Collective Punishment of Palestinians Won’t Lead to Peace Talks– Decameron

Image result for unrwa gaza warphoto from UNRWA, Gaza war, 2014


“The Trump administration sent notice to UNRWA that it is withholding over half of this year’s annual commitment, paying $60 million and freezing another $65 million. The move indicates the U.S. is leveraging its hefty payments to the United Nations Refugee Works Agency (UNRWA) to pressure Palestinian officials” to open negotiations with the Netanyahu government. (Mondoweiss)

Trump is cutting off UNRWA, one of the most important agencies in all the world for the survival of children in occupied Palestine.  It supplies medicine, potable water, food, clothing. Its facilities have been hit by Israeli air power again and again in the various Gaza wars and air strikes.  Israel says its strikes are collateral damage, or that UNRWA was being used as “human shields” for terrorists.  Israel’s war tactics against civilians are not collateral; they are collective punishment, and Trump is doing the same with the cutoff of funds to the UNRWA.  The argument that this will pressure the Palestinians to the bargaining table is nonsense. More countries in the region are distrusting the Trump Administration after this. President Mahmoud Abbas and the PLO have hardened their positions—they see nothing left to negotiate. Collective punishment will not lead to the negotiating table, and Trump's actions are backfiring.  

The overwhelming majority of the world’s nations condemned Trump’s announcement that he’s moving the US embassy to Jerusalem in order to take “Jerusalem off the table,” to help start peace talks between Israel and Palestine.  Then when the UN Security Council didn’t kowtow to the great Jerusalem announcement, Nikki Haley fumed that the UN “risks” seeing a massive cut in funds if it condemns Trump’s latter day Balfour Declaration (reminder: that was a short note to a super-rich Rothschild, not a diplomatic document).  Trump threatened to cut off funds to any country that opposed his move to Jerusalem.  Now, the cutoff of UNRWA money.  Trump’s UNRWA policy is revenge, not negotiations.  The champion of the “Art of the Deal” is digging himself a deepening hole.

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46 Responses to Collective Punishment of Palestinians Won’t Lead to Peace Talks– Decameron

  1. catherine says:

    Sticks to Palestine, carrots to Israel when it should be the opposite.

  2. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The overwhelming majority of the nations of the world could break diplomatic relations with Israel, or recognize the State of Palestine, or send warships to enforce a naval blockade of Israel. Has Turkey broken her relations with Israel?

  3. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Trump is throwing red meat to his constituents, and they are lapping it up. It costs him nothing.

  4. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    IMO, there might be several positive sides to this approach: 1-The Palestinians might be forced to learn how to fight for themselves and their children. 2-A true Arab spring might arrive. 3-Western populations might, through watching a humanitarian catastrophe, finally understand the nature of the ziocon infestation. Many “mights”; would that one or two come true.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  5. JamesT says:

    Israel has a policy of keeping the Palestinians at a bare subsistance level of existance. If UNRWA stops providing them with food and medicine then either Israel will have to pay for it themselves, or appear even more like war criminals to the world community. Israel was spinning up a new formal alliance with Saudi Arabia when Trump moved the US embassy to Jerusalem – throwing a spanner into that effort. A lot of the “help” that Trump gives to Israel looks passive aggressive to me.

  6. Lemur says:

    I’m curious how exactly you wage an air campaign in an urban environment without killing civilians?
    In the ‘just war’ tradition, there is ‘justice of the war’ and ‘justice in the war’. Justice in the war (jus in bello) broadly states civilians must not be intentionally targeted, not that you can’t kill them when reasonable combatant targets present themselves. Even with precision weapons, it strikes me as highly unlikely you could fight a war in the Gaza strip without killing non-combatants.
    Most people here had no problem with heavy Russian airstrikes against militant targets in Idlib, or the US bombing of Mosul for that matter. Why are the rules different when the IAF targets Hamas et el? Remember, I’m only speaking in context of the latter justice of war. Not who is right.
    For the record, I don’t care what the Palestinians or the Jews are doing to each other. I’m only interested in the conflict insofar as the West’s implication in it compromises the interests of ethnic Europeans who reap no concrete benefit from supporting Israel.

  7. Green Zone Café says:

    The only thing which would cause movement would be a dissolution of the Palestinian Authority and its governance functions, e.g. police. Throw the complete burden of governance and security on Israel.
    This should be accompanied by a demand for voting rights for the Knesset with the old slogan “No taxation without representation.” The Palestinians should stop cooperating in maintaining local government, and say they are giving up on a separate state. Model it on Gandhi’s campaign.
    This probably won’t happen because the PA are accustomed to collecting salaries and benefiting from western aid money and status.

  8. Rodney says:

    I don’t think anyone expected Trump to side with the Palestinians over the Zionists. Well, that’s one way to cut spending. I’m left wondering what Bernie would have done?

  9. Barbara Ann says:

    Good. What a perfect opportunity for the Ummah to step up in solidarity with their Palestinian brethren. Turkey, for example, the most vociferous in condemnation of the Jerusalem decision could donate the $65m on behalf of the US. Or perhaps Qatar, to whom $65 hardly even qualifies as small beer. What a great signal that would send. Better still the Ummah could club together & relieve the now explicitly partisan US of the burdensome duty altogether.
    Will it happen? Well who knows, at the rate at which the US is pissing off most of the Islamic World, the Ummah may just finally ditch the tired old men of the OIC and get its shit together.
    On the bigger picture, Trump appears to only know one diplomatic negotiating tactic – in fact the world “diplomatic” may be superfluous. Bullying and threats work so long as you are the biggest kid on the block. But inflict enough pain and the victims will start to get organized against you. Trump’s zero sum game, adversarial NDS seems bound to accelerate this already extant trend. It may or may not MAGA, but it is sure as hell guaranteed to diminish US influence in the World.

  10. Fred says:

    The UN can ask all those countries that voted to condemn the US for its diplomatic actions for the money to replace America’s money. They can remind the member states of the just and reasonable purposes to which it is put and the integrity of those handling the funds and the oversight of it’s disbursement. They can even release the last audit of the UNRWA. None of which is going to change the conduct of the Israelis or the Palestinians. You are right about collective punishment being a bad idea though.

  11. Decameron says:

    Turkey’s Erdogan has had a not-so-honorable record on Palestine. Back in the day, before the infamous IDF attack on Mavi Marmara (2010), where even an American-born humanitarian aide volunteer was killed by the IDF, Turkey was getting very cozy with Israel on defense matters. You can look up Turkey’s joint events with US think tanks close to Netanyahu’s views in that period. After Israel’s attack on Turkey’s Gaza Freedom Flotilla, relations were cut off. When Turkey joined and took a leading role in the anti-Assad military coalition and hosted the first, second, third, etc etc Syrian National Coalitions (a la Chalabi), the Turkish-Israel relations were superficially hostile, but who knows what was really going on. Sit-rep as of June 2016, “diplomatic relations were restored.” I don’t see a change since the Jerusalem announcment. A report in 2016 from AP captures the Janus-deal:
    “GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The U.N. chief on Tuesday criticized Israel’s blockade of Gaza, a day after Israel and Turkey reached a broad reconciliation pact that looked to ease, but not eliminate, the isolation of the coastal strip.
    In a visit to the region, which included a stop at a Gaza school, Ban Ki-moon said “the closure of Gaza suffocates its people, stifles its economy and impedes reconstruction efforts.”
    “It’s a collective punishment for which there must be accountability,” he added.”<1>
    Where Turkey goes from here, given the tensions over Syria, can’t be predicted.

  12. Decameron says:

    An old and very wise friend from the region once told me after I inquired about a strong statement from the OIC that was critical of Israel. “OIC? Oh, you mean, `Oh, I see.'”

  13. LeaNder says:

    you shouldn’t do this Decameron: <1>.
    We have one more stern SST members around one comes to mind only, really. 😉

  14. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    re: Turkey’s Erdogan has had a not-so-honorable record on Palestine
    Turkey was getting very cozy with Israel on defense matters
    Very true, and a subset of two general “true statements”:
    1-Turkey’s Erdogan has had a not-so-honorable record
    2-Turkey was getting very cozy with Israel
    tayyip’s rise to power was another color revolution. Even though the neocons have been systematically removing from the Web record their statements supporting this dishonorable kleptocrat, the truth will prevail.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  15. Razor says:

    “Palestinians might be forced to fight for themselves and their children……”
    And what pray tell do you propose they use, other than the sticks and stones they are already using in response to their slow genocide by the zionazi savages armed and subsidised by principally the USA, which also shelters them from accountability under UNSC resolutions, unlike other Nations, which are sanctioned or bombed by the USA?

  16. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    re: “Palestinians might be forced to fight for themselves and their children……”
    1-Please read “Green Zone Café’s comment @#8.
    2-The Palestinians might identify and shun the collaborators in their society. The izzies have had little success trying to penetrate Nasrallah’s Hizb’Allah, and not for lack of trying.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  17. Decameron says:

    Razor and Ishmael Zechariah and all,
    I hope everyone becomes familiar with the body of work on the “one state solution” (a terrible name, but one used, with reservations, by pro-peace Palestinians and Jews who never believed that the Oslo two-state approach would work). The depth of thinking and scholarship on this is impressive. It boils down to equal rights, anti-apartheid laws, ending the atrocities like not being allowed to own property, restrictions on travel, and scores of other hideous and racist laws that prevail under Zionism. IMO, the transition in South Africa, which many of the academics, politicos, and activists (many from the Palestinian diaspora)look at as a possible future path, is the way to go. Obama and John Kerry committed an unforgivable action when they kowtowed to Bibi’s “Jewish State”, which has now become American “common law.”
    I don’t think Trump’s cutoff of funds to UNRWA is worse than Obama’s blind eye to the Gaza War genocide that took place between pre-Christmas 2008 and the day before inauguration day. Once Obama was in, it didn’t happen — no penalty for the IDF or IAF. All in the name of self defense. Really?
    Presidents can pick and choose from their predecessors, even if they hate them, or Congressional actions are meaningless and non-binding, like the 1999 amendment to a budget bill that sanctified Regime Change in Iraq.
    Many US localities (states, cities) have outlawed “divesting” from Israeli companies–a move modeled on the South Africa boycott–which was one of the real problems for Israel. Much of the fight is here in the USA.

  18. Decameron says:

    Lemur, Your indifference to Palestine-Israel is indeed showing. Do some homework about the level of civilian deaths and injuries, damage to infrastructure and flour factories, etc. Oh, and please use some sources that don’t have a dog in the fight.

  19. LeaNder says:

    there is a longer history of discussion from my limited SST memory, if one can allow the use of html tags in the comment section.
    I’ll sure never forget the kidding/tricks at earlier times. Communicatively spoken matters around the topic seem to have relaxed lately.
    But yes as watcher, I would like to correct this:
    We [seem to] have one more stern SST members around, [at least] one comes to mind only, really.
    ..that may or may not want it forbidden for nitwits like me. Standing for the larger non-initiated SST community here.

  20. TV says:

    Isn’t the Palestinian Authority the outfit that pays the family of a “martyr” – a terrorist who dies committing a terroristic act?

  21. kooshy says:

    During the war, justice depends on who’s side you are, after the war, justice is on the side of winner of the war.

  22. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Moslem Arabs lost Palestine on the field of battle and only war will restore it to Islam, cursing US or Trump is just childish. We are in the first decades of this war which promised to last for as many decades.

  23. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I agree.

  24. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I agree, OIC should be dissolved, it is an embarrasment. Muslim states, excepting Iran, are pathetic.

  25. Decameron says:

    It’s reported as you say it in the Israeli media all the time. Is it true? How about the baby and mother burned to death by settler terrorists while they slept in the West Bank? Should that family get some financial help? From whom? Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin understood that revenge was a dead end. For that he was killed by an Israeli terrorist. Tragic. Rabin said, at the White House in 1993: “We should not let the land flowing with milk and honey become a land flowing with blood and tears. Don’t let it happen.”
    For the best book on the Rabin assassination, read “Murder in the Name of God,” by two Israeli journalists.

  26. Babak Makkinejad says:

    HAMAS is a Legitimate Authority wagin war against an occupying power, morally equivalent to partisans in WWWII. IAF is the military instrument of an occupying power which lacks legitimacy in occupying areaz. Decades more war are in store.

  27. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Iran has helped in this matter and will continue to do so.

  28. JamesT says:

    Green Zone Café
    Yes – the Izzies learned a long time ago (and the British before them) that it is all too easy to divide and rule the Bedouin Arabs. This ploy does not work so well on the Syrians – which is why IMO the neocons fear them so much.

  29. Fellow Traveler says:

    Trump will just reallocate the UNRWA funds to Bibi for him to disburse as he sees fit. Problem solved.

  30. Fred says:

    “… the transition in South Africa, which many of the academics, politicos, and activists (many from the Palestinian diaspora)look at as a possible future path, is the way to go.”
    How is that working out for the white population of South Africa now? How about neighboring Rhodesia Zimbabwe? “It’s our turn now.” is the phrase that comes to mind.

  31. robt willmann says:

    Here is a brief video clip from the Associated Press of Rabin speaking at the peace rally the day he was assassinated–
    This video is a little longer and may be from the same function–
    Assuming that a careful and legitimate autopsy on Rabin was done with proper preservation before it was done — and that is only an assumption — the autopsy report and related medical documents would be items of interest to read.

  32. Oilman2 says:

    I’m with Fred here.
    Words….nothing changes.
    Take the money away and the dynamics change. Will the ROW step up when it will actually cost them something?
    Nah – NIMBY, so who cares. May be tragic, but the world is replete with tragedy aplenty. Israel will not stop until Palestine is Israeli, or the tribes around them unite to stop them. Hence the push by Israel for regional instability.

  33. Patrick D says:

    I agree this puts Israel in a difficult spot. Trump’s threats and now actions remind me of an attempt by Rand Paul some years ago to pass legislation to cut foreign aid to countries based on a litmus test that escapes me at the moment. One of the entities whose funding would have been cut was the PA.
    That sounds pro-Israel on the surface but Israel and AIPAC saw where it would lead and intervened to kill the legislation.
    Should be interesting to see whether Congress will step in to restore what is essentially another subsidy to Israel and how they will spin it if they do.

  34. Decameron says:

    To Fred. Some in Israel agree with you completely on South Africa, hence trying to find a way for two state solution.

  35. Decameron says:

    Thank you for the link of Rabin. Rabin’s son spoke at Committee for the Republic event in DC in 2005. He espoused common interests could lead to a solution.

  36. Agree that a one-state solution is the only solution.
    But as long as radical Zionists run Israel, it will never happen unless imposed on them by the international community.
    And as long as the US is opposed to any such thing, it won’t happen.
    Thus, there are only three possible solutions:
    1) Israel commits ethnic cleansing on the Palestinians and forces all of them out of Palestine.
    2) Israel commits genocide on the Palestinians.
    3) The Palestinians surrender and remain slaves in an apartheid state.
    There is one other possibility: Some smart Arabs steal an Israeli nuke or two and blow up Tel Aviv. That would definitely result in the international community coming down on Israel, disarming it of its nukes, and imposing some sort of resolution.

  37. Jack says:

    Even if there are peace talks it ain’t going anywhere. As we’ve seen in the past.
    It is better to remove any doubts about the fictional two state solution. Neither side has the capacity to negotiate and come to any kind of a settlement. There never was such a train and if such a train existed it has long ago left the station.
    If the Arabs and Muslims care about the Palestinians let them do something meaningful. America and the west in general are partisans in the conflict. They have no mediator role.

  38. jdledell says:

    The issue of the Palestinian Authority dissolving itself has been on the table for many years. This would force Israel, in theory, to provide schooling,roads etc for Palestinians which would be expensive for Israel. However, Israel has made it very clear that if the PA does dissolve, Israel will treat the Palestinians the same as their sheep and donkeys so it will cost Israel almost nothing. Whether Israel is bluffing or not is something Abbas is unwilling to chance.
    You have to keep in mind that to the Israeli government and a majority of Israelis the Palestinians are not really humans created in G-d’s image but akin to domestic animals. That is why the two state solution is dead and the one state solution is even deader.
    One of the correspondents said the Palestinians are in a terrible situation no matter what they do and the only way to change the situation is all out war. The current military advantage Israel holds over the Arab states is not set in stone for all eternity. I suspect within 50 years, a volley of nuclear weapons will lay waste to Israel and we will have to wait another 2,000 years for the radiation to subside before we can once again return to Israel and Jerusalem.

  39. Walker says:

    The difference is that Israel is trying to punish Gazans in its attacks. Historically Israel has targeted civilians in an effort to break resistance. The US was not seeking to kill civilians in Mosul, nor the Russians in Idlib.

  40. Walker says:

    HAMAS is a Legitimate Authority waging war against an occupying power, morally equivalent to partisans in WWII.


  41. Babak Makkinejad says:

    A new peace, call it Yalta II, necessary to prevent WWIII, will likely force a settlement in Palestine. Else, there is a high likelihood that in an analogous manner to WWI, the Global Balkans, i.e. the Near East, will trigger WWIII.

  42. Amir says:

    Little Brave Belgium just increased it donation with almost 2 Million dollars, in addition to the yearly $12 million. Your expectation that strangers would shed blood, on behalf of others, is unrealistic and not based on evidence in human history. A significant section of the Palestinians have already learned that one has to rely on one song, to gain independence. Now, the rust off the collaborators will realize that independence is not given to them but taken by them. This is a major step forward.

  43. Amir says:

    The difference is that Aleppo, In contrast to Gaza ghetto, has not been bombed for a few decades.

  44. Amir says:

    Look to the broadcast at 2:10 and you will know where Sanders stands: Give me conservative zionists anytime above their liberal ones, the former is much easier to counter.

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