President Trump is the catalyst the Arabs need to force them to act

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President Trump is the catalyst the Arabs need to force them to act

In recognizing the Occupied City of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel, President Trump is tossing the Middle East Game Board in the air. Middle East peace has been in a coma for 22 years since Israeli extremists assassinated Yitzhak Rabin and destroyed hopes for the Two-State Solution. Now, the move on Jerusalem will either wake up the sleeping Arab World to step up to their responsibilities to push Israel, or the region will plunge into fiery hell.

By Ray Hanania

Published in the Arab News, Dec. 6, 2017 — So many people in the Middle East have viewed the potential role Donald Trump would play as President to bring change to the Middle East.

They bought into the biased coverage of the liberal mainstream American news media which focused on his ability to sow seeds of anger and even hatred.

What the media was protecting was a system in which mealy-mouthed politicians have managed to sustain a status quo in which Israel and the Palestinians have been at loggerheads, without any hope for peace. Yet Israel’s government has cleverly and masterfully used that impasse of no-peace with the Palestinians to build alliances with many Arab countries without consequences or accountability.

Israel has been able to use the failure of the peace process as a cover to continue its extremist agenda of expanding illegal settlements and oppressing non-Jews both inside Israel and in the occupied territories.

The Arabs have never recognized this strategy, that the absence of peace has been beneficial to Israel, and that many American politicians in the Democratic Party have helped sustain this no-peace status quo to Israel’s benefit.

Christian and Muslims iconic religious images in Occupied Jerusalem, Palestine. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

Christian and Muslims iconic religious images in Occupied Jerusalem, Palestine. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

Every American politician who has called for peace has done so with a lack of sincerity. By urging peace without substance or concrete steps forward, they have reinforced Israel’s ability to do whatever it wants in Palestine.

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And Israel has in fact done whatever it wants. It has dramatically increased settlements without any major consequence.

Israel has continued official government policy of confiscating more and more Palestinian lands in the West Bank.

Israel has continued to oppress Palestinians, stepping up its headlock hold on the civilians living in the open air “hell” called the Gaza Strip, while slowly chipping away at Palestinian resistance in the West Bank.

Without the chance of achieving peace, Israel has been able to achieve all of its goals and more, expanding Israel without consequence.

But President Donald Trump is changing that. Instead of pandering to Israel with fake words of praise for peace, Trump is creating a unique and new environment that will inevitably force change on the region.

Trump was never going to achieve peace through happiness … he was going to do it by throwing up the Middle East “game board” and disrupting a status quo that has been a disadvantage to the Palestinian people and justice for Palestinians.

Trump has promised to push for peace, but he has steadily taken American foreign policy from a position of supporting Israel to a new advanced position of advocating for Israel’s agenda.

The fuse that Trump will light that will change the region is his decision to move the U.S. Embassy to the sacred city of Jerusalem, which has been under occupation in part since 1948 and fully occupied since 1967. At both times in the history of Palestine Israel has expelled the non-Jewish presence from West Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967, and has been doing the same in East Jerusalem since 1967.

Trump will do what even the most wildly supportive advocates of Israeli colonialism have stopped short of doing. Trump will push the region into a new environment that will change the current status quo in a way Palestinian need most.

Palestinians have been lulled into believing that prior American Administrations were determined to fight for the Two-State Solution, but that option was killed by Israel’s rightwing governments immediately after its architect, Yitzhak Rabin was murdered in 1995.

And despite the failure of peace, Palestinians have continued to cling to hope because they are the victims of oppression. They have been pushed into a corner where their only hope in the past environment was to hope for peace, with small bursts of resistance and violence.

Trump will change that. He is taking the old “game board” of phony Middle East peace and throwing it into the air.

Moving the embassy will trigger a region-wide enmity and acrimony that will become the basis for Israel’s worst nightmare. Moving the U.S. Embassy and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will create an explosion that America and Israel have worked hard to avoid.

It’s an act that will bring devastating change, and devastating change is exactly what the “Question of Palestine” really needs badly. The desire to fight for justice has been smothered by false promises of peace.

Yasir Arafat was betrayed after Rabin was murdered. Had Rabin lived, we might have had peace today. But the Israel right made sure that would never happen by assassinating him. It pushed Arafat into a corner where he withered, powerlessly, and vanished. And with him vanished the Palestinian revolution. No one in the Palestinian or Arab World has managed to recreate the passioned revolution to force change for justice that Arafat masterfully built.

Trump is the new “Rabin,” a different kind of Rabin who will open the door to change. And that change will not be in Israel’s interests even though they will finally cross the demarcation line of sensibility and push the region into a new turmoil.

Instead of opposing Trump’s actions, we should encourage him to do what others have deemed “dangerous steps.”

Move the embassy. Recognize Jerusalem. And then sit back and watch the region explode in anger, protest and a rejection of the State of Coma that the fake promise of peace has put the entire region.

Get ready everyone. The region is about the change.

Click here to read President Trump’s statement.

Click here to read reaction from Arab and Jewish groups.

(Ray Hanania is an award-winning Palestinian American syndicated columnist with the Arab News, and a former Chicago City Hall reporter. Email him at Follow him on Twitter @RayHanania)

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Managing Writer at The Arab Daily News
RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, Middle East Monitor in London, the, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appeare in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

Click here to send Ray Hanania and email.

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Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com
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