Biden is getting it wrong

Israeli Settlement (Andoni)
An illegal Israeli settlemenet in the occupied West Bank, September 1, 2021. (Photo: NYTimes)
US President Joe Biden’s focus on normalization between Arab countries and Israel, amid continuous US denial of the Palestinian people’s national legitimate rights will not lead to peace, but to more instability in the region and destruction of Palestinian lives.اضافة اعلان

The “people-to-people” normalization approach is tricky and dishonest; it is based on a flawed assumption that acceptance of Israel in the region will eventually force the Palestinians to capitulate to US-Israeli terms for “a final settlement” that falls short of the Palestinian independence and freedom. It is equally immoral as it enables consecutive Israeli governments to continue expanding illegal settlements as well as “the Judaization of Jerusalem”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s reported objections to constructing new settler housing units in the illegal settlements doesn’t amount to real pressure let alone a real policy. There needs to be an unequivocal US rejection of the very principle of expropriating of Palestinian lands, demolishing Palestinian homes, and the displacement of their owners. It is naive to even think that Washington is interested in such a shift in its position involving its “closest” and most favorite ally in the Middle East and beyond. But Biden and Blinken shouldn’t even entertain the idea that Palestinians or the majority — if not the vast majority — of Arabs are swayed by US support for a two-state solution, while Israel continues to gobble up Palestinians’ land and continues its daily crimes against the Palestinians with impunity.

In reality “Normalization” is another term for demanding that Arabs accept Israeli hegemony, occupation, apartheid and colonial –settler project was started in the wake of the 19th century. It is a US policy to force the Arabs to deny the 1948 Palestinian Nakba — the collective dispossession of Palestinians terrorized by massacres committed by Zionist terrorist gangs and acknowledged in memoirs by the founders.

The exit of former president Donald Trump from the White House provided a glimmer of hope that the so-called “Deal of the Century” was buried with the advent of new administration, particularly that it coincided with the exit of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. At some point, some had the false expectation that it would be easy the pressure the Arabs into accepting Trump’s recognition of Israeli claims that “Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel” and the annexation of parts of the West Bank including the Jordan Valley, and to consequently force Palestinians into total surrender.

At face value that seemed the case, but it is important to always remember that the main constant in US policy is based on finding a solution for Israel, to maintain its “superiority”, broaden its hegemony in the region, and thus to dictate the condition it considers as “peace” in the region. Israeli “security”, as Israel defines it, is and always has been the main constant in all US “peace plans”. Palestinians are always expected to behave and guarantee the security of the occupier, while being deprived of security and human rights.

Therefore it comes as no surprise that the Biden administration chose not only to fall back on its traditional policies but to also build on what it views as “landmarks”. In particular, this included new normalization agreements between Israel and a number of Arab governments that went far and beyond what previous agreements have achieved for Israel.

The US State Department, meanwhile, kept on sending the same Israeli-inspired messages to Arab and Palestinian leaders, i.e. deeper and broader normalization with Israel while the Palestinian Authority (PA) is expected to reign in Palestinian defiance and resistance.

What Biden and all US presidents have failed to understand is that Palestinians, whether inside Palestine or the diaspora, will defy and will revolt against any capitulation agreement, signed by the PA or any future leadership. Illusions that many had about the 1993 Oslo Accords have long dissipated and that was the main message of the 2002 Second Intifada. But both Israel, and the US administration have no respect for the Arab people, as the arrogance of power make them believe that they can enforce any vision they have sheer military prowess.

The Biden administration has opted for a gradual approach to ensure Palestinian surrender, as Israel should remain “the winner” — even if winning involves ethnic cleansing and war crimes.

Biden remains oblivious to the turning tide against Israel all over the world, inspired by the heroic Palestinian defiance of the Israeli occupation forces. University campuses in Europe and the US are endorsing the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, armed not with sophisticated weapons but their formidable conviction in rights and justice.

Biden should know that there is a limitation to what armaments can achieve. He might not get it, but people committed to justice will not be deterred.

Lamis Andoni is an analyst and commentator on Middle Eastern and Palestinian affairs based in Amman.

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