The Peace Charade of the Century--Score: Israel Everything, Palestine Nothing
John Mason, Contributing Writer/Arab America
This is not a fair deal, it’s not even a deal at all–it’s a pure giveaway. The Trump Peace Plan of the Century is a ruse, a charade, a cynical, Machiavellian ploy to help Netanyahu in his upcoming election but more dangerously, a road map to destroy the peace process itself.
What’s the Deal?—the egregious giveaway of Palestine
First off, the Trump-Kushner plan will not bring peace to Israel and Palestine—perhaps it may even promulgate yet another region-wide war or at least some level of violence. What it might do is make the post-occupation of Palestine by Israel permanent. That, in turn, could result in a one-state solution, which some critics have described as ‘apartheid’ and, given the demographic that favors the Palestinians, a time bomb just waiting to go off.
The plan seems to have been facilitated by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, an Orthodox Jew whose family donates to occupied-West Bank Jewish settlements but dictated by the right-wing Netanyahu government. The Guardian captures the situation perfectly, “Quite apart from its gross offense to justice and basic humanity, the striking point about the Trump-Netanyahu plan is its complete lack of reality in relation to the situation in the Middle East.” This report suggests that were the tables turned and Palestine had dominion over the lives of Israelis, the latter would certainly not quietly accept such a one-sided arrangement.
What would Israelis feel if 30% of their country was taken away, they had no right of return, were locked behind walls, or if Israelis’ movements were highly restricted? They had to use separate roads, their land confiscated for Palestinian housing? What if Hebrew was belittled as the peoples’ language? And you’d be told this was for your security. You’d never be at peace with your neighbors with these constraints. As a Guardian commentator suggests, the simple way to fix this is for the U.S. to end its $3 million annual contribution to Israel, mostly in military support. Such a move might just nudge the Israel government “to come to the table and to discuss a genuinely fair and equitable settlement between the two neighbors.” This plan as presently construed is intended to nudge the Palestinians to accept the reality on the ground, as if this is the final deal, take it or leave it.
And, oh, you lose Jerusalem in the deal, it will remain the sovereign capital of Israel and will remain forever undivided. Your new faux capital will be a sliver of land known as East Jerusalem which contains Islam’s holy sites and you will have to petition to come to worship at your mosques and other sacred Islamic places in the Old City.
Some critics see this giveaway as a declaration of war. Perhaps ignored by the authors of this misdirected giveaway plan is that it could result in a war. Perhaps insufficient to launch an outright war, the forces of Hamas, the PLA, and Hezbollah could stir up enough resistance to keep the Israeli war machine busy for a while. But, of course, with the support of the U.S., the Israeli military would probably pulverize any opposition. In any case, even were Palestinians to accept the idea of their own state, the Israeli military will hover over them until they rid themselves of any sense of the need to defend themselves. In short, they would need to declare themselves a demilitarized state.
What are the details of this Charade?
In giving Palestine to Israel on a platter, the Palestinians would have to demilitarize, all entry and exit points would be controlled by Israel, there would be no airport exclusive to the Palestinians, no independent port. Were it to accept the title of a state, Palestine would end up as a vassal to the former occupier. In effect, the situation would be a continuation of the occupation that has existed since 1967. So, what else is new?
How this plan would result in the fragmentation of what we know as Palestine would make a mockery of the practice of American gerrymandering of states to manipulate voting blocks.
Not to be overlooked in this fiasco of a plan are the West Bank Jewish settlements, which are illegal according to international law. Such settlements are the rationale for the corridors, weaving in and out of Palestinian areas for the convenience of the settlers and the Israeli military who would continue to control and manipulate the alien population. Clearly, the Israelis hope the Palestinians will just go away, literally or figuratively.
According to Vox press, the plan “divides up the Palestinian territories and surrounds them by Israel, and gives Israel total control over Palestinian security — allowing a future Palestinian government to exercise full control over its own land only when Israel deems it acceptable. It’s a kind of state-minus: a Palestine without much of its land and subservient to Israel for basic functions.”
Some critics aver that the Trump administration had no input to the giveaway of Palestine to the Israelis, that it was facilitated by son-in-law Kushner. He simply took notes on what the conditions of Israel’s offer to give away Palestine would be. But what this sale was really about was Trump’s protection of the indicted Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu, in his highly contested election coming up next month and as cover for Trump who is an impeached president who is trying to be reelected to the presidency.
How and when will Israel and the U.S. end the Charade?
Of course, the Palestinians have rejected the plan. They were never consulted in its bizarre preparation, which was apparently the doing of far-right Israelis who’ve been out to erase Palestine from the map. Vox suggested that Israel would respond to the Palestinian rejection, following a press release of a leading Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, saying “’ Well, we tried, but they wouldn’t deal.’ And they can proceed with settlement expansion and land grabs, moving Israel toward ‘not peace, but apartheid,’
Vox’ own editorial voice was even more severe: “The Trump vision is, in short, a truly Orwellian creation: a “peace plan” that actually is a plan for destroying the prospects for peace.”
The map of the “new Palestinian state” covers Gaza and a small portion of the West Bank. It shows Israel surrounding the new state and fracturing the continuity of Palestinian land by Jewish settlements dotting some of the best real estate on the West Bank. Israel will begin annexing other land beginning with the Jordan Valley on the eastern West Bank, which will cut off Palestinians from one of their major supporters, the Kingdom of Jordan.
There is a very cynical, Machiavellian view of the entire Deal of the Century. Assuming that Trump would not go to the trouble to simply interfere in Israel’s upcoming elections, according to Vox reporting, “There’s a deeper, even likelier explanation: that the right-wingers who make up Trump’s Israel-Palestine team have worked with the Israeli right to figure out a way to undo the peace process itself…Not only will Israeli leaders be hard-pressed to accept less than what Trump offered, the inevitable Palestinian rejection of Trump’s plan will give them [the Israelis] the opportunity to start taking land on their own.”
That, dear reader, is a sad commentary on the state of things in the world of charades, of smoke and mirrors, of Palestine and Israel.
“Trump’s plan will not bring peace to Israel and Palestine. What will?” The Guardian, 1/30/2020
“Trump’s Israel-Palestine “peace plan” is a con,” Vox, 1/30/2020
John Mason, who focuses on Arab culture, society, and history, is the author of LEFT-HANDED IN AN ISLAMIC WORLD: An Anthropologist’s Journey into the Middle East, New Academia Publishing, 2017. He has done fieldwork in the Arabized-Berber Oasis of Aguila, Cyrenaica, Libya; taught at the University of Libya, Benghazi and the American University in Cairo; served on the United Nations staff in Tripoli, Libya, and consulted extensively with USAID and the World Bank in 65 countries on socioeconomic and political development.