In recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Donald Trump administration has accomplished nothing significant other than expose their already bare backs to the international community that is a wee-bit tired of their shenanigans.
I can understand the political naivety of ordinary Americans on the street because they inhabit an insular, apolitical universe filled with Disneyland characters. The average Israeli ought to be endowed with a little more realism if not empathy. They should reject the servile terms of a highly-paid beat constable in the Arab world, a policeman who is a bully more than anything else in a role prescribed for them by the American establishment.
In recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel the Donald Trump administration has accomplished nothing significant other than expose their already bare backs to the international community that is a wee-bit tired of their shenanigans. Except for being provocative and meant to distract people from questions related to the shape of a future Palestinian state this so-called announcement to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem means absolutely nothing. The world couldn’t care less if they had an American embassy on a barge in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. What the world is more interested in is the plight of the Palestinians subjugated by the Israeli state. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that the US decision is recognition of a “historical truth” that “Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years from the time of King David” and “capital of the state of Israel for 70 years,” these are not merely shameless lies of a criminal politician; they are political statements that revolt the conscience of the international community because they tend to mix the private beliefs of a group of people with historical facts.
Let me go through the countries that voted in favour of the US decision apart from of course Israel and the US themselves. Honduras, Togo and Guatemala are not significant players on a global platform and to imagine certain kinds of political pressure on them to vote in favour of the decision would not be entirely out of context. The number of inhabitants in the four island nations, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau would strictly speaking constitute a few townships in South Asia and can hardly be called countries except in a very technical sense. I am sure in all of these nations that supported the US decision, the common people either have no idea of what their government has done or they couldn’t care less. Perhaps, both, in my view. Politically there is very little contribution from the governments of these countries as far as articulating global South interests are concerned. Therefore, it is safe to assume that only two countries endorsed the decision of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel: an imperial US and the Zionist Israel. The presence of others is merely to give the impression to the blinkered public in these countries that the US and Israel are not alone in their parochial thinking.
The solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem, which is actually an Israeli problem, since the Palestinians are more than happy to have a solution, is not as complicated as it is made out to be. It was a “problem” because what is Israel today ought to have been carved out of all those racist Europeans countries that discriminated against Jews since history. We should have had an Israel in the heart of Europe to remind the latter of their barbarism and anti-Semitism on a daily basis. What sort of meaningless justice creates a state out of somebody else’s land because you feel guilty that you have treated them badly? But, that is a rhetorical statement as of now. More importantly, Israel is there to stay and the Arabs have accepted the reality with the expectation that justice will be done to the Palestinians at the earliest. The devil might be in the detail but it can be exorcised provided the broad guidelines for a peaceful transition are met. If Israel and the US possess even a fraction of good intentions as to what they espouse in public, the following can be done at the earliest:
- Unconditionally release all Palestinian prisoners languishing in Israeli jails;
- Go back to the borders before the so-called June War of 1967;
- Vacate the settlements in West Bank and make alternative provisions for the settlers in the land that is Israel.
I have been to Israel and my view of the average Israeli citizen is a positive one. They are neither naïve nor opinionated like their American and European counterparts. They come from a great culture and civilisation and have much to be proud of in terms of their heritage and contribution to human progress in the face of the deadliest kind of discrimination that any social group has ever faced. They should resist the lies and hypocrisy of their government and refuse to accept the intervention of the US as a third party mediator in any of the peace dialogues between the Arabs and the Israelis. I cannot think of a single instance where American mediation has brought peace to any part of the globe.
In the end justice will be done to the Palestinians but if it has to come with the defeat of Israel and the US that too is bound to happen sooner or later. It is a defeat that will come with bloodshed and suffering, which can be avoided through peaceful negotiation. In the Mahabharata, the epic battle of Kurukshetra is fought between the Kauravas and the Pandavas because the evil king Duryodhan is not willing to give five villages to his brothers-in-exile in exchange for peace. “War is inevitable and what follows is the destruction of relations,” says Krishna to the Kauravas at the end of a failed peace mission. What indeed follows is terrible devastation in which more or less everyone perishes but prominently the Kaurava despotism is brought to an end.
By refusing to give up that little piece of land as to what constitutes Palestinian Territories both Israel and the US are doing what Duryodhan and the Kauravas did by alienating the Pandavas. But, truth and justice being on the side of the Pandavas, they achieve victory in the battle despite painful losses. These are lessons that come from myth and history. One can only ignore them at their own peril.
* Prakash Kona is a writer, teacher, researcher and Professor of English Literature at The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, India. His research interests broadly include Women’s Studies, Film Studies and Third World Politics and Writing.