editorials

Middle East ‘peace plan’ will be dead on arrival

Biggest problem is it will not specifically call for a two-state solution

Gulf News
17:23 March 12, 2018

The Trump administration is reportedly putting finishing touches on its so-called Middle East peace plan, and US President Donald Trump is expected to present it soon. US officials have told the New York Times that Washington will soon unveil a “detailed blueprint” that one senior Trump aide said was intended to help Israelis and Palestinians get “around traps and bottlenecks to an agreement”.

Such is the nature of the “plan” that it will not have a set of guiding principles. This is in stark contrast to the Arab Peace Initiative, unveiled by late Saudi king Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz in 2002 at the Arab League summit, which set in place the basis of lasting peace, leaving the two sides to agree on the final details.

The biggest problem with the “peace plan” is that it will not specifically call for the almost-universally accepted, most basic end-goal of an agreement: a two-state solution. It will also not stipulate the right of return for Palestinian refugees, one of the Palestinians’ most important demands.

Given all this, the conclusion is clear: Washington’s “peace plan” will be dead on arrival. It doesn’t give anything to the Palestinians, who have endured an unjust, brutal, and humiliating military occupation for four decades at the hands of the Zionist state.

For the Palestinians, the situation remains as hopeless as it has ever been, if not more so. In the current atmosphere, despite clearly having a just cause, they have no cards to play. The United States, the only world power that can get the arrogant regime in Tel Aviv to the negotiating table to discuss peace in a meaningful way, is not even pretending to be an honest broker in the dispute anymore. Palestinians are understandably furious over Washington’s earlier decision to recognise occupied Jerusalem as the capital of the Israeli regime. And the plan has been put together by Jared Kushner, Jason D. Greenblatt and David M. Friedman, all of whom are avid Israel supporters, and have no experience in diplomacy.

According to reports, the US is considering simply revealing the document, hoping it will pressure the Palestinians to return to talks. However, that is very unlikely to happen. There is nothing for them to return to. On Saturday, Ahmad Majdalani, a senior Palestinian official, said America’s goal was to “liquidate the Palestinian national project”. If the ‘peace plan’ as currently envisaged goes ahead, it would appear that he is right.

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