Whenever a new event occurs on the Palestinian scene, observers, writers and analysts link it to the “deal of the century”. Perhaps this is logical sometimes but, in many instances, it sows confusion. Doing so implies that the Israeli occupation and settlement project is new and sudden and has only appeared in Palestine as part of this “awaited deal”.
However, I still believe that the “deal of the century” is not long-awaited, but rather is being implemented without officially being announced in order to avoid push back. There may eventually be an announcement claiming the completion of some of its phases. This is true if it is being implemented in the way it is understood at the national and popular level – as a deal threatening Palestinian rights by supporting Israel’s expansion of settlements and attacks on Palestinian citizens.
If we view the “deal of the century” as more hostility and aggression against Palestine’s land, people and sanctities, then it has been ongoing for 70 years. If we view it as the liquidation of the Palestinian cause, as rumoured, then this is what is currently happening on an international scale.
This is enabled by targeting major Palestinian issues such as Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, by recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, by taking refugees and the right of return off the table and by reducing the work of UNRWA. Moreover, settlements are expanding on a daily basis in the occupied West Bank, and Israeli leaders have recently gloated that unprecedented settlement projects are underway. According to Israel’s former Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, current settlement expansions are the biggest projects for over 25 years.
If we are talking about a deal targeting the Palestinian people, then we can say that the siege imposed on Gaza and the demolitions in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank have not stopped. Rather, they have even increased in recent years.
Just a few days ago, we were facing an incident that is likely to escalate in the coming days. This incident saw illegal Israeli settlers open fire against Palestinians near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank. This means that these groups received the green light from the Israeli security establishment to increase their crimes, in coordination with Israel’s repeated raids on areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the occupied West Bank.
Some, especially PA officials and PA President Mahmoud Abbas himself, are ignoring these Israeli violations and attempts to liquidate Palestinians’ rights. Instead, they have reduced the “deal of the century” to some concessions obtained by Gaza from time to time.
They try, for example, to link the Qatari grants to families in Gaza and employees to the “deal of the century”, as if the siege on Gaza – which is entering its 14th year – and the pressure on Gazans somehow benefit the Palestinian cause and its people. Even the most rational people cannot understand such logic.
Some may come to us later to say that the occupation of Palestine is in the best interest of the Palestinians. These are the same people trying to convince the masses that the “deal of the century” is an internal Palestinian conspiracy, while completely leaving the Israeli occupation out of the equation. This is a blatant falsification and distortion of the facts, accompanied by the creation of an unstructured deal whose only aim is to liquidate the Palestinian cause.
This article originally appeared in Arabic on Al-Arab on 29 January 2019.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.