TEHRAN, Feb. 19 (Press Shia Agency) – A University of East London professor and an avid anti-Zionist has said with Trump in the White House, prospects of the Palestinians will be more and more slim for recognition of their rights by Israelis.
Professor Haim Bresheeth draws a pessimistic image, as he himself admits but painfully holds it as reality, of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict where the Zionist extreme right-wingers had effectively blocked road to a hopeful situation and a viable solution to the conflict; he believes that Trump administration will definitely take side with the Jewish state bolstered by the Knesset in Tel Aviv who would not be satisfied with less than expelling all Palestinians from the West Bank.
Bresheeth implicates famous Jewish tycoon Sheldon Adelson in the Jewish settlement case where he actively supported financially the building of illegal houses in Palestinian territories; the transfer of capital to Al-Quds, especially eastern part of what UN designate as an international zone, will be a blow to international convention no other US president had ever dared to defy:
Trump has declared that the US embassy in Tel Aviv will be transfered to Jerusalem. What are the reasons of this transfer, and what would be its message?
Trump’s policy on Israel/Palestine is crafted by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, an orthodox Jew and a strong supporter of the illegal settlements in the West Bank. Kushner has paid much towards the settlements both personally and through the Trump organization. The second source of influence on Trump is the Jewish billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who made his fortune in the casino business like the Trump family. Adelson is the richest and most generous supporter of the illegal settlements, as well as the owner of the Israeli free paper Hayom, which is the main supporter of Netanyahu and the extreme right in Israel. Trump lacks any knowledge or understanding of the conflict of Israel/Palestine, does not know or care about it being a colonial conflict, and like any white supremacist Islamophobe supports the colonialists against the indigenous people, not to mention that his hostility to Arabs and Muslims makes the Palestinians automatic enemies in his limited and narrow view of the world.
By moving the embassy to Jerusalem Al-Quds, a move which no US president has agreed to since the 1948 Nakba, Trump will be striking massive blow against the UN, and its understanding that Jerusalem Al-Quds, not to mention East Jerusalem, are both illegally occupied by Israel. The Resolution 181 of November 1947, which has partitioned Palestine into two states, has left Jerusalem as an international zone protected by the UN, hence Israel’s occupation of it is illegal, and so is moving embassies into it. By moving the embassy to Jerusalem Al-Quds, Trump will be in fact saying that he rejects the judgement of the international community through the UN, as well as the rights of the Palestinians altogether. In fact, this move is the support of Pax Israeliana, an arrangement depending on Israeli and US guns, and on a final rejection of any national rights for Palestine. No US President has done anything like that.
How would this Transfer affect the US relations with Islamic countries?
As every Muslim knows, Jerusalem Al-Quds and the Al Aqsa Mosque are the third most holy place for Muslims, after Mecca and Medina. By moving the embassy to Jerusalem, Trump, an enemy of Islam and the Arabs, will in effect be annulling the rights of Muslims and Christians in the city. This is likely to cause a huge problem in the Middle East for the US, with demonstrations and much hostility towards the US and Israel. Indeed, even such corrupt regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Al Sisi’s Egypt, who are closely associated with the US and Israel, will find it difficult if not impossible to control popular anger in their countries. Such a move could bring about widespread protests which may lead to changing the power-balance in the Middle East.
Israel claims to be a democratic state, at the same time it emphasizes on Jewish identity and its foundation is based on occupation. What do you think about this contradiction?
Of course, Israel is not now, nor has it ever been a democratic state. Israel is no longer defining itself as democracy – this description was removed by the Knesset almost three years ago – it now describes itself as a Jewish State, which is obviously undemocratic. Any country which is claiming to be based on single religion as its identity cannot by definition be democratic, if it has substantial minorities of people from different religions. Israel has never behaved as democracy, ever since its inception in 1948 – the Arab Palestinians were NEVER treated equally, and lived under a military government until 1966. Even after the abolition of the Military Government, the Palestinians in Israel, almost 22% of the population, have never enjoyed equality as citizens, and this is now truer than ever. In the last few years, tens of new laws passed by the Knesset, have removed most of the rights from the Palestinian citizens of Israel, and even removed the Arabic language as an official language of Israel. The Palestinians in the rest of Palestine are still living under a brutal military occupation, with no civil or political rights whatsoever. Marx has once said: “a nation which oppresses another nation, cannot itself be free.” This is very true about Israel, which is not even democratic towards Jews, with racism and hatred towards Mizrahi Jews (Jews from the Arab world and Iran) and towards Black Jews from Ethiopia. If for the Palestinians Israel is an Apartheid state, it is also undemocratic towards many of its Jewish citizens.
Some say that there is no one in Labor Party to compete with Netanyahu. What is your opinion?
The Labor Party has changed its name to the ‘Zionist Camp’ few years ago, to mark the fact that it has nothing to do with the left. Even before that time, the Labor Party, as the strongest and most dominant political power in Israel, was the political power which had carried out the Nakba, was responsible to the ethnic cleansing of over 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and for not allowing them to return after the end of the war. Peres and Ben-Gurion have together arranged the tripartite attack on Egypt in 1956, together with the colonialist powers of Britain and France, and were also responsible for the 1967 war. After that war, they were responsible for the illegal settlements which started to be built immediately after the war ended. They were also responsible for the racist apartheid policies of the Histadrut, which supported different pay for the same jobs for Jews and Arabs. Now that they lost power and are out of government, they sometimes would like us to believe that it was the right-wing in Israel which is responsible for much of these crimes, but any historical account reveals that there was no great difference between left and right when it comes to the Palestine question. Thus, whether they put another candidate against Netanyahu, the policies will not change, as the whole Israeli society has moved strongly to the right and has become extremely nationalistic and xenophobic. At the moment, its leaders, Herzog and Livni, are perceived as Netanyahu-lite, and thus are unlikely to attract much electoral support, in the likely case of fresh elections, if Netanyahu is charged with corruption in the next couple of months, which looks almost certain.
It seems that Trump will support Netanyahu and Israel (more than did Obama.) Considering this, is there any possibility that Israel takes a more violent stance against Palestinians?
There is no doubt in my mind that the closeness between Trump and Netanyahu – the same billionaire (Sheldon Adelson) is supporting both, for example – is very dangerous for the Palestinians. Israel has had a long-established plan to further ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, by using regional local tense situation to launch mass expulsion of Palestinians across the river Jordan. As there was never a president in the US which was as supportive as Trump of Israeli war crimes, it is very likely that this plan will be realized during his tenure. Indeed, another political platform shared by Trump and Netanyahu is their hostility towards and wish to attack Iran; such an attack is likely to destabilize the whole Middle East, and to give Israel the chance to enact massive expulsion of Palestinians with the support of the US. This makes this new closeness between both regimes even more dangerous to region and world peace.
A procedure for peace between Israel and Palestine has been proposed by France. How do you see France proposal future following Trumps grasp on power?
Unfortunately, France, like the rest of the EU, has not done anything since 1967 to assist a just peace in Palestine. This panicky attempt by Paris to save something before a Trump takeover was just that – a useless attempt to be politically correct, and to suggest a political move which will be supported by Arab and Muslim countries – as well as by its own Muslim population, which is now living under the threat of a fascist president being elected in few months. This French proposal is actually a failure even before it was made – it offers the Palestinians very little, and to the Israelis it offers less than control over the whole of Palestine – something the current Israeli government, and its racialized xenophobic public will not for a moment consider seriously. The only just peace for both sides has to be forced on Israel, like the end of Apartheid was forced upon South Africa. The only power capable of so doing is the US, and it will not do so – it actually does the opposite; thus, no peace moves in the current power balance can be effective or serious – these are symbolic voices which are undertaken for internal and external political reasons, and not really for resolving the colonial conflict in Palestine. This may sound very negative or pessimistic, but unfortunately, it is the real situation right now. The most likely result of such imbalanced power relations in the Middle East is a further erosion of the life and rights of the Palestinians. Only massive change in public opinion, and a strong BDS campaign against Israel Apartheid and its atrocities can change this; one hopes that this will happen over the next few years. Without such campaign, the situation will only further deteriorate.
Professor Haim Bresheeth is a filmmaker, photographer and a film studies scholar, retired from the University of East London, where he worked since early 2002. He now teaches at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
Interview by: Vandad Alvandipour