The Middle East peace plan by US President Donald Trump, touted with fanfare as a great historic event and the deal of the century has become something much more pathetic than a mere non-starter.
Soon after entering the White House three years ago, Trump had declared that he would try to solve the Palestinian issue, which for decades has been determining the course of world peace and that it would be a dream plan which his predecessors could not conceive. Through this statement, Trump - also a businessman with multifarious dealings with Arab countries - was able to create an impression that there were several things up his arms to pull off something remarkable. But it did not take long for it to be proven that aside from Trump's idiosyncracies, the rhetoric was worth little. And with the US recognising Jerusalem as Israeli capital in December 2017, it became clear with whom US stands in the Middle East crisis.
In spite of that decision being denounced by all countries without racial hatred, Trump did not pull back. That being so, when Trump invited Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu to Washington within a month of assuming office, it was apparent that the the jubilation of the 'good news' would not go beyond Tel Aviv. That was further proven by the new peace plan presented on Tuesday which recognises all the claims of Israel and facilitates the expansion of its occupation of Arab territory. A single glance at the 181-page plan, made with with his son-in-law Jared Kushner in the forefront, would suffice to convince anyone that it is just an endorsement of the escalation of Israeli occupation. Through this, Washington is tearing off all its garb, carefully maintained hitherto, of being just pro-Israeli, to turn into an open Zionist bias. Perhaps the plan is just another ploy for the two leaders to make some headway in their election campaigns both have: Netanyahu who failed to win a clear majority in the last two polls and Trump who is worried about the outcome of the upcoming presidential election.
The new pact determines the West Bank, which Israel captured from Jordan, and Gazza captured from Egypt in the 1967 Arab-Israel war as the border of the Jewish nation. Ever since then, Israel has been making illegal settlements to perpetuate the occupation of these regions. And these constructions that have triggered many a confrontation and truce in turns, have been one of the major irritants sowing the seeds of much quarrel between Israel and Palestine. But now, Trump's plan in effect gives legitimacy to the so-built settlements and gives its control entirely to Israel.
But then what does Palestine get when all this is assigned to Netanyahu? They can have plans and discussions about new settlements in the next four years. Within that time period, Israel should refrain from bulding further housing blocks in the West Bank. In other words, not only will the Israeli setlements – which it built by encroaching on the territory controlled by Palestine so far – will remain there, but the control of the areas cordoned off exclusively for them will remain in the hands of Israel. At the same time, they do not have to abandon the settlements they have been living in together with Palestinians. If this patent American recognition for Israeli claims over the Jordan Valley and the Jesish occupation in the West Bank is accepted, the plan provides that a transport corridor will be allowed connecting the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gazza.
Thus it is an entirely a one-sided plan that Trump tries to show case as a grand peace gift and which Netanyahu delightfully accepts. While giving a promise three years ago about making a deal, Trump had also promised to hold negotiations between the two sides, but that did not happen. Further, although over the last two days Trump invited Netanyahu, afraid of the Israeli prime ministership slipping out of his hands, and his rival candidate Benny Gantz, for discussions in Washington, no one from Palestine side was invited.
Not only that, they did not have any role in the negotiations so far either. Thus, when Netanyahu faces an election and needs a big slice of the vote bank, Trump has given him what he wants. Thereby Trump also ensures the badly-needed support from the Zionist lobby who generally determines the course of American politics. Overall, Trump's Middle East package is degenerating into a dirty political exercise geared to clinch his electoral ambitions at the expense of Palestinians. As the leader of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas remarked, the unanimous response to this conspiracy that does not deserve any serious consideration will be to "say a thousand times: No, no and no to the ‘deal of the century' ". And with its rejection by the United Nations, the world has ratified that stand too. Therefore, if Trump and Netanyahu and their allies are look for real peace, they will have to explore other alternatives than this stillborn baby.