A minimal and fragmented Palestine, with a capital in the suburbs of Jerusalem, is part of the proposal of Donald Trump’s peace plan for the Middle East conflict. Unassuming proposals for Palestinians who, more than “peace”, describe as “coercive plan” with a supposed solution of two states that, in reality, only satisfies one: Israel.
The rejection of the Palestinians is not a surprise, as Al Shabaka analyst Yara Hawari says about the proposal presented by President Donald Trump next Tuesday, along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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And the intention, he adds, is not that the Palestinians “enter into a negotiation”, but black-and-white the colonization policy that already existed and “capitulate”.
The plan challenges the narrative of the international community, by ignoring the term “occupation” throughout the document, and challenging the current framework proposed by the Oslo Accords (1993-95) and which should be temporary. Although the Palestinian population had long since considered them dead.
The unassumable points
Borders, Israeli colonies, refugees, security and water were the most sensitive issues that remained pending in Oslo to further direct negotiations. Those who intended to initiate Trump’s plan, but having resolved them beforehand.
In the 180-page document, the hypothetical Palestinian state does not control external borders, except the passage to Egypt through Gaza; and “the right to return or absorption of Palestinian refugees by the State of Israel”, contemplated in UN resolutions, is eliminated. In addition, it reduces a future Palestinian capital to the suburbs of Jerusalem “east and north” of the Israeli wall, which include Kafr Aqab, the eastern part of Shuafat and Abu Dis, separate and depressed neighborhoods of the city.
“The State of Israel will maintain the sovereignty of all territorial waters,” states the plan that for the first time includes a concept map that demarcates a new Israel – which until now had not defined its borders – with the hypothetical Palestinian State.
I will always stand with the State of Israel and the Jewish people. I strongly support their safety and security and their right to live within their historical homeland. It’s time for peace!
I will always stand with the State of Israel and the Jewish people. I strongly support their safety and security and their right to live within their historical homeland. It's time for peace! pic.twitter.com/lKwQ9IKTUG
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 28, 2020
Thus, Palestinian analyst Tareq Baconi remarks, it is impossible for Palestinians to accept a state “without sovereignty” and without the central core of East Jerusalem. Area in which the Old City is located, and the most sacred places of Christianity and Islam, which the Palestinians profess, such as the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Holy Sepulcher. A proposal “not of peace, but of coercion,” qualifies.
“The question is not what elements of the plan are not acceptable to the Palestinians, but if any of them could be,” Hawari adds and remarks that it includes “violations” to what the UN maintains so far, which after the presentation of the plan has re-defended the creation of two states based on the pre-1967 borders.
With the pre-1967 borders, a Palestinian State would include all of East Jerusalem as the future capital, that is, the West Bank and Gaza. However, the new vision excludes the heart of the Holy City, and integrates in Israel more than 30% of West Bank territory, with the entire Jordan Valley, bordering Jordan, and most Jewish settlements.
The only novel aspect of the plan is to join a hypothetical Palestine called the Triangle, populations of northern Israel of Arab majority. “Even demographically they want to modify and have fewer Palestinians inside Israel,” says activist Isa Amro, a Hebron resident.
The annexation of much of the West Bank, which allows the plan, means for Amro to accept what is already happening, since it is an area in which Israel is really already acting with its own laws.
Amro does not believe that it is Trump’s plan, but that of Netanyahu, by incorporating most of the demands traditionally made by the Israeli nationalist right towards the so-called Greater Israel, a Jewish state from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.
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The American initiative, raised as a vision to begin a negotiation between Israelis and Palestinians, is based on a proposal from two decaffeinated states that modifies the entire Oslo framework.
And this, the analysts point out, is also a signal for the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), which was created in those last agreements as something temporary towards the establishment of a sovereign State. The Palestinian leadership today must assume the crossroads: While Trump’s plan does not guarantee the future, there is no plan for the present.