Yes, you can ‘judge a book by its cover’, especially if the ‘book’ is the ‘Deal of the Century’ and the ‘cover’ lauds two con men, Trump and Netanyahu. Furthermore, when two con men are involved, ‘Deal of the Century’ is likely more akin to ‘Theft of the Century’.
The ‘Deal’, presumably a road map for peacefully settling the Palestinian problem, was drawn up, ironically, by a small group of American Zionists responsible for the formulation of American foreign policy. The group is led by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son in law and senior presidential adviser, with help from John Bolton, national security advisor, Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State and David Friedman, American ambassador in Israel. Anecdotally, it should be noted that Netanyahu is a close friend of the Kushner family and used to visit the family while in the US and stay overnight, at times in Jared’s bedroom; perhaps making Jared an unregistered foreign agent serving Israeli interests. With such strong pro-Israeli input in drawing up the ‘Deal’, what does one expect the ‘Deal’ to be except a right-wing, Likudist plan to establish a Great Israel from the River to the Sea.
A central question to this ‘Deal’ is, what does Trump have left in his pocket to offer the Palestinians? Historically, Palestinian maximum demand was the liberation of mandated Palestine. With the passage of time the Palestinians have lowered their demands to the minimum of three elements. First, a Palestinian state on the West Bank, (which David Friedman, the American ambassador no less, refers to it as Judea and Samaria). Second, East Jerusalem as its capital. Third, the return of the refugees. Trump has already given away or eliminated these three quintessential elements necessary for resolving the Palestinian problem peacefully. Trump has recognized united Jerusalem to be the eternal capital of Israel and moved the American embassy there. He has also acquiesced to Netanyahu’s declaration that he will annex the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and probably an eventual annexation of the entire West Bank. As to the Palestinian refugees, for Trump a Palestinian refugee is one who was alive when Israel was created in 1948, that is seventy one years old or more, which makes it very difficult to find many Palestinians still alive who qualify as refugees based on the criteria set by Trump. He furthermore severed political relations with the Palestinians when he ordered the closure of the PLO offices in Washington and imposed economic sanctions on the Palestinians when he stopped economic support to UNRWA.
Bearing in mind the fact that the ‘Deal’ was drawn up by Zionists in the Trump administration, it is only appropriate to expect that the ‘Deal’ will be everything Israel wants. Thus, a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian problem, in all probability, has become null and void in the foreseeable future; the ‘Deal’ offers nothing to the Palestinians and some prominent Palestinian officials have said so. Nabil Shaath, advisor to Mahmoud Abbas, noted that Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ will not bring peace to Palestine. Riyad Maliki, Palestinian Foreign Minister, said that the ‘Deal of the Century’ which seeks to find the ultimate solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will bring bad news to the Middle East. Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator, elaborated further, noting that “Trump and Netanyahu are planning to terminate the Palestinian cause by removing Jerusalem from any solution, annexing major settlements and finding a capital for us on the outskirts of Jerusalem.” In view of the foregoing, Mahmoud Abbas has no choice but to reject the ‘Deal’, with the consequence of being condemned for sabotaging the peace process and for Netanyahu reverting to his mantra that there are no Palestinians to negotiate with.
Although the ‘Deal of the Century’, by all indications, deals exclusively with resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict peacefully, it nevertheless has a Syrian dimension which has escaped notice and has not been dealt with in the published speculations and analysis so far. During the 1990’s, after the Madrid peace conference, there were Syrian-Israeli peace negotiations. The negotiations, both official and Track Two negotiations, in which I participated, dealt with the four central issues: Israeli withdrawal, security arrangements, timeframe for withdrawal and normalization of relations. These four issues were theoretically surmountable. A fifth issue, peace agreement between Syria and Israel had to be within the framework of a comprehensive and just peace, was insurmountable. It was very unlikely for Syria to sign a separate, unilateral peace with Israel without progress on the Palestinian-Israeli track; as Sadat did in 1979. I used to tell Palestinians, when they ask for the return of the refugees, they should reciprocate Syria’s loyalty, and ask for a double return: return of the refugees and return of the Golan. A crucial question for the Palestinian leadership is, if the Trump ‘Deal’, in the highly unlikely event, were to offer the Palestinians an acceptable ‘Deal’, meeting their minimum demands, will they sell out Syria, forget the Golan which was lost in the Palestinian cause and sign a separate peace with Israel? Only time will tell.
In conclusion, Miko Peled, an author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem, writes: “Though the ‘Deal’ of the century will try to eliminate the Palestinian issue for good, what the architects of the “Deal” in their arrogance fail to see is that this so-called “Deal” is nothing more than an irresponsible, impractical and precarious plan that will fail just as soon as it is raised”.
By Elias Samo, Ph.D.,
Source: Strategic Culture