On Tuesday, January 28th, Donald Trump stood up in front of the world and once again perpetuated the ideas of imperialism and apartheid upon the Palestine people. With all of his arrogance, he took the stand and claimed that he drafted up the “deal of the century”. It didn’t take long for the announcement to take a comical turn, as is usual practice with the White House these days. One of Islam’s holiest places, the “Al-Aqsa” mosque, was referred to as the “Al-Aqua” mosque. This coupled with the visual comedy of having an impeached President and an indicted Prime Minister dictate to the world how to bring peace to the Middle East was a sad realization of how low our standards have decayed.
The “deal” was produced and presented alongside Benjamin Netanyahu, current Prime Minister of Israel. First of all, a deal is an agreement between two parties. This was a proposal, from one side of the conflict to the other. President Trump, although framing his position as one of mediation, has once again revealed his true position in this conflict. He is attempting to find the best-case scenario for Israel, while not causing international uproar. One of the main messages in Trump’s address was the right to self-determination for both Israel and Palestine. The Palestinian Authority was not even invited to determine their own input on this “deal”. With them rejecting the proposal immediately, it continues to support the artificial narrative that Palestinians are the aggressors, who are unwilling to accept peace deals.
In 1948, Israel was officially created on Palestinian land with the support of Great Britain, the United States, and Russia. Since then, Palestine has been under occupation, and the world has been attempting (or not) to find a solution to the conflict.
The main issue with this proposal is the lack of Palestinian contribution, which continues to preserve the legacy of western imperialism in the region. It begs the question, was the intent for this proposal to ever be accepted by Palestinians? Surely, they wouldn’t be naive enough to believe the Palestinian people, who have been opposing Israeli occupation for decades, would accept a proposal in how to partition their country without their contribution. Well, either it was naivety or an intricate plan to frame the narrative. Although there is no clear answer to this question, we do know that Israel is definitely the beneficiary.
Now to the content of the proposal, which is equally as problematic as the method of its drafting. The proposal describes Israel as being a great custodian of Jerusalem. Israel has quite clearly established racist apartheid policies in one of the holiest places in the world. They have a notorious track record in neglecting their custodial duties to the Palestinian community of Jerusalem.
There are over 14,000 Israeli settlers on Palestinian land. This proposal seeks to allow the Israeli settlements to be formalized which would cause for the sanctified displacement of thousands of Palestinians. The proposal clearly states that the United States and Israel do not adhere to UN resolution 242. Resolution 242 was unanimously voted on by the UN security council to ensure Israel remove all armed forces from occupied land.
In the map, which Donald Trump released as an annex to the proposal, he outlines his projected land borders of Palestine and Israel respectively. It is clear that there will be a reduction in Palestinian land, while in the proposal he claims there will be significant territorial expansion to the Palestinians. This border design also leaves the Palestinians at absolute vulnerability to Israel as 95% of their country would be land locked within the proposed Israeli state, with the only port access connected to the west bank by tunnel.
President Trump has committed a huge financial contribution earmarked towards different areas of Palestinian development which, coupled with the idea of statehood, would be glorious for the country’s future. However, this development contribution is not independent, it is transactional with the rest of this deal. Unfortunately, the stakes are too high. President Trump is attempting to buy Palestine, and this sale could cause the future of dignified Palestinian statehood to no longer be a reality.
Although not diplomatically sound, Mahmoud Abbas responded, “No, no, no”, “Jerusalem is not for sale. All of our rights are not for sale or bartering”. I totally agree with him, but his response was unfortunate to say the least. Instead of coming to the table and explaining the wants and needs of Palestinians he instead held his own press conference where he called Donald Trump a “dog and son of a dog” which may not mean much in English, but Arabic speakers can relate to how crude this statement is. Although, this description may not be totally off, the political ineptitude of the statement is clear. Palestinian leaders have either refused or been refused a seat at the negotiating table for far too long. We expect more from the President of the United States, and we expect more from our own Arab leaders.