Palestinians React to Trump Presidency By: Christopher Hazou

11-11-2016 18:14

Source: IMEU


Diana Buttu, Ramallah-based political analyst, former advisor to Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian negotiators:


“Trump's election victory does not bode well for Palestinians. This is a man who has surrounded himself with people who believe that Israel's illegal settlements are acceptable, contradicting decades of official U.S. policy. He has said that he intends to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in contravention of international law, and is being advised by individuals who have fanned the flames of racism and xenophobia in order to promote a pro-Israel agenda. 


“While I had hoped that the next president would take bold steps, unlike President Obama, to end Israel's 50-year military rule, I fear that Trump will merely legitimize Israel's denial of freedom and racism towards the Palestinians. 


“In the wake of Trump’s victory, senior Israeli officials have been celebrating his win as the death knell of the two-state solution, with Education Minister Naftali Bennett issuing a statement hailing the end of ‘the era of the Palestinian state.’ The question now becomes, will a Trump presidency embolden Israel to further expose its true agenda on the ground, forcing us to look reality in the face and to deal with it head on, or will he shake up the unjust and untenable status quo in Palestine and Israel as he’s promised to do on so many other issues.”


Yousef Munayyer, Political analyst at the Arab Center of Washington, DC, executive director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and former executive director of the Jerusalem Fund and Palestine Center:


“One lesson of this election seems to be that political prognostication is fairly worthless, so only time will tell exactly what a Trump administration's policy toward Israel and Palestine will be. However, based on the GOP political platform he ran on, which featured the most anti-Palestinian language ever in a national party platform, and other statements he has made about his ‘America first’ worldview, it seems abundantly clear that a Trump administration would unapologetically give Israel free rein to do with the Palestinians as it pleases.


“Perhaps this is why Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer paradoxically called Trump, a man whose campaign invigorated anti-Semites and white nationalists like the KKK, a ‘friend of the Jewish people.’ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed him more warmly than perhaps any other foreign leader, calling him ‘my friend.’ Sure, it is possible that Trump could do an about-face and implement policies as president that would lead to a just peace, but I would not hold my breath. All we have seen thus far suggests he will fully and brazenly embrace Israeli apartheid.”


Noura Erakat, Human rights attorney, Assistant Professor at George Mason University, editorial board member of the Journal of Palestine Studies, and Co-Editor of the e-zine Jadaliyya and the book, Aborted State? The UN Initiative and New Palestinian Junctures (2013):


“Uncritical bipartisan support for Israel has laid a disastrous course for the Palestinian people. As a Trump presidential tenure looms over every policy concern at home and abroad, that intransigent consistency blunts feelings of regret over a Clinton loss.


“History has shown that there is little distinction between the Democrats and the GOP on the question of Palestine. In fact, it was a Republican administration, that of George H.W. Bush, that first applied economic sanctions on Israel to compel it to halt settlement expansion in 1991. That same administration initiated the so-called peace process and formally included the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Later, it was a Republican administration, that of George W. Bush, that first recognized the right of Palestinian statehood. In contrast, it was the Lyndon B. Johnson administration that established Israel’s permanent military preeminence in 1967. And it was the Obama administration that set a new precedent by increasing military aid to $3.8 billion USD annually.


“Change in Israel and Palestine will not come from the top down. While Trump’s rhetoric makes the work of popular movements even harder, it will not fundamentally change that equation. This reality is among the most devastating aspects of the failure of U.S. establishment politics made evident by these elections.”


Tareq Baconi, Policy Analyst for Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, visiting scholar at Columbia University’s Middle East Institute, and author of the forthcoming book, Hamas: Politics of Resistance, Entrenchment in Gaza, from Stanford University Press:


“It is unclear what a Trump administration means for the Middle East broadly, let alone for the Palestinians. Donald Trump’s victory has encouraged top Israeli officials such as Education Minister Naftali Bennett to publicly celebrate the end of any prospect for Palestinian statehood. Given the toxicity of his presidential campaign and its overt xenophobic overtones, President-elect Trump now has a difficult challenge of proving that Americans, regardless of race, ethnicity and religion, ‘are all equal in rights and dignity,’ as noted by Secretary Hillary Clinton in her concession speech. The same principle should apply to the Palestinians. Will President-elect Trump continue to align the U.S. with Israel’s right-wing government and therefore reinforce the racism and discrimination that underpins its policies towards the Palestinians? Or will he pursue a path that secures equality, justice and freedom for those suffering under a nearly fifty-year-old military occupation?"

Topics : #USA #Donald Trump #Israel #Palestine

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