By Iqbal Jassat
As Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu stepped up to the podium flanked by the foreign ministers of Bahrain and the UAE to sign what has been hailed as a “historic peace agreement” between Israel and the two Gulf kingdoms, many have wondered aloud “where are the Palestinians”?
Indeed the absence of Palestinians has been noted by analysts familiar with the bloody history of Zionism’s colonial project, as a deliberate objective by the architects of the deal to fulfill Israel’s vision.
A vision built on the myth of “a land without people for a people without land”.
The ceremony at the White House presided over by Trump, thus reflected Netanyahu’s world of fantasy in which Palestinians are treated as sub-human, irrelevant and a nuisance.
The so-called “peace agreement” between Israel and American client-states is bizarre for as surrogates in the service of US hegemony, neither Bahrain nor the UAE have ever been at war against Israel.
And apart from not being enemies, the two Gulf oligarchies have for decades maintained a clandestine love-affair with Israel, on the assumption that their security is tied to the security of the settler-colonial regime.
And it’s not confined to Bahrain and the UAE. Most Arab despots view a secure Israel as their guarantor.
The reality is that Palestinian lives do matter despite the American/Israel plot to erase them from the equation and have Arab client-regimes as surrogates willing to be scripted into it.
So what is the “peace deal” and the much-vaunted “dawn of a new Middle East” about?
Contrary to the illusion created at the White House ceremony in pursuit of fake “peace”, Pompeo let the cat out of the bag during his foray in the region a few days before.
It is “normalization” for the purposes of mounting a military alliance against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Alastair Crooke of the Beirut-based Conflicts Forum confirms that Pompeo’s explanation reveals that the UAE and Israel have agreed to form a security and military alliance against Iran to protect US interests and the Middle East.
If the devil is in the detail, the agreement and any that might follow with more Arab countries as promised by Trump, means that there will be an Israeli military presence in the Gulf and a joint Israeli-UAE intelligence base on Socotra Island in the Red Sea basin overlooking the Bab al-Mandab Strait, according to Crooke’s assessment.
In other words, far from being a “peace deal” to transform the Middle East into a region of milk and honey with false promises of “prosperity”, the agreement launches a new era of wars and instability.
Based on Pompeo’s revelations, Crooke’s assessment is that the agreement will transform the conflict in the Middle East from being Arab-Israeli to Arab-Iranian and perhaps Arab-Turkish later on.
That Palestinian Rights have been forfeited by the “Abraham Accords” is confirmed by the fact that the Trump administration in cahoots with Israel and the Arab regimes has taken Jerusalem “off the table” in the language used by Pompeo.
In the context of non-existent Palestinian “negotiations”, so too has the Golan Heights and the Jordan Valley been taken “off the table”.
The harsh reality Crooke warns about is that according to Pompeo’s formulation of the conflict transformation he has engineered says something else too: It is that the Palestinian issue is “off the table” as well.
That the term “peace” is an oxymoron in the manner it has been twisted and maligned by Trump, Netanyahu and the Arab cohorts from US allies Bahrain and the UAE, is clearly evident in the military pact signed by them.
Not surprising thus to note the observation made by Palestinian MK Ayman Odeh who tweeted: “The ceremony in Washington is not a historic peace deal, but a historic arms deal.”
“It’s accepting a reality in which the Palestinians live under occupation without independence or basic rights.”
For Palestinians and solidarity movements across the world including countries such as South Africa, know that the occupation will continue the morning after the signing.
The UAE and Bahrain have signed onto a deal authorizing Israel to continue imprisoning Palestinians under military rule, allowing settlers to expand illegal settlements by stealing more and more Palestinian lands and granting IDF soldiers the mandate to continue to man military checkpoints, forcefully enter homes, detain, torture and kill.
– Iqbal Jassat is an Executive Member of the South Africa-based Media Review Network. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle. Visit: www.mediareviewnet.com