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What is the ‘deal of the century’, and what happens after it is rejected?

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip protest against the US' deal of the century which is due to be unveiled today on 28 January 2020 [Mohammed Assad/Middle East Monitor]
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip protest against the US' deal of the century on 28 January 2020 [Mohammed Assad/Middle East Monitor]

It takes no great analysis to know that the Palestinian leadership will reject the “deal of the century” which the US leadership has already revealed to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz. Accepting the deal would be tantamount to committing political suicide for the Palestinian leadership and, indeed, any Arab regime; nobody will dare to sign a deal that gives up Jerusalem.

The US deal is also unlikely to recognise any part of the occupied West Bank as Palestinian land, because to do so would counter the Zionist narrative about the conflict which insists that it is “Judea and Samaria” and the land of the ancestors of modern Jewry.

The so-called deal as published by a newspaper close to Netanyahu, who undoubtedly arranged this with US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, gives the Palestinians an entity in which they can live in areas A, B and part of C according to the Oslo classification. The occupied Jordan Valley and illegal settlements will remain under Zionist control, amounting to 60 per cent of the West Bank. Thus, “Palestine” would consist of isolated cantons, surrounded by barriers and side roads, with neither weapons to defend itself nor sovereignty.

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Such an entity will not be viable by any reasonable interpretation of the term. An option would be a move to Jordan, which would involve approving the alternative homeland scheme, whether smoothly or by linking the Palestinian population to Jordan. Leaks about the reconsideration of Jordan’s 1988 disengagement decision are a prelude to this step, although they are being denied officially.

The issue of refugees is only being discussed in terms of compensation, which is supposed to be paid by Arab countries after clearing what is known about the value of Jewish-owned properties in Arab states before the owners left to go to Israel. No doubt the value will be estimated by the Zionists to be double the compensation due to Palestinian refugees.

None of this will be accepted by the Palestinian leadership, which will probably issue the usual threats about stopping security coordination with Israel or dissolving the Palestinian Authority, neither of which it will dare to follow through. There will also be Arab condemnation, but there will be no change in the situation of the PA which works to serve the occupation. And nothing will change in the official Arab normalisation of relations with the occupation state. That movement is growing, while the plan is to transform what is temporary into permanent fixtures.

Are Arab nations normalising their relation with Israel...- Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Are Arab nations normalising their relation with Israel…- Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The Palestinian rejection of the deal will be used as an excuse to go ahead and annex the Jordan Valley, and possibly the West Bank soon after. Nevertheless, the outcome from the Arab side will be the same: denunciation, condemnation, silence and the ongoing normalisation process.

In fact, nothing in the positions of the PA and important local regimes which cooperate with the Americans and the Israelis will change. And unless an overwhelming intifada erupts, the regional arrangements aimed at making temporary changes permanent will go according to plan.

If the Palestinians do not impose their position on the leadership of Fatah, whether Abbas is there or not, then we’ll have to wait for regional and international changes that allow the outbreak of an intifada to bring Palestinians back on track, after having lost their direction because of their current leadership. The official Arab direction has also been lost and is experiencing unprecedented deterioration, where it is focused on closing down the people’s longing for the Arab Spring and political Islam.

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It also has as a priority in its undeclared conflict with Turkey and Qatar, and to a lesser extent with Iran. When it comes to Iran, though, Arabs think that it is enough to incite the US against Tehran. They understand that the game that Washington is playing to bring Iran to its knees has nothing to do with its aggression against its Arab neighbours, or its plans for sectarian expansion. It is, rather, because of its position on the Palestinian cause, even though it has met with leading counter-revolution regimes and provided the Zionists with solemn service.

As such, there is no other option for the Arab masses with a conscience except to confront all regional arrangements that are intended to end the Palestinian cause, including normalisation of relations with the Zionist state. The people must pressure the Arab regimes and the PA by all available means, and declare that resistance to the occupation is the one and only option to face the Zionist plans to liquidate the Palestinian cause and dominate the region.

Translated from Arabi21, 26 January 2020

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

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