The “Peace to Prosperity” workshop was all about making a statement on the normalisation of the colonial state of Israel. Forget simply normalising “ties” with Israel; eliminating the settler-colonial context of the state in order to dismiss legitimate Palestinian claims is the primary objective of the US. Despite divergences as to how this violation can be reached, the international community is not far behind with its insistence on the two-state “solution”, which is a compromise in all but name.
US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin addressed the workshop on Wednesday, revealing what has been suggested all along. “We want this to become not a United States plan; we want this to become an international plan,” he explained.
What Mnuchin means is that Washington wants to build a consensus for a plan that is already international, despite being associated with the US. Earlier this year, the Warsaw Summit faced the primary hurdle of exposing the regional trend of normalising Israel. The summit in Bahrain builds upon that by providing economic incentives for investors in the name of peace. Such participation is a trajectory to destroy the remaining links between Palestinians and their land; to isolate their claims in a situation where there is no land left to claim as their own.
It is here that the international community can play a role that fulfils US and Israeli aspirations. The plan concocted by the Trump administration necessitates collaboration to thrive against the Palestinian people’s will. However, so too does the two-state hypothesis which has bequeathed Palestinians with additional loss of land and rights. The difference is that the so-called “deal of the century” eliminates the colonial context and has already prepared the groundwork for an overt normalisation, something which the international community has so far been reluctant to accommodate openly.
In his address to the summit, Jared Kushner accused the international community of “wasting everybody’s time.” That is untrue; it is only the Palestinians’ time that has been wasted and the US is now in a position to capitalise upon international incompetence in fulfilling its collective obligations to the Palestinian people. Indeed, it is precisely due to the international refusal to insist upon decolonisation that the US has been able to branch out with proposals that make the Palestinian people even more dependent upon external support to ensure their livelihoods. Their political rights, of course, are of no concern to Kushner and the international community.
The US envisages a situation, possibly not far off, where there is a complete embargo on referring to Israel as a colonial-settler entity. This requires international consensus; normalising Israel to a point whereby the history in which the international community willingly participated is no longer a reference point. Just as the US envisages, the international community will only speak of improving Palestinian lives in terms of a profitable system, thus also phasing out the link between humanitarian aid and human rights abuses.
For the entire international community, normalising Israel is a bonus, as it does away with the charade of pretending to work towards enabling Palestinian rights. Even at this point, it is wrong to dissociate international input from this week’s workshop. After all, the orchestrators of Israeli impunity and defenders of colonialism have one assertion in common; Palestinian lives don’t matter in the grand scheme of things which sees the perpetrators profiting from violations of the political and human rights of the people of Palestine.
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