Next November, the race begins to the 2020 American presidency. Although it is doubtful that President Trump will face a challenge from within his Republican Party, the popularity of the Democratic Party’s potential candidate Joe Biden is increasing, especially among the independents.
The New York Times reported recently that the “deal of the century is changing direction” and that Jared Kushner, the chief adviser to the US President “will change the content of the plan to help Netanyahu”.
A few days ago, the Jerusalem Post quoted former US ambassador to Tel Aviv Dan Shapiro as saying: “We will not see the peace plan, not before September 17, not even before November when a new [Israeli] government is formed. Trump will then have to think about how the plan will affect his political future, especially if he asks Israel to reach major compromises, which will lose him support of his voting base.”
The ‘deal of the century’, will leave its great impact on the future of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Suffice to follow leaks that emerge in the form of information to know how dangerous it is. The leaked items include the following:
1. A major part of the Palestinian West Bank to be granted to Israel, while Gulf states will be asked to finance the new Palestinian self-rule mini-state. The establishment of a ‘new Palestinian state’ will be on lands of Gaza Strip and the West Bank except on occupied lands where Jewish colonies “exist”. The proposed plan may look good at the first sight, but the number of “settlements” colonies and their intensity in the West Bank, makes it an illusion.
2. Jerusalem as the capital of both states (verbally), with Israel in control of its municipality and responsible for the entire city’s lands, as well as receiving taxes from Palestinians in the city. Thus, Jerusalem will be the actual capital of Israel, while at the same time being the ‘theoretical’ capital of the new state of Palestine. Partnership between Jordan, the Palestinians and Israel will be strengthened in the administration of Al Aqsa Mosque ensuring the arrival of worshippers.
3. Self-rule for Gaza Strip, parts of the West Bank and neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem, without Al Aqsa Mosque. A possibility to establish a state incorporating Gaza, Areas (A) & (B) and parts of Area (C) in the West Bank, while the Jerusalem status issue will be postponed.
4. A number of Palestinian refugees ranging between 30,000-60,000 (excluding their children and grandchildren of Palestinians displaced in 1948), to be relocated, if they wish, in parts of the self-rule areas in the West Bank or Gaza. Resettlement of other millions of refugees to be in and outside the Arab region.
The Trump administration will not be an “honest broker”. Far away from the many American politicians and experts, the “deal” plan has been crystallised by a team with very special specifications and falls outside the framework and mandate of the US State Department. A team headed by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jason Greenblatt, the president’s special Middle East envoy and David Friedman, the American ambassador to Israel.
They are all known for their support for Israel in general, and to the Israeli right, (mainly the hard-line wing that pushes on with the colonising “settlements” policy) in particular.
The use of the term ‘deal’ implies the existence of two parties; Israel on one side, and the Palestinians with the Arabs behind them, on the other. But what we see is the ‘deal’ being concocted between the Zionist colonialist groups and parties headed by the Likud party leader Netanyahu and Trump’s team with a Likud leaning that seeks to strengthen “settlements” on the Palestinian lands, without bothering to ask the Palestinian/Arab side for its opinion on the issue! Since the Trump team lacks experience in the issue and its complications, it practically receives and adopts Netanyahu’s ideas, known to us since he issued his book ‘A Place under the Sun’.
The proposed plan may look good at the first sight, but the number of “settlements” colonies and their intensity in the West Bank, makes it an illusion.
Add to that Trump’s known unpredictability and tendency to accept his team’s views easily. In a major issue such as that of the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, Trump admitted: “I received a quick history lesson from Kushner and Friedman” as he recognised Israel’s control over that big area. Within the same context comes the issue of Trump’s re-election, for all he does is to win support of the Zionist Jewish lobby in the United States and its financial, political and media backing.
Therefore, the deal with its direct targets, is an attempt to beautify the right-wing Likudist project, enabling it to turn against the international legitimacy resolutions while endorsing the (previously partially concealed) American bias. It excludes the two-state solution as proposed by the Arab Peace Initiative, UN resolutions and the UN Security Council. This unilateral ‘deal’ nullifies the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state, on the basis of a limited autonomy in some parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Professor As’ad Abdul Rahman is the chairman of the Palestinian Encyclopaedia.