Arab regimes consent to terminating Palestinian cause

ALI ABO REZEG
Published 31.05.2019 00:06

The U.S. administration has recently called for an economic workshop in the Gulf to discuss a solution for the decades-long Palestinian cause in a move seen as a first step before implementing the closed-door peace plan known as the "deal of the century."

The workshop, which will take place in the Bahraini capital Manama, faced an apodictic rejection from the Palestinian leadership both in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In a statement signed by the largest Palestinian factions, including Fatah and Hamas, Palestinians declared that this workshop aims at nothing more than terminating the Palestinian cause and ending the Palestinian people's just and inalienable rights.

Anyone closely following the Palestinian situation will find that the Arab regimes have the upper hand in promoting the so-called deal, which indicates that these regimes volunteered to sacrifice the Palestinian cause in return for appeasing U.S. President Donald Trump and his eccentric project.

This outcome was apparent and upcoming. Arab regimes were the first who called to work on this plan before it was brought to the table. They agreed to host the conflicting parties on their land despite the stark denial of Palestinians and have forcibly funded the outcomes of the deal.

Hence, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi was the first official ever who used the term "deal of the century" to refer to the U.S.' controversial peace plan. That took place in April 2017, in a press conference with his U.S. counterpart in Washington. "We are totally ready to give a helping hand to President Trump to accomplish the deal of the century," el-Sisi said regarding the vague peace plan at the time.

Egyptian consent does not stop there. Israeli reports revealed that the plan includes the construction of megaprojects in the neighboring Sinai Peninsula to employ thousands of Palestinians there, which will later, accordingly, house a large number of Palestinian workers in the Egyptian province before being resettled there.

The Arab regimes not only promoted the deal of the century, they also offered a place for negotiations on their lands, which implies an approval for the terms of the deal.

While some analysts claimed that Bahrain was forced by the Trump administration to host the negotiations in Manama, the little Gulf state defended the U.S. proposal for the economic workshop claiming that it will empower the Palestinians in economic and development aspects. The Bahraini plea for the deal was announced despite the lack of knowledge on what it exactly calls for.

The Arab role in the suspicious U.S. deal didn't stop there, as their primary role will emerge in the post-negotiations era. According to Israeli leaks, the Arabs' biggest role will comprise of their generous funding for the deal. The rich Gulf states are expected to finance the mega investments in Sinai, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. They will also fund resettling and compensation for the Palestinian refugees in a way to replace the role of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which was established in 1948 to afford assistance to Palestinian refugees in the aid, educational and health sectors.

Although some reports conclude that the deal of the century is a mere plan aimed at totally terminating the Palestinian cause, the Arab regimes were highly instrumentalized by the Trump administration to promote, host and financially support that plan.

Suspicious roles undertaken by Arab states in Trump's deal portend detrimental consequences on the whole Middle East. These decisions are being made amid increasing outrage in the region. Unlike their regimes, the Arab people still see the Palestinian cause as their primary and most significant issue and any bid to terminate it will propel the region into a new phase of instability and uncertainty.

* Ph.D. student at Yıldırım Beyazıt University's Department of International Relations

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