Palestinians have expressed concerns on the silence of friends, especially South Africa, writes Iqbal Jassat.
Is South Africa among the countries standing aside as the world is confronted with illegal moves by the Trump Administration to facilitate the complete annihilation of Palestine by Israel?
Notwithstanding the fact that the ANC-led government headed by President Cyril Ramaphosa has not backtracked on the decision to downgrade its embassy in Tel Aviv, not much more is evident in defense of Palestinian rights.
Silence is not an option at a time when United Nations investigator Michael Lynk has warned that Israel is moving rapidly to annex more of the Occupied West Bank as it intensifies settlement-building on Palestinian land.
Speaking to Mondoweiss during a week-long fact-finding visit to the region, Lynk claimed that Israel’s settlement-building was at its “highest level in recent years”.
“It’s moving much more rapidly and on the horizon is something much more dramatic,” said the UN’s special rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory.
“The public statements made by senior American diplomats in favor of the long-expressed wish by senior Israeli political leaders, including virtually every member of the Israeli cabinet in favor of annexation of some parts of the West Bank has only gotten louder. There is a greater normalization of the concept of annexation,” he said.
As on previous visits, the Canadian law professor was denied entry to Palestine by Israeli officials — a decision he criticized as “contrary to Israel’s obligations as a UN member to cooperate fully with experts” from the world body.
Looking on in abject silence as South Africa appears to be doing while reports of demolitions of Palestinian homes reveal that illegal land-grabs are continuing at a frightening rate, is disconcerting.
In sharp contrast to Pretoria’s weak-kneed inaction, the Trump administration is on the go backing Israel to the hilt. In clear defiance of United Nations Resolutions which prohibit Israel’s settlement-activities, David Friedman, Washington’s ambassador to Israel, said Israel was entitled to annex at least “some” of the Palestinian West Bank.
It is important to note that Friedman was a bankruptcy lawyer, who headed the Trump Empire before landing his current position. Not surprising too that as an ardent extremist Zionist, he has been involved in supporting and financing settlements. Since ascending to power, U.S. President Donald Trump has surrounded himself with appointees who are unashamed white supremacists. In addition to their bigoted views, they are known as hawks willing to do Israel’s bidding at any cost, at the expense of American citizens’ interest.
In contrast to Trump’s “America First” policies, rogue elements within his inner circle have pursued an agenda which insists on “Israel First”. These neocons hold key positions of power as is evident in the portfolios held by Bolton, Pompeo, Greenblatt, Pence, Friedman and Kushner among others.
For Netanyahu, having a team of unabashed Zionists embedded within the Trump administration was an opportunity to eliminate any prospect of Palestinian statehood. Thus without wasting any time and in defiance of UN Resolutions, he, in cahoots with Israel’s “White House dream team”, rushed to ensure that new facts on the ground will “legalize” the apartheid regime’s current and future status.
Thus we saw Trump having recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, moved the US embassy there, cut funding to Palestinians and recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
According to Link, Israel has “already crossed the bright red line into illegality”.
In tandem with the expansion of Israel’s massive settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner set up the first phase of what’s been dubbed as a sell-out of Palestine’s freedom struggle.
Hosted by Bahrain and co-sponsored by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the Kushner plot seeks to fulfill Zionist ambitions of a Jewish state unfettered by the legitimate demands of the indigenous Palestinian inhabitants, whom it dispossessed and occupied.
Though the US-led conference in Bahrain was presented as providing huge economic advantages for stateless Palestinians, it is actually designed to bluff them and the world into believing that peace can be bought. In other words, keep the prisoner chained and handcuffed and hope that swopping the brass chains and cuffs to gold will buy the prisoner’s silence.
The politics of the so-called economic deal is to enslave the Palestinian people to a lifetime of misery, disenfranchised and ghettoised in bantustans. Though Kushner is feted in the Arab capitals of America’s client-states as an ally of their respective regime’s despotic rulers, as far as Palestinians are concerned, he is an ardent Zionist who backs and finances Israel’s illegal colony-settlements.
Netanyahu may be smarting that he has successfully manipulated Trump and his team to rubber stamp Zionist goals. Not only that but also that he has Arab dictators in his pocket. But the concern Palestinians have expressed centers on the silence of friends, especially South Africa.
Treachery by Arab dictators is to be expected but not the silence of a country who offered the world legendary human rights icons such as Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Yusuf Dadoo, Joe Slovo, Chris Hani, Robert Sobukwe, Steve Biko and many more.
Iqbal Jassat is an Exec Member of the Media Review Network, Johannesburg.