Is there any other country on Earth with which America would dare collude on such a scale? Forget the “special relationship” with the crackpots in Britain, or the New World coming to the rescue of the Old World in the Second World War. There’s only one special relationship that matters right now – and we all know what that is. Having given its blessing to all Jerusalem as Israeli property and having now handed Golan to Israel as a possession – for “to annex” means “to take possession”, does it not? – Donald Trump has undermined the entire foundation of “land for peace” enshrined in Security Council Resolution 242. And Israel is happy. A gift for Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election, we are told.
True, the Middle East “peace process” died years ago – if it ever existed, or was meant to work – but Trump’s ostentatious signature on Israel’s annexation of Golan on Monday tore up the documents, the paragraphs, the very basis for the two-state Israeli-Palestinian settlement which might have ended the longest military occupation of our generation. And the United States has now given its open, public and wholehearted support to Israel’s side in the world’s last colonial war. And if Golan is now part of Israel because of the threat of Iran, then southern Lebanon can become part of Israel. Isn’t Hezbollah also an Iranian “threat”? And how quickly will we see the West Bank annexed by Israel with the approval of the United States?
Notice two things about the above paragraphs. Firstly, the number of times I have been forced to use quotation marks around verbs and nouns and adjectives which would normally never need them. And secondly, how one word – Syria – simply did not occur. Syria’s loss of Golan in 1967 is so long ago and has become so normalised that in a perverse way, its real ownership had ceased to exist; Trump’s recognition of Israel’s own “annexation” – unrecognised anywhere else in the world – merely accepted what we’d all secretly gone along with. That the theft of Syria’s land was now perfectly legal. Or “legal”. It was highly instructive that when the BBC website chose to cover the story about Trump’s Golan mischief, it ran a story headlined “What it all means” – but which did not mention Syria until the fifth paragraph.