The announcement of ‘The Deal of the Century’

US President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday 28 January 2020 his peace plan for the Middle East and pledged that Jerusalem would remain the “undivided” capital of “Israel”. He also proposed the two-state solution according to the formula previously expressed by Benjamin Netanyahu who had said “let it be a state on our conditions, and they can call it an empire afterward.” Donald Trump added that he would not force any Israeli or Palestinian to leave their homes. For his part, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the plan saying “we rejected Trump’s plan from the onset and we will not accept a state without al-Quds(Jerusalem)” He stressed that Trump’s plan “will not be executed and it will end up in the ash heap of history.” And in a communiqué released by Egypt’s foreign ministry, Egypt urged “the two sides to “undertake a careful and thorough consideration of the US vision to achieve peace and open channels of dialogue, under US auspices.” A large part of the Deal of the Century announced on Tuesday has already been physically implemented by the US administration by annexing Jerusalem and deeming it as Israel’s “eternal capital”, recognizing Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights and forfeiting the right of return via the resettlement scheme, especially in Jordan.

As for the timing of the announcement, it is linked to Trump’s personal motives as he has been accused of wrongdoing in the Ukraine scandal, and to electoral motives pertinent to himself and Netanyahu. As for the stance of the Palestinian Authority, it is duplicitous despite the feigned concern and alarm expressed by its leaders and their fear for their future; their rejection of the deal is merely designed to give the impression that the solutions have been imposed on them. This is because their stance is neither based on a strategy aimed at confronting and resisting the peace plan, nor rejecting the Arab states’ normalisation of diplomatic ties with Israel, nor forsaking the negotiations or at least keeping silent over a popular action on the ground to hinder the peace plan such as an uprising coupled with resistance, not to mention the Palestinian Authority’s reliance on collaborating Arab regimes.

Moreover, the Palestinian Authority has been wittingly allowing the file of the issue to be held by Israel and the US despite being fully aware of their plans, and instead allowing to dominate 40% of the West Bank. Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) have also expressed their willingness to accept a Palestinian Authority devoid of any sovereignty over the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem, and with limited governance over the Palestinian residents. Furthermore, those who allegedly represent the Palestinians have accepted a Palestinian capital in Abu Dis, outside Jerusalem’s pre-1967 borders; this was announced by Netanyahu on Tuesday 28 January 2020. They have also capitualted to resolve the issue of the Palestinian refugees by resettling them in their respective host countries, especially in Jordan, once the Jordanian regime has been restructured to accommodate them. This is perhaps why Donald Trump was compelled to sing the praises of king Abdullah II due to the significance of his role in closing off the file of the refugees. All this proves that the feigned anger expressed by the head of the Palestinian Authority as he announced his rejection of the peace deal was for public consumption rather than a genuine stance expressing his rejection of the deal and his readiness to tackle its fallouts.

On the other hand, Donald Trump pledged to bribe the people of Palestine with investments totalling $50 billion, rely on this solution to exact a recognition from the Arab states, forge ahead with a regional solution to liquidate the issue and integrate Israel into the region. As for the Palestinian Authority’s admission of its functional role and its determination, as a reaction, to review it or amend it by suspending its security cooperation with Israel, not only does if flagrantly expose its secret motives, it also amounts to a clear statement that it intends to relinquish its oppression by proxy against the people of Palestine and invite America and Israel to undertake this dirty work and punish directly without any intervention from its part. As for the declared standpoints of some Arab states vis-à-vis the peace deal such as Jordan, Egypt and Saudi, as well as those who attended the White House announcement ceremony, namely the Emirates, Oman and Bahrain, and their call for initiating the negotiations, it denotes their consent and backing of the deal as a basis for the solution and the settlement of the Palestinian issue. Meanwhile, several observers were puzzled by the audio recording attributed to Daesh spokesperson Abu Hamza al-Quraishi, which coincided with the announcement of the Deal of the Century and in which the Daesh leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quraishi, called for targeting Israel in the next phase of the organisation; and it seems Israel will exploit such a recording or any armed actions that may be launched from the Jordan Valley to justify annexing the Palestinian side of the Valley and highlight the importance of such an undertaking to the security of the Jewish state. Furthermore, a host of personalities close to the palace in Jordan have raised the issue of Jordan’s disengagement from the West Bank announced by King Hussein in 1988. This reveals that plans aimed at resettling the Palestinians in Jordan are afoot since this would deem the West Bank as Jordanian territory and its residents as Jordanian citizens; and such Jordanian sovereignty over the residents but not the land is in harmony with the Deal of the Century.

Hence, the groundwork for the Deal of the Century has been prearranged and initiated. Mahmoud Abbas relinquished the “right of return” at the Beirut Summit; the Arab regimes consented to dividing Jerusalem once its boundaries had been expanded and to internationalising the holy precincts and subjecting the city to the sovereignty of Israel, while assigning the self-administration of zones A and B to either the Palestinian Authority in line with the Oslo Accord, or to the Palestinian Authority and Jordan, once Israel has taken control of the land, and granting Jordan and the Palestinian Authority joint sovereignty over the residents; and since the peace deal contradicts neither Netanyahu’s “economic peace”, nor Sharon’s “interim solution”, nor Peres’s “Palestinian state with temporary borders”, it has therefore brought nothing new save for announcing its provisions and buying the approval of the regimes to settle the issue in exchange for keeping their positions, and the silence of the masses by improving the terms of their subjugation through a host of development promises now that they have been systematically impoverished. As for the possibility of Donald Trump’s success in implementing his plan, it is expected to focus on imposing it as a fait accompli despite the unlikelihood of its acceptance by the Muslim masses; and this requires a long-term strategy to tame them.

Copyright © LCIR 2020

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