By Jonathan Ofir
Shhhh! The tailors are working! Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, with the help of David Friedman are working on a new gown for Palestine. According to leaks in the Israeli Maariv daily, it will be called “New Palestine”. This “New Palestine” is the promised “deal of the century”, which only a fool would refuse to buy, let alone see the virtue of.
To those who are not as worldly-wise as Trump’s tailors, this plan might be invisible. When these people start asking whether this really is about a Palestinian state, the tailors say “hush” – “let’s just not say it”. When tailor Greenblatt talks up his fashion at the UN, saying the new gown promises “prosperity”, the UN ambassadors express their concern that if it’s not a real state, the Palestinians shouldn’t be coerced to buy it.
Indeed, this gown is not quite like in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale. This time, the Emperor, US President Trump, is actually one of the tailors, and the gown is made for Palestine. It is meant to once and for all completely shut down all talk of Palestinian refugees – the single most essential issue for Palestinians. It is made to shut down talk of an actual Palestinian state, cement Israeli encirclement of Palestinians in Bantustans (including annexation of the Jordan Valley and much of the West Bank), demilitarize Palestine and make Palestinians happy with lots of money from the Gulf.
And if Hamas doesn’t buy this one, it’s bust. The U.S. “will back Israel to personally harm leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad”, the leaked document said.
And what happens if the PLO refuses to buy it? The US will cut all aid and make sure that “no country in the world transfers money” to Palestine. And the Palestinian Authority is already hard pressed, not least due to Israeli blackmailing, which results in the blocking of tax revenues. Palestine is heavily plundered by Israel, which takes about 78% of the international aid to Palestine into its own coffers, and grabs $3.4 billion in resources every year.
So the tailors are hoping that the Palestinians can be compelled to buy this gown. Because although they can’t really see the gown, signing off on it allows them to keep breathing economically, a kind of ‘offer you can’t refuse’.
And the Israelis? Will they buy it? Ostensibly, the Israelis are also threatened with withdrawal of funds if they refuse. But hey, what’s not to like? This gown legitimizes Israeli annexations of large swaths of the West Bank, just like Prime Minister Netanyahu promised in his recent election campaign; it consolidates Israeli control of Palestinian Bantustans, encircling them from all directions; it keeps Jerusalem in Israel’s hands, so Trump won’t have to move the embassy again; it kills the refugee issue by simply not incorporating it, simply silencing it to death. A great solution for the Israelis. Like in 1947 – it was fine for the Zionists to endorse the UN Partition Plan, as a means of obtaining more. As David Ben-Gurion once expressed himself concerning partition to his son Amos:
“My assumption (which is why I am a fervent proponent of a state, even though it is now linked to partition) is that a Jewish state on only part of the land is not the end but the beginning. When we acquire one thousand or 10,000 dunams, we feel elated. It does not hurt our feelings that by this acquisition we are not in possession of the whole land. This is because this increase in possession is of consequence not only in itself, but because through it we increase our strength, and every increase in strength helps in the possession of the land as a whole. The establishment of a state, even if only on a portion of the land, is the maximal reinforcement of our strength at the present time and a powerful boost to our historical endeavors to liberate the entire country.”
The gown that these royal tailors are sewing is nothing new really, although it’s called “New Palestine”. It is really nothing at all. It is the same prison, the same occupation, with a new name. Its real name is “Greater Israel”, and it is just another step in the long continuum of the Israeli colonization of Palestine.
The deal of the former century was the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and Trump wants to be the next Balfour. Trump wants to make not only America great, but also Israel – great and greater. Because as his ambassador-cum-tailor David Friedman says, “Israel is on the side of God”. The “New Palestine” gown is a servant’s garb, and Palestine finally signs off on being Israel’s subservient maid. The invisible gown leaves Palestine completely naked, with the promise of cash.
Who wouldn’t want a deal like that. It’s a great deal. The deal of the century. Believe me.