‘Deal of the Century’ Trump’s most destructive decision | Michael Jansen - GulfToday

‘Deal of the Century’ Trump’s most destructive decision

Michael Jansen

The author, a well-respected observer of Middle East affairs, has three books on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

‘Deal of the Century’ Trump’s most destructive decision

Palestinian protesters gather outside the American Embassy in London. AP

Just about all the decisions taken by Donald Trump since he moved into the White House have been motivated by his determination to be re-elected this fall. His “Deal of the Century,” heralded as the best chance of forging peace between Palestine and Israel, was the latest, most spectacular, and most destructive of these decisions.

During the launch ceremony, which began a few minutes late, Trump stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in a room filled largely by hyper-Zionists who rose to their feet and applauded at every point made by the two men. Among them was casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam, multi-million dollar donors to Trump and Republican Party election campaigns as well as Israel’s colonial enterprise. Adelson contributed $25 million to Trump’s 2016 campaign and could be expected to donate more this year as Trump has delivered everything Israel dared to hope.

The text of the plan was presented in the form of a document but designed by public relations types as a glossy brochure prepared for the illegal deal in Palestinian real estate drawn up by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner whose family has longstanding connections with Netanyahu. The exercise and the brochure were not meant to promote peace in this region, or even to sell an illicit land deal, but to impress mainly pro-Israeli white Evangelical Christian voters who might vote for Trump come November.

The deal is illegal because it contravenes the Fourth Geneva Convention, international law, and multiple UN resolutions calling for Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, as well as legal rulings calling upon Israel to halt colonisation.

The international community has expressed opposition but did nothing over Israel’s expropriation of and construction on Palestinian land. Trump’s deal is the first formal attempt to transform Israeli lawlessness into lawful activity.

This makes him a criminal accomplice in Israel’s illegal occupation and colonisation enterprise. It is significant that the roll-out of Trump’s deal coincides with investigations of Israelis for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court.   

Trump’s pro-Israeli policies — initiated in December 2017 when he recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital —are intended to secure his re-election rather than serve US national interests or promote peace in this region. Consequently, Democratic Party stalwarts, who have rejected his deal, should adopt the “Deal of the Century” as grounds for impeachment .

This is a far more important case than the less damaging Trump efforts to secure electoral advantage over potential Democratic rival Joe Biden by demanding evidence of corruption involving him and his son, Hunter Biden.

He was, at worst guilty of inappropriate behaviour, by joining the board of directors of a Ukrainian firm being investigated for corruption while his father, then US vice-president, battled graft in that country.

Democratic legislators will not, however, try to impeach Trump over his illegal “deal” although many sharply criticise it and him. They have long been complicit in Israeli violations of international law by providing unconditional support for Israel.

Former US President Jimmy Carter, one of the few brace Democrats, argued that the plan violates international law and called on the UN to prevent Israel from annexing Palestinian territory. Carter stated that Trump’s plan “breaches international law regarding self-determination, the acquisition of land by force, and annexation of occupied territories... By calling Israel ‘the nation-state of the Jewish people,’ the plan also encourages the denial of equal rights to the Palestinian citizens of Israel.”

There are a slew of other decisions impacting both foreign and domestic policies at the same time which Trump has taken to promote his re-election rather than US interests. Bans on entry to the US pander to his racist, anti-Muslim “base” while insulting and alienating homelands of citizens who suffer discrimination. Nearly 80,000 visas have been affected by the ban since December 2017.

Enacted the day after he took office, the first ban targeted citizens of seven Muslim countries:  Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and Iraq – which challenged inclusion and was reprieved and Chad was  later removed from the list. He has now expanded the ban to cover immigrant visas for citizens of Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, and Myanmar, all Muslim majority countries except the last. Therefore, citizens of these countries can enter the US to do business, tour, and study but cannot stay for good.

Putting Nigeria on the list is certain to compromise US interests in Africa and anger Nigerians. Nigeria is the continent’s most populous nation and largest oil exporter, making it Africa’s richest country. There are 300,000 US citizens of Nigerian origin, many of them highly rated professionals, who are likely to be incensed by Trump’s ban on countrymen and women seeking to settle in the US.

Trump’s anti-Muslim campaign has coloured the behaviour of US immigration officials at entry points across the US. Following Trump’s assassination of Iran’s Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, US immigration stepped up vetting of travellers who had visited Iran or Lebanon. This kind of treatment is harmful to both US domestic and foreign policies as it stokes anti-Muslim sentiment within the US and anti-US feeling abroad.

Climate-change denier, Trump has cancelled regulations governing emissions of greenhouse gases which pollute the earth’s atmosphere and promote global warming everywhere. Since the US is the world’s second largest carbon dioxide polluter — after China — this is particularly damaging. Instead of joining the vanguard of countries trying to cut emissions, the US is protecting oil and coal multi-nationals responsible for much of the pollution.

Writing in the Guardian, Michael H. Fuchs points out, “Trump’s entire foreign policy is about helping himself. He rushes into summit meetings with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, so that he can claim victory despite making no progress.

He starts a trade war with China and then signs a deal that puts (the US) in a worse position than when the trade war started, all so Trump can act like he fulfilled a campaign promise of being a tough negotiator with China.”  Fuchs concludes by saying that Trump’s policies undermine US national security: in the view of this writer this should be an impeachable offence.

Of course, Trump has also done a great deal of damage on the domestic plane. Lately, he overturned Michelle Obama’s policy of requiring schools to serve nutritious meals rather than junk food.  By promoting fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grain baked goods she sought to reduce childhood obesity and provide underprivileged children with food they do not receive at home. Trump’s personal objectives were to court meat and potato producers and wipe out gains made by the Obama administration, even at the cost of children’s health.

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