US Arabs: Trump’s deal ‘yet another disgraceful act’

PNN/ Bethlehem/

A joint statement by  Palestinian, Arab American and Human Rights Organizations in the US today said that the unveiling of the so called “Deal of the Century” is yet another disgraceful act by the Trump Administration.

“A “peace deal” is supposed to entail conflict-ending terms that are to the mutual benefit of both parties, and can only be reached through a level playing field,” the statement said.

It added that the “so-called “deal” is nothing more than an attempt by President Trump to impose an extremist Israeli agenda on the Palestinians, without regard to their most basic rights or aspirations. ”

“This Administration’s policy towards the Palestinians is not based on any moral or legal principles, but caters exclusively to the President’s far-right domestic constituency at the expense of peace, stability, and the U.S. national interest.”

In addition, the statement said that the timing of this plan’s release also appears to be politically motivated, as President Trump seeks to distract the public’s attention from the mounting evidence of his corruption in the midst of his impeachment trial in the Senate. The same can be said of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also facing corruption charges. As Dr. Hanan Ashrawi stated, this is a “lethal diversionary tactic at the expense of Palestinian rights and international law.”

“The Trump administration’s so-called “deal” is a violation of International Law, attempting to legitimize illegal Israeli settlements in the face of world-wide condemnation.  As the occupying power, Israel must abide by the norms of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) governing situations of belligerent occupation, particularly the 1907 Hague Regulations and Geneva Convention IV (GC IV).  As part of its obligations, Israel is forbidden under Article 49 GC IV from forcefully transferring or deporting the local population from the occupied territory, or from transferring its own population into the occupied territory.  The establishment and continued development of Israeli settlements in the West Bank is not only a clear violation of international law, but even amounts to a war crime (rule 156; ICC Statute, art. 8(2)(b)(viii)).

“It has also been the long-standing policy of U.S. through successive administrations that Israel’s settlement policy is indeed a violation of International Law and an impediment to peace. Just a month before President Trump took office, President Barack Obama broke with a pattern of U.S. shielding of Israel from accountability at the United Nations, allowing a resolution to pass without U.S. objections that reaffirmed the status of Israeli settlements as “illegitimate” and a “flagrant violation under International Law”. While the Obama administration failed to apply meaningful pressure on Israel to change course, its approach of criticizing Israeli violations of international law and Palestinian rights gave the U.S. better credibility to pursue a peace agreement.

“After over 70 years of displacement and over 50 years of brutal occupation, the Palestinian people remain steadfast and resilient in demanding justice and restoring their rights. There can never be a just and lasting peace agreement without securing the freedom of the Palestinian people. To that end, we call upon our fellow Americans to reject the Trump Administration’s ‘Charade of the Century.’  and call for applying real accountability on Israel, by conditioning U.S. military aid to Israel on Israel ending the occupation, so that both Israelis and Palestinians can live together in peace and security.