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The Palestinians face a double battle as the repercussions of Trump’s plan emerge

January 29, 2020 at 3:20 pm

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh leads the weekly cabinet meeting which is held in the West Bank on 16 September 2019 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Just a day before US President Donald Trump revealed the details of the purported “deal of the century”, the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh made a last-ditch attempt to disfigure what Palestinians have been fighting for since Israel established its colonial presence in Palestine. The US plan, he said, seeks “to liquidate the Palestinian cause and therefore we reject it and call on the international community not to be a partner in it because it contradicts the basics of international law and the rights of the Palestinian people.”

Shtayyeh’s omissions speak more than his words. The US plan hastens what the two-state compromise sought to achieve in the first place. The PA’s refusal to recognise this truth has brought Palestinians to a disastrous predicament; even the news headlines are disparaging as far as Palestinian political rights are concerned. To describe Palestinians as angrily rejecting Trump’s plan barely scrapes the surface. However, this over-simplification is evidence of the media’s role in ensuring that the diplomatic overtures of the US and the international community take precedence over Palestinian demands which, if not allowed a platform, will be dismissed as non-existent.

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Shtayyeh, just like the rest of the PA hierarchy, conveniently overlooks the consequences of aligning himself with the international community as regards the two-state paradigm. The choice between two prospects that render Palestinians perpetual victims of colonialism and recipients of humanitarian aid is far from a political solution for the colonised. As despicable as Trump’s plan is, in particular regarding the elimination of the Palestinian right of return, it is based upon foundations laid by the international community.

Trump and Netanyahu's love affair around Jerusalem and Palestine's fate - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Trump and Netanyahu’s love affair around Jerusalem and Palestine’s fate – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The PA’s objection to America’s scheming is not enough. Neither will international objections have any sway over the US-Israeli alliance to facilitate the colonisation of what remains of Palestine. Israel has never restrained itself even when the US, under previous administrations, retained its commitment to the international consensus. The overt shift in Israel’s favour is something that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will exploit, not only because it ties into Zionism’s desired colonial expansion, but also because Israel knows that the international community’s condemnations and adherence to the two-state illusion hold no semblance of political objections.

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Shtayyeh and the PA should have been calling vociferously for the international community to rethink the commitment to two-state diplomacy. Opting instead to urge the international community to reject a proposal that builds upon the consensus to prevent Palestinians from obtaining their political rights is a blatant form of hypocrisy that needs to be called out.

The two-state paradigm worked for Israel in terms of preventing Palestinians from articulating their political demands. That the PA and the international community remain tethered to obsolete plans is in itself evidence that neither party prioritises Palestinian political demands over external diplomatic conjectures. The Palestinian people have been fighting the two-state compromise and its inherent bias towards Israel for years. Now they face a double battle as the repercussions of Trump’s plan start to emerge.

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