Op-Ed via The Forward

How Much Longer Do We Palestinians Have To Put Up With These Clowns?

If Trump’s ill-fated “deal of the century” to achieve Middle East peace ever existed, it never stood a chance against the blunders that emerge when each of its three architects – Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, his bankruptcy lawyer turned U.S. Ambassador David Friedman, and his real estate lawyer Jason Greenblatt — opens his mouth.

Greenblatt has made a habit of tweeting about the “open minded” Palestinian businessmen – though there is just one Palestinian Uncle Tom known to date — who are willing to accept the Trump team’s economic bribes in exchange for our people’s right to self-determination.

Well, I’m one of those Palestinian businesspersons on the ground in Palestine and I can tell you that I, along with everyone in my business circles, am outright opposed to this American approach of trying to buy Palestinian political submission by promising billions of dollars disguised as investments to better Palestinian living conditions. (One can be certain that these are only ever promises based on past experiences with Secretary of State John Kerry and Quartet Head Tony Blair.)

But Greenblatt is not the only one to routinely insult our intelligence in this manner. In a fiasco-ridden interview last week, Jared Kushner questioned whether we Palestinians were capable of governing ourselves.

Not to be outdone, Friedman himself gave an exclusive interview to The New York Times which ran on Saturday. When asked by Times journalist David Halbfinger whether their “peace” plan envisions a Palestinian state, the U.S.’s Ambassador answered, “What’s a state?”

Could it be that a Senate-confirmed appointment for someone to be a U.S. ambassador to a foreign country does not know what a “state” is?

An ambassador’s primary job is to represent a state — in this case, the United States of America. Being at a loss as to what a state is should be grounds for immediate dismissal from office as someone unfit for such a post.

For the record – and for Ambassador Friedman, who apparently stands in need of educating on this front — according to international law and the 1933 Montevideo Convention, a state possesses a permanent population, a government, the capacity to enter into relations with other states, and, perhaps most confusingly for Ambassador Friedman, defined territory.

Maybe that’s why Ambassador Friedman struggles to define what a state is: He’s the Ambassador to a state that does not have “defined borders” – a fact he told the New York Times he wished to exacerbate when he said he believed in Israel’s right to effectively annex parts of the West Bank.

“Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank,” Friedman told Halbfinger, in another shocking moment.

That is called annexation and it is a war crime punishable by law. As Halbfinger noted, “Much of the world considers Israeli settlements there illegal and would view annexation as compounding the crime. Israeli critics, including a group of respected former military and national-security officials, warn that annexation could lead to violence and require the [Israeli] military to occupy Palestinian urban areas for the first time in decades.”

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