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Protests Against Kerry's 'Palestine Policy' Rock US Embassy in JordanSiraj Davis Salem-News.com
The signs were provocative and antagonistic, yet protestors who reiterated their chants were against US foreign policy, not Americans.
(AMMAN, Jordan) - On Wednesday January 29th at 4:30 pm, the castle-sized US Embassy in Amman, Jordan (next door to the largest US Embassy of the world in Baghdad, Iraq) had a paltry amount of between 50 and 100 visitors.
The Jordanian police were lined up directly in front of the proliferating crowd, a police wagon was conveniently located to the left of the crowd prepared to take offenders away, a huge concrete barricade at the heavily guarded entrance of the US Embassy made the impression clear, APCs (Armored Personnel Carriers) at each corner of the street with SAWs (Squad Automatic Weapons) and American made M-16 toting military personnel were striking observations within the atmosphere.
It seemed like a battle zone in front of the diplomatic emblem of peace. The energetic and emotional crowd were shouting chants of "freedom" and displaying hostile placards in Arabic denouncing US Secretary of State John Kerry, "Kerry does not think about our children" and "liberation will come soon, but not from you pig."
The signs were provocative and antagonistic, yet protestors reiterated their chants were against US foreign policy, not Americans. Some within the conglomeration nodded their heads or vocally stated 'yes' in corroboration with one attendee who loudly clarified, "we love Americans, 'but' [except] Kerry."
(Footage of Protests at US Embassy of Amman, Jordan)
According to The Jerusalem Post, US Secretary of State John Kerry's peace overture entails the following:
A. The holy capital of all monotheistic religions, Jerusalem (Al Kudds), will be segregated with East Jerusalem as the capital for Palestinians. (*Even Saladin Ayubi dared not to commit this policy, as he allowed all humans equal access*)
B. Jewish settlements comprised of stolen Palestinian lands and homes, some seized despite warnings by US officials and the international community, will remain under Israeli control with financial compensation to Palestinians. Whether Palestinians desire compensation or not.
C. Phased Israeli withdrawal from the seized West Bank of the 1967 Israel/Arab War, with unprecedented security cooperation between Israeli military forces and other entities in the Jordan Valley.
D. The right of return for millions of displaced Palestinian refugees in various countries surrounding Palestine is not included in Kerry's package.
E. These small concessions must be met with Palestinian recognition of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state.
All of the above seem to be a source of contention amongst Palestinians. According to The Times of Israel, the Palestinian sides of the negotiations remain opposed to Kerry's proposals for the status of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugee demands, border demarcations, land-swap arrangements, and security proposals.
Criticisms exist that Kerry is viewing the decade’s long Palestine/Israel conflict through the Israeli lens and attempting to transform the future state of Palestine into another Gaza via emphasizing Israeli security concerns over Palestinian welfare and rights (Israel still desires control of all borders and airspace), specifically in regards to the Jordan Valley, on behest of the advice of US commander of failed COIN efforts in the Afghanistan War, John R. Allen (the Jordan Valley is very fertile and could be a source of revenue for Palestinians and it has room for new refugees to settle, but Israel and Allen demand the IDF maintain possession for security concerns which contradicts the very essence of the definition of statehood).
Kerry's efforts, though noteworthy for his zealous approach, has not been reciprocated with equivalent enthusiasm. And this includes those who were demonstrating in front of the US Embassy in Jordan on Thursday. A calm elderly man amidst the crowd stood out like a sore thumb, a paper pile immediately in front of him grasped every one's attention. It consisted of two American passports, social security cards tucked inside the passports, school transcript from an American school, and documents of birth and immigration. A perfunctory inspection of the documents verified this gentleman was Abu Abdullah Gunaim, a US citizen.
Nevertheless, he informally yet publicly renounced his American citizenship and passionately declared "that's it!" After being questioned, "are you relinquishing your American citizenship because of US policies against Palestinians in behest of Israel?” he replied with a solidly candid affirmative. When queried if he comprehended that such decision would deter him from returning to America, he retorted quickly, "yes." The resulting silence from these responses amongst the crowd of journalists around him was sullenly poignant, then an urge compelled his initiative to elucidate, yet he dramatically broke his nascent explanation with an abrupt pause, and in a transparent emotional demeanor of rage mixed with helplessness about to overflow, the elderly Palestinian ended, in an act to preserve his dignified composure, "it is better I do not say these words."
(Footage of Abu Abdullah Gunaim publically renouncing his citizenship)
Abu Abdullah Gunaim wasn't the only augury of distress over Kerry's peace plans. Other opinions were unanimous, and equally caustic. Turkish HR (Human Rights) activist and undergraduate studying philology in Arabic language, Merve Turp, bluntly reacted to Kerry's proposal, "Yankee Go Home!!! Palestine is not for you Kerry, it is for Palestinians!!! Jerusalem will always be the capital of Palestine." Graduate student and extremely devoted and energetic HR grassroots activist Ayat Alzaatreh, pictured on the right, tersely summarized her honest opinion, "Mr. Kerry, you should be the Israeli Defense Minister; it suits you more than the US Secretary of State." Respected and popular grassroots HR activist Ahmad Amrah, pictured on he left, commented on Kerry’s policy, "I am not happy with it at all. It's my country and I want to return."
What is happening here?
Normal Palestinians are beginning to raise their voices higher, exhausted from the years of the same tautology of top-to-bottom approach by US shuttle diplomacy which Kerry so clearly exemplified by his retort to past criticism of US commitment to peace in the Palestine/Israel conflict, "the US remains committed to the Israeli Palestinian peace process but that at end of the day it is up to the Israelis and the Palestinians to reach an agreement on how to end the conflict." Palestinians who feel marginalized are now aggressively expressing what US politicians do not echo about the Palestinians' stance on the issue behind closed doors. It is a historical dictum that future generations of youth from a discriminated people become increasingly outspoken, more spiritedly active, and more intolerant of injustice and oppression. We are witnessing it now.
Kerry is following an honorable pathway for peace in the Palestine/Israel conflict, yet with the imprudent tactics of prior administrations. No one is altruistically gathering and investing in the influential and energetic grassroots powerhouse activists with the efficacy to organize and implement meaningful changes (the realists who are not afraid to dream according to Kerry’s belief of who writes history).
No one is sincerely peering into the goulash of disagreements with equal respect toward both perspectives, yet with higher pressure for responsibility upon the stronger antagonist (Kerry threatened Palestinians that refusal meant no independent state in the future and equally warned the Israelis that refusal meant no chance of a Democratic Jewish state, the latter an oxymoron since a religiously enforced apartheid precludes the Democratic description).
No one is compromising with former influential individuals and groups ostracized to the fringes of the peace process such as Hamas or Hezbollah (as Syria demonstrates the rubric of 'terrorist' is very ambiguous and it deters peace as it did in El Salvador, Guatemala, and other past Latin American insurgencies). No one is diverting the massive funds from military purposes to programs of interfaith cooperation, humanitarian and trade assistance, and peace reapproachment (European politicians have threatened the Palestinians that refusal of Kerry’s proposal will result in financial deductions of aid) . No one is working on an issue-by-issue methodology in contrast to the glorified Hail Mary pass for the touchdown in American football.
For 5 years, I have battled politicians’ staffers in America from offices such as Senator Lindsey Graham, respectfully debated with Professor Noam Chomsky, written blogs, and more to complain that the 2 state solution is unfeasible and unacceptable for lasting peace. And continuously, my words have been ignored despite repeated revelations of how ineffective US shuttle diplomacy has been and in the face of numerous polls from both sides of the conflict which indicates the majority of Israelis and Palestinians are uncomfortable with dividing and segregating the Holy land, untrustworthy of the US' impartiality, and insecure from the psychological underpinnings of the conflict and the perceived imbalance of power.
Everyone has to ask by now, where is the larger employment of a more impartial UN conduit of enforcement? If Kerry's proposal is absent of dogma, and only a framework, then at the least it is commendable that he has begun discussions toward peace anew, which is much better than silence. However, Jordan's Palestinians chime back with the following requirements, which challenge Kerry's own efficacy. None of the following seem so difficult a puzzle to define for non-partisan peace lovers.
Palestinians in Jordan claim the final pieces of that puzzle entail the following:
1) A secular and democratic state with equality between all religions and races. No full or partial Christian, Muslim, or Jewish theocracy under the guise of Democratic apartheid.
2) Right of return must be respected and isnon-negotiable. Immigration needs to be relaxed.
3) Jerusalem (Al Kudds) is also the capital of the Palestinians. Every race and religion must have free and equal access to all of its parts.
4) Under no condition will a significant foreign US or Israeli military presence, be tolerated on the borders of, or within, Jordan.
5) The end of the blockade of Gaza, release of Palestinian prisoners, and the stoppage of Jewish settlements.
There is another future event in a chain of demonstrations at Dakhelyeeh circle - beside the Regency Hotel , on Saturday at 3.30 pm. Protests are planned throughout Jordan, and are predicted to spread throughout the Middle East as the Kerry administration picks up tempo.