Imposing a fait accompli

In this file photo taken on September 13, 1993 US President Bill Clinton (C) stands between PLO leader Yasser Arafat (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzahk Rabin (L) as they shake hands for the first time, at the White House in Washington DC, after signing the historic Israel-PLO Oslo Accords on Palestinian autonomy in the occupied territories. AFP / J.DAVID AKE

It has grown impossible not to recognize that Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu have reached the final stretch in their bid to wipe out the Palestinian people, their cause, and even their existence and language.

This marks the death knell of the Oslo accords, and the climax of measures and policies leveled against the Palestinians that have been surfacing gradually since Trump assumed office. In fact, the decision against financing UNRWA is a stark example of obliterating every trace of recognition of the Palestinians’ existence and their refugee status.

It also marks an escalation in a campaign that goes back years, including the U.S. pullout from UNESCO, UNRWA, and the Human Rights Council.

It also comes after the recognition of occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, an increase in land grabs by the Jewish state, and the building of settlements at a stepped-up pace to create facts on the ground and impose a fait accompli on the world.

And then came the decision to declare Israel a Jewish nation state, which automatically rendered the Palestinians second-class citizens.

A president like Trump in the White House presents the Israelis with an unprecedented opportunity, and Netanyahu is going all-out to milk the benefits during the chance of a lifetime while the rest of the world seems preoccupied with its own issues.

And it looks like he will succeed, unless the 22 Arab states, and the world’s 1.1 billion Muslims, move past merely filling the airwaves with vocal support for Palestinians and actively finance UNRWA so that hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children are not thrown out on the streets. It’s also incumbent that they launch a huge financial aid project to help the Palestinians remain vigilant and steadfast.

The Palestinians must also do their part, and it’s high time they set aside their differences and address this challenge in unison.

Not only does this crisis take precedence over any conflicting outlooks they may have, but their disunity presents an Achilles heel that is being exploited by Trump, Netanyahu and their ilk.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 13, 2018, on page 1.




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