May 21, 2019 Special Dispatch No. 8078

Palestinian Authority Culture Minister: Maybe President Trump Should Stand Trial For His Policy On The Palestinians; His Advisors Are Accessories To Israel's Crimes Against The Palestinians

May 21, 2019
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 8078

In an article titled "America and its Collusion in Crime," published May 20, 2019 in the Palestinian Al-Ayyam daily, Atef Abu Saif, culture minister in the Palestinian Authority (PA) government and former Fatah spokesman, claimed that U.S. President Donald Trump, his senior advisors Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman had shown complete and even deliberate ignorance about the historical facts pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that they had enthusiastically adopted the false Israeli narrative. He noted that some Washington politicians are "more extreme than the colonialists who steal the land" and "more Zionist than the child killers in our country," adding that their attempt to force this narrative on the Palestinians makes them accessories to the crimes committed against them by Israel. He suggested that the Palestinians consider prosecuting President Trump for his behavior toward them, which he said could be unlawful.

This article, which was published in anticipation of the release of the Trump administration's peace plan, dubbed "The Deal of the Century," and followed the announcement that an international workshop would be held in June in Bahrain to discuss the deal's economic aspects,[1] reflects the PA's tough stance in recent months against the proposed deal and against President Trump and his senior advisors.[2] During this time, senior PA officials have continued to reject the deal out of hand, and have depicted all efforts to promote it as attempts to negate the national rights of the Palestinian people and the principles of international law. Furthermore, articles in the PA mouthpiece Al-Hayat Al-Jadida have stated that Trump's foreign policy is leading the U.S. and the entire world to the brink of an abyss, and that everyone must rally to ensure that it fails.[3]

Senior PA officials were also quick to reject the Bahrain international workshop for discussing the economic aspect of the Deal of the Century. Palestinian Presidential Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said that the workshop would be futile, and that "any economic plan with no political horizon will lead to nothing."[4] PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said: "We will not surrender to extortion and we will not convert our rights into currency."[5]

Cartoon in the PA mouthpiece Al-Hayat Al-Jadida: Trump urges "thinking outside the box" of "international legitimacy." (Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, PA, April 30, 2019).

The following are excerpts from Atef Abu Saif's article:

"I often wonder whether the American politicians are really ignorant of history, or whether they just choose to be perceived that way. In fact, anyone who is following the statements by the politicians in Washington – and especially those concerned with the non-Western world – necessarily senses immediately that that they know nothing about those regions beyond the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean [i.e. the U.S. and Europe]. Furthermore, it is possible that they deliberately choose to be perceived in that way... When one examines Washington's positions with respect to the Palestinian issue, this sense increases.

"There is infinite ignorance with respect to the course of history and to the facts – ignorance which leads to overturning all the facts so as to disseminate the big lies of Zionism and its allies among the extremist, fanatical American Christians. Sometimes it goes as far as total identification with those positions, and even [reaches the point] where some of those in Washington seem more extreme than the colonialists who steal the land, uproot the olive trees, falsify history, and attempt to outmaneuver reality. Some of these American politicians are more Zionist than the child killers in our country, and some overflow with incitement against us and, with their statements, justify all the crimes committed against us by the generals of the occupation state and its flocks of settlers.

"This also goes for [many officials], from [David] Friedman, ambassador of the settlers, to President Trump, who would qualify as a member of the [Israeli] Knesset on the lists of the Israeli right wing. Friedman takes every opportunity to attack the Palestinian people and to harm its history and its circumstances, with declarations that are inappropriate for either a diplomat or a respectable citizen. Apparently, Mr. Friedman is unfamiliar with the existence of international law, and does not realize that he is an ambassador in a country that is breaking it. This is why he considers his deeds to be without defect or violation of the law, but as strengthening Israel's position as a state that is above the law.

"With respect to his president [Trump], who acts as if he is in charge of the entire world and arbitrarily grants deeds of ownership[6] – he inspires even more amazement. Trump – who foments crisis with every word he utters and wreaks havoc with every deed – not only publicly supported the Zionist version [of events] or the positions of the Israeli government, but even drew all his swords in order to harm the Palestinians' national rights and status at the international institution [apparently a reference to the UN] and dared to build a settlement called an embassy within the occupied capital [Jerusalem]. An examination of Trump's conduct reveals his absurdity in many issues [and] raises a question about [his conduct's] legality, and it may be that we Palestinians... should prosecute him for it. A president whose objective is a [stage] performance can lead only to chaos in the world, and not to peacemaking...

"Overall, the situation is no better when looking at the declarations of the two most ignorant people in the American political echelons – [Jared] Kushner and [Jason] Greenblatt. The ignorance in the statements made by these two is unmeasurable, especially when they talk about history or take convoluted positions as they comment on the nonsense perpetrated by President Trump in the Middle East...

"It is not just that these politicians are unfamiliar with and ignorant of history, or that they are in fact unfamiliar with reality or with the details of the conflict... [but] that in addition to their ignorance, they deliberately ignore and distort history, rely on the lies of the Zionists and the legacy of the occupiers, ignore reality, and are based on the [imaginary] picture of reality that interests them – that depicts the Palestinian people as a terrorist aggressor seeking to harm the innocent lamb suckling on Western culture. We sense the American politicians' determination to be accessories to the crimes committed against the Palestinian people, and to fiercely defend Israel's deeds. This is in no way moral or justified – unless you are part of the crime."[7]



[1] Al-Quds (Jerusalem), May 19, 2019.

[3] For example, Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul's May 8, 2019 column and Yahya Rabah's May 11, 2019 and May 18, 2019 columns.

[4], May 20, 2019.

[5], May 20, 2019.

[6] The writer is referring to Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. 

[7] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), May 20, 2019.

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