Palestinians hurling stones toward Israeli troops during clashes with them at a protest against the US-brokered proposal for a settlement of the Middle East conflict, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Sunday. -- Pix: AFP

THERE are two schools of thought as to the fate of the newly revealed proposed settlement to the protracted Palestine problem.

One espoused by Scott Ritter, former United Nations weapons of mass destruction inspector, that Palestinians cannot refuse and the other that it must be rejected, not least because of its total disregard of justice for the Palestinians and their dignity.

United States President Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century” is obvious for its bias for Israel, more accurately titled “Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People”.

That Palestinians are protesting against the vision, a clear attempt to bribe them with US$50 billion over 10 years to develop the Palestinian economy and rebuild its infrastructure destroyed by Israeli bombing. One million jobs are promised. Iran is clearly against it. According to Al-Monitor, Russia’s negative attitude to Trump’s deal is no secret.

To date, support or otherwise for the so-called vision falls along the traditional divide of the binary division vis-a-vis those who are pro-Palestine and others who are pro-Israel.

Naturally, Palestine will be reinstated on the world map but with less than full sovereignty. A state that surrenders its security to its occupiers, totally demilitarised, its education curriculum must in no way undermine the integrity of the enemy and accept the loss of lands to the illegal Jewish settlements on occupied lands. In short, the Palestinians must allow for the consolidation of the Balfour Declaration and more.

It is no exaggeration to suggest that in agreeing to the vision the Palestinians are legalising their own enslavement to the tyranny of the Jewish state. Why should the Palestinians submit to tyranny when international law and order is on their side?

For instance, by agreeing to Trump’s idea of a solution, the Palestinians are denying their right to protection from the International Criminal Court (ICC), their recourse to justice against the tyrant under the present circumstances.

If, as Ritter suggests, this is the chance of a lifetime for the reinstatement of Palestine and its economic development, how can the Palestinians refuse this deal when a refusal means the perpetuation of poverty and their ultimate genocide?

After all, the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s (PLO) acceptance of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 — the land-for-peace principle — already granted Israel a window to security and recognised borders. Given this concession, some would argue that the PLO should never have signed the Oslo Accords.

The UN Security Council’s resolution 242 was the cornerstone upon which Israel was recognised by Egypt and Jordan. A few days ago the Palestinian Authority (PA) announced its intention to cancel the Oslo Accords and will not adhere to the agreements. Having made their position known, a request was made to the Arab League to convene a ministerial level extraordinary meeting to discuss Trump’s “Deal of the Century”.

Seven decades have passed since the Nakba (catastrophe for the Palestinians and other Arabs) and there is a growing silence in the corridors of power. A deafening silence that ignores the Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated on the Palestinians. Even worse is Trump’s attempt to make legal the illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied territories.

The Palestinians have endured 70 years of Israeli tyranny so Europe may find atonement for their sins. Who among the mighty will champion the Palestinian cause? The Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel is currently the only light in the tunnel. That friends of the Tel Aviv government are taking legal measures to undermine the campaign suggests clearly that the BDS movement is gaining traction.

Furthermore, without the right of return, can Palestinians make that decision which will bring to an end their diaspora status? Some postulate that Trump’s proposal is designed to fail. Already PA head Mahmoud Abbas has rejected it and the PA has complained of the lukewarm, if at all, support of the Arab nations for the Palestinian position.

Hamas is asking for a meeting with the PA. Given that the vision demands its dissolution one cannot see Hamas agreeing to its annihilation. The prospects do not bode well.

The writer is executive director, International Movement for a Just World (JUST)


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times