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Issue #1902      February 10, 2020


Trump’s “peace plan” for Palestine, titled Peace to Prosperity – A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People, was finally revealed at a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the 28th January. This followed more than two years of drawn-out negotiations between the two sides.

The two sides in question, however, were not Israel and Palestine; they were instead Israel and the United States.

The Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organisation were completely excluded from the negotiations and even from the press conference. Due to this overt display of lack of respect for their sovereignty and right to self-determination, the Palestinian government had rejected the deal long before it was published.

In response to the outrageous nature of the deal’s proposals, the Palestinian government has further suspended all relations with both Israel and the United States. Large protests have broken out across Palestine against the deal.

The deal reconfirms the Trump and Netanyahu governments’ recognition, denounced at the UN General Assembly by an overwhelming majority of the world’s nations, of “undivided” Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. For Palestine, it proposes that some minor outlying districts of Jerusalem under current Palestinian control be known as “Al-Quds” (the Arabic name for Jerusalem as a whole) and be recognised as Palestine’s capital. Palestinian citizens would theoretically be allowed access to certain religious sites in Jerusalem but it would be under Israeli control and so, presumably, at the Israeli state’s discretion.

This proposal is emblematic of the deal’s unacceptable nature as a whole. As a necessary condition to achieve peace between two sides in any longstanding political dispute, the core contradictions must be identified, and practical outcomes which fundamentally transform the nature of each of these contradictions must be agreed upon and put into practice bilaterally. The Jerusalem issue and its religious and cultural significance has been correctly identified as a core contradiction and point of conflict; however, this deal does not transform the nature of this contradiction whatsoever, only further intensifies it.

The plan also confirms Netanyahu’s intention to annex the existing illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, as well as annex the Jordan Valley, thus entirely encircling the West Bank with Israeli territory.

Two areas close to the Egyptian border would be conceded to Palestine, connected by only one thin strip of land to Gaza. However, none of the border itself would be conceded, and instead Israel would retain its own thin strip right along the border.

The State of Palestine that would remain would be a motley collection of patches of land connected by a few roads, surrounded almost entirely by Israeli territory. The resemblance to apartheid-era South Africa has been noted by many online commentators. Like the “Bantustans” of apartheid, Palestine would be nominally independent, but the deliberately inconvenient mess of territorial offcuts allotted to them, as well as the unequal treaty between them, would render this independence a political fiction. Once again, this deal does not offer to transform any of the contradictions underlying the conflict, only to intensify them by proposing they be recognised as permanent.

The US proposal for the redrawing of the map (pictured) also shows, rather offhandedly, a tunnel to be built connecting the West Bank and Gaza. The details of this tunnel’s funding and construction are not elaborated upon by the proposal. Another case of “the Mexicans will pay for it?”

Trump may well think this is the “deal of the century” but Netanyahu could not be so foolish. This deal is so obviously unacceptable in so many ways that it would be extremely naive to think that it is intended to have any chance at being accepted. In reality, it signals only that the Israeli regime has entirely turned its back on peace negotiations and seeks only a means to pass the buck – and thereby blame – to Palestine.

There are many provisions, including economic packages, in the plan other than the above territorial issues. However, regardless of what other provisions such a plan may contain, it could never be acceptable unless the land issue is agreed upon. Palestinian land is not for sale. No further compromise on land is permissible; the internationally recognised 1967 borders are the compromise and respecting these borders and Palestine’s sovereignty and independence is a requirement for peace.

Next article – Pompeo names “the central threat of our times” and guess what it is

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