The “Deal of the Century” or a new Nakba?
By Dr. Haytham Mouzahem —
The Nakba of Palestine took place due to the Israeli occupation of most of Palestine and the creation of “Israel” entity on May 15, 1948. The 71st anniversary of the Nakba comes this year, weeks before the announcement of the U.S. administration of its peace plan between Palestinians and Israelis, known as the “Deal of the Century”.
U.S. Special Envoy for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt said that the long-awaited U.S. peace plan will not be released until after the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, which concludes June 10.
Speaking to Fox News, Greenblatt explained that the Mideast peace plan, which has been in the works for about two years and has been kept under wraps despite speculation and supposed leaks, would not be released until the Muslim holy month of Ramadan ends in early June.
“One thing we won’t do, the Trump administration won’t compromise on Israel’s security,” he said,
According to Greenblatt, the U.S. proposal for peace between Israelis and Palestinians will deal with both political and economic aspects.
“Once everyone has read and given their thoughts on it, there is still a long way to go before a final signing agreement, and that will be up to the parties themselves to negotiate,” he added.
Jared Kushner, Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, is the godfather of the deal. His team includes a limited number of members, who made secret visits to regional capitals, including Riyadh, Cairo and Tel Aviv, to promote the deal.
Kushner, as suggested in a recent appearance at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in early May, is not embracing a two-state solution.
The purported plan published in “Israel Hayom” newspaper envisions an entity called “New Palestine” that falls far short of the attributes of a state. It would consist of disconnected small enclaves in territory under Israeli control and would even have to pay Israel for maintaining the only military force in the area, as Paul Pillar notes.
Jonathan Cook noted in a detailed examination of the leaked document, what is envisioned in the new peace plan is a minor modification of the status quo, and “New Palestine” would be a slightly revised version of the current hapless Palestinian Authority.
Kushner asserted that his peace plan will enshrine Jerusalem as the capital of “Israel” as part of any final agreement.
A political report presented by the secretary of the PLO Executive Committee, Saeb Erekat, on January 15, said that the “deal of the century” would annex all the Israeli settlements in West Bank to “Israel” as the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to annex 15 percent of the area of the West, while Trump proposed 10 percent.
Erekat also referred to the “invention” of the Trump administration as the capital of the State of Palestine on the outskirts of Jerusalem, and that the state be demilitarized with Israeli security control on the West Bank.
The deal of the century, according to Erekat, states that the world recognizes Israel as a national homeland for the Jewish people and the state of Palestine as a national homeland for the Palestinian people, and that the use of parts of vital facilities such as ports and airports remains subject to Israeli security authorities.
Everything would remain in the hands of “Israel”, including the corridor between the West Bank and Gaza, the crossings, the facilities, the airspace, the territorial waters, and with these terms and conditions Trump wants the Palestinians to accept the establishment of their autonomy rule not a state, explained Erekat.
The Palestinian Authority declared its complete rejection of the deal, which President Mahmoud Abbas described as “the slap of the century.” He said that the Trump project to resolve the Palestinian issue was rejected. He stressed that Israel had ended the Oslo peace process.
The document leaked by the Israeli Foreign Ministry to “Israel Hayom”, shows that some of its terms coincided with the words of Kushner and Greenblatt, while other details contradict with other leaks on the plan.
Comparing these leaked schemes, they intersect on six basic principles:
1 – To not to divide Jerusalem and recognize it as the capital of “Israel” and deprive the Palestinians of their capital in East Jerusalem.
2 – The annexation of all the settlements in the West Bank to the state of “Israel” and the annexation of a large area of the West Banks makes the possibility of a Palestinian state zero where the continuity of geographical almost non-existent.
3. The annexation of the Jordan Valley and the maintenance of Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank and the confinement of security in the hands of Israel.
4 – Ignoring the issue of the right of return for Palestinian refugees in full and final.
5. Not to allow the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state and not to allow it to enjoy an army and to restrict security forces to police forces.
6. Make the Palestinian capital outside Jerusalem in Abu Dis or elsewhere.
What is new in this deal is to change the name of Palestine to the new Palestine “and refused to recognize it as a sovereign state but as an autonomous region under Israeli sovereignty and under Israeli paid protection.
The deal of the century may resemble the catastrophe of the Palestinian people. Seventy-one years ago, the Palestinians were killed and displaced and seized on their land by international conspiracy and by force of arms.
The worst thing about this deal is that the United States wants to impose this unjust settlement which looks as a surrender to the Palestinians by force and settle the core issues, including Jerusalem and the right of return, settlement and borders, under the siege of the economy and starvation of the Palestinians.
Hence, the “Deal of the Century” is a new catastrophe for the Palestinian people and it should be called the “Nakba of the century”.