The United States is pushing the Palestinians into a corner. The administration’s move to shut the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) mission in Washington is the latest in the long line of pressure tactics that undermine prospects of a fair and just Middle East peace agreement. It also reaffirms the belief that the US is no longer an honest broker as this is clear proof of its bias towards Israel.
The past few months have seen a raft of US measures aimed at strengthening Israel’s hand. The biggest shock of all was President Donald Trump’s move to relocate the American embassy to occupied Jerusalem. The city’s future was supposed to be an integral part of a final agreement with the Palestinians. Little wonder it stunned the world. It also provided concrete evidence of America’s unstinting support to Tel Aviv, ignoring all human right abuses perpetrated by the occupation regime.
The move to cut funding to the United Nations Relief and Work Agency in the Near East (UNRWA) followed, ignoring the fact that it is the lifeline to millions of Palestinians who were ejected from their homes and homeland during the creation of Israel, an event the Palestinians refer to as the Nakba. The White House seemed to disregard the fact that the agency was created to provide basic necessities to an uprooted population living as refugees in camps in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon besides the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
Close on the heels came the move to withdraw $200 million (Dh734 million) in aid that was originally planned for programmes in the West Bank and Gaza. It was a body blow to the Palestinians since the money was required for crucial aid projects. All these actions were explained away by Washington with flimsy reasons that suggest the Palestinians are not doing enough to pursue a peace deal. Nothing can be further from the truth. Israel’s heavy-handed tactics, brutal suppression of Palestinian rights and uninhibited expansion of colonies in Palestinian areas have been sabotaging any chance of peace.
America’s actions merely demonstrate its collusion with Israel. And they seem to fit into a pattern. They are all aimed at coercing Palestinians into settling for any deal that Washington may put on the table. The new US approach chips away at key Palestinian issues ahead of unveiling what is touted to be the “deal of the century”. If the sequence of US moves is anything to go by, the deal certainly won’t benefit the Palestinians. The international community should take note of the manner in which Palestinian rights are being trampled. But their mute response is galling. What the US does not realise is that the will and determination of the Palestinians cannot be broken. They deserve better.