By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
There is always a secret “real” explanation for US policy in the Middle East, according to some of those who listen to “explanations” in the region among some local people. Especially after a few drinks or bit of time at a coffee shop, various conspiratorial ideas about “the plan” and “the real reason” come forward. Conspiracy theories are popular everywhere and in the Middle East they are also popular. This is particularly true when it comes to US policy. The following is based on some explanations put forward in Jerusalem among Palestinians as to “why” America had made the decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“First of all you have to understand, it’s about getting support for the US Jewish community.” That’s a common theme. Even though the Jewish community is quite small and many voices in that community don’t support the recognition, such as the Reform Movement, J Street and Americans for Peace Now, that fact is irrelevant. The community is seen as a monolith that controls the US President or one that he must please to keep power.
“It’s part of a plan to support Hamas.” Why would that be? “Because the US supported Hamas in the 2006 elections in the Palestinian Authority. They knew Hamas would win. But they wanted it to win. They lie when they say they support democracy. People must be ready for democracy. So why did they support the elections at that time knowing Hamas would win. They didn’t want a replay of the 1990s elections, when Fatah won. They wanted Hamas to win to create clarity. Israel also wanted that so it could point and say that the PA is run by terrorists and then not negotiate with it.” Evidence? “Israel kept up the checkpoints in the West Bank and did not release prisoners and weakened Abbas after having killed Arafat.” We can see evidence for US power, “because Israel didn’t want Jerusalem included in the elections, but one call from Condolezza rice to Sharon changed that.”
“It is part of a US plan to support Islamists in the Middle East.” How is that? “The US created ISIS to break up Syria and the region. They also wanted Iran to take power in Iraq and break up Syria into a Shia and Sunni state so that the Jewish state would have legitimacy.” What’s the evidence for the Iraqi part of this? “Well look how L. Paul Bremer handed Iraq to the Iranians, the US supported the Iranians.”
And in Egypt? “The US supported the Muslim Brotherhood.”
“There is a plan to let Israel run the Middle East.” And what will become of Abbas and the PA? “The won’t be another leader after Abbas. He might be replaced by a group, but the PA is finished.” But Israel doesn’t want to rule the PA? “There is a plan to create a Palestinian state in Gaza and Sinai. It goes back to the 1920s.” So what happens with the PA under that plan? “Once the number of Israelis in the West Bank grows to equal the number of Palestinians, they will pressure the West Bank until Jordan becomes a Palestinian state and takes responsibility and then Israel will continue to expand its power in the West Bank.” And what about another Intifada? “Economics and poverty might cause that. “