After Golan Heights, is the West Bank next? - ABDULLAH MURADOĞLU

After Golan Heights, is the West Bank next?

U.S. President Donald Trump signed a presidential proclamation recognizing Israel’s annexation of the “Golan Heights” on Mar. 25. Attending the signing ceremony were Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as Trump’s chief advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Trump’s Middle East Ambassador of Peace Jason Greenblatt. One could read the “victory” in their faces like a book.

Kushner, Friedman and Greenblatt make up Trump’s “Middle Eastern Peace Committee.” All members of the committee, which was supposedly established to ensure peace between Israel and Palestine, are pro-Israel. It is a known fact that these names have been supporting the illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank for a very long time. Pompeo and Pence, on the other hand, at every opportunity demonstrate that they are “Evangelical Christian-Zionists.” According to the “Christian-Zionists,” it is a religious obligation and compulsory for Israel to establish its full sovereignty over the territories that remain between the Nile River and Euphrates River. Bolton, on the other hand, is a Neocon who came to the forefront thanks to his pro-Israel stance.

Trump’s declaration of the “Palestine Plan” was postponed until after the Israeli elections, which are slated for April 9. In Congress, Pompeo’s answer to the question of how long it is going to take them to announce a plan was, “I suppose we can declare one in less than 20 years.” Pompeo didn’t answer another question regarding “whether the U.S. is still on the side of a two-state solution”. Netanyahu, who now thinks that he has sealed his victory after Trump signed the Golan ruling, is strongly opposing a two-state solution. Netanyahu is expecting the recognition of their occupation in the West Bank as well, just as he did for the Golan Heights.

Even though Trump declared the “Middle East Peace Plan” as “the deal of the century,” the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem haven’t even shown signs of slowing down. On the other hand, the Israel lobby is pressuring the U.S. government about the West Bank. In a call to Trump by the “Center for Security Policy” led by Frank Gaffney, Trump is invited to do the same he has done for Golan Heights for the West Bank, basing it on whatever reasoning he based his previous decision on. In the declaration, it was stated that returning the West Bank to the Palestinians shouldn’t be mentioned.

The Center for Security Policy which plays hosts anti-Muslim activities is funded by pro-Israel businessmen. The President of the Center, Fred Fleitz, was one of the prominent names of the National Security Council. While he was the vice president of the Center for Security Policy, Fleitz was transferred to the National Security Council by Bolton. Bolton’s former colleague and friend Fleitz left the NSC with a surprising decision towards the end of 2018.

On the other hand, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman made references to the Torah in his speech regarding the Golan ruling on Mar. 26, during the annual conference of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. Friedman, who also referred to Muslim congresswoman Ilhan Omar, said that Trump was taking these pro-Israel decisions not because of “Benjamins (dollar bills) but for King David and Israel’s founder David Ben Gurion. In one of her tweets, Ilhan Omar said, “It’s all about about Benjamins” to criticize the politicians depending on the aid of the “Israel Lobby”. This tweet led the Israel lobby to accuse Ilhan Omar of being “anti-Semitic.”

The Israel Lobby played a major role in the decisions regarding moving the U.S.’s Israel embassy to Jerusalem and the recognition of Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights. Now, the lobby is after the West Bank. The Trump administration even cut the UN aid given to Palestinian refugees. In such an atmosphere and with such a strong pro-Israel group, will the region ever be able to find peace


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