The annual Quds Day commemoration for 2019, which is held on the last Friday of Ramadan in many parts of the world, will be distinguished from previous years as new challenges confronting Palestinians come to the fore.
The overwhelming squeeze applied by the apartheid regime of Israel on Palestinian lives has increased without any consideration for international laws and conventions which are violated around the clock by Benjamin Netanyahu’s racist right-wing government. This was to be expected given the fact that since Donald Trump became US President he has backed Israel unreservedly. Whether over the issue of Occupied Jerusalem, the Occupied West Bank or the Occupied Syrian Golan Heights, Trump has gone to the extreme by basically gifting these territories to Israel.
The Occupied Palestinian Territories are subject to various UN Security Council Resolutions, which explicitly prohibit Israel from taking ownership whether by annexation or by expansion of illegal settlements, but this is apparently of no concern to Trump. His rogue presidency, spurred on by neoconservative elements within his administration, simply rules by decree. This, of course, has been to Netanyahu’s advantage; he has wasted no time in grabbing Trump’s gifts to consolidate the Zionist state’s political power as a colonial-settler entity.
No US president has gone as far as Trump has to defy Security Council Resolutions. And no leader of the Zionist project has ever before been as advantaged as Netanyahu in being able to maximise Trump’s unilateralism for Israel’s benefit.
Quds Day 2019 also has to contend with the open collaboration with Israel by Arab despots. Whereas such conduct was once hidden behind closed doors, it is now out in the open. Reports of extensive trade, security, intelligence and diplomatic relations between Israel and the Arab world have become routine.
Two of the architects of this betrayal are Mohammad Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia and Mohammed Bin Zayed of the UAE. Though it is shocking — but not surprising — that these despots have chosen arbitrarily to mortgage the Arabian Peninsula to the Zionist regime, it is a choice informed by their dependency on America for their own security. As a result, neither the Palestinians’ human rights nor their legitimate struggle for freedom has any validity as far as Bin Salman and Bin Zayed are concerned. All that matters to the duo is that they are able to hold on to their flimsy thrones.
Quds Day thus has to take note of weak Arab leaders in Palestine’s neighbourhood who paradoxically occupy powerful positions in their respective client-states. Their weakness is characterised by dependence on America’s goodwill and their strength is defined by the petro-dollars generated by vast oil reserves.
Trump’s so-called “deal of the century”, which is already distinctive for its lacklustre presence, is another crucial factor foreshadowing Quds Day 2019. The earlier enthusiasm for the deal has waned, replaced by desperation to seal Palestine’s fate once and for all.
Yet again we see in this the opportunistic hand of Netanyahu at the helm of Zionism’s expansionist colonial ideology as he seeks desperately to manipulate Trump’s neocon racist cabal to his advantage. Uncertain whether Trump’s misdemeanours will lead to his impeachment or if he will win a second term in office, Netanyahu knows that time is running out to extract the maximum from the most pro-Israel White House ever.
This explains why Israel has been at the forefront of fabricating reports and intelligence about Iran’s perceived military and nuclear threat to US interests. Between Israel’s hasbara (propaganda) teams and the hawkish US National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Netanyahu has been credited with placing the US on a war footing with Iran.
As tensions increase daily, Quds Day 2019 will be marked by the belligerence of US securocrats egged on by Israeli extremists to crush the Zionist state’s only credible and principled regional opponent, Iran. Nevertheless, the remarkable impact that Palestinian Resistance has against Israel’s army, navy and air force remains an outstanding and extraordinary achievement. Succumbing to Israeli terror is not an option; this is demonstrated quite literally by the weekly Great March of Return protests in the besieged Gaza Strip.
That the resistance groups are able to respond with skill, bravery and unimaginable creativity to the destructive might of a nuclear power occupying the whole of historic Palestine, is proof enough that freedom and justice will dawn for the Palestinians sooner rather than later. Quds Day 2019 will thus record a historic commemoration in the midst of tough challenges.
Iqbal Jassat is an Executive Member of the Media Review Network based in Johannesburg, South Africa.