Photo by Abdelrahman Younis / Reuters via @theIMEU

Since December 7th when the Trump administration announced its intention to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, despite the city’s legal status as a corpus separatum according to United Nations Resolution 181 not to mention the foreign policies of every nation on earth other than Israel itself, much has been said and written.

As several pundits have pointed out, the most pressing concern expressed by those who denounced Trump’s recklessness was not that the move constituted a violent rejection of international law and decades of foreign policy, but that it would unleash Palestinian violence. Thus even Trump’s detractors managed to reinforce the prevailing narrative of the Israel-Palestine story, in which the violence originates with the Palestinians, despite the fact that Palestinians have always been and remain overwhelmingly the victims of any violence here. Indeed, to call the disparity asymmetrical is to understate the point dramatically.

Trump’s move also unleashed a flood of anguished hand wringing from self-declared liberals who were wedded to the status quo because – as I wrote elsewhere – a fake peace process and commitment to an illusory ‘two state solution’ allowed them to believe in their own moral rectitude without needing to confront its shaky foundations. Trump’s announcement exposed their complacency for what it is, namely a salve for their own conscience, blessedly unburdened by the obligation to concede a Palestinian entitlement to the most basic human consideration. Indeed, the liberals who’d embraced this view seem alarmed to discover that Palestinians don’t exist simply to make them feel good about themselves.

Meanwhile amidst all of these words, both printed and spoken, Palestinians who have taken to the streets to protest yet another blow to their aspiration to self determination have been rounded up and jailed, shot dead while protesting (three on Friday alone), and smeared yet again as ‘terrorists’ for demanding respect for international law and their own liberty.

For what it’s worth, here’s a roundup of the best pieces I’ve found on the subject of Jerusalem, from the analytical to the polemical.

Photo: Wisam Hashlamoun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images via @benabyad

After Jerusalem, the US Can No Longer Pretend to Be an Honest Broker of Peace by Rashid Khalidi (The Nation)

“If…Trump’s action drives a stake through the heart of the truly dreadful made-in-Israel plan that presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner is peddling, that would be an entirely good thing. The Kushner plan has been rumored to involve a noncontiguous Palestinian “state” in a fraction of the West Bank and Gaza, without its capital in Jerusalem, without real sovereignty, without control over its own borders or its security, and without any right of return for Palestinian refugees. Calling this travesty a Bantustan would be an insult to apartheid South Africa. No Palestinian leader can accept anything like this and retain a shred of self-respect or the support of his or her own people…

It is time to get away from the idea that Israel’s most fervently partisan supporter and supplier of money and arms can be a mediator. The United States is not neutral: It is a party to this conflict, fully on the side of Israel.

This is despite the fact that polls consistently show that a majority of Americans want the United States to be neutral and evenhanded in its dealings with Israelis and Palestinians, and that nearly half of all Americans, and a majority of Democrats, would go so far as to support sanctions or stronger action against Israel over settlement construction.”

It’s personal: How Trump betrayed both Abbas and Abdullah of Jordan by David Hearst (Middle East Eye)

“[The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)] now 57 nations strong, met in Istanbul on Wednesday. Just as it had 48 years ago, Al Aqsa galvanised them – once again – into action. Instead of being attacked by an Evangelical Christian from Australia, Al Aqsa was threatened by a US president pandering to similar messianic Christians in America…

A US president lecturing Muslim leaders on Islamic extremism was superseded by one in which Muslim leaders lectured him on his own fundamentalists.”

Trump’s Jerusalem Ploy by John Wight (Counterpunch)

“Decades spent existing under the brute heel of occupation in the West Bank – where Jewish only illegal settlements have expanded and continue to spread, where hundreds of checkpoints are a daily reminder of their subjugation and degradation, occupied land the natural resources of which have and continue to be expropriated – can only but leave a sour taste. Meanwhile, Gaza continues to exist under a siege that amounts to collective punishment, one that evinces no sign of abating anytime soon. Taken together, the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’ has been engaged in a mass experiment in human despair.”

Photo: MOHAMMED SALEM/REUTERS via @Haaretzcom

The Israeli Military First Took His Legs, Then His Life by Gideon Levy (Haaretz)

“The killing of the young disabled man passed almost without mention in Israel. He was one of three demonstrators killed Friday, just another humdrum day. One can easily imagine what would happen if Palestinians had killed an Israeli who used a wheelchair. What a furor would have erupted, with endless ink spilled on their cruelty and barbarism. How many arrests would have resulted, how much blood would have flowed in retaliation. But when soldiers behave barbarically, Israel is silent and shows no interest. No shock, no shame, no pity.”

Artists attack Trump over Jerusalem move by more than 100 international artists (Guardian Letters)

“We reject Trump’s collusion with such racist manipulation and his disregard for international law. We deplore his readiness to crown the Israeli military conquest of East Jerusalem and his indifference to Palestinian rights.

As artists and as citizens, we challenge the ignorance and inhumanity of these policies, and celebrate the resilience of Palestinians living under occupation.”

The Only Peace Process is Palestinian Freedom, Noura Erekat interview (The Real News)

“For anybody who still believes in the two-state solution, that’s fantastic as a theoretical matter, but it is no more realistic or possible than a one-state solution is. Both of them are almost impossible to achieve under the brunt and weight of an Israeli settler colonial project that is not being reined in by anybody and is acting with impunity…

The question really to ask is, “What does the international community want Palestinians to do, and why this is onus only on us in order to resist the 11th most powerful military in the world?” Every kind of strategy that we’ve come up with for our resistance has been criminalized, not because of its content, but because our protest. The mere idea that we can protest and insist that Palestinians exist is what is at stake.

That is what Palestinians are fighting for and continue to fight for, whether in the form of BDS, in the mass civil protests, in symbolic protest, in the form of art. The mere fact of Palestinian existence, the mere fact of remaining in their homes, is the ultimate form of protest and what scares Israel the most.”

In Jerusalem we have the latest chapter in a century of colonialism by Karma Nabulsi (The Guardian)

“At the time of the [British} military takeover [in 1917], Palestine was 90% Christian and Muslim, with 7-10% Palestinian Arab Jews and recent European settlers. By the time the British army left Palestine on 14 May 1948, the expulsion and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people was already under way. During their 30 years’ rule, the British army and police engineered a radical change to the population through the mass introduction of European settlers, against the express wishes of the indigenous population. They also suppressed Palestine’s Great Revolt of 1936-39, destroying any possibility of resistance to what lay ahead.

Once any individual episode is understood as part of a continuing structure of settler colonialism, the hitherto invisible daily evictions of Palestinians from their homes assume their devastating significance.”

Zionism in the Light of Jerusalem by Jim Kavanagh (Counterpunch)

“Israel’s relentless Judaization of East Jerusalem, consistent with its long-held declaration of sovereignty over the entire city, was proceeding swimmingly, with only the feeblest occasional murmurs of protest, accompanied by massive countervailing deliveries of arms and money, from the peace-process-loving governments of Europe and America.

Trump’s gratuitous, self-aggrandizing gesture, by unmasking that as the de facto acceptance of annexation that it is, only brings unwanted attention to the whole rotten game, and to the hypocrisy of those governments especially.”

The world should respond to Trump’s Jerusalem declaration with sanctions on Israel by Diana Buttu (The Washington Post)

“As someone who was involved in [bilateral] negotiations for several years, including at times when many claimed Palestinians and Israelis were close to reaching an agreement, I know the reality was much different.

In negotiations, Israel insisted that Palestinians give up our rights in order to accommodate Israeli wrongs. We were told that we would need to continue to allow Israeli settlers to remain on stolen Palestinian land while Palestinian refugees would never be allowed to return to their homes — all for the sake of peace. We were told that negotiations to have Jerusalem be a shared, open city were ‘off the table’ and that demands for equality were ‘non-starters.'”

These 2 NFL Players Stood Up for Palestine—and It Didn’t Kill Their Careers by Dave Zirin (The Nation)

“Remembering this moment is very important right now. It has long been assumed in sports—not to mention in media more broadly—that even recognizing the humanity of the Palestinian people, let alone criticizing the Israeli occupation, is a political third rail. This is especially the case in the NFL, where powerful owners like Bob Kraft of the Patriots are hard-line supporters of whatever Trump/Netanyahu agenda is being put forward, no matter how bloody. Yet here Bennett and Stills are: They stood up for the basic concept of Palestinian humanity in February, and then were nominated in December for one of the league’s greatest honors [the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award].”

How Canadian media obscures the occupation of Palestine by Azeezah Kanji (The Toronto Star)

“According to Bimkom, an organization of Israeli planners and architects, Israel’s “planning and development policy in [Jerusalem] aims at ensuring a Jewish majority in the city by designating the vast majority of available areas in East Jerusalem for the Jewish population.”

Israel has revoked the residency permits of more than 14,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites since 1967, expelling Palestinians from a city their families have inhabited for centuries. Only 13 per cent of land in East Jerusalem is allocated for Palestinian neighbourhoods; 35 per cent has been confiscated for Israeli settlements, which now house more than 200,000 settlers.

Since 2004, Israel has demolished more than 700 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, leaving more than 2,500 people homeless. At least 120 Palestinian institutions have been shut down by Israel in Jerusalem since 1967, including kindergartens, charities, and the Arab Studies Society.”

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