The details of the "Deal of the Century" presented by U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have finally been disclosed to the public.
Of course, it is interesting to call it a "deal" since one of the parties supposedly involved in the proposed arrangement is absent. In February last year, Trump cut off all aid to the occupied West Bank and Gaza. Previously, the Trump administration ended all U.S. funding for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, known as the UNRWA, and all United States Agency for International Development (USAID) projects in the Palestinian territories. These practices, an extension of Trump's method of "disciplining by withholding money," did not lead to a change in the Palestinian Authority's (PA) policies.
As is clear from the plan, the method of "disciplining with money" has been chosen in this case as well. This is because that is all the plan promises Palestinians. In exchange for $50 billion in aid, Palestine has been offered a small state that will not be truly sovereign. Actually, it is enough to look at the map they have envisioned to see why the plan would not work. According to the map, the West Bank and Gaza would be left to the Palestinians, but all of Israel's illegal settlements will remain where they are and will become legal Israeli territory under the plan. For instance, the Jordan Valley, a quarter of the West Bank, will be annexed by Israel. Thus, Israel, not Palestine, would become a neighbor to Jordan and continue to control the border. On top of its divided territory, Palestine is expected to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Although any peace plan has to include both conflicting parties and the expected minimum attitude, Trump and Netanyahu are striving to achieve three goals with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt: to present a Palestine shattered by Israel as a state, while at the same time making Israel's military occupation of a sovereign state allowable – though it is not actually allowed – and making permanent and legal settlement policies that violate international law.
Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to Trump and one of the masterminds of the plan, revealed the limits of his expertise by saying he had read 25 books about the issue. He said during a televised interview on CNN that if the Palestinian Authority rejects the plan, "They are going to screw up another opportunity like they have screwed up every other opportunity that they have ever had in their existence."
Aside from the fact that there have been no Palestinian representatives in any of the negotiating stages of the plan, these remarks indicate the Trump administration is satisfied with this exclusion. This is because if one of the people who wrote the plan, representing the White House, both humiliated and threatened the Palestinian Authority on a live broadcast on the day the plan was released, meaning it cannot be merely a reflection of ignorance in diplomacy. After all, amateurism can explain things to some extent.
This plan will not conclude without Israel completely annexing the West Bank, expanding its military occupation, bypassing the citizenship rights of Palestinian-origin Israeli citizens and using the excuse, "but we gave Palestinians a chance," when confronted by critics.
The key point is not that peace could possibly be established between Israel and Palestine under the Trump administration but that such an intention has not existed from the beginning.
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