BY appointing David Friedman as the US ambassador to Israel, President Trump has unceremoniously stomped on any remaining illusions that he will restore genuine ‘peace talks’ in order to implement a ‘two-state solution’ in Palestine.
The US Senate confirmed yesterday that the extreme Zionist right-winger Friedman is America’s new ambassador to Israel. He was approved in a 52-46 vote in the Republican-run chamber, despite opposition from the Democrats.
Friedman, along with Jason Greenblatt who in January was appointed by Trump as the United States Special Representative for International Negotiations, believes in a ‘one-state solution’, the existence of the state of Israel and only Israel. Friedman is completely opposed to any recognition of a Palestinian state. He is for Jerusalem being the capital of Israel, and is for annexing the entire West Bank and building Israeli settlements everywhere.
Already, over half a million Israelis live in over 230 settlements built illegally since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories. Four days before the US election, Friedman and Greenblatt released a joint statement promising to move the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which had been one of Trump’s campaign promises.
During the election campaign Friedman said: ‘I intend to work tirelessly to strengthen the unbreakable bond between our two countries and advance the cause of peace within the region, and look forward to doing this from the US embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.’
At the time Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, warned that moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and annexing West Bank settlements would lead to the ‘destruction of the peace process’ and send the region down a path of ‘chaos, lawlessness, and extremism’.
The son of an Orthodox rabbi, Friedman is a fluent speaker of Hebrew, who owns a residence in Jerusalem and boasts that he has probably visited the ‘Holy Land’ more than 100 times. He has called Jews who back the ‘two-state solution’ ‘worse than Nazi collaborators’. He has called one Jewish lobby group, J Street, ‘worse than kapos’ — a reference to Jews who helped the Nazis imprison other Jews during the Holocaust.
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Abbas has said he is awaiting a date to be set for his visit to the White House following an official invitation from Trump. Abbas has expressed hopes that the Palestinian-US official meetings would eventually lead to a US-led ‘peace process’. Those ‘hopes’, as underlined by the appointment of Friedman, have now been squashed!
The Palestinian masses, however are under no such illusions. For them, the so-called ‘peace process’ was dead in the water as far back as when Israel murdered President Yasser Arafat after he absolutely correctly refused to budge on the question of Jerusalem being the capital of a Palestinian state and the right of return for all Palestinian refugees.
This year is the 100th anniversary of the UK’s ‘Balfour Declaration’ when the British rulers of Palestine gave the Zionists the green light to occupy Palestine and steal the Palestinian homeland. Since October 2014, Palestinian youth have taken matters into their own hands. Youth have led a nationwide uprising against the Israeli occupation. The Third Intifada or ‘Jerusalem Intifada’ is being led by a generation of youth that has no illusions in ‘talks’ which they rightly see as a tactic to mark time while Israeli settlements expand and more and more Palestinian land is seized.
They are determined that 2017 will be the year that they establish the Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, a land free from all Israeli settlements, and to which all Palestinians have the right to return, and on which Arabs, Jews, Muslims and Christians will live side by side.
The Third Intifada must receive the full support of the trade unions in the UK and the US. The working class has a vital role to play! It must ensure that the Palestinians receive everything they need to win their struggle and end the occupation, and that the UK recognises the state of Palestine!