With Trump's "Blessing" Netanyahu calls for Israel to annex West Bank settlements

| Originally posted March 25, 2019 | revcom.us


The following article was written in March, just after Trump announced the U.S. would recognize Israel’s “sovereignty” over the Golan Heights, in violation of international law that prohibits countries from annexing land seized in war (the Golan Heights was seized by Israel in a war with Syria). The article notes the possibility that this move would further accelerate moves by increasingly powerful forces in Israel to annex all or part of the West Bank, the region of Palestine seized by Israel in war and occupied since 1967. Since the article was originally posted, on April 6, three days before elections that will set terms for who will be Israel’s next prime minister, the current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu (who is running for re-election) called for formally annexing vast swaths of the West Bank occupied by Israeli “settlements.” All these settlements are instruments of ethnic cleansing—surrounding, isolating and literally walling off what are increasingly concentration camp enclaves where Palestinians are confined. Many are essentially militarized bases from which virulent racists carry out a reign of terror on the Palestinian population.

Netanyahu’s call for annexation represents a ratcheting up of threats and moves towards even more draconian genocidal ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people from their homeland. This heightens the urgency of exposing the nature and role of Israel as a fortress and hitman for the U.S. empire, and exposing the true nature and role of that empire, which has brought so much death, terror and misery to the world—and on that basis, joining and engaging with everyone who refuses to be silent in the face of Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians.

On March 21, Trump declared “it is time” for the U.S. to “fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty” over the Golan Heights—a militarily strategic region of Syria seized by Israel in a war in 1967. A story on the announcement in a leading Israeli newspaper was headlined, “Trump’s Golan Declaration: Blessing for Netanyahu, Message to Russia.” What that article didn’t say is that this “blessing” has genocidal implications for the Palestinian people. And the “message to Russia” is a Mafia-style provocation and threat that ratchets up the danger of war.

A “Blessing” with Genocidal Implications

Israel is literally built on the blood and bones of the Palestinian people, whose land was stolen through terrorist ethnic cleansing. In 1948, almost a million Palestinians were violently forced from their land, villages, and homes, fleeing with only the possessions they could carry. First-hand accounts by the founders of Israel document that Palestinians were raped, tortured, and killed in that orgy of terror (see the special issue of Revolution on Israel). Since then, the violent ethnic cleansing has continued.

In a one-sided war in 2008-2009, Amnesty International concluded that Israel killed 1,400 people in Gaza, including some 300 children and several hundred other unarmed civilians. Three Israeli civilians were reported killed in that “war.” In an even more deadly massacre in 2014, Israel killed more than 2,000 people in Gaza, including targeting people seeking refuge in United Nations schools. The UN estimated that 65 percent of those killed by Israel in 2014 were civilians. These massacres were carried out against people who have been locked down in a densely packed, open-air prison, denied construction materials, electricity much of the time, and ability to travel for medical care, education, or to see loved ones even in other parts of Palestine. And in the West Bank region of Palestine, degrading checkpoints, terror by Israeli settlers and dehumanizing and violent abuse by the Israeli authorities are a daily fact of life.

Trump’s “blessing” for Netanyahu was that the timing of this announcement was taken by all as an endorsement of Netanyahu’s ruling coalition in Israel’s upcoming elections. That coalition is increasingly dominated by fanatic Jewish fundamentalists who openly call for the violent extermination of the Palestinian people. As documented in the New York Times, this includes forces with “a long history of expressing support for violence against Palestinians, expulsion of Arabs from Israel and the occupied territories, and a ban on intermarriage or sex between Jews and Arabs,” and whose “platform calls for annexing the occupied territories, rejecting a Palestinian state, [and] expelling ‘enemies’ of Israel—a euphemism for Arabs.” This is the coalition Trump “blessed” with his endorsement of the annexation of the Golan Heights.

Beyond that, Trump’s announcement has specific, ominous implications for the 2.8 million Palestinians living in the “occupied territories” of the West Bank, territory seized by Israel in the 1967 war. It was a signal to the Israeli right to pursue their agenda of annexing some or all the West Bank. Netanyahu’s ruling coalition includes hard-core Zionist fascists who demand, and are organizing to carry out, the violent expulsion of all Arabs from Israel and the occupied territories. Israeli annexation of any or all of the West Bank would dramatically ratchet up the danger of a whole new level of genocidal ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

And Trump’s “blessing” was accompanied by a literal blessing by Trump’s Christian fascist, “end times” lunatic secretary of state Mike Pompeo, who posed in an interview with the Christian Broadcast Network that it was possible that God raised Donald Trump to be president of the United States in order to protect Israel from Iran, and who declared “the Lord is at work” in Trump’s announcement.

A Mafia-Style “Message” to Russia

The “message to Russia” in Trump’s announcement is that as the war in Syria winds down, the U.S. will aggressively defend and expand its domination of the Middle East. The bloodbath in Syria involved a wide range of competing reactionary forces including ISIS and other fundamentalist jihadist forces; pro-Iranian militias from Lebanon; Iranian military operatives; Russian airstrikes; Israeli airstrikes; groups organized and armed by the U.S.; and U.S. troops. This was, on all sides, a massive crime against humanity and the people of Syria in particular. Framing this hellish mix was contention between Russia (which has a very significant military base in Syria) and Iran, on the one hand, and the U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia on the other.

Trump’s backing for Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights—land conquered from Syria in 1967—is a slap in the face to Russia. And this move by Trump comes as the U.S. rulers have Iran in their crosshairs. They see it as a major threat to their domination of the Middle East. Trump’s message to Russia, which has close relations with Iran, is that of one Mafia boss to a rival: don’t stand in the way of whatever moves we make against Iran.

And this “message to Russia” comes from a demented bully in the White House with his finger on the nuclear button. It ratchets up the danger of a potentially catastrophic war in the Middle East and beyond.

If you were expecting outrage from the Democrats in the face of Trump’s endorsement of Netanyahu and his genocidal allies, and his trampling on international law, their muted—at most—response tells you something about their fundamental unity with Trump even as they have differences in how best to prop up Israel and contend with rival imperialists. Some Democrats, mainstream commentators, and “non-partisan” former U.S. diplomats complained that in trampling on international law that is supposed to prohibit countries from annexing territory seized in war, Trump took away a diplomatic weapon the U.S. needs, for example to use against Russia’s seizure of a part of Ukraine. They fear what might come of tearing up global norms that have served to keep the U.S. at the top of a world of exploitation and oppression for decades. And they argue that Trump’s uncritical embrace of the most openly racist and genocidal forces in Israel endangers the stability of Israel and its ability to portray itself as a bastion of enlightenment while it serves as a regional fortress and global hit man for the U.S. empire.

But again, these disagreements with Trump are over how to maintain Israel as a vicious, nuclear-armed power to dominate the Middle East, because the U.S. empire does need Israel as a vicious, nuclear-armed hit man for its interests in the region and around the world.

The Interests of Humanity

For the Palestinian people, for the people of the Middle East, and for the vast majority of the seven-plus billion people on this planet, Trump’s backing of Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights is an obscene endorsement of crimes committed by, and worse crimes coming from, Israel. And it accelerates the threat of an utterly unjust war that could be a disaster for humanity.

Those crimes must be exposed and opposed, especially by people in the U.S.—not because they cut against the interests of “our” country but because we live in the belly of the beast that needs Israel to serve as a vicious hit man to continue to crush bodies and spirits around the world to feed it. And as we expose and oppose Israel’s crimes, and U.S. backing for them, we are called on by humanity to do this as part of seriously organizing and preparing for the actual revolution that will do away with the oppression of whole peoples, wars of empire, armies of occupation and crimes against humanity.


Bringing Forward Another Way

The following, on why Israel is such a key ally for the U.S. in the Middle East, is from Bringing Forward Another Way, a talk given by Bob Avakian in 2006. This groundbreaking analysis, made during the George W. Bush years, continues to be very relevant, especially in the context of sharpening contradictions centered in the Middle East and aggressive U.S.-led moves against Iran. This work is an illustration of applying the scientific method to approaching international conflicts and understanding social and political contradictions—and identifying where the fundamental interests of humanity lie, providing concrete leadership and guidance for the strategic repolarization for revolution and a thoroughly internationalist orientation. Given the current situation in the world, we urge our readers to study, discuss and share the entire important work.

If you look at any other regimes in the region, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are big allies of the U.S. But in Saudi Arabia and in Egypt, the situation is very unstable and potentially very volatile: there are serious tremors beneath the throne, so to speak—there is the growing danger of "social earthquakes" that could threaten to topple, or actually topple, those regimes. You don't have that in Israel. Hopefully, as things develop overall, there will not be just a "loyal opposition peace movement" among Israelis but the development of a much more powerful progressive movement with a much more radical view in Israel—and this is something that progressive people in Israel, or with ties to people in Israel, should work to foster and develop. But right now a positive and truly radical movement of that kind does not exist in Israel, and the dynamics with regard to Israel are not now such that the more that the regime in Israel is hard-core, the more it is going to run into antagonism with the bulk of its population. In the short term, the dynamic is essentially the opposite, unfortunately.


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