After the US unilaterally recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, withdrew all funding from the United Nations Relief and Works Organisation for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and closed the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Mission in Washington, Senior Advisor to the US President Jared Kushner had the audacity to announce that a “reasonable” Palestinian leadership would agree to negotiate with Israel on US President Donald Trump’s purported peace plan.
So far, the only detail associated with President Trump’s plan is that “both sides would need to make concessions”. However, this rhetoric doesn’t even pass for an illusion of equity. Adding Kushner’s expectations of “reasonable leadership” to the equation, at a time when the current Palestinian leadership has been stripped of its political viability – despite its acquiescence to the US and Israel – makes it clear that the imbalance of compromise, as always, will be to the detriment of the Palestinian people.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has repeatedly said it will not enter into negotiations based upon President Trump’s plan, although its statements have varied and its commitment to pursuing an obsolete two-state paradigm remains at the helm of its diplomatic endeavours. This weakens the PA’s stance, as it is still purusing what has been termed as the “only solution” by the international community and has not been ruled out by Trump.
Kushner stated that: “I think what we’re working on will allow Israelis to have the security that they want and the Palestinian people to have the opportunity that they want”. Such a statement makes the US concept of concessions clear. An opportunity, which is what the US is offering Palestinians, holds nothing definite or tangible. It is of lesser value than giving Israel security for its colonial state. Whatever Trump’s plan includes, the systematic erosion of Palestinian rights is set to continue, with expectations that a “reasonable leadership” will emulate the mistakes incurred by the Oslo Accords.
Trump has embarked on two strategies – eliminating the visibility of the Palestinians by closing-off diplomatic and humanitarian engagement, and wasting precious time for Palestinians by being vague in negotiations. The PA is perfect fodder for such tactics – its actions are always weak and belated, apart from refusing to consider alternatives which constitute a complete departure from what the international community has burdened Palestinians with. This combination has worked in Israel’s favour, as it also embarks on its own concept of delays to avoid undesired international scrutiny. However, in the case of Israel and the US, delays are a calculated strategy. The PA’s delays are a direct reflection of its inability and refusal to engage with Palestinians, hence the constant looking outwards to define Palestine, even when such definitions remain hidden from the Palestinian people’s scrutiny.
And now, Kushner requires a “reasonable Palestinian leadership”, with the parameters defined by the US administration. In other words, the US is requiring the PA to upscale its level of betrayal of the Palestinian people for a deal that will benefit Israel, while the indigenous population is left to spell out the details of Kushner’s so-called “opportunity”.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.