Trump deal will fell peace process house of cards

Benjamin Netanyahu speaks into a microphone in front of a picture of himself with US president Donald Trump

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu on the campaign trail.

Gili Yaari ZUMA Press

Brace yourselves, here it comes.

After years of mounting excitement, the time is finally ripe. The US administration is going to show its hand and unveil the “closely-held” Ultimate Deal of the Century™ before the main contenders for Israel’s leadership go to Washington on Tuesday.

Maybe.

It’s “a great plan,” according to man-of-the-hour Donald Trump, the US president, neatly dispelling any complaints from moaning snowflakes who keep harping on about rights and history and justice and truth and sustainability and blah, blah, blah.

But what exactly is this great plan?

According to Trump, it’s not what you’ve read already.

What you may have read already comes courtesy of unnamed “senior Israeli officials.” According to them, the plan will see Israel annex all of Jerusalem as well as between 30-40 percent of Area C of the West Bank (the 60 percent of the West Bank already under full Israeli control). This includes the Jordan Valley and thus access to the outside world.

The plan would also give Israel a green light to annex all but 15 settlements in the occupied territory – illegal under international law, but no longer in the eyes of the US administration.

Israel will maintain uncontested military control over all the territory of historic Palestine and Palestinians will have to disarm Hamas and demilitarize the Gaza Strip.

Just words

But what do the Palestinians get? As anyone with any sense knows, a deal can only be “great” if all parties walk away feeling they’ve gained something.

Business mogul handbook 101.

Palestinians get statehood. Apparently. Some Israelis are not happy about that, so maybe not. Who knows? But according to “senior Israeli officials,” part of a plan that “really would work” is Palestinian statehood.

Over what? Not clear. Whatever is left, presumably, once Israel has had its fill. Territory-wise there would apparently be some land swaps, though with whom, where and how much has not been divulged.

Jerusalem? “Symbolic access,” whatever that means.

Sovereignty? No army, no control over borders, no control over airspace. So no.

Right of return for refugees? None. The US administration has made its own calculations, determining that the number of Palestinian refugees is roughly equivalent to Jews who fled Arab countries, therefore negating any right of return or even right to compensation.

Oh and Palestinians get $50 billion from “Sunni countries.” Thanks, guys.

Why now?

Palestinians have rejected the plan out of hand.

What else is the Palestinian Authority going to do? There is nothing in the plan, as outlined above, that any Palestinian leader could ever accept.

But that may be to miss the point.

Partly, this administration wants to ride roughshod over international law. After all, superpowers should not feel restrained by things such as rules. That’s what makes them powerful.

No better place to signal such intent than with Palestinians, whose case in international law is clear, open and shut.

But also, of course, this is about helping a friend in his time of need.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the incumbent prime minister, is trying to ward off corruption prosecution, a prosecution that will be brought should he fail to ensure immunity for himself.

He may not secure immunity if he does not form the next government. Trump is simply trying to help.

And with two Israeli elections already last year, Trump has had plenty of chances to prove his generosity.

First, he granted US blessing to Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem. Next, he recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights.

Then he reversed the US position on settlements in occupied territory.

Cognizant of this, Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s main rival, has been falling over himself to promise that his annexation will be bigger than Netanyahu’s.

Not only is he trying to win votes, he is also showing that he knows how to play along with a US president who seems to appreciate sycophancy.

What now?

The plan is yet to be published. Many stalwart supporters of Israel have in the past cautioned against publishing such an obviously imbalanced deal.

There’s a good reason. This forces the hand of the Palestinian Authority. It ends its very reason to exist, namely in preparation for statehood. Real statehood. It crosses every “red line” the PA has ever marked out, whether on refugees, territory, sovereignty, Jerusalem, etc, and so on.

It pulls down the whole peace process charade.

Too many institutions, businesses and industries have been built and too many livelihoods are at stake for the PA to disband itself with immediate effect, however advisable that might be.

Indeed, it may well be that the PA leadership will try to simply sit tight and wait Trump out.

But there really is no time for that. The land is disappearing beneath the Palestinians’ feet.

Trump’s Ultimate Deal is the end of the PA.

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Comments

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What a sham proposal leaving Palestinians with nothing and Israel with the prize of it's theft of land and ever more land since 1948 .

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There has never been a peace process. In 1988, Arafat made more than one offer of a two-State settlement only to find himself characterised in the world's media as an opponent of peace. What is at work here is racism and brutality. It was Chaim Weizmann, hardly an insignificant figure in Israeli history, who remarked that there is a "qualitative difference" between a Jew and an Arab. That is pure racism. When Herzl suggested to Joseph Chamberlain that a Jewish homeland could be tried in Cyprus, Chamberlain responded that it needed to somewhere without an indigenous white population. Racism again. Lucien Wolf, somewhat more astute than most commentators, Jewish or otherwise, called Zionism "a comprehensive capitulation to the calumnies of the anti-Semites". When Weizmann helped Rothschild finesse the Balfour Declaration, he wanted the term "the Jewish people" to be replaced by "the Jewish race". Racism again. What intellectual validity is there to the notion of "the Jewish race"? It is as confused as "the Christian race" or "the British race". As a settler colonial project, Israel has always had to claim superiority over the indigenous population. Israel was created out of racism. Balfour was a knee-jerk racist. Like most of his class and time, he took the superiority of the white population for granted. Now we have Trump whose billions come from a father who refused to rent his properties to people of colour, who whips up ill-feeling towards Mexicans, who separates children from their parents at the American border. There is no solution to the Israel/Palestine problem other than democratic equality; an impossibility while the USA controls the process. Nor is a solution possible while the world is denied the truth by a compliant media. The idiocy of "post-truth" grants corporate media greater licence then ever to suppress what's inconvenient. Our job is to keep up the opposition, keep talking, keep writing. Victory will take time.

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You write : "Sovereignty? No army, no control over borders, no control over airspace. So no."

Um, not sure about this, sorry, but is that really what is meant by soverignty? Aren't there also other globally recognised nations that area analogous here which have no armies, little control over borders and no control over their airspace like the Vatican City and Monaco and San Marino and the Sultanate of Brunei, etc .. yet are still sovereign nations?

Wouldn't a nation of Palestine finally being recognised world-wide including by nations like the USA, UK and Australia be something special at last for the Palestinians and worth accepting and, at least kind of, celebrating?

Also, I suspect from what Ive read that maybe part of East Jerusalem, the Abu Dis area, may be awarded to the Palestinians as their capital and they would have control over a lot of the West Bank as well as Gaza (if they can get that off Hamas?) so whilst not a fan of Trump at all or even necessarily the Two State solution,* is it really fair and correct to say it gives Palestinians nothing and doesn't give them at least a form of sovereignty and diplomatic recognition and empower them a bit?

When this deal is rejected as seems almost definite then its fairly clear that Israel will annex a lot more of the West Bank unilaterally and do so with more US & other govt support and the Palestinians will be much worse off so, where does it doing that leave them & what alternatives are there and how will they help? I don't know but something to think carefully about?

If this marks the end of the Palestinian Authority then what happens next and who and what replaces them?

* I'd support a binational single state model as suggested in Ali Abunimah's 'One Country' book as probably the best option here but it seems this is not what most Israelis or Palestinians want?

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Since the UNSC members with veto powers have not stopped the illegal land grab by the Zionists 'resettling' their citizens on the conquered soil...and Arab neighbour states who seem vassals of the USA in all but name who can and will step up and help the Palestinians this week? Who in the global community of Nations have the Palestinians back?

People just have to see what the global community has did to undo the camps of Muslims in China...hint...nothing. The ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Burma...hint...nothing. The occupation/annexation of the Crimea by Russia...hint...nothing. The PA made a deal with the Zionists that by all accounts made them just a security force to keep their 'citizens' in line...toe the line if you were. What line...the Zionist line that the illegal land being occupied will stay in the Zionist hands...and this week that pact will come home to roost for those in the PA that took the money from the devil.

The only recourse that the people have will be to rise up and throw off the yoke of the PA and bring their fight for justice to the borders of the Zionists. Throughout history this unfortunate route is necessary...bloody but necessary.

Will the global community now/today step in to prevent this...I hope they will but I would not trust them to move the Zionists back...and restore the true meaning of justice and equality for all. Thank you.

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'Remove the PA today' writes : "The only recourse that the people have will be to rise up and throw off the yoke of the PA and bring their fight for justice to the borders of the Zionists. Throughout history this unfortunate route is necessary...bloody but necessary."

Wait, rise up against who, how now? This raises a lot of questions for me like :

1) Are the Palestinian Authority really the problem here - how & why if so?

2) Rise up & throw off the yoke -how precisely? With what resources? Do you really think its likely and what do you really think would be the likely results? Isn't disunity & internal conflict already hurting NOT helping the Palestinian cause & people?

3) What about other non-violent alternatives? How about offering a Palestinian counter-proposal or peace plan that is better and more acceptable to both sides? What about a Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr style non-violent Civil Rights style campaign? What about offering the Israelis an ultimatum - pick one now : a separate Palestinian state on reasonable terms or granting all Palestinians fully equal Israeli citizenship and becoming a binational single nation of Israel-Palestine (or vice-versa or new name altogether) where *_all_* citizens, Palestinian, Jewish, Arab, Israeli, etc .. have full equality in every legal and practical respect including voting rights?

4) Hasn't Hamas tried violence and overthrowing the Palestinian Authority already? How is that working out for Gaza presently? How does Hamas and the other groups fit with your vision here?

5) Who will lead this great rising anyhow? You? You are qualified to do this here & have the requisite knowledge, experience, ability, etc .. because .. why? The Palestinian people all need to listen to you because .. why?

You note the lack of international action on many other fronts & ask if the world will intervene now. I ask you what will make the world realistically more or less likely to help Palestine?

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Dear Fight how and who now,

I thank you for your question(s) to my comment and would direct you to the number of Zionist soldiers that are camped within the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. These areas are considered occupied territory according to Int'l law and UN resolutions...correct?

So,who is keeping these citizens from living right up to the pre-1967 borders that the Zionists were behind until they overran the borders and until this day,continue to occupy illegally...the only laws the Zionist will respect is the law of the jungle.

The PA 'security force' was built for internal control,plain and simple and yet you would question why they should not be removed in order for Palestinians to regain their freedom and just rights? What is preventing the Palestinians from just walking peacefully to the pre-1967 border? You ask for a "leader"...why is a leader necessary for these people to be able to walk to the areas the International community of Nations has already ruled they are entitled to walk/run to?

Adding elements of discourse and mistrust into a very simple issue of regaining lands that were conquered by force and to this day continue to be occupied in contravention of Int'l law is just a red herring that really has no place here,with all due respect.

Once the occupiers are removed and the citizens have their freedom to vote as they wish...(Is that not how every democratic nation works?)...the State of Palestine will flourish. To ignore the occupiers in claiming those being occupied can not in anyway have the intention to form a democracy is to toe the Zionist line...Is that what you are implying? The Zionist can read all the Palestinians minds? I hope not...

First thing first...general strike to remove the PA from their guarantor of the Zionist occupation...the UN has already said the Zionist occupation is illegal....time for them to enforce those resolutions. Thanks.

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Omar Karmi

Omar Karmi is an associate editor for The Electronic Intifada and former Jerusalem and Washington, DC, correspondent for The National newspaper.