Trump’s intention was revealed when the State Department released its annual “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2017” (“Report”) – renaming its segment previously entitled “Israel and The Occupied Territories” with a new descriptor – “Israel, Golan Heights, West Bank, and Gaza”.
Israel and the Golan Heights are dealt with together in one section of the Report – whilst the West Bank and Gaza are covered in another.
Commas count big time in Middle East diplomacy.
One comma strategically placed in the descriptor – “… West Bank, and Gaza” – identifies them as two separate territorial entities that could involve different solutions.
The Report’s new choice of language signals that resolving the Arab-Jewish conflict extends beyond the West Bank and Gaza to also include the Golan Heights and that any end to the conflict will only eventuate with the allocation of sovereignty in all three of these disputed areas.
This ground-breaking replacement of false statements with factual reality needs to be replicated by Trump in other areas of misinformation maliciously spread by the UN, EU and PLO – including:
* Recognition that the term “West Bank” was first used in 1950 and that for 3000 years prior thereto that territory had been called “Judea and Samaria”
* Acknowledgement that the “Palestinian Authority” created by the 1993 Oslo Accords was disbanded by written decree of PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on 3 January 2013.
* Affirmation of the right of the Jewish People to close settlement on land in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Palestine under the rights vested in them by article 6 of the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine (the 1922 Mandate) – as preserved by article 80 of the United Nations Charter.
* Ending the fiction that the territory of former Palestine stopped at the Jordan River and agreeing that it included the Hashemite Kingdom of TransJordan – 78% of the territory comprised in the 1922 Mandate - which was granted independence by Great Britain in 1946 and subsequently renamed Jordan in 1950.
* Confirming that most of the Golan Heights was included within the 1922 Mandate until Britain ceded the area to France in the Franco-British Agreement of 7 March 1923
* Rebranding the UN and EU designated “Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT)” as “The Disputed Territories”
* Agreement that Security Council Resolution 242 does not require Israel’s total withdrawal from Judea and Samaria (West Bank).
Cracking heads by getting all interested parties to adopt an agreed narrative using terms with agreed meanings is crucial in any communications and negotiations between them – if Trump’s long-awaited “ultimate deal” is to not be still born.
Underestimating Trump’s ability to win the Presidential election race against Hillary Clinton in 2016 has seen those who confidently predicted his defeat subsequently engaged in a vitriolic war of attrition in the media trying to convince the electorate that they voted for the wrong candidate.
Yet Trump continues to confound his detractors with impressive gains in both the American economy and foreign affairs.
The State Department Report – in dumping the use of the nomenclature “The Occupied Territories” – has taken one giant step towards ending the decades-long dishonest semantic warfare waged by the PLO, UN and EU.
Trump has set himself a Herculean task confronting this sorry state of affairs.
Trump has once again dumbfounded his malevolent doomsday-pundits – whisking up an omelette that already promises to taste far better than any ever served up by the PLO, UN and EU.
(Author’s note: The cartoon - commissioned exclusively for this article – is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones” – one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators – whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades.)