The expressions of joy, cries of victory and the show put on by Benjamin Netanyahu at the publicity ceremony for the deal of the century do not actually reflect the man’s real positions towards the deal itself, even though it gave Israel what it did not deserve, and what it never dreamed of. However, this man, the large spectrum of radical right, and the settler lobbyists are betting on something else entirely.
Netanyahu knows that the “deal of the century” is so unfair that not a single Palestinian will support it and that its contents and language are closer to a compliance agreement dictated by a victor over the defeated. Netanyahu knew that any obligations imposed on Israel will require the Palestinians to agree in advance to the deal and that is why he decided to play the game that he and his predecessors are well known for.
This means that the teams for applying Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and north of the Dead Sea, which Naftali Bennett rushed to form, will start its work early next week. This opportunity will not come again and it must be seized, which is what the most extreme and racist Israeli minister of defence said.
This means that the law to annex all of the settlements is being finalised and may be passed in the same week, even before the elections under the caretaker government. Who would dare to refuse or dare to legally or constitutionally debate it? Time is gold and Israel should invest in the opportunity presented by Trump. The Israeli bulldozers will not be preoccupied with digging the safe passage between the West Bank and Gaza nor with building the tunnels and ridges that will link the archipelago of Palestinian islands isolated from one another.
Everything that Israel finds to be in its best interest, which is a lot and which does not require Palestinian approval, recognition or signature, Israel will work to accomplish it immediately and without delay. It will unleash the expanding settlement cancer and work to its fullest capacity as long as it is protected by American recognition and armed with the American veto. As for Jerusalem, and especially the eastern half, the operations of ethnic cleansing, home demolitions and suffocating the residents will be unprecedentedly intensified.
Israel has a four-year deadline to complete the digestion of the overwhelming meal that Trump gave it from the Palestinians’ share at the expense of their rights.
This is the same deadline given to President Abbas to report his final position on the American offer, and this may be the longest period in history granted to one of the parties of the conflict to make a decision regarding an initiative for a solution or settlement project.
Israel will not need these four years, or even four months, as Israel will work faster than even to ensure that its share of the deal of the century is swallowed whole.
As for the four-year deadline, I think it is a sick joke because it is as if Trump and Netanyahu are giving the angel of death the opportunity and deadline to deal with the Palestinian president, hoping that his successors would deliver what the Americans and Israelis deem satisfactory for their dark ambitions.
Whatever the case, the realistic scenario that might organise events on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict arena is enabling Israel to use some of its “gains” from the deal, and after that God decides. In any case, Washington and Tel Aviv will have an excuse to justify their despicable actions: The Palestinians have, as always, wasted their opportunity.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Addustour on 30 January 2020
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.