July 19, 2019

America Is Undermining Its Own Progress on Israel-Palestine

““Bahrain was a step in the right direction,” special US envoy to the Mideast peace process Jason Greenblatt said July 1 at the annual conference of the Institute for Policy and Strategy of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. He was quick to clarify, however, “We are clearly not declaring a solution, yet.”

Israelis and Palestinians have long ceased holding their breath in anticipation/concern that Greenblatt and his associates will advance a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and end decades of bloodshed. After all, on that very same day, the special envoy, along with US Ambassador David Friedman, were guests of honor at a ceremony in East Jerusalem inaugurating an archaeological tunnel running underneath Palestinian homes. Both men assisted in breaking open a wall that was blocking the tunnel’s entrance. In fact, this controversial ceremony sounded the death knell for resolution of the conflict and provided a sure-fire recipe for bloodshed. Also present were Elan Carr, the US envoy for monitoring and combating anti-Semitism, and the US ambassadors to Portugal, France and Denmark.

Speaking at the ceremony right after returning from Manama, where the United States presented the economic component of its plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace June 25, Greenblatt said, “Our goal is for every Israeli and Palestinian citizen to be able to sit with his children and grandchildren and go through this plan and ask whether compromises there are worth it.” Nevertheless, they need not bother reading the 60-page blueprint once it is unveiled. They will not find any idea that has not been attempted in the past or in any stillborn initiative. One photo from the ceremony inaugurating the tunnel that holds a section of the so-called “Pilgrims’ Path” that led to the second Jewish Temple is more indicative of the truth than the thousands of words poured into the US plan.

The sight of the US ambassador surrounded by radical right-wing activists and wielding a hammer to break through a mock wall in one of the most volatile compounds in the Middle East raises two scary options. One is that the US administration is deliberately playing with a keg of dynamite, not caring about the risk to Israeli and Palestinian lives. The other possibility is that the White House has lost control over its ambassador to Israel, a fellow traveler of the settlement movement and of its patrons Sheldon and Miriam Adelson and the Netanyahu family, whose representative Sara Netanyahu was also honored with a hammer blow at the event in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan.”

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