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What’s the latest on the ‘deal of the century’?

August 14, 2017 at 12:03 pm

A graffiti depicting the US President Donald Trump on the controversial Israeli separation barrier in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on 8 August, 2017 [Shadi Hatem/Apaimages]

Donald Trump no longer talks about the “deal of the century” that he promised would end the Arab-Israeli conflict, while those who spoke about a regional solution as part of the deal have largely stopped talking. When the US president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is very close to the Israelis, sounds desperate when he talks about the solution, as leaks suggest, it means that Trump’s share of success in this regard will not exceed that of his predecessors.

This is a conflict that cannot be solved easily, for reasons that have nothing to do with Arabs who speak frequently about being ready for such solution. It also has nothing to do with the Palestinian leadership, which gave an offer to Israel that was even better than the Arab initiative, when it was negotiating with former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. The issue is related to the number of concessions that the Israeli occupation authorities require, which are related mainly to Jerusalem, in addition to the issue of land and sovereignty.

The main characters of the deal of the century are struggling with their own crises. Trump still suffers from Israel’s defiance — and even indifference — toward him. This was clear in the Congress vote on the draft sanctions against Russia, which he described as shameful, in addition to Obamacare, not to mention daily media sarcasm. He has no other priority but to make sure that he stays in office, which is something about which there is still much speculation, even after just seven months of his first term.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in turn, is suffering from the allegations of corruption that are following him, which seem more serious this time, and are putting his fate, and that of his government, on the brink. Kushner, the godfather of the supposed deal, is also accused of communicating with the Russians and making deals with them.

Read: Is Trump making the Middle East great again?

Moreover, recent events at Al-Aqsa Mosque and the uprising of the Palestinians which ended with the Israelis backing down, have played a role in pulling the curtain down on the deal of the century and regional solution. The uprising not only embarrassed the PA and imposed a different position on it, but also embarrassed the Arab regimes and made the idea of normalisation with the enemy more obviously criminal.

This sacred cause has its own rituals, and here too, on this land, is a people that still surprises the world with their heroism. Those who fought against Israel’s confrontational approach and forced the enemy to back down on installing electronic gates at the entrance of the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa will never agree a deal that grants sovereignty over the mosque to invaders, not to mention relinquishing any part of East Jerusalem.

They’re also not naïve enough to accept temporary solutions that pave the way for this. They are aware of what their cause means and the possibility of its liquidation.

Palestine was and still is the compass of the Arab nation. Although Arab and Islamic interaction with the Aqsa uprising was less than expected, this was due to the current tense atmosphere and well-known positions of the regional regimes. Those who followed social media outlets can tell that Arab public reactions were much more favourable toward the Palestinian situation than the reactions of the regimes.


Ending the Palestinian cause is a big illusion. The enemy’s dreams of success after Oslo and the occupation of Iraq will be destroyed, despite the weakness of the Arabs and the presence of Trump in the White House. The Palestinians will regain their momentum and begin a new, comprehensive uprising against the enemy, even though we might think that the whole world, including the Palestinian and Arab leadership, is working to stop that from happening by all possible means. It is they who are deluded, not the ordinary Palestinians struggling on the ground.

This piece first appeared in Arabic in the New Khaleej on 9 August 2017.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.