Palestine, Congress, and the White House

It is evident, just three weeks in, that Mr. Trump’s presidency is one of dramatic fluctuations, not only where Israel and Palestine are concerned, but also in regard to his other campaign promises. This month’s Special Focus: Palestine, Congress, and the White House, features nine Journal of Palestine Studies (JPS) articles* and three recent JPS Congressional Monitor reports that, together, illuminate Palestine’s status amidst these fluctuations in an historical context. Focusing on the role of various U.S. administrations, five of these articles highlight the ways that the White House often deviously navigated the tumultuous road to peace in the Middle East. Four additional articles examine how the question of Palestine is addressed in Congress. The Congressional Monitor provides a snapshot of the 113th and 114th sessions of Congress, where 211 and 178 measures pertinent to Palestine were introduced, respectively.

Palestine at the UN

Analysts, media pundits, and lobbyists often appear to have forgotten that the question of Palestine predates the establishment of the UN. Lacking in the coverage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 is a comprehensive understanding of the myriad ways that the UN and its affiliate agencies have worked to redress Palestinian grievances, as well as an awareness of the many roadblocks and challenges it has thrown up to Palestinian needs and demands.

Most people in the United States are far more likely to hear accusations that the UN is an anti-Semitic organization and that the United States has betrayed Israel. Yet, as this month’s Special Focus, “Palestine at the United Nations,” reveals, Resolution 2334’s passage, and the subsequent international reactions – including a speech by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Middle East peace – fall far short of guaranteeing basic rights, equality, and justice to the Palestinian people. Rather, the question of Palestine has been profoundly defined by UN gridlock resulting from U.S. vetoes, as well as the UN’s inability to enforce a host of resolutions that date back to 1948. Will Resolution 2334 be an exception to this trend?

Relocating the US embassy to Jerusalem is illegal, and is a reckless provocation

Kellyanne Conway, President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign manager, has stated that relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a “a big priority” for the incoming administration. She added: “It is something that our friend in Israel, a great friend in the Middle East, would appreciate and something that a lot of Jewish-Americans have expressed their preference for." 

Meanwhile, in a passage that has since been removed from the online article, the Times of Israel has reported that the Trump transition team “has begun exploring the logistics of moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv, and checking into sites for its intended new location,” adding that the site being considered was formerly the location of the Allenby Barracks,the site of the British army's Jerusalem garrison during the Mandate.

However, as is revealed by Walid Khalidi’s SPECIAL REPORT on the subject, originally published in the Journal of Palestine Studiesthe site being considered is Palestinian private property stolen from its owners, including the waqf property of several families. He points out that the move would recklessly violate US and international law and have the following impact, constituting a potentially explosive provocation.

February 2016 Racism Monitor - Institutional Racism

The February Monitor surveys the official and unofficial racism toward Palestinian citizens of Israel, starting with the prime minister, the members of his cabinet, the police, and the courts–who are entrusted with the enforcement of the law–through to the military establishment. In addition to that, members of the Knesset (MKs) continue to prepare discriminatory bills, tailored to exclude the Palestinian citizens of Israel regarding their civil-society institutions and parliamentary lists.

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