‘US deal “of the century may be a mere real estate arrangement


The Arab regimes pretend to refuse “The Deal of the Century” while signing it under the table (Al-Arabi Al-Jadid)

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 fall just as soon as it is raised. (Miko Peled) 

The National Bureau for Defending Land and Resisting Settlements reports that successive Israeli governments continue to confiscate more and more Palestinian lands through displacing their owners, uprooting their trees, and destroying their homes, amid Netanyahu’s pledges to settler leaders to intensify settlement activities and strength the protection of settlers, particularly in occupied Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and areas south of Hebron so as to win upcoming Knesset elections, based on the US administration that violates the international law and the resolutions of international legitimacy, which prohibits the control of others land by force.

The US President, Trump’s blunder in recognizing of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the transfer of his embassy to Jerusalem, and then the signing of a presidential decree that recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan since 1967, at the White House in the presence of Israeli PM, Netanyahu are clear examples.

A report released claims that the soon-to-be released Middle East peace plan drawn up by the Trump administration – dubbed the “Deal of the Century” –  includes large-scale resettlement of Palestinian Arabs in Jordan, the ceding of Jordanian territory to Israel, and the formation of a tripartite confederation between Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Israel’s Civil Administration to administer Judea and Samaria. Further reports claim that that the peace plan would include a broad regional agreement, with a number of Arab states taking an active role in the deal. Jordan will be asked to permanently settle one million Palestinian Arabs currently listed as refugees. The plan envisages Jordan naturalizing 300,000 Palestinian Arabs, including those already living in Jordan, estimated as no more than 200,000.

According to the report, Lebanon will be urged to grant citizenship to all Palestinian Arabs currently living in the country. The roughly 450,000 Palestinian Arabs in Lebanon have largely been denied citizenship by the Lebanese government, which has restricted their rights since their entry in 1948. Jordan will also be asked to cede to Israel two areas currently leased by the Jewish state. King Abdullah has already announced that he would not extend the least for another 25-year period, leaving Israeli farmers who use the sites uncertain of their future access to the areas. Jordan will stand to be compensated to the tune of roughly $45 billion dollars in foreign grants. Saudi Arabia would cede to Jordan territory along the Saudi-Jordanian border roughly equivalent too.

To make this workable, Jordan would form a tripartite confederation with parts of the Palestinian Authority and Israeli Civil Administration. Egypt would also play a major role in the peace deal, the report claimed with Egyptian sources promoting the Sinai Peninsula near the Gaza Strip for as industrial zones for Gaza’s burgeoning population. Egypt would grant Gazan workers expanded access to portions of the northeastern Sinai. Egypt would receive some $65 billion in foreign grants and payments for projects in northern Sinai.

A very likely post ‘deal-of-the-century’ state of affairs is that the entire region will plummet into instability and anger. Unilateral impositions in a region exemplified by deep sensitivities, further worsened by Israel’s arrogance and racial contempt for the religio-cultural-political facts prevalent in the region, worsen prospects for dialogue around ideas that the deal may propose.

Israel’s strategic colonization of occupied land continues, foreclosing physically on a Palestinian state. The Kushner plan has swept aside Arab and Muslim religious attachment to Jerusalem. Kushner is pushing the idea of a confederation between Jordan and the Palestinian rump of the West Bank. Far from new thinking, this recycles one of the oldest mantras of Israeli irredentism: that the Palestinians already have a state, Jordan.

Trump’s “deal of the century” will certainly be announced, It is one that will seriously fall short of being a solution to the conflict both for Palestinians or Israelis, and for other countries in the region. Israel has discarded the idea of two states living side by side based on US back-up. It is plunging in the direction of an acutely non-consensual single state. What lies ahead is an straight- out Apartheid State. Israel carries thick skin and won’t allow such labels to affect them. This is even clearer when one takes into account how, with the passage of Israel’s national identity law; Israel has restricted the right of self-determination to Jews. Already 20 per cent of Arab citizens of Israel are restricted to second-class status, while Palestinians in the occupied territories will, to all intents and purposes, be third-class citizens.

The ‘deal of the century’ will come through in whatever form it does. And whatever form it comes, it will fail the test of evenhandedness. The Zionists will claim victory and the Arabs will rebuff it, especially given the hints of what its contents are. The deal would not have delivered peace. Trump does not even remotely subscribe to a just solution and cares little whether he is viewed as an honest broker. In the idiom of real estate, the notion of an ‘honest broker’ does not exist. Trump is in no mood to change that. He, with a crafty son-in-law will carve up pieces of land and hope to create the architecture for a new Middle East. It may just be rash to view Kushner as a ‘mere real estate agent’. He is reportedly a new entrant to the armament merchant club and is interning by selling arms to the Saudi regime for use in current Yemen War. So, Kushner needs a Middle East in crisis and conflict so he can sell arms. That is not written into his job description. It is in invisible ink. Kushner is not there to find just and sustainable solutions. He is there to destroy the region and wants to expand his remit and interests as well as to help his new buddies gain from land, oil, and the works. In all probability, he and his friends/business partners will take home colossal benefits from the deal and laugh all their way to the bank having messed up the region. (Reportedly, Dick Cheney already took first place in the ‘queue’ and was first to get an oil deal after Trump handed The Golan Heights to Israel).

How far will Trump’s machinations go? Will his supercilious ways work for the Palestinians, Israel, or just about any party in the region? Trump has taken a simplistic and short sighted view of things and, mostly, from self interest and utterly racist orientations. The deal they now seek to impose is an imposition of ideas from Israel and the US on the Arabs. It is also a matter of worry that the US has possibly co-opted pliable and opportunistic Arab countries, chiefly Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Emirates, for cooperating with this plan. For now, it is the worst ever Middle East peace plan because it completely ignores Palestinian rights. Trump’s decisions concerning the region will only lead to violence, chaos and extremism. Until Palestinians see the deal as being just and totally viable, it is as dead as a duck.

A fitting deal needs people with depth, vision, to mediate it.  The US is incapable of mediating a genuine peace in the Middle East. The last several decades has proven this beyond doubt.

Ranjan Solomon