Who Made the Palestinian Authority a ‘Police State?’

Jonathan Cook unpacks a revealing exchange between Trump’s son-in-law and CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria interviews Jared Kushner, at right, about Trump Peace Plan, February 2020. (Screenshot)

By JonathanCook

Maybe something good will come out of the Trump plan, after all. By pushing the Middle East peace process to its logical conclusion, President Donald Trump has made crystal clear something that was supposed to have been obscured: that no U.S. administration has ever really seen peace as the objective of its “peacemaking.”

The current White House is no exception — it has just been far more incompetent at concealing its joint strategy with the Israelis. But that is what happens when a glorified used-car salesman, Donald Trump, and his sidekick son-in-law, the schoolboy-cum-businessman Jared Kushner, try selling us the “deal of the century.” Neither of them, it seems, has the political or diplomatic guile normally associated with those who rise to high office in Washington.

During an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria this week, Kushner dismally failed to cloak the fact that his “peace” plan was designed with one goal only: to screw the Palestinians over.

The real aim is so transparent that even Zakaria couldn’t stop himself from pointing it out. In CNN’s words, he noted that “no Arab country currently satisfies the requirements Palestinians are being expected to meet in the next four years — including ensuring freedom of press, free and fair elections, respect for human rights for its citizens, and an independent judiciary.”

Trump’s senior adviser suddenly found himself confronted with the kind of deadly, unassailable logic usually overlooked in CNN coverage. Zakaria observed:

Isn’t this just a way of telling the Palestinians you’re never actually going to get a state because … if no Arab countries today [are] in a position that you are demanding of the Palestinians before they can be made a state, effectively, it’s a killer amendment?

Indeed, it is.

In fact, the Peace to Prosperity document unveiled last week by the White House is no more than a list of impossible preconditions the Palestinians must meet to be allowed to sit down with the Israelis at the negotiating table. If they don’t do so within four years, and quickly reach a deal, the very last slivers of their historic homeland — the parts not already seized by Israel — can be grabbed too, with U.S. blessing.

Preposterous Conditions

Admittedly, all Middle East peace plans in living memory have foisted these kinds of prejudicial conditions on the Palestinians. But this time many of the preconditions are so patently preposterous — contradictory even — that the usually pliable corporate press corps are embarrassed to be seen ignoring the glaring inconsistencies.

The CNN exchange was so revealing in part because Kushner was triggered by Zakaria’s observation that the Palestinians had to become a model democracy — a kind of idealized Switzerland, while still under belligerent Israeli occupation — before they could be considered responsible enough for statehood.

How was that plausible, Zakaria hinted, when Saudi Arabia, despite its appalling human rights abuses, nonetheless remains a close strategic U.S. ally, and Saudi leaders continue to be intimates of the Trump business empire? No one in Washington is seriously contemplating removing U.S. recognition of Saudi Arabia because it is a head-chopping, women-hating, journalist-killing religious fundamentalist state.

But Zakaria could have made an even more telling point — were he not answerable to CNN executives. There are also hardly any Western states that would pass the democratic, human rights-respecting threshold set by the Trump plan for the Palestinians. Nor, of course, would Israel.

Think of Britain’s flouting last year of a ruling by the International Court of Justice in The Hague that the Chagos Islanders must be allowed to return home decades after the U.K. expelled them so the U.S. could build a military base on their land.

Militarized atoll of Diego Garcia, in Chagos Islands in central Indian Ocean. (Wikimedia Commons)

Or the Windrush scandal, when it was revealed that a U.K. government’s “hostile environment” policy was used to illegally deport British citizens to the Caribbean because of the color of their skin.

Or what about the U.S. evading due process by holding prisoners offshore at Guantanamo? Or its use of torture against Iraqi prisoners, or its reliance on extraordinary rendition, or its extrajudicial assassinations using drones overseas, including against its own citizens?

Or for that matter, its jailing and extortionate fining of whistleblower Chelsea Manning, despite the Obama administration granting her clemency. U.S. officials want to force her to testify against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for his role in publishing leaks of U.S. war crimes committed in Iraq, including the shocking “Collateral Murder” video.

And while we’re talking about Assange and about Iraq .…

Would the records of either the U.S. or U.K. stand up to scrutiny if they were subjected to the same standards now required of the Palestinian leadership

Impertinent Questions

But let’s fast forward to the heart of the matter. Angered by Zakaria’s impertinence at mildly questioning the logic of the Trump plan, Kushner let rip.

He called the Palestinian Authority a “police state” and one that is “not exactly a thriving democracy.” It would be impossible, he added, for Israel to make peace with the Palestinians until the Palestinians, not Israel’s occupying army, changed its ways. It was time for the Palestinians to prioritize human rights and democracy, while at the same time submitting completely to Israel’s belligerent, half-century occupation that violates their rights and undermines any claims Israel might have to being a democracy.

Kushner said:

“If they [the Palestinians] don’t think that they can uphold these standards, then I don’t think we can get Israel to take the risk to recognize them as a state, to allow them to take control of themselves, because the only thing more dangerous than what we have now is a failed state.”

Let’s take a moment to unpack that short statement to examine its many conceptual confusions.

First, there’s the very obvious point that “police states” and dictatorships are not “failed states.” Not by a long shot. In fact, police states and dictatorships are usually the very opposite of failed states. Iraq was an extremely able state under Saddam Hussein, in terms both of its ability to provide welfare and educational services and of its ruthless, brutal efficiency in crushing dissent.

Iraq only became a failed state when the U.S. illegally invaded and executed Saddam, leaving a local leadership vacuum that sucked in an array of competing actors who quickly made Iraq ungovernable.

Oppressive by Design

Second, as should hardly need pointing out, the PA can’t be a police state when it isn’t even a state. After all, that’s where the Palestinians are trying to get to, and Israel and the U.S. are blocking the way. It is obviously something else. What that “something else” is brings us to the third point.

Kushner is right that the PA is increasingly authoritarian and uses its security forces in oppressive ways — because that’s exactly what it was set up to do by Israel and the U.S.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, U.S. President Bill Clinton and the PLO’s Yasser Arafat at Oslo Accords signing ceremony, Sept. 13, 1993. (Wikimedia Commons)

Palestinians had assumed that the Oslo accords of the mid-1990s would lead to the creation of a sovereign state at the completion of that five-year peace process. But that never happened. Denied statehood ever since, the PA now amounts to nothing more than a security contractor for the Israelis. Its unspoken job is to make the Palestinian people submit to their permanent occupation by Israel.

The self-defeating deal contained in Oslo’s “land for peace” formula was this: the PA would build Israeli trust by crushing all resistance to the occupation, and in return Israel would agree to hand over more territory and security powers to the PA.

Bound by its legal obligations, the PA had two possible paths ahead of it: either it would become a state under Israeli license, or it would serve as a Vichy-like regime suppressing Palestinian aspirations for national liberation. Once the U.S. and Israel made clear they would deny the Palestinians statehood at every turn, the PA’s fate was sealed.

Put another way, the point of Oslo from the point of view of the U.S. and Israel was to make the PA an efficient, permanent police state-in-waiting, and one that lacked the tools to threaten Israel.

And that’s exactly what was engineered. Israel refused to let the Palestinians have a proper army in case, bidding to gain statehood, that army turned its firepower on Israel. Instead a U.S. army general, Keith Dayton, was appointed to oversee the training of the Palestinian police forces to help the PA better repress internal dissent – those Palestinians who might try to exercise their right in international law to resist Israel’s belligerent occupation.

Presumably, it is a sign of that U.S. program’s success that Kushner can now describe the PA as a police state.

Freudian Slip

In his CNN interview, Kushner inadvertently highlighted the Catch-22 created for the Palestinians. The Trump “peace” process penalizes the Palestinian leadership for their very success in achieving the targets laid out for them in the Oslo “peace” process.

Resist Israel’s efforts to deprive the Palestinians of statehood and the PA is classified as a terrorist entity and denied statehood. Submit to Israel’s dictates and oppress the Palestinian people to prevent them demanding statehood and the PA is classified as a police state and denied statehood. Either way, statehood is unattainable. Heads I win, tails you lose.

Kushner’s use of the term “failed state” is revealing too, in a Freudian slip kind of way. Israel doesn’t just want to steal some Palestinian land before it creates a small, impotent Palestinian state. Ultimately, what Israel envisions for the Palestinians is no statehood at all, not even of the compromised, collaborationist kind currently embodied by the PA.

Unabashed Partisan

Jared Kushner and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2018, at embassy dedication ceremony. (U.S. Embassy Jerusalem, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Kushner, however, has done us a favor inadvertently. He has given away the nature of the U.S. bait-and-switch game towards the Palestinians. Unlike Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk and Aaron David Miller — previous American Jewish diplomats overseeing U.S. “peace efforts” — Kushner is not pretending to be an “honest broker.” He is transparently, unabashedly partisan.

In an earlier CNN interview, one last week with Christiane Amanpour, Kushner showed just how personal is his antipathy towards the Palestinians and their efforts to achieve even the most minimal kind of statehood in a tiny fraction of their historic homeland.

He sounded more like a jilted lover, or an irate spouse forced into couples’ therapy, than a diplomat in charge of a complex and incendiary peace process. He struggled to contain his bitterness as he extemporized a well-worn but demonstrably false Israeli talking-point that the Palestinians “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

He told Amanpour: “They’re going to screw up another opportunity, like they’ve screwed up every other opportunity that they’ve ever had in their existence.”

The reality is that Kushner, like the real author of the Trump plan, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would prefer that the Palestinians had never existed. He would rather this endless peace charade could be discarded, freeing him to get on with enriching himself with his Saudi pals.

And if the Trump plan can be made to work, he and Netanyahu might finally get their way.

Jonathan Cook is a freelance journalist based in Nazareth.

This article is from his blog Jonathan Cook.net. 

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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9 comments for “Who Made the Palestinian Authority a ‘Police State?’

  1. February 6, 2020 at 07:05

    The prescient author probably knows the real story although he states:

    “After all, that’s where the Palestinians are trying to get to(a Palestinian state), and Israel and the U.S. are blocking the way. It is obviously something else. What that “something else” is brings us to the third point.”

    From the beginning of the Herzl vision, two states was were only a dead horse to beat, it was a horse that never existed. That has brought an increasing number of people to the realization that only the battle to achieve equal rights in a single state is a battle worth fighting for

  2. Jeff Blankfort
    February 6, 2020 at 01:12

    What is probably more important than the expose of Jared Kushner and Israel’s agenda which will find a ready audience on his site and on Consortium News is his run down of how the US and Israel envisioned the Oslo accords and how they have functioned to serve Israel and Washington’s interest while giving nothing to the Palestinians.

    “Put another way,” writes Cook, “the point of Oslo from the point of view of the U.S. and Israel was to make the PA an efficient, permanent police state-in-waiting, and one that lacked the tools to threaten Israel.

    “And that’s exactly what was engineered. Israel refused to let the Palestinians have a proper army in case, bidding to gain statehood, that army turned its firepower on Israel. Instead a U.S. army general, Keith Dayton, was appointed to oversee the training of the Palestinian police forces to help the PA better repress internal dissent – those Palestinians who might try to exercise their right in international law to resist Israel’s belligerent occupation.”

    A bigger question is why has the collaboration between the PA under “President” Abbas been such a taboo subject among Palestinians and their supporters that none will publicly point it out and condemn it as Cook has done here?

  3. JWalters
    February 5, 2020 at 19:24

    We might also ask, “Who made America a police state?”

    Why does the MSM, the Democratic party, and the Republican party all ignore the overwhelmingly obvious fact that Trump is an Israeli asset? The answer is because the top Democrats – Schumer and Pelosi – are also Israeli assets. This simple background fact clarifies much of the current political confusion.

    Robert Parry clearly explained the “neocon” (i.e. Israeli) goals in creating the current conflict in Ukraine. It was to sabotage peace in the Middle East by sabotaging peace in Ukraine.
    “What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis”
    consortiumnews. * com/2014/03/02/what-neocons-want-from-ukraine-crisis/

    Whitney Webb has clearly reported on Israel’s main motive behind the Epstein blackmail operation. That was also to sabotage peace.
    “Former Spy Details Israel’s Main Motive Behind Epstein’s Sexual Blackmail Operation”
    mint * pressnews. * com/ari-ben-menashe-israel-relationship-jeffrey-epstein/263465/

    So we now know that Israel controls American politicians not only by overwhelming campaign money, but by personally devastating blackmail threats. This indicates the depths of thuggery to which the Israelis descend to maintain their vicious war profiteering.

    Why would Nancy Pelosi abandon her original judgement that impeaching Trump would be a mistake? And why would she focus the impeachment on a story of Ukraine corruption, a story with Joe Biden’s corruption at its center? It’s likely she was pushed into this. So we have the Israeli puppetmasters, now so pleased with Trump’s delivery of all their wet dreams, ordering the Dems into a “charge of the light brigade”, ultimately to be slaughtered as the facts about Biden’s Ukraine corruption come out. And the immense sound and fury distracts all attention away from the puppetmasters and their giant steps toward their next war.

  4. H
    February 5, 2020 at 16:45

    trump and the zionists – workers of iniquity

  5. Taras77
    February 5, 2020 at 15:46

    It is impossible to ignore, and this is to state the obvious, that kushner is a foreign agent acting not for any us interest but for Israel’s and his mentor, nitenyaahoo.

  6. Annie
    February 5, 2020 at 15:40

    Before Trump opened his mouth I knew there was no legitimate plan that would benefit the Palestinians and create a  valid 2 state solution. It was never meant to be, and certainly not under Trump, or Jared Kushner whose family has funded illegal West bank settlements.  Unfortunately most Americans are sucked in by decades of propaganda, and they will not see the obvious charade. They don’t even see that there country is little more then a plutocracy. I’m a bit envious of Mr. Cook’s restrained optimism on this count.  

    • renfro
      February 7, 2020 at 04:12

      No justice, no peace.

      A “Peace plan’ that would be closest to justice would put all Jewish settlers back into the original boundaries of Israel as set forth in Res.181…they are the legal boarders of Israel.
      It would remove the Wall or at least re route it so Israel no longer controls the West Bank water wells.
      In lieu of reparation to the State of Palestine Israel will forfeit all buildings and housing built on confiscated Palestine land during its occupation of Palestine.
      Israel would allow the return of refugees or pay reparations, the refugees choice.
      Any Palestine Israelis who wish to stay in Israel subject to its laws may do so, any Jews who wish to stay in Palestine as Palestine citizens subject to its laws may do so.
      Boarder checkpoints would remain for any Palestines going into Israel and any Israelis seeking to enter Palestine.
      Palestines would have the right to be armed, to form a army or a national guard to protect their people and land.
      They will be given ingress and egress thru Israel , Egypt and Jordon for purposes of commerce.
      Palestine will control all its seacoast waters, and have ownership of any resources therein.
      Palestine will control its air space.
      In return Palestine recognizes Israel within its UN Res 181 boarders and will take action against any Palestine extremist groups attacking Israel.
      Palestine will create a statement government and its laws under this plan and announce the creation of the State of Palestine
      To facilitate this peace and a Palestine State international military troops will act as peacekeepers.
      In the event there is resistance by Palestine or Israel or any party to any part of this plan the internationals will have the right to enforce compliance.
      The US and the Internationals will guarantee protection to both Palestine and Israel against any hostilities and if conflict occurs will investigate the causes and decide the appropriate action to be taken against the hostiles.

  7. Chet Roman
    February 5, 2020 at 14:48

    This “Peace Plan” is the logical result of many years of special interests and the MSM pushing the propaganda that “hate speech” should be censored and that organizations like biased and corrupt SPLC should define the term, as they do with Google. After years of propaganda, special interests are emboldened and few are willing to push back against this criminal nonsense of a “Peace Plan”. Clearly this Kushner plan was created by a special interest group for that group’s foreign constituents and against America’s interests in the region. So, commenters against this fraudulent plan risk legal and social jeopardy by simply acknowledging the truth of the government’s and corporate masters (Google, FB, Twitter, etc.) control over our “free” speech.

  8. Anonymous
    February 5, 2020 at 14:47

    It is increasingly ironic for American politicians to call foreign nations “police states”.

Comments are closed.