A Conversation with Dr. Abdullah Abdullah in Ramallah, West Bank
Phil Johnson, Ph.D.
April 22, 2018
SWIRLING GLOBAL EVENTS:
Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of a swirl of global events and you’re not exactly sure where those events – where those stories are taking you. I believe we find ourselves in such a place now. The world still finds itself mired in the never-ending Civil War in Syria with the issue of chemical weapons use, once again at the forefront.
UNPRECEDENTED REFUGEE CRISIS:
The world has also been watching with our own eyes the unprecedented refugee crisis caused by the Syrian mess that has flooded and destabilized Europe. Some would even go so far as to say that Islamic radical groups, like ISIS, were originally funded by certain Western Powers for the purpose of disrupting Europe and the Western world, attempting to force a one-world system of government. But little surprises sat along the way, like another disruptive forces in the form of Donald Trump and the leaders of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic who are now standing up to the bureaucracy in Brussels and saying “no” to having their sovereignty taken away. I believe it was Czech President, Milos Zemen who called the refugees crisis an “organized invasion.”
ISRAEL IN THE CROSSHAIRS AGAIN:
But that’s just some of the backdrop. In recent weeks Israel has moved
back to the top of the list of potential political kindling, likely to spark global instability. On April 11/12 Israel observed the memory of the 6 million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust, followed by a 70-hour celebration of Israel’s 70th anniversary held on April 17/18 (following Hebrew Lunar calendar dates).
Meanwhile Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are in the middle of 45
days of protests billed as the “Great Return March” to bring world attention to their grievances that the land Israel now possesses is the rightful homeland of the Palestinian Arabs. The situation has already gotten out of hand with Palestinians from Gaza allegedly attempting to breach the Israeli security fence resulting in more than 15 deaths.
PACK UP YOUR CAPITAL – WE’RE MOVING!
And if things weren’t hot enough, the U.S. is finally following through on its own 1995 law to recognize and move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. A choice that is nearly universally condemned by the global community. Except, oddly enough by Guatemala, whose president is first in following Trump’s lead and is planning to move their embassy to Jerusalem just two days after the U.S. does. President Morales said “It’s important to be among the first, but it is more important to do what is right.” (CNN)
The confusing part about the date of the U.S. embassy move is that it is supposed to coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary. But because Israel’s public holidays are based on a lunar calendar, that anniversary has already occurred earlier in April. However, the Palestinians mark dates by the Gregorian calendar, so the move of the U.S. embassy really coincides more directly with May 15th, the Palestinian’s observance of the Day of Catastrophe, or the “Nakba.” (The day after Israel declared her independence.) To Arabs, it’s just another rub of salt in a wound for a people who are already on edge.
A VISIT IN RAMALLAH WITH DR. ABDULLAH ABDULLAH:
With all of this going on in the world, I made a trip to Ramallah, inside the West Bank where Fatah (the largest party in the PLO) have their administrative offices. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah is the Chairman of the Political Committee of the Palestinian Legislative Council (Parliament). He is also the Deputy Commissioner General of Fatah’s International Information Commission. As we sat down in his office to talk, here is what he shared with me regarding the Palestinian/Arab view on the U.S. decision to move their embassy to Jerusalem:
REGARDING THE U.S.’S POSITION IN THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS:
Prior to this decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move their embassy, “The U.S. was on the forefront of negotiating peace between Palestine and Israel, and Palestine was cooperating deeply with the U.S. until this action by President Trump regarding the U.S. embassy.
Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is illegal and in violation of international law. A country like the U.S. has no freedom as a nation to choose its embassy location and to not follow international law, especially when a country is being occupied.”
REGARDING THE PALESTINIAN’S “GREAT RETURN MARCH”:
“The Right to March movement, which began April 2nd, will continue and escalate through May 15th with the anniversary of the Nakba (catastrophe) when Palestinians were expelled from their land. May 15th will be the flashpoint and there will be protests in Gaza, the West Bank, in Israel itself and throughout Europe and even Australia. We will express our right to have our land back. May 15th will bring a lot of violence and it may be escalated significantly by the Israeli military response.”
REGARDING PEACEFUL PROTESTS:
It has already been reported that violence has broken out in Palestinian areas – border fences were massed and infiltration was attempted. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah’s take on the demonstrations was a bit different. According to Dr. Abdullah, “Not one stone was thrown at Israeli Defense Forces and not one infiltration attempt was made. The Palestinians are blameless against cruel Israeli aggression and lies.”
Regardless, according to Dr. Abdullah, this isn’t over. The Great Return March will culminate on May 15. (The IDF says that if the border fence is burned down or crushed and there is a mass rush out of Gaza, the casualties will be huge.)
REGARDING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE U.S. AND ISRAEL:
“Israel is protected by the U.S. from any accountability. U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley’s strong pro-Israeli statements (before the UN) mean that the U.S. will be out of the role of peace broker in this region. It will hurt the U.S., not the Palestinians.”
“This (referring to the move of the U.S embassy to Jerusalem) puts the Americans hand in hand with Israel as partners in the crimes committed by the Israelis towards the Palestinians.”
REGARDING CHEMICAL WEAPON USE IN SYRIA:
And to round out our conversation – we touched on the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in Syria. “There is absolutely no evidence, says Dr. Abdullah, of chemical attacks by the Assad government towards its people. The Syrian leadership is winning the war. Daesh (ISIS) was created by the U.S.”
Since that statement, Western Allies have implemented air strikes on key chemical weapons facilities in Syria while Syria and Russia has been busy delaying UN inspectors and cleaning up evidence of chemical weapons use. Expect that issue to continue to be debated, distorted and defended on all sides. But in short – I believe that Assad did use chemical weapons, and yes, he did have motives – not the least of which was attacking his enemy, the Sunni Rebel forces with his Alawite/Shiite forces. It’s paying off for Assad.
The world continues to unfold. We will have to wait to see what will happen on May 15th, the culmination of the “Great Return March.” Will the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem end up sparking something bigger? Is regional war an inevitability? Or will the noise simply be drowned out by another scandal, terror attack, a regional crisis or failed talks with North Korea?
Regardless, it seems clear that stories are converging and that global players are lining up. The advice of the Globalnexter would be to pay attention.