Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Palestine and International Politics

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Palestine and International Politics

Article excerpt

The third panel focused on "Palestine and International Politics." Panelists were Dr. Manal Jamal, professor at James Madison University; Fouad Moughrabi, professor at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga; and Dr. Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

Munayyer spoke about the Israel lobby's losing effort to quash the Iran nuclear deal, Russia's involvement in the Syrian civil war, and the recent spate of violence in Israel and the West Bank.

When it became clear to Israel and to pro-Israel interest groups that the U.S. was going to go for a deal [with Iran], they used their leverage to pressure the administration to produce a "consolation prize" for the Iran deal, Munayyer said. "This consolation prize is reportedly $4.5 billion per year in new military aid for Israel-a record number which would come in a 10-year memorandum of understanding between Israel and the United States, about $15 billion more over 10 years than the previous memorandum of understanding."

In this way, he said, the Israel lobby shifted U.S. public opinion against the Iran deal, managed to secure increased military aid, and was able to get a very good deal that reduced Iran's ability to obtain a nuclear weapon, while simultaneously convincing The New York Times that Israel "came out with the short end of the stick."

Dr. Jamal discussed the current political state of the Palestinians, as well as how it had been affected by the international peace process.

"It's necessary to appreciate and be very cognizant that, at this moment, the Palestinians lack a coherent national political program," she began. "There are tactics in place, but to think there is a national political program, a coherent one, I think is being too optimistic...The Palestinians are internally divided right now, and I think it's fair to say that they have not been this internally divided in recent times. …

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