U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan to alter the position of the West Bank contravenes international law and only serves to help both he and the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to be re-elected.
They knew the Palestinians would reject it, so why did they announce it? The deal is an elephant in the room and simply to blame the Palestinians. It was announced to fuel the fire of Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Escalating the conflict
Trump's so-called “Deal of the Century” has already left no room for Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian Territories to manoeuvre. Trump's deal pushed and united the Palestinians to reject it and they have already expanded their non-violent resistance against the Israeli occupation as thousands of Palestinians held protests in Gaza and the occupied West Bank. The Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, also called Trump's Middle East plan the “slap of the century”.
The Palestinian President invited representatives from all political factions including Hamas and Islamic Jihad to his office in Ramallah in the occupied territories. It has been unusual to invite these representatives to his office since the Palestinian division. The Palestinians, however, had already stopped communications with Trump’s administration since the recognition of Jerusalem as a capital for Israel on 6 December 2017.
Since December 2017, the USA has been taking a number of procedures to humiliate the Palestinians including the recognition of Jerusalem as a capital for Israel, closing the PLO Office in Washington, cutting aid and, recently, Mike Pompeo’s announcement to support Netanyahu’s announced plans to annex parts of the West Bank last September.
It has been introduced to flame the conflict and to push Palestinians in the corner to react. This plan has been engineered and designed to push the Palestinians to reject it. It will increase fundamentalism and violence as a former Palestinian diplomat and director of London-based Centre for Arab Progress, Mohamed T Masharqa, writes.
There have been Palestinians from all across the spectrum in the diaspora and the occupied territories like Masharqa who are worried about the future of the region after this nightmare.
‘The Israeli Right’s dream come true could end in brutal nightmare’ as Amos Harel writes. Palestinian representatives did not cooperate to attend the unveiling ceremony of the “peace plan” for the Middle East, which has been described as a nail in the coffin of the internationally-recognised two-States solution to the conflict. The deal proposes self-rule, not a “Mickey Mouse State”. It proposes no integrity or viability for a future State and excludes the old city of Jerusalem from this plan. It also would provide that Israel would control a unified Jerusalem as its capital and not require it to uproot any of the settlements in the West Bank.
Jerusalem is a key issue and sole cause to complicate the conflict for the coming decades. The old city of Jerusalem represents core values for Palestinian national identity. Jerusalem has caused tension on many occasions during recent decades, as it had also already escalated the bloody conflict known as “the second uprising” from 2000 to 2004, between the Palestinians and Israelis when Ariel Sharon, a former Israeli Prime Minister, paid a visit to Aqsa on 28 September 2000. This caused thousands of deaths and the destruction of Palestinian infrastructure.
The Palestinians in general and local citizens of Jerusalem are spiritually and culturally connected to their land and Jerusalem. The Jerusalemites, for example, first ask each other every morning, “how is the Mosque?” — not, “how is your family, your children or your business?” They have a very strong spiritual connection and loyalty to the Mosque, which takes precedence over their own national identity.
The Palestinians' religious connection comes before their national one. Palestinian Christians share the same rights and cause with the Palestinian Muslims who seek to establish a viable Palestinian State. Palestinian Christians play a very important role in local politics and resistance.
Palestinians believe it is an unfair deal which denies their own identity, history, roots and connection in Jerusalem, however, Senior Adviser to the U.S. President Jernard Kushner claims:
“If we don’t do this today, at the rate at which Israel is growing, I think that it will never be able to be done.”
What’s a kind of “fair deal” or “mediator”?
This proposal or “deal” negatively affects the global image of U.S. foreign policy and encourages the Palestinian leadership to take steps to remove itself from old agreements and recognition of Israel. What kind of mediator or envoy to peace in the Middle East says the Palestinian leaders always reject proposals?
As Kushner told Al Jazeera:
“So we see this as the last chance for the Palestinians to have a State.”
What’s a kind of “fair” mediator or envoy to peace in the Middle East? “This is something that we inherited, the situation where Israel continues to grow and grow,” Kushner told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
Two foreign leaders decide on behalf of a nation that has been suffering occupation and aggression. How is it rational or logical to produce and deliver a “deal” for a land not belonging to you? Palestine is not your “estate”, nor one to bargain or sell.
It is a land belonging to people whose long history of existence, roots and heritage as Asad Abu Sharak, the spokesperson of the Gaza Great March of Return, says:
“No single Palestinian leader dare to accept it and who accepts it is a traitor.”
If Trump and Netanyahu are serious, they can recognise a Palestine State now. But they engineered it based on their own “win-win” tactic to be re-elected on the back of the “Palestine camel”, the Palestine cause.
Dr Ibrahim Natil is a lecturer at Dublin City University and a Fellow at Institute for International Conflict Resolution. He is a human rights campaigner. You can follow Dr Natil on Twitter @Natilibrahim.
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