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The assault on the Palestinian people by the Trump administration has taken a vicious turn. Not only does it deny them their right of return, and compensation for damage done to their lives and livelihoods as enshrined in UN resolution 194, it also just denies them their daily bread.

This is not new. In 2016, Mr Trump, the then Republican candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America knew that if he had any chance of winning he had to submit his credentials to AIPAC, the most powerful pro-Israel lobby in Washington. This he did in no uncertain terms. He offered his total loyalty and backing of Israel and to the Palestinians he had this to say.

“The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable. They must come to the table willing and able to stop the terror being committed on a daily basis against Israel and they must come to the table willing to accept that Israel is a Jewish State and it will forever exist as a Jewish State.”
In the eyes of Mr Trump, Israel and its government could do no wrong.

The Palestinians, and here I mean The Palestinian Authority did come to the table when commanded by the now President Trump and they were offered nothing in terms of support but were told to toe the line or else.

At the beginning, The Palestinian Authority toed the line and continued its slow march to the abyss. That wasn’t enough for Israel. Israel demanded that the new Trump administration would deliver them Jerusalem and eventually the entire land mass of Palestine. The first demand was delivered in December of last year when Mr. Trump declared that Jerusalem was the eternal capitol of the Jewish People and to add assault to injury he relocated the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, May 15th 2018 while the Israeli soldiers were mowing down scores of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators, demanding their right of return at the separation fence with Gaza.

First demand fulfilled, then comes the second. No right of return commanded Israel. This is how Minister of Environmental Protection Ze’ev Elkin put it last week:

“The solutions for the challenges facing those [Palestinian refugees] currently living in various Arab countries can be found in those countries. There is no reason for them to dream of returning [here]. The State of Israel was, is and will always be the national homeland of the Jewish people, on the grounds of 2,000 years of history, as well as its official status since the days of the Balfour Declaration. For many years, the UNRWA organization artificially perpetuated the Arab problem to use it as a tool to batter the State of Israel, and it should have long since passed from the world.”

Of course the Trump Administration had to adhere to the command, and its UN representative, Ms Nikki Haley was quick to react, not only denying the Palestinian right of return but questioning the actual legitimacy of the 5 million UN recognised Palestinian refugees. Her response, to cut off the aid to UNRWA, the UN Relief and Works Agency constitutes a denial of their very existence.

So who and what constitutes a refugee, Ms Haley?

Article 1 of the 1951 Convention, as amended by the 1967 Protocol, defines a refugee as this:
“A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”

UNRWA currently provides aid, mostly in the form of education, health care, food security and other essentials to some 800,000 Palestinians registered as refugees in the West Bank, 1.3 million people in the Gaza Strip, as well as 534,000 in Syria, 464,000 in Lebanon and 2 million in Jordan.

At a stroke the Trump Administration has cut the hand that feeds them.

All this, despite Mr Mahmoud Abbas, the ailing President of The Palestinian Authority caving in to Israeli demands and declaring that he doesn’t want to flood Israel with refugees, he accepts a demilitarised State of Palestine and he intends to continue with his ‘sacred’ security coordination with the occupying power,Israel. It won’t make any difference, Mr Abbas, their avarice and ambitions are well defined and nothing that you could say or do will stop them. No, I tell a lie. You can do something to stop them. You can dissolve the PA and you can lodge a legitimate complaint with the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. Will you, Mr Abbas?

Jafar M Ramini is a Palestinian writer and political analyst, based in London, presently in Perth, Western Australia. He was born in Jenin in 1943 and was five years old when he and his family had to flee the terror of the Urgun and Stern gangs. Justice for the people of Palestine is a life-long commitment.

 

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