Despite the Jordanian, Palestinian, Arab and international rejection of the so-called “deal of the century” project announced by the Trump administration to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict once and for all, the Israeli government and Washington are continuing to implement the deal on the ground. The process began with the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organisation office in Washington and US recognition of Jerusalem as the “unified capital” of the state of Israel, and has since seen the US Embassy moved to Jerusalem; acceptance of the “legitimacy” of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories; recognising Israeli sovereignty over the Syrian Golan Heights; efforts to have UNRWA closed down; US approval for the annexation of the Jordan Valley; and recognising the “Jewishness” of the state.
Now it is Gaza’s turn, with American and Israeli eyes set on implementing the deal to raise the living standards of the Palestinians there through employment opportunities and a plan to establish five major projects. Three industrial zones are envisaged, two with an area of approximately 500 acres each and the third of 370 acres, along the nominal border with Israel. According to the plan, the projects in these zones will provide thousands of jobs for Palestinians in the enclave.
The proposal has apparently been approved by the Israeli army and political leaders, as well as the US Ambassador to Israel, the pro-settlement David Friedman. He asked for the plan to be presented to US President Donald Trump for approval and for its implementation to begin regardless of the Palestinian position.
Observers believe that the establishment of an American hospital on the outskirts of Gaza is the first step in the implementation of the plan. There are hints from Israel that this will provide the foundation for a formal truce between Gaza and the Gaza envelope settlements, as well as a step towards a partial lifting of the siege imposed on the territory.
This US-Israeli approach disregards the Palestinian, Arab and international positions; adopts unilateral decisions, measures and developments; and works to force the other parties to accept them as a fait accompli. The end result is to serve the colonialist, expansionist Zionist project in Palestine.
Any Palestinian approval from any party for any of this will legitimise the process. However, as long as the Palestinians reject everything connected with it, the deal will remain illegitimate, even if implemented. The Palestinian position on these plans thus either gives them credibility or strips them of importance and value.
Refusal to cooperate and work on these projects is the only guarantee to thwart this plan and any similar plans in the future, either in the Gaza Strip or the occupied West Bank. It will also prevent international participation in the implementation of such plans and projects, which remain purely political and provide economic cover for abolishing Palestinian rights until the whole Palestinian cause can be liquidated.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Addustour on 1 December 2019
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.