By Ralph Nader
Dear President Trump:
Do you think you have enough on your table these days? Wait until the Israeli government, fortified economically and militarily by U.S. taxpayers, illegally annexes a large region of the Palestinian West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, next month. That is the declaration of the Israeli Prime Minister.
This flagrant violation of international law, once again confirmed by various countries and the United Nations, is expected to unleash crushing repression and violence which will be broadcast and shown by photojournalists around the world. This annexation will lead to demonstrations condemning you and the Prime Minister. Inside Israel, there is strong opposition from retired high military and security officials, as well as members of the Knesset from which the Prime Minister is not seeking approval. Sound familiar?
The collateral damage from this unilateral seizure of thirty percent from what is left of Palestinian land (the West Bank is about 20 percent of the original Palestine) will include a rupture of warming relations between Israel and nearby Arab countries, especially Jordan, alienating your friend Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey, and lead to unintended consequences that will be arriving at your door as the Covid-19 pandemic widens. Even with your limited attention to detail, your inability to recognize the consequences of international disputes, and your short attention span, you should be able to envision how much time and energy this war crime will take from you.
For the Palestinians, there will be more dread and devastation. Half of their food comes from the Jordan Valley. It would spell the end of the “two-state solution,” and lead to the possible dissolution of the Palestine Authority security arrangements with the Israeli occupation. That would mean more Israeli patrols, more destruction of homes, more innocent Palestinian casualties, and more responsibility on you stemming from your reckless, mindless endorsement of annexation several months ago.
You can prevent these calamities. First, you need to stop your bigotry against the Palestinian Arabs and desperate Syrian Arab refugees that make you a leading anti-Semite against the Arab peoples. There is, in your regime (Michael Pompeo), the spreading of the “other anti-Semitism,” a term James Zogby used to title an address he gave years ago at an Israeli University. Ever since the South Carolina primary in 2016, when you, out of the blue, assailed two poor newly arrived Syrian refugee families who had fled the horrors of their war-torn country, you have expanded your politically motivated hatred of powerless, impoverished Arabs. For example, at a recent rally in Minnesota, you bragged−even gloated−about cutting off $500 million a year in aid provided to desperate Palestinian families. You broke a humanitarian program supported by Democratic and Republican presidents since 1950 in recognition of the role that the U.S. has played in that region. You have fully backed brutal Israeli actions against defenseless Palestinians and their children. As a multi-faceted anti-Semite against Arabs, what the Israeli regime does in the coming months will be ascribed to you. You could stop this atrocity, but you are actually inciting, what are in essence, territorial war crimes. Your political allies in Israel welcome such racist evocations from the White House. Politicians in the Israeli government’s coalition have expressed over the years the most vile epithets against Palestinians, so racist that if you bothered to read them, it would shock even your limited sensibilities.
And what is the Palestinian grievance at its core? Israeli’s founder, David Ben-Gurion, put it concisely in a widely reported comment – It was their land and we took it. Now you are depriving these Palestinian descendants from having their tiny independent state, endorsed by previous U.S. presidents. Their poverty has worsened because of occupations, blockades, and regular attacks by the military. Add the deprivation of water, taken by Israel, and according to Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, Israel “has recently escalated its spraying of pesticides on Palestinian fields in Gaza and increased harassment of fisherman.”
This is one fast-arriving crisis that you brought onto yourself. It is not too late to stop. Your advisors, including your son-in-law, know full well that the Prime Minister will not make the annexation move without your concurrence. Tell the Prime Minister NO and he will comply. You are known as a control freak. Exercise this trait and you’ll prevent multiple eruptions in the Middle East that may be uncontrollable and create another foreign policy crisis in your administration.
Domestically, a majority of American Jews oppose this annexation and other Israeli policies that seriously harm Palestinians and also undermine democratic freedoms in Israel. J Street and Jewish Voices for Peace are gaining many more adherents. Even AIPAC has reportedly expressed disapproval of the Prime Ministers racist policies and the move toward annexation by privately signaling that they won’t push back against lawmakers who criticize the plan. Where does that leave your political calculations?
On the eve of the 1956 elections, President Dwight D. Eisenhower handily won acclaim and reelection, while stopping Israel’s collaborative invasion of Suez with Britain and France.
Act now, say NO to annexation.