VoicesTheir hearts may be empty but their stomachs shall be filled. Their hopes may be dead but their bank accounts will be in the black
Hindsight is unfair – but it might tell the truth. First, Donald Trump proclaims Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, thus depriving the Palestinians of their capital in the east of the city. The Palestinians are appalled. Mahmoud Abbas says he will no longer talk to the United States. So Trump rages that “we pay the Palestinians hundreds of millions of dollars a year and get no appreciation or respect.” It was only a tweet, but he means it. Those ungrateful Palestinian wretches! And he cuts $300m from America’s aid to the refugees, giving the oppressed and besieged and dispossessed Palestinians a mere $60m.
Already the United Nations Relief and Works Agency – recipients of international aid for 5.3 million Palestinian refugees – is having to get rid of its employees, 113 of them in Gaza alone last week. Unrwa has been caring for the Palestinians since 1949, and already has a current deficit of $49m. Its 30,000 Palestinian doctors, nurses, teachers and other staff face unemployment. Starvation thus threatens even more of the tired, poor and huddled masses of Gaza. One 53-year-old father of six has just been told he’s got no job after 32 years working for Unwra.
But wait. Help is at hand. For did not Jared Kushner, son-in-law of the aforesaid Trump and giver of a future peace “deal of the century” to Palestinians and Israelis alike, promise a better life for the losing side?
Why, he did indeed. Just a month ago. Let me quote: “I believe that Palestinian people are less invested in the politicians’ talking points that they are in seeing how a deal will give them and their future generations new opportunities, more and better paying jobs and prospects for a better life.” I’ve remarked before that this is cash for peace instead of land for peace – dollars instead of a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem, an end to Jewish colonisation, a “right of return”, and so on. A truly Trumpian solution.