Why Late Israeli Leader Shimon Peres Would Have Rejected Trump’s “Deal of the Century”? Why Palestinians are rejecting the Plan?
Professor Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi
I remember back in the late 1990s attending a meeting held at the Palestinian Center for Regional Studies in al-Bireh, Palestine, in the late 1990s, in which the Israeli leader Shimon Peres said in defense of the 1993 Oslo Accords, “We could have drafted the Oslo agreement much more to our favor, but we did not want it to be rejected by future Palestinian generations.” It seems that the present Israeli leadership does not share that vision. While the deal tells us what the Israelis want; it totally ignores what the Palestinians want.
So far, there is unanimous Palestinian opposition to President Donald J. Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan announced January 28, 2020, dubbed as “The Deal of the Century.” Not one single Palestinian voice came out in favor of the plan, whether publicly or privately. Why is this strong negative reaction? There are at least twenty three reasons why Palestinians are rejecting this deal. The objective is to identify the disease to prescribe the cure.
First, from the beginning when the idea of the deal was proposed by U. S. President Donald Trump until it was finally announced, the Palestinians were never consulted regarding any of its details. This caused the Palestinians to feel insulted and humiliated.
Second, while the Palestinians were ignored in drafting the 181-page document, the Israelis were kept in the loop which angered the Palestinians.
Third, Palestinians perceive this deal to be negotiated between Israeli Jews in Israel and American Jews living in the Diaspora or Jews on the right spectrum of politics with Jews on the left to achieve maximum profit for Israel.
Fourth, instead of aiming for a win-win outcome, the deal offered a humiliating win-lose outcome so the Palestinians view it as a capitulation and surrender agreement not a just and balanced peace offer.
Fifth, the deal is in clear violation of international law and U. N. resolutions.
Sixth, the deal denies the Palestinian human rights to the end of the occupation, statehood, independence, liberty, and national identity.
Seventh, the deal bestows legitimacy and full Israeli sovereignty over the Holy City of Jerusalem as well as the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem in violation of its present international legal status.
Eighth, the deal sanctions united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel denying the rights of the Palestinian Arab residents of Jerusalem and the international consensus that Arab East Jerusalem to be the future capital of the State of Palestine.
Ninth, the deal deviates from the present status quo regarding the status of Muslim holy places in Jerusalem, particularly al-Haram al-Sharif, the third holiest site in Islam, which currently is under the custodianship of the Jordanian authority Waqf religious trust. Palestinians fear the deal will encourage Israelis to take over the site and destroy it to build their temple.
Tenth, the fact that the deal was announced by President Trump in Washington in the exclusive presence of Israeli and Jewish leaders, notably Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz, was perceived by Palestinians as a call upon the Arab states to abandon the Palestinians and embrace Israel.
Eleventh, the Palestinians view the plan to reflect the grand designer Jared Kushner's great esteem and respect for the و Israelis and deep contempt and dislike for them.
Twelfth, the deal contradicts the provisions of the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 as approved by the Arab League.
Thirteenth, while the Palestinians have recognized the right of the State of Israel to exist, the deal makes no similar Israeli acknowledgment for the right of the State of Palestine to exist.
Fourteenth, the deal abrogates the 1993 Declaration of Principles and the Oslo Accords (signed by the Palestinians, Israelis, and the United States), and its five permanent status issues framework that prohibits unilateral annexation.
Fifteenth, the deal may lead to the marginalization of the Palestinians and thus make them lose their eminent status in the Arab world.
Sixteenth, the deal gives legitimacy to Israel’s persistent policies of illegal annexation and territorial expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Seventeenth, the Palestinians are concerned that accepting such a deal would lead the Arab countries to abandon the Palestinian cause and openly embrace strategic alliance pacts with Israel.
Eighteenth, the deal obliges Palestinians to meet a set of harsh conditions to Israel’s satisfaction.
Nineteenth, the deal cancels the internationally agreed-upon two-state solution.
Twentieth, the deal undermines moderation tendencies within the Palestinian community and vindicates the radical ideology of violent armed struggle, undermines the negotiations and diplomacy approach, and confirms the United States cannot be considered as a dishonest broker.
Twenty-first: the deal keeps Palestine and the Palestinians remain permanently surrounded by Israel with no independent borders and contact with the outside world.
Twenty-second: the deal delays the attractive features of the plan (tunnel, road improvements, sewage improvements, water, economic development centers).
Twenty-third: the deal places on the fragile shoulders of the PA as a prerequisite, the incredible task of starting a civil war to demilitarize and disarm Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and the PFLP, a task Israel so far has failed to achieve.
Twenty-Fourth: the deal deprives the Palestinian refugees of their status as refugees and takes away their right of return not only to their original homes in Israel but to a Palestinian state.
Twenty-fifth: the deal supports the persistent illegal unilateral annexation of Palestinian territories.
Twenty-Sixth: the deal endorses the establishment of an apartheid Jewish state with the Palestinians living in ghettoes.
Twenty Seventh: the deal offers a "Palestinian state" surrounded by areas annexed by Israel; demilitarized; forbidden from entering into agreements or joining multilateral institutions; lack control of its airspace, coastal waters and electromagnetic spectrum; and subjected to a range of other limitations.
To conclude, if Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ was written in a way so the Palestinians would reject it, then it served its purpose. Palestinians believe this is not a peace deal but capitulation and annexation plan, a deal not meant to bring peace but to intensify the conflict. Rather than inspire hope, the deal despairingly keeps the Palestinian under Israeli military occupation.
By listing the Palestinian objections to the plan, I am charting a path for the use of the plan as a blueprint for future negotiations. The deal as presented satisfies the core grievances of the Israeli side, now we should work on addressing the core grievances of the Palestinians. When the plan satisfies both sides, only then it can be called
“Deal of the Century”.
A truly “Deal of the Century” would have been along the lines described by Bernie Sanders, quote, “Any acceptable peace deal must be consistent with international law and multiple UN Security Council resolutions. It must end the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and enable Palestinian self-determination in an independent, democratic, economically viable state of their own alongside a secure and democratic state of Israel. Trump’s so-called 'peace deal' doesn’t come close, and will only perpetuate the conflict, and undermine the security interests of Americans, Israelis, and Palestinians. It is unacceptable,” Sanders tweeted.