On The Electronic Intifada Podcast: Trump appeals to his anti-Palestinian base by declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; As’ad AbuKhalil analyzes the latest power plays in Lebanon and the consequences of a strengthening alliance between the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel.
On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump announced the US is officially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, claiming that this unilateral declaration would “be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”
This comes as Palestinians in East Jerusalem remain under Israeli occupation, struggling against rampant home demolitions, regular arrests and detentions, the revocation of residency permits and brutal violence meted out by Israeli forces.
The announcement also comes after more than two decades of failed so-called peace talks and 22 years of US congressional support for the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Since 1995, US presidents have signed national security waivers every six months to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv.
Trump this week instructed the US State Department to begin the process of having an embassy in Jerusalem designed and constructed.
His motivation, explained The Electronic Intifada’s Omar Karmi, “is that he wants to live up to a campaign promise – and he wants to appeal to a certain base in the US that is rabidly pro-Israel and for whom the Palestinians simply don’t really matter.”
Karmi told The Electronic Intifada Podcast that Trump has effectively rewarded Israel “for being intransigent by recognizing its claim to Jerusalem.”
There needs to be a fundamental change to the Palestinian Authority’s approach to the so-called peace process, Karmi added, “which has been a charade for years” and which has “now – it seems to me – reached a screeching dead end.”
Read Karmi’s latest article for more analysis on Jerusalem.
Saudis and Israelis “on same side”
Meanwhile, Israel continues to threaten Lebanese civilians and the Lebanese resistance and political movement Hizballah, as Israel’s alliance with Saudi Arabia tightens and emerges out of the shadows.
Saad Hariri, Lebanon’s prime minister, last month attempted to deliver his resignation under apparent captivity by the Saudis, in what many say was Saudi Arabia’s attempt to weaken Hizballah and destabilize Lebanon.
But the power play backfired: Lebanese politicians rejected Hariri’s resignation, which he then rescinded upon his return to Beirut later in November.
The bizarre cycle of events in Lebanon should be placed in the context of “a growing Israeli-Saudi alliance not only over Lebanon, but throughout the Middle East,” scholar and writer As’ad AbuKhalil told The Electronic Intifada Podcast.
AbuKhalil runs the popular Angry Arab News Service blog.
“In every conflict in the Middle East since the 1950s, we can safely say that in civil wars, in regional conflicts, that Saudi Arabia and Israel were on the same side,” AbuKhalil said.
He explained that Saudi Arabia’s new ruler, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, is engaged in political adventures across the region. “And every adventure he launches, it doesn’t go the way he intends to,” AbuKhalil said.
The prince’s policy in Lebanon, AbuKhalil added, “is about making Lebanon safe for Israeli aggression and invasion.”
Listen to the interviews with Omar Karmi and As’ad AbuKhalil via the media player above.
Theme music and production assistance by Sharif Zakout
Photo: Mahfouz Abu Turk / APA Images
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