More than a century after the infamous Balfour Declaration (November 2, 1917), US President Donald Trump has come up with his own so-called deal of the century for Palestine and Israel. Unveiled on January 28, it is nothing short of a roadmap to disaster. Trump is no Balfour and the ground realities today are very different from what they were a century ago but the situation for Palestinians is still grim. Trump’s so-called deal constricts their political space to operate even further.
Not surprisingly, Trump’s plan has been rejected by all Palestinian people and political factions including the US-Israeli puppets running the Palestinian Authority (PA). Pompously titled, ‘Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People’, it will neither bring peace, nor improve the lives of the Palestinian people. On the contrary, it calls for the Palestinians to surrender and accept their status as permanently subjugated people living at the non-existent mercies of the Zionists.
The 181-page document demands that the Palestinians abandon the quest for all rights—political, military, economic, social and legal. There will be no right of return for Palestinian refugees even to the proposed ‘Palestinian mini-state’ except under tight Israeli control. Other Palestinian refugees must be settled in Arab countries. And Palestinians living within Israel will be ethnically cleansed to live with their kith and kin in the patchwork of enclaves surrounded by the Israeli military.
Trump’s Palestinian ‘state’—actually Benjamin Netanyahu’s wish list pushed through Trump’s son-in-law Jarred Kushner—must be completely demilitarised. This state would have no army or any other security personnel. Nor will it control its own borders, security, water resources, and foreign policy. Its airspace, including all electronic communications, will be controlled by Israel.
The ‘Palestinian state’ will “not have the right to forge military, intelligence or security arrangements with any state or organization that adversely affect the State of Israel’s security, as determined by the State of Israel.” And it would not be allowed to possess landmines, heavy machine guns, or carry out military intelligence. If found in violation any of these prohibitions, Israel “will maintain the right to dismantle and destroy any facility.”
Israel will also have the right to undertake any measures to “ensure that the State of Palestine remains demilitarized and non-threatening” to Israel. There is nothing in the plan that recognizes the Palestinians’ right to defend themselves against Zionist attacks. After all, it is about the defence of Israel, not Palestinians. Under such circumstances, how can there be peace? Trump’s deal invites the Palestinians to commit suicide.
The plan also demands that this new Palestinian ‘state’ must fight ‘terrorist groups’ including Hizbullah, ISIS and Hamas! In other words, the Palestinian statelet of Trump-Netanyahu conception must do the dirty work for them. Perish the thought that Palestinians would have the right to resist their occupiers. Trump’s plan also issues marching orders to the Arabian regimes to fight terrorist groups, of course, the ones designated by the US and Israel as ‘terrorists’.
Jerusalem would be the ‘undivided’ capital of Israel (the Trump regime had already declared this on December 6, 2017 and relocated the US embassy to Jerusalem in 2018). Palestinians, however, are offered a few crumbs: limited sovereignty over some neighbourhoods adjacent to Israel’s apartheid wall built illegally in occupied East Jerusalem. “The sovereign capital of the State of Palestine should be in the section of East Jerusalem located in all areas east and north of the existing ‘security barrier’, including Kafr Aqab, the eastern part of Shuafat and Abu Dis.”
The ‘Palestinian state’ will have no control over any part of Jerusalem, especially not the old city or the important religious sites such as Al-Masjid al-Aqsa or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. As a sop to their injured pride, the Palestinians could name these neighborhoods outside Jerusalem as Al Quds, if they so desired! While a rose would smell just as sweet by any other name, neighborhoods outside Jerusalem even if named ‘Jerusalem’ would still not be Jerusalem.
And to make it crystal clear, Trump’s so-called deal also ‘legitimizes’ Israel’s 600,000 settlers on the West Bank. They will not vacate an inch of illegally occupied Palestinian territory. Trump has legitimized landgrab and theft although international law is quite clear: Zionist settlements are illegal regardless of the spin put on by Israeli propagandists.
Equally disturbing is the plan’s proposal to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian communities in Israel from the area referred to as the ‘Triangle’. The 350,000 Palestinians residing in Kafr Qara, Ar’ara, Baha al-Gharbiyye, Umm al-Fahm, Qalansawe, Tayibe, Kafr Qasim, Tira, Kafr Bara and Jaljulia will be stripped of their Israeli citizenship and dumped into the future ‘Palestinian state’. Trump’s plan “contemplates the possibility… that the borders of Israel will be redrawn such that the Triangle Communities become part of the State of Palestine.” It is truly touching to see so much concern expressed for the Palestinians!
The patchwork of Palestinian enclaves including Gaza would be connected to each other through tunnels or bridges. Gaza must be demilitarized and Hamas, the legitimately elected authority, must be banished and the besieged enclave’s administration brought under the control of the puppets in PA.
Given the plan’s obsession with Israeli security and total disregard for the Palestinians’ legitimate rights, the latter are left with no choice but to reject this disastrous plan completely. Why should they commit suicide by signing onto a plan that would wipe out their very existence? Imperialism and Zionism may be raging across the globe but it is highly unlikely that the Palestinians would accept the US-Israeli plan without a fight.
In fact, the Palestinians are left with no choice but to fight for their rights. They will not get any support from the Arabian regimes that have made their intentions quite clear; they are on the side of the oppressors. The masses, whether in the Muslim world or elsewhere, are with the Palestinian people and will offer them solidarity and support in their quest for justice and peace.
The ‘deal of the century’ is neither a deal nor a roadmap to peace or prosperity. It is a conspiracy against the Palestinian people and a betrayal of their fundamental rights. That, however, was expected. What will follow is more turmoil and suffering, both for the Palestinian people as well as the larger Middle Eastern region. Out of this turmoil will emerge a more determined Palestinian resistance movement. It will lead all Palestinian people and factions to ultimately defeat the conspiracy of the century hatched in Tel Aviv and Washington.