the Old Testament support for their claims to the land. The Palestinians scream when the area around the Temple Mount continues to confirm Jewish claims to the past. However, apart from the political struggles, these recent discoveries enlarge our understanding of ancient history.

Recently, a rare and unusual find was unearthed north of the City of David in Jerusalem. A half-shekel weight was found that dates back to the First Temple period. The weight was found during the shifting of soil in the Emek Tzurim National Park that had been removed from the base of Robinson’s Arch on the Western Wall.

The word “beka” on the weight written in ancient Hebrew indicates this was the required donation for the maintenance of the Holy Temple from every person age 20 and older. (Exodus 38:26)

Another extraordinary find turned up at the Byzantine site of Shivta in the Negev Desert. A previously unknown painting of Jesus was found in part of a depiction of his baptism. This picture presents a youthful Jesus. The picture is in a badly preserved state with traces of red paint that present the outline of the face. Early Christian imagery is also rare in the Holy Land. Another painting was also found in the southern church of the same Shiva town. This painting depicted the Transfiguration of Jesus.

Using high resolution and special lighting, a picture revealed short curly hair, an elongated nose, large eyes, and a long face. To the left of Jesus is a picture of John the Baptist. This is the only in-situ scene of Jesus’s baptism recorded in the pre-iconoclastic Byzantine Palestine period.

The town of Shivta had a total of three churches which probably served pilgrims on their way to St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai Desert.

Fascinating!

 

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MY, MY LOOK WHAT THEY FOUND WHILE PLAYING IN THE DIRT

BLOG 439
August 5, 2019

coin (1)

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

MY, MY LOOK WHAT THEY FOUND WHILE PLAYING IN THE DIRT

Periodically, I share the latest archaeological finds in Israel. (Makes a nice break from all the turmoil and fighting going on across the Middle East.) Moreover, the latest discoveries are always fascinating. Over the decades, I’ve watched many of these digs reveal the past in surprising ways. They always make us more aware of the importance of the past.

Remember the city of Ziklag? Probably not because the name is rather obscure. However, Ziklag was one of the places that David stayed when he was running from King Saul. A team from the Institute of Archaeology at Hebrew University in Jerusalem turned up the ruins of Ziklag. Large stone structures characteristic of Philistine culture were turned up along with a significant number of vessels that reveal the biblical period. Bowls and jugs all reflect the period of King David. The Philistine name further supports the contention that the Philistines were not native to the area, but migrated from Europe.

All of which reflect new discoveries at the excavation of the Philistine cemetery at Ashkelon. The Book of Joshua identified five Philistine cities: Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath. The name Palestine came from this beginning and was first used by the Greeks. Dating of the bones reveals that the Philistines probably immigrated in the 12th century B.C.E.. Bone samples received DNA testing that also revealed ancestry from European population. Their dig continues offering new insights.

Jerusalem is once again offering more discoveries. A broken sewage pipe in 2004 in the Silwan neighborhood led to the discovery of a long, narrow staircase that connected the Pool of Siloam to the Temple. People would bathe in the pool before entering the Temple grounds. When I was there in February, this was being readied for opening to the public.

Archaeologists are calling the ancient street “the Pilgrimage Road.” They are convinced this was the path millions of Jews took three times a year when fulfilling the commandment to go up to the holy city and bring their sacrifices during Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot. Jesus would certainly have used this road in going up to the Second Temple.

Discovered in the dirt of this find was a cache of coins marked, “Free Zion.” This was the Jewish battle cry against the Romans. One archaeologist suggests they made coins instead of arrowheads because they knew they could not beat the Romans. However, the coins would be there for the people who would one day come back.

And so we have. We, too, can now walk this ancient path.

You might find my book on near-death experiences important for you:
CROSSING THE THRESHOLD OF ETERNITY
Revell books

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RACISM IN ISRAEL

BLOG 437
July 22, 2019

gaza

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

RACISM IN ISRAEL

Tensions between Israelis and the Palestinians is easy to understand. The Palestinians say you took our land. Israelis say you left when the Arab world tried to annihilated us in 1948 immediately after we declared independence. You left; we stayed. And so the arguments goes on and on.

Because of the Holocaust, Israelis have been particularly sensitive about inclusion and racial conflict. They have always stood for tolerance. Jewish groups in the United States have been outspoken on this problem.

However, the Intifadas unleashed on Israeli citizens have only increased Jewish hatred for the Palestinians. Bombings in public buses have been curtailed with the building of the wall around Israel, but the most recent knife attacks on citizens only deepened distrust, fear, and hatred. When I was in Israel a few months ago, I witnessed an increase in prejudice and distrust of Palestinians. The tension is high.

Now add the complaint of the Ethiopians. On June 30, an unarmed Ethiopian young man was shot and killed by the police. Across the entire country protests rang out, forcing a national reckoning with how the blacks are treated in Israel, especially by the police. The country came to a standstill with protesters blocking roads and highways.

“The man is a murderer,” said Tekah’s father about the policeman who shot his son. “How did he kill my son in cold blood? He was a child.”

A tiny minority of 100,000 in a country of 9 million, the killing of 18-year old Solomon Tekah has emboldened the black community to speak out. You don’t have to talk to many blacks to hear stories of abuse by the police. One black said, “They know we don’t have money for lawyers. They know we can’t defend ourselves.” Israeli officials acknowledge a longstanding problem of aggressive tactics in response to minor violations. The police acknowledge the problem.

“We came (to Israel) because of Zionism, this is also our country, we are soldiers and police officers and we never killed anyone in cold blood,” Tekah said. “We demand that justice and the law are done.”

The Ethiopians are Jews that trace their roots back to the tribe of Dan and were flown into Israel by El Al when the government created Aliya by also gathering in Jews from Russia. They practice a form of Judaism that dates back to the first Temple destroyed 2,500 years ago.

In contrast. Israeli newspapers such as The Times of Israel condemned President Trump’s racist attacks on Democratic congresswomen. Yossi Beiln, a former justice minister, and Ayman Odeh, a politician, noted Trump’s family came from German only a generation back in 1885.

Yossi Beilin lamented Trump’s decision to “bring Israel into this matter,” arguing that it will cause considerable damage to the historically bipartisan support for the Jewish state.

Racism is troubling. Not only for Israel, but the entire world needs to take a second look at how people with differences are treated.

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NO PEACE IN THE EAST

BLOG 435
July 8, 2019

gaza

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation,
ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

NO PEACE IN THE EAST

Did you hear about President Trump’s Middle-East plan for the Palestinians? Probably not, because it made about as big a splash as dropping a penny in the ocean. Trump had earlier called it “The Deal of the Century.” The Palestinian reaction was “The Dump of the Century” and didn’t even show up.

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, had been leading a team that worked for over two years to produce a comprehensive economic solution to the Palestinian problems. As the world knows, the Palestinian Authority (PA) offices in Ramallah and is always broke and lost the Gaza strip to Hamas. Kushner’s plan proposed to solve all these problems. With his usual modesty, President Trump said there would never be a Palestinian peace agreement if it was not negotiated during his presidency. Sorry, according to the Palestinians such humility and modesty isn’t going anywhere.

What are the Palestinian Authority leaders saying?

President Mahmoud Abbas described the plan as a “big lie” concocted to embarrass the Palestinians. They fiercely rejected Kushner’s plan and conference, refusing to attend and vowing never to accept any results from the event. The PA saw the plan and event as an attempt to undermine their aspirations for statehood and was only an effort to normalize Israeli status in the Arab World. They forbid any of their people to attend.

Following the conference, a Palestinian businessman was arrested in Hebron for attending. Saleh Abu Mayala was arrested by Palestinian intelligent forces. PA security attempted to arrest Ashraf Ghanam, a Palestinian businessman who attended the conference but escaped. Other Palestinian businessmen who attended the conference were also being chased. The PA meant business when it said, “DON’T ATTEND!”

Why such vehement opposition?

The Trump Administration has consistently bent over backwards to support Israeli objectives. As many Jews feared, moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem destroyed Washington’s ability to be a power broker. The US is not seen as neutral, but a staunch partisan favoring Israel. Abbas and company do not trust the Trump team.

Kushner’s plan was financially generous for the Palestinians. Creation of jobs and lavish spending was promised. Unfortunately, Abbas wants statehood. Kushner’s plan was seen as only an attempt to bribe them.

Where does the matter go next? Probably nowhere until trust and confidence is restored in America.

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UPHEAVAL BETWEEN ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIANS Part II

BLOG 404 October 1, 2018

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST ~ Each week Robert L. Wise, PhD, explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

Last week we noted:

On August 24, American President Donald Trump ordered the State Department to redirect the funding for programs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to unspecified projects elsewhere. The Palestinians screamed!

PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat denounced the loss of funds as “disgraceful” and accused the USA of meddling in the internal affairs of the West Bank and attempting to impact their national options. Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi accused America of “cheap blackmail as a political tool.” He said further, “there is no glory in constantly bullying and punishing a people under occupation.”

Here’s what followed.

On September 11th  the Trump administration ordered the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization offices in Washington. This was the next step in President Trump’s policy of putting pressure on the Palestinians to come to the bargaining table. The move was applauded in Israel and deplored in the West Bank.

The person behind this move was National Security Adviser John Bolton, usually recognized as an aggressive right-wing advocate of military action.  Bolton also warned the ICC (International Criminal Court) against taking any actions against Israel and/or the United States. Established in 2002, the ICC has stood as an attempt to bring justice in the international arena. However, Bolton said the ICC “has been ineffective, unaccountable, and … outright dangerous.”

Palestinian officials reacted angrily. Diplomat Saeb Erekat charged that the US actions were an attempt to protect Israeli war crimes. Erekat’s contempt for Trumps actions were reflected in his statement. “I don’t think these people can be part of any peace process or sit in any negotiations. They are really part of the problem and not part of the solution.”

However, Israeli Deputy Minister Michael Oren noted that in the Oslo Accords Palestinians were forbidden to press their pursuit of statehood outside negotiations with Israel. Obviously, they have gotten away with violations of Accords they signed off on. Currently the Trump Administration is forcing them to pay a price for these violations and they don’t like it.

As we observed last week, how one views this depends on the perspective they bring to the issue. However, it is becoming clearer by the month that the Trump Administration is mounting extreme pressure on the Palestinians to negotiate.

What no one seems to recognize is that the Palestinians have one supreme goal to annihilate the entire country of Israel. The rest of the Arab world has basically realized this is not going to happen. When will the Palestinians join the party?

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