President Trump, Put on a Keffiyeh and Pray in al-Aqsa

Palestinian youth hold a Palestinian flag outside the Aqsa Mosque in the Haram al-Sharif. (Photo:, file)

By Rima Najjar

Palestinians are in a constant state of rage. And the question that presents itself daily is: Against whom to focus this rage?

Today, March 19 2018, our rage is split, as summed up by Kamel Hawwash on Twitter:

#Abbas launches stinging attack on #Hamas holding it responsible for the explosion that targeted Prime Minister Hamdallah’s convoy when he visited #Gaza but also calls US Ambassador Friedman a settler who lives in a settlement & a ‘son of a bitch’ 4 saying settlements not illegal.”

Yesterday, we focused our rage on the international donor community, which allows itself to play by Israel’s rules, and ends up simply filling Israel’s coffers.

Shir Hever, who along with others (Al-Shabaka policy advisors Alaa Tartir, for example) have long written on the economic dependency of Palestinians as engendered by the Paris Protocol signed with Israel in 1994.

He suggests that rather than be complicit in this corruption of doing business with Israel, humanitarian aid organizations should expose Israel’s economic interest in keeping Gaza perpetually on the brink of collapse and force it to take economic “responsibility for the Palestinians” as delineated by international law or insist on handing aid out directly to Palestinians.

By this logic, UNRWA, which today provides humanitarian aid to 70% of Gaza residents, since most are refugees, is also complicit in keeping Israel from taking responsibility for millions of Palestinian refugees – as, of course, is the UN, its parent organization.

Not that I am against Hever’s idea. But the only way of making Israel “take responsibility for Palestinians” is through transforming the status quo, which is Israel’s control of all of historic Palestine, into one unitary secular and democratic state. Netanyahu is right when he says,

“UNRWA is an organisation that perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem and the narrative of the right-of-return, as it were, in order to eliminate the State of Israel.”

The only problem is, unfortunately, UNRWA cannot do much in eliminating the Jewish state Apartheid regime.

International humanitarian aid organizations should be pressuring their respective governments to dismantle Zionism in historic Palestine – to dismantle the Apartheid Jewish state regime.

Today, we also focused our rage on a “neighboring Arab state” to Yemen, which has, according to the headline in Al-Quds, aided an airlift operation that siphoned 400 Yemeni Jews to Israel in February of this year, thus helping Israel with “the demographic threat” of Palestinian reproduction. [See ‘Kill Palestinian mothers giving birth to “little snakes,” says Israeli lawmaker’.]

Shir Hever’s article asks, “Who profits…?” This is often posed as a multiple-choice question whose answer is, “all of the above”.

The settlement of every question related to Palestine, whether of territory, sovereignty, economic arrangement or political relationship with other nations has always been made and continues to be made on the basis of the material interest or advantage of other nations or people (starting with the British and colonist Jews) for the sake of their own exterior influence and mastery.

Who benefits from Palestine’s Nakba? The answer is Jewish settler colonists, Jewish immigrants, the Zionist Movement.

But this answer by itself has simply never been “sufficient” for some reason.

Today, those invested in the Jewish state run the gamut from evangelicals to the arms industry, the tech industry, the aid industry, white nationalists, and imperialist, neocolonial interests generally.

These multiples are often used to obfuscate the original sin in historic Palestine:

forced and violent partition and the formation of the Jewish state against the will of the Palestinian Arab population, the vast majority then, at a terrible, terrible human cost to them. May 15, 2018 will mark the 70th year of this outrage.

Who is disadvantaged? There is no multiple-choice question here. The choice is always, always a single answer in a long essay format that begins with the thesis sentence: We are not an invented people; we exist; we are human; hear us call.

We demand restitution, justice and equality in our own homeland. We don’t want to see Trump wearing his kippah again and recognizing Arab Jerusalem as belonging to Jews worldwide.

And here is a last outrage of the day for Palestinians:

“Israeli lawmaker Uri Ariel, of the right-wing Habayit Hayehudi party, called for increased settlement building at [Adiel] Coleman’s [Jewish Israeli illegal settler in the West Bank who was active in the right-wing Temple movement. which aims to destroy al-Aqsa] funeral, stating ‘there will be only one sovereign state, the State of Israel, this land of ours, we received from the Holy One.”

It’s time for American presidents to start having photo-ops showing them praying in al-Aqsa mosque and stop the shameless gestures of solidarity with the Apartheid Jewish state. For God’s sake al-Aqsa is just next door to the Western Wall they seem to love so much.

Or are they waiting until it is destroyed by the Temple movement to go in there with their yarmulkes?

 – Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank.

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