Donald Trump, the US president, has signed a declaration recognising Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights seized from Syria during the Arab-Israeli war in 1967. At a joint press conference in Washington with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, the chief American war-lord hailed what he called the “powerful” relationship between the USA and Israel, whilst Netanyahu called the signing “historic justice” and a “diplomatic victory”.
This pointless and meaningless gesture was in fact neither “historic” nor a “victory”. It may garner a few more votes for Netanyahu in the Israeli elections next month but it does nothing to change the status of the Heights, which is the home to 27,000 Syrians.
The United Nations has long ruled that Israel’s unilateral annexation in 1981 was “null and void” and the Arab League says: “The American announcement does not change the legal status of the Golan in any way.” Not one of Trump’s European allies has backed the Americans over the Golan Heights. It was even too much for America’s feudal Arab clients to swallow; Qatar and Kuwait have condemned Trump’s action together with the Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Donald Trump may have shocked the world by winning the US presidential race in 2016 but what has he achieved since then?
Congressional opposition has thwarted his plans to tear up Medicare, the American national health insurance programme, and blocked funding for ‘Trump’s Wall’ that he vowed to build to keep out illegal immigrants. He did get the promised tax-breaks for the big corporations and the elite through, but only because that was the only thing that unites the two major bourgeois parties in the American legislature.
Trump’s band of followers make no secret of their leader’s lust for glory. He claims to be a great negotiator. He wants a Nobel Peace Prize. But he’s achieved nothing in the international arena.
Like a lot of other vain men, Trump assumes everyone is as stupid as himself. He therefore cannot understand why he came back empty-handed from the last summit with Democratic Korean leader Kim Jong Un nor why his crude attempts to replace the Venezuelan leader with a craven puppet of his own have come to nothing.
Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and White House senior adviser, has spent the last two years trying to cajole the feudal Arab oil princes into supporting a Middle East “peace plan” that Trump calls the “deal of the century”. Although nothing has been published, leaked details suggest that it will give nothing of any substance to the Palestinians apart from some monetary compensation that the Saudis were expected to provide. Now even that may not be forthcoming.
The US decision to recognise Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights has been condemned by the Speaker of the Russian Duma. “All members of the international community should voice their stand on the matter,” Vyacheslav Volodin said during the meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun in the Kremlin this week. Such a development could lead to a situation where “everyone is fighting each other”, he said. “The rule of force would dominate. This is a highway to war.”
Trump’s stance on the Golan Heights, like his earlier recognition of Israel’s annexation of Arab Jerusalem, is a threat to world peace. It is an illegal, criminal act. Arab land belongs the Arab people. It is not Trump’s to give.