General Strike In Palestine Against Bahrain Conference

Demonstration in the centre of Ramallah on Sunday to reject the ‘deal of the century’ and the Bahrain conference

PALESTINIAN factions have called for demonstrations and a general strike in protest at an upcoming US-led conference in Bahrain, which centres on Washington’s ‘Deal of the Century’.

Last Saturday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party said factions within the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) umbrella group had called for the demonstrations and the strike.

The factions have set June 24, a day ahead of the two-day conference, for the start of rallies across the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip, to coincide with the opening of the event in the Bahraini capital, Manama.

The conference is meant to offer economic incentives for the US-devised plan, which Washington has called ‘the deal of the century’ and which it says would resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But, according to reports that have revealed the details of the plan, it ignores the Palestinians’ rights and historical demands altogether.

The Palestinians, who would normally be one party to any deal on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, have rejected the plan based on the details that have emerged.

The Palestinian Authority, headed by Abbas, stopped recognising any ‘peace’ role by Washington in late 2017 after the White House recognised the holy city of Jerusalem al-Quds in the West Bank as Israel’s ‘capital,’ sidestepping Palestinians’ age-old demand that the city’s eastern part is the capital of their future state.

The authority has also called on all Arab countries to boycott the conference.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have, however, announced readiness to take part in the conference. So have Egypt and Jordan, which have open diplomatic ties with the Israeli regime.

Iran and the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, say the Trump adminstration-devised ‘deal of the century’ plan targets the Palestinian nation, and only seeks to meet the interests of the Zionists in the Middle East and aims to establish Israel’s occupationist policies.

The remarks were made in a meeting between Iran’s Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi and senior Hamas officials, including deputy head of its political bureau Saleh Al-Arouri, a member of Hamas Political Bureau Hessam Badran, its foreign relations chief Osama Hamdan and its representative in Lebanon Ahmed Abdulhadi, whose report was published on Hamas’ website on Sunday.

During the meeting, the two sides noted that the policies adopted by the United States leave no doubt that a series of pro-Israeli decisions made by the US president, which started with imposing occupied East Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel and moving Washington’s embassy there, will continue with lending full support to Israel’s settlement construction activities in the West Bank and the occupied part of the Golan Heights.

In December 2017, Trump officially declared the disputed city of Jerusalem al-Quds Israel’s ‘capital,’ despite warnings from around the world that the measure would trigger a fresh wave of violence in the Middle East.

‘I have determined that it is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,’ Trump said, adding, ‘While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.’

Later in May 2018, the United States officially announced the opening of its new embassy in Jerusalem al-Quds amid a deadly Israeli crackdown on peaceful protests by Palestinians in the occupied territories.

‘Today we open the United States embassy in Jerusalem (al-Quds), Israel,’ US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said at the beginning of the inaugural ceremony, attended by a US delegation from Washington and officials of the Israeli regime.

Elsewhere in their meeting, the two sides exchanged views about ways to promote relations and emphasised that such meetings should continue to counter challenges and dangers emanating from the US insistence on ‘the deal of the century,’ which has been rejected by all Palestinians and regional nations.

The two sides also discussed ways of countering other American and Zionist plots in the region, especially concerning the issue of Palestine.

Palestinian Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh on June 15 dismissed Trump’s ‘peace’ plan between the Israeli regime and Palestinians.

In a statement he said: ‘The American conspiracy has stumbled and is changing course. It is due to the Palestinian rejection (of the deal) and the clear position of the president (Mahmoud Abbas) vis-à-vis al-Quds, refugees and the national constants.

‘These issues form the cornerstone of the struggle that forced the conspiracy against the Palestinian people to falter.

‘The Palestinian land is the cradle of history, heritage and religion. Al-Quds represents the spirit of this sacred existence.’

Last month the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates strongly condemned Trump’s controversial proposal for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, saying it translates into Washington’s recognition of the Israeli regime’s apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territories.

‘The climate and atmosphere, which Americans have created with their statements and positions vis-à-vis the so-called “deal of the century” will encourage Israel’s ruling right-wing coalition and the majority of extremists and settlers to swallow up the rest of the Palestinian land,’ the ministry announced in a statement.

Back in July, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei called the US president’s ‘deal of the century’ for the Palestinian territories a ‘satanic’ plan, and a non-starter.

‘The Americans have named their satanic policy on Palestine “the deal of the century” but they should know that, by divine grace, this “deal of the century” will never materialise,’ he said.

The so-called deal, a backchannel plan to allegedly reach a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, was proposed by the US administration late in 2017.

The Palestinians are planning to hold a ‘popular uprising’ later this month, scheduled to take place on June 25-26 in conjunction with the US-led conference in Bahrain – where the first part of Trump’s so-called ‘peace plan’ which is spearheaded by his son-in-law Jared Kushner, will be unveiled.

The call for the ‘popular uprising’ was made by representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) factions, Palestinian civil society organisations and independent Palestinian figures on Sunday after a meeting in the occupied West Bank city of el-Bireh.

Wasel Abu Yusef, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said the Palestinians need to engage in ‘struggling action to foil the “deal of the century” and its economic aspect, and voice their rejection of all American policies.’

Abu Yusef noted that last Sunday’s meeting was the first in a series of gatherings to arrange ‘popular activities to confront American-Israeli schemes aimed at eliminating the rights of the Palestinian people.’

He urged Arab nations to boycott the Bahrain conference ‘because the rights of the Palestinian people can’t be traded for money.’

Late last month, the PLO affirmed its final opposition to the conference and called on the international community to boycott the Bahrain ‘workshop’.

Another senior PLO official, Tayseer Khaled, stressed the need to ‘change the rules of engagement with the policies of the US administration’ and the Israeli regime.

He cited ‘the big changes in the policy of the US administration and its unprecedented and unlimited support for Israel’s hostile settlement policy and absolute denial of the national rights of the Palestinian people.’

Khaled also called for a ‘comprehensive national revolt’ against Israel.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority plans to file a complaint with the International Criminal (ICC) against US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman for ‘jeopardising peace and security in the Middle East’ with his recent ‘racist’ remarks.

Speaking in an interview with The New York Times, Friedman said that Israel ‘has the right’ to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

‘Under certain circumstances, I think that Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank,’ he said in the interview published on Saturday.

‘Friedman’s remarks are an extension of the US administration’s policy, which is fully biased in favour of the occupation and its expansionist colonial policies,’ the Palestinian foreign ninistry said on Sunday.

Denouncing him as a settler, the ministry said, ‘We are studying whether his racist rhetoric is sufficient to file a complaint against him with the International Criminal Court for trying to impose his racist visions and threatening peace and security in the region, as well as exposing the Palestinian people to several dangers and conspiracies.’

Friedman’s statements sparked widespread condemnation from several Palestinian officials and groups.

Ibrahim Milhem, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, slammed Friedman and US President Donald Trump’s advisers, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, as ‘clowns and circus actors lacking political maturity.’