TEHRAN (Press Shia) – A peace activist and journalist based in the US state of Virginia described US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law as “a privileged Zionist” who is behind the so-called deal of the century, saying the idea that he could create a true Middle East peace plan is “a tragic farce”.

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“I have no doubt the “deal of the century” will be a good deal only for Israel and for the many (Persian) Gulf states that are under submission to the US and UK (and therefore under submission to Israel as well),” Janice Kortkamp from Leesburg, Virginia, said in an interview with the Press Shia News Agency.

“It is an impossible-to-believe scenario: that a privileged Zionist, Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of Donald Trump who knows nothing of the region other than 5-star hotels, red carpets, and grand palaces, could create a true “peace plan” is a tragic farce,” she added.

Janice Kortkamp became an independent, completely self-funded, journalist after “seeing Western media bias regarding Syria and how that bias was promoting war and destabilization in Syria and all the Levant”. She has researched the current crisis for six years, putting in over 7,000 hours of study. She has visited Syria five times over the past three years, spending months traveling around the major population areas and the outskirts of Damascus, Homs, Latakia (including Kessab), Hama, Palmyra, Deir Ezzor and Aleppo. She has also gone to Germany, Lebanon, and Kuwait to meet with Syrian refugees and emigrants. Through friends and contacts in Syria as well as reports from genuine news sources around the world, she tracks the situation on the ground in Syria on an hourly basis.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Press Shia: Israeli soldiers recently shot and wounded at least 16 unarmed Palestinian protesters, including a volunteer and medic, according to Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra. As you know, Palestinians have staged the weekly anti-Israeli protests dubbed the “Great March of Return” along the Gaza border for more than a year. According to media reports, more than 270 people, including 52 children, have been killed since the demonstrations began in March 2018. Most of the dead and the thousands wounded were unarmed civilians against whom Israel was using excessive force. What do you think about the Israeli regime’s crimes?

Kortkamp: What do I think of the Zionist regime’s crimes? I think the term ‘crime’ is too small to describe the multi-dimensional atrocities that have been committed on a routine basis as they have been for over 70 long years. The Zionist gangs who brought urban terrorism to the region were never held responsible for their deeds; in fact, they set the standard by which modern Israel has typically operated not only in Palestine but in the region and in incidents around the world.

Not only have thousands of Palestinians been killed in their own homeland but heritage, history, futures, and dreams have also been targeted for extinction. Millions are living in perpetual exile, driven from their ancestral homes, prohibited from returning. Almost 2,000,000 in Gaza are living under siege – 2,000,000 human beings who have never been on trial yet are condemned, imprisoned, sentenced and continually punished, simply for being Palestinian by blood. In the West Bank, the people suffer from an unfair, punitive military occupation where their villages, homes, and farms are stolen or destroyed. Schools are razed to the ground. Lands belonging to churches and mosques are confiscated. Settlers’ violence and murder against Palestinians is often celebrated by Israelis and on the occasion where there is punishment, it is usually nothing more than a slap on the wrist with a wink by the regime that says silently, “well done.”

In addition to all of those outrages is the aggressive expansionism beyond Palestine that is a driving ambition for most Israeli leaders. The “Greater Israel” scheme has resulted in several invasions of southern Lebanon; the theft of Syria’s Golan; and the support of terrorist gangs in Syria; the incessant lies and accusations against Iran; the deceits and assassinations by the Mossad; the massacre of the men aboard the USS Liberty; the theft of weapons-grade uranium and other acts of espionage against the US; and was the driving force behind the US coalition’s disastrous invasion of Iraq. This is just the short list of the crimes committed by the Zionist entity against humanity. 

Press Shia: Khalil al-Hayya, a Hamas leader, recently said Palestinians have united to reject the so-called “deal of the century” plan initiated by the US government, saying there is a consensus among them to restore the Palestinians’ rights. He also said the Palestinian people are unified to boycott an upcoming US-Israeli conference in Bahrain. What is your opinion about the remarks and the upcoming conference in Manama? How do you predict the future developments?

Kortkamp: I have no doubt the “deal of the century” will be a good deal only for Israel and for the many (Persian) Gulf states that are under submission to the US and UK (and therefore under submission to Israel as well). It is an impossible-to-believe scenario: that a privileged Zionist, Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of Donald Trump who knows nothing of the region other than 5-star hotels, red carpets, and grand palaces, could create a true “peace plan” is a tragic farce.

Whether boycotting the gathering is a good idea or not is first and foremost, of course, up to the people of Palestine, however in my opinion, it may be a mistake. It may be more effective (if these things are permitted) to send a wide-spectrum delegation that represents the richness and diversity of Palestine, people who can articulate the message in powerful and creative ways in order for media to be forced to hear and report on them. For example, the delegation might include students – not just those who have lost their schools, not just the victims of the Zionist violence and persecution, but those students who have persevered through it all to pursue their education with commitment and passion and what they’ve achieved because of it. Promoting the many positive aspects of Palestinian history and culture is essential in my opinion and could perhaps be presented as cultural events during the conference. Or, if the boycott is supported by the majority of Palestinians, perhaps holding an alternative event elsewhere may be in Lebanon, for example, again highlighting the positive aspects of Palestinian culture and history as well as the struggle of the resistance and the victims of the violence may provide a lot of new ways for all of us, activists both in Palestine and outside of Palestine for getting the message out to new audiences.

As for future developments, I haven’t the ability to see; these are precarious and complicated times. The region at this moment is a potential powder keg that could ignite a global firestorm. The people of the Middle East must not give in to the pressure being exerted against it to be divided against each other in my opinion. Violent religious extremism that has been nurtured by external powers and used by them to create chaos must be minimized for example by the people themselves. Dialogue and negotiations among all nations in the region are critical, and incorruptible leaders with a true vision and genuine motivation to help all the people need to be encouraged, raised up and supported. I believe the Middle East of Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran – that part of the region that is the birthplace of so much of civilization – has an opportunity in this age to again be a light in the world, however, the challenges are truly great.

Press Shia: As you know, on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan each year, Muslims and anti-Israeli activists hold worldwide demonstrations to express their solidarity with the Palestinian people and condemn the Israeli regime’s continued inhumane acts against the defenseless people. This year, Muslims around the world marked the International Quds Day on May 31. What do you think about the importance of the day? Why has the international community, particularly the Western mainstream media, made a muted response to the Tel Aviv regime’s human rights violations against Palestinians so far?

Kortkamp: well, as I was thinking through these questions and writing out my responses in order to provide succinct answers on this video, I did so on al-Quds Day and so this is a particularly appropriate and poignant time to honor the martyrs of Palestine and mourn with their families. I feel it’s also a good time to be bluntly honest. Most of us know that Western governments and media are dominated by pro-Israeli individuals and groups, therefore, it is alternative media that we must rely on for any truth and as a means of spreading it. We must create a tsunami of truth-tellers to share the reality of the massive human rights violations and crimes by Israel and those advancing Israeli interests. At the same time, we must hold ourselves and each other accountable to do this with integrity without exaggeration as the reality is so horrific exaggeration is needless and without false stories. All of those will de-legitimize our cause.