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‘Forever live by the sword’?

Jul 14,2016 - Last updated at Jul 14,2016

The American celebration of independence day, on July 4, is an exciting and colourful two-hour evening event held in famous public parks with fireworks, professional dancers performing beautifully, as well as military units and thousands of spectators recorded on television nationwide.

Many are wearing shirts or vests with American flags.

The joyful event held in Washington next to the US Congress is recorded on television and beamed nationwide.

At the celebration, a small group of Arab-Americans wondered when the Palestinians will have a similar opportunity to celebrate their independence promised by the United Nations in 1948.

The disappointing view here, and most likely elsewhere, has been that the potential for a two-state solution to decades of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is “steadily eroding”, The Washington Post reported in a news article on an inside page the following day.

The report was highlighting a mild statement from the lackadaisical Middle East Quartet, the sponsor of a peace process which has yet to score any achievement in this respect.

Members of the Quartet are the UN, the US, Russia and the EU.

Although the Quartet made several good points, it failed to advocate any follow-up since Israel’s appalling recent record this week.

The New York Times reported a more alarming statement from the White House to Congress, which revealed an offer “to substantially sweeten a decade-long military aid package for Israel, the latest turn in months of fitful negotiations that have proceeded despite deep divisions over the Iran nuclear deal”.
The American deal reportedly insists that Israelis use the US money only for buying US-made goods and services, “rather than spend a sizeable portion in their own country as they are permitted to do now”. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far refused to accept the deal and is counting on the next American president to get a better one.

Both Democratic and Republic presumptive nominees, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, have been supportive of Israel in their election campaigns.

President Barack Obama is willing to give more money to Israel despite, for example, the fact that Netanyahu and his ultra-rightist Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman approved last Sunday construction plans for some 800 new housing units in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem and the illegal West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim.

Lieberman is himself an illegal settler in the West Bank.

The proposed new US military aid to Israel, which will begin in 2018, amounts to $40 billion and is described as “the largest pledge of military assistance to any country in US history”.

It is interesting to know that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is an American Jew who has been described as “a de facto campaign manager who lately has helped in drafting a few of Trump’s policy speeches reportedly including a pre-written, unequivocally pro-Israel speech in front of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, the influential lobbying group known as AIPAC”.

Clinton’s son-in-law is also a Jew, but his views have not been made public.

Kushner’s silence after Trump posted on Twitter an image of Hillary Clinton with a six-point star and a pile of cash, which had appeared on a website known for anti-Semitism, is surprising.

The six-point star is the Star of David that is also used by Israel, but Trump said the six-point star is also used by sheriffs.

Some time ago, however, Trump vowed he would remain “neutral” in dealing with Israelis and Palestinians.

An unexpected gesture, meanwhile, emerged this week when members of the Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy urged people of all faiths to appeal for lifting the Israeli blockade of Gaza, which in a few weeks, will be in its 10th year. 

They also called on Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois to martial his colleagues to support their drive in this respect.

This move comes at a time a senior former State Department official who participated in Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, Aaron David Miller, expressed belief in a published article that “a new escalation is much more likely than any progress toward peace”.

He quoted Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu as saying that Israel will “forever live by the sword”.



After having contributed to The Jordan Times for 18 years, Washington-based columnist George Hishmeh bids good-bye to his readers, heading to a much-needed retirement.

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