In yet further evidence of the growing alliance between the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is said to have offered Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas $10 billion to accept Donald Trump’s so-called “deal of the century”.
New leaked reports from the Jordanian envoy to Ramallah Khaled al-Shawabkeh reveal that Abbas was “upset” by offers made by the Saudis and rejected the offer of $10 billion to assist West Bank authorities, saying that it would be “the end of his political life”.
The “deal of the century” will be revealed next month once Benjamin Netanyahu has formed his new government in Israel, with the proposals expected to be finalised throughout the month. The controversial “deal” has already been widely rejected by Palestinian leaders and supporters, leaked sections suggesting that the Palestinians would be forced to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, forced to abandon the right of return of refugees and also drastically cut the number of registered refugees.
The offer by the Saudis, which would have included money for refugee resettlement and the suggestion of “unlimited financial and political support” for Abbas, was said to have been suggested at $1 billion a year over the next ten years.
Abbas: “I am not a prince to have an entourage.”
Bin Salman: “How much does the PA and its ministers need?”
Abbas: “One billion U.S. dollars.”
Bin Salman: “I will give you $10bn over ten years if you accept the deal.”
Dated to between December 2017 and January 2018, the leaked documents claim that Bin Salman told Abbas that “the Americans are ready to offer the Palestinians the land on which they live” and the Saudis and other Arab countries had been asked by the United States to provide Palestine with financial support. The PA leader then told Bin Salman that there could be no compromise on settlements, the two-state solution and Jerusalem and that he believed that no written proposals would ever emerge. Abbas added that the Palestinian Authority would “dismantle itself” should it come under outside pressure.
It was in March of this year at the Arab League summit in Tunis that Arab leaders stated they were committed to solving the Israel-Palestine issue, basing future efforts upon the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002. They reaffirmed that the Arab world would recognise Israel in exchange for a withdrawal to pre-1967 borders and the removal of occupying forces in the Golan Heights, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Saudi King Salman once again stated the nation’s support for a future Palestinian state, with King Abdullah of Jordan promising he would continue to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“Given that so many of today’s Arab governments are effectively beholden to foreign powers rather than their own citizens, there is now an attempt by the Trump administration to ostensibly rewrite international consensus on the resolutions of the question of Palestine – and for that matter the Arab-Israeli conflict – and using its enormous power to do so unilaterally. Over the past year, there have been consistent reports that the Trump administration has been doing so either with the cooperation with or with the acquiescence of key Arab states. The Arab League has conclusively and unambiguously demonstrated itself to be an obstacle to rather than an instrument of collective Arab action and promoter of Arab rights.”Mouin Rabbani, co-editor of Jadaliyya, speaking to Al Jazeera
Just over a week ago, Mahmoud Abbas stated that the Arab League must present a united front to reject the impending “deal of the century” that the American Trump regime wishes to force upon the Middle East, adding that the Arab states needed “to be engaging actively at this critical time.”
“Such a deal would not succeed in achieving a lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East if it did not guarantee the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, first and foremost their right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent and sovereign state on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”The Arab League Council
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Stone Men: The Palestinians Who Built Israel
By Andrew Ross
The Story of Palestine’s Stonemasons and the Building of Israel “They demolish our houses while we build theirs.” This is how a Palestinian stonemason, in line at a checkpoint outside a Jerusalem suburb, described his life to Andrew Ross. Palestinian “stone men,” utilizing some of the best quality dolomitic limestone deposits in the world and drawing on generations of artisanal knowledge, have built almost every state in the Middle East except their own. Today the business of quarrying, cutting, fabrication, and dressing is Palestine’s largest employer and generator of revenue, supplying the construction industry in Israel, along with other Middle East countries and even more overseas. Drawing on hundreds of interviews in Palestine and Israel, Ross’s engrossing, surprising, and gracefully written story of this fascinating, ancient trade shows how the stones of Palestine, and Palestinian labor, have been used to build out the state of Israel–in the process, constructing “facts on the ground”–even while the industry is central to Palestinians’ own efforts to erect bulwarks against the Occupation. For decades, the hands that built Israel’s houses, schools, offices, bridges, and even its separation barriers have been Palestinian. Looking at the Palestine-Israel conflict in a new light, this book asks how this record of achievement and labor can be recognized.
News, articles & stories from the worlds of politics & history, with a dose of retro culture.