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The Enemy’s Deal

Al-Ayaam, Ramallah, February 2

The White House finally unveiled the details of its “deal of the century” in a ceremonial announcement that represented everything bad about the plan: a biased, one-sided view of the conflict that does justice to the oppressor while ignoring the oppressed. [President Donald] Trump’s White House is fully coordinated with the Israeli Right led by [Prime Minister] Binyamin Netanyahu. The plan laid out by the Americans is a plan that fully promotes Israeli occupation without giving the Palestinians a single thing. Trump is an inexperienced politician who believes he can approach the conflict in the same way that he approaches a real estate deal. But if history has taught us anything, it’s that conflicts cannot be resolved when one of the sides is barred from the negotiation table. Since entering the White House, Trump’s policies have been consistently hostile toward Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims. Trump is more of a Zionist than most Israelis, including the far-Right settlers. The bottom line is that this deal is nothing is nothing more than an American decoy meant to trick the Palestinian leadership. If it they accept it, the Palestinians lose their right for self-determination. If they turn it down, they will be accused of derailing the peace process. Therefore, the only conceivable Palestinian response is to say the following: Thank you, but your offer reveals a complete American bias toward the Israelis. This offer is simply unacceptable. No deal penned by White House advisers and presented at the White House can replace direct negotiations between the two parties to this conflict. Furthermore, the only international body that can force its intervention on the issue is the United Nations, not the United States. In this context, it is important to note that the international community is not as united around this deal as the Israelis and Americans are. The European Union reaffirmed its commitment to a viable two-state solution through direct talks. The Russian Foreign Ministry rejected the initiative. The United Nations already responded by reaffirming its recognition of the State of Palestine. Regionally, both Turkey and Iran rejected the American initiative right off the bat. This means that the offer was dead before it was even born, no matter how much Trump or Netanyahu hoped it would succeed. Instead of setting up traps and pointing fingers at the Palestinians, the American leadership would be wise to take a step back from the conflict and come to the painful, albeit necessary, understanding that the real obstacle to peace has been Israel. The Americans often accuse the Palestinians of obstinacy, but the truth is that Israel, ever since the days of [slain prime minister Yitzhak] Rabin, has not been a true partner for peace. – Rajab Abu Siriya (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)