Trump's plan leaves Palestinians no option but to reject it. Just as he intended

Trump's plan leaves Palestinians no option but to reject it. Just as he intended
Comment: From the very beginning, Trump and Kushner's plan was intended to drive Palestinians away, rather than back to the negotiating table, writes Muhammad Shehada.
5 min read
28 Jan, 2020
Since taking office, Trump has enacted a shockingly pro-Israel agenda [Getty]
Last Tuesday, Netanyahu's main opponent in Israel's upcoming election, Benny Gantz, shrank into a Netanyahu clone, and opted for electoral expediency at the expense of reason; by vowing to annex the Jordanian Valley if he wins election on 2 March.

The Trump administration saw an opportune moment in Gantz's announcement, and invited both rivals to the White House. To make the visit all the more interesting, Trump announced a welcome gift; all of the sudden, his team would be ready to reveal their "peace" proposal on Gantz's and Netanyahu's arrival this Tuesday.

Politicised timing

The timing of Trump's plan shows that it has always been more about Israeli and American politics and domestic affairs, rather than anything to do with reaching Israeli-Palestinian peace. After three years of consistent procrastination, Trump's team suddenly saw fit to release the plan, perhaps to lure Gantz into a coalition with Netanyahu, and maximise the latter's chances of winning, by gifting him a blank cheque to satisfy the ultimate wishlist of Israel's more fanatic constituents.

Amit Segal, a political analyst with Israel's Channel 12 dubbed the scheme "the best plan ever proposed to Israel," as it greenlights major Israeli annexations in the West Bank.

An unexecutable plan

Timing aside, everything about the proposal is catastrophic. Leaked details suggest a purposeful effort to compromise and exterminate, rather than revive the peace process. It's most telling that Trump is not even bothering to invite a single Palestinian to the unveiling of this miserable scam designed by con artists with their own agenda.

Trump's proposal apperas to suggest that Palestinians should give up any rudimentary defenses they've developed against Israel's oppression, and acquiesce to Israel's engulfment of all of Jerusalem and its annexation of the very lands that would otherwise make a Palestinian state viable.

Leaked details suggest a purposeful effort to compromise and exterminate rather than revive the peace process

Assuming for a moment Palestinians did ever accept this formula for defeat, the reward in Trump's deal is little more than a tentative cash handout, and merely symbolic and fragemented self-rule that would allow Israel's occupation and apartheid-style rule to be perpetuated for good.

If this sounds "unexecutable," - as Trump's own State Secretary described the plan - that's because it's meant to be. At every turn, the plan is likey to contain incapacitating or impossible conditions that are intended to attack the Palestinian side; to bait us into rejecting the deal in order to give Netanyahu an alibi for unilateral annexation, then blame us for the miseries that Trump's team wants to perpetuate.

Exclusivist from the beginning

Since the outset, the process for developing and the so-called 'peace' plan has displayed the intention to deliberately sideline Palestinian input. Since Trump took office, every unilateral move his administration has taken in the Israel-Palestinian conflict has been a strong slap in the Palestinians' face.

This began with the US administration's recognition of united Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and went on to include its heavy assault on the lifeline of Palestinian refugees - the UNRWA - and the massive defunding of Palestinian hospitals, the Palestinian Authority, USAID operations in Palestine and even peace groups.

With each new slight, smirking faces insisted that such grave assaults on us should somehow lead to peace. But the constant trolling of Palestinians by Trump's team intentionally served as powerful statements, intended to drive Palestinians away from the negotiating table rather than back to it.

Jared Kusher reaffirmed this intention in late 2018, when he
told a group of journalists that Trump's peace plan was coming even without the Palestinians, adding "we don't need them."

By positioning the Trump administration as a key enabler of Israeli aggression, Trump's team effectively prevented the Palestinian leadership from deliberating the so-called 'peace plan' or having any say in it.

Trump is not even bothering to invite a single Palestinian to the unveiling of this miserable scam

As such, the plan was left entirely up to the fanatical US Ambassador David Friedman, and Netanyahu's ambassador to the US Ron Dermer. Together, they crafted it to the full satisfaction of Israel's extreme right, while Palestinians were forced into the audience seat, uninformed about how their fate was being decided.

With the mission of driving Palestinians away being accomplished, the conclusion of Trump's plan rather than its beginning, is what comes next; the annexation of the very areas in the West Bank that would otherwise make a Palestinian state viable.

From the very beginning, Trump's team were planning all along to push for Israel's annexation of major parts of the West Bank; in order to use it as a boost for Trump and Netanyahu's popularity among their extremist electorates.

Nothing shows this better than when Trump's Mideast Peace Envoy, Jason Greenblatt,
called on Israel to hold off annexation plans, until after Trump's peace plan had been revealed.

To give annexation to Israel for free, Trump and Netanyahu need only the Palestinian rejection of the "peace plan" to solely blame us for its failure and the demise of the two-state solution.

To Trump, it doesn't matter that Netanyahu's Defense Minister already declared he would reject Trump's plan if it recognised a Palestinian state on what would be left of land after annexation. And it doesn't matter that an Israeli settler leader said plainly that Israel will pick and choose from the deal only what's in its favour, and reject the rest.

Palestinians were forced into the audience seat, uninformed about how their fate was being decided

Palestinians need only to blink first and say no to the deal in order to have it on record that we're the anti-peace "rejectionists", and not Israel. This will feed the ad nauseam trope that "Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss and opportunity." And so, Palestinians will likely be blamed yet again for the irrevocable damage caused by the normalisation of Israeli apartheid, with Trump's blessings.

The international community must not remain silent over such a farce. Rejecting Trump's serious assault on the peace process necessitates more than routine denunciations, it calls for clear actions to deter such flagrant violations and show solidarity with the Palestinian quest for justice and freedom. As annexation looms, it's time to sanction Israel's lawlessness, once and for all.

Muhammad Shehada is a writer and civil society activist from the Gaza Strip and a student of Development Studies at Lund University, Sweden. He was the PR officer for the Gaza office of the Euro-Med Monitor for Human Rights.

Follow him on Twitter: @muhammadshehad2

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab.