New Middle East Peace Plan A Scientific Inquiry
*Dr. Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan
Middle East is on the change. It is again on “fire” because of various “farces” and “frauds”. International establishment and its regional allies have been showcasing so called “peace plan” as “Deal of the Century” for the last three years. Most recently, U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled his highly projected Middle East plan, winning immediate praise from a “beaming” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but a swift “rejection” from the Palestinians, who called it “nonsense.” Forces of resistance completely rejected the peace plan and termed it “shame of the century”. Mediator forces labeled it “first step” towards conflict resolution. Most recently, even Arab League has rejected the peace plan and assured Palestinians for their legitimate rights.
Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas
There are now “smiles and sorrows” in all the respective camps. In this context, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas announced a cut of "all ties" with Israel and the US, including security cooperation, days after Washington unveiled a controversial Middle East plan, instantly rejected by Palestinians. He spoke at an Arab League meeting in Cairo where all members rejected US plan called after US President Donald Trump presented the "deal of the century", which is seen as staunchly favouring Israel, but offers Palestinians a pathway to a limited but splintered state.
"We are informing you that there will be no relations with you (Israel) and the US, including on security cooperation," Abbas said. He added that the US plan was in "violation of the (autonomy) accords" launched in Oslo in 1993 by Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinian leader said the decision follows the US and Israel's "disavowal of signed agreements and international legitimacy".
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh
Even Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the plan was not a Middle-East peace plan but “a plan to protect Trump from impeachment and protect Netanyahu from prison. He said the Palestinian leadership is "sticking to the aspirations of his people" by rejecting US President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan. The Palestinian leadership has warned Israel that if it annexes any part of the occupied West Bank all agreements between the two sides would be terminated.
All the political parties of Palestine got united and stood firm against this peace plan and termed it plan of ethnic discrimination. US President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan appears to have produced an unexpected result. It has forged a tenuous unity among Palestinian politicians. Both Hamas and the Al-Fatah accepted a call by President Mahmoud Abbas for a meeting of the Palestinian leadership at the presidential compound in Ramallah, in the West Bank. Palestinian leaders had rejected the plan in advance, saying it aimed to impose permanent Israeli rule over the West Bank. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a statement: “The US administration will not find a single Palestinian who supports this project.
“Trump’s plan is the plot of the century to liquidate the Palestinian cause. What the Palestinians are being offered right now is not rights or a state, but a permanent state of Apartheid. No amount of marketing can erase this disgrace or blur the facts.”
Win-Win Situation for Israel
Trump’s peace plan called for the eventual creation of a Palestinian state, but it fell far short of minimal Palestinian demands and would leave sizable chunks of the occupied West Bank in Israeli hands. It is indeed win-win situation for Israel and its people and nightmare for Palestine and its people living in and around the world. For the time being, Israeli parliament delayed voting on its further annexation (annexing 30% of the occupied West Bank). More than 400,000 Israelis live in West Bank settlements. Those settlements are considered illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.
The peace deal aims to resolve one of the world's longest-running conflicts, was drafted under the stewardship of President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner. The joint announcement came as both Mr Trump and Mr Netanyahu faced political challenges at home. Mr Trump is the subject of an impeachment trial in the US Senate while the Israeli PM dropped his bid for immunity on corruption charges.
Critical Analysis of Peace Plan/Proposals
US president projected it a big step towards peace," "My vision presents a win-win opportunity for both sides, a realistic two-state solution that resolves the risk of Palestinian statehood to Israel's security” he added. Being regional expert of GCC & Middle East I think it lacks credibility, trustworthiness and even concept of functionality. It is even against true spirits of international law where both the grieving parties have the equal rights to plead, prosper and progress. Right of dialogue has been snatched from the struggling Palestinians. This peace plan equates somehow, the rule of the jungle (Lion King II) where beasts and their conspirators/facilitators are privileged class and weaker creatures must live in cages and dark caves forever unfortunately. It gives a comparative advantage to Israel in all respects.
Israeli officials said Mr Netanyahu would fly to Moscow to discuss the proposals with Russian President Vladimir Putin because Russia has become one of the strongest players in the Middle East via Syria, Iran, Iraq, Qatar and Libya. In this connection most recently, Russian president has visited Palestine. So every stakeholder is in search of winning strategic support from other regional players and of course international establishment to secure its geopolitical and geo-strategic interests in the days to come. It is feared that this peace plan if not amended and adjusted according to “principle of equity & partnership” may start a new wave of bloodsheds in and around the region. `
It is feared that until all of the most difficult aspects of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, the final status issues like borders; the future of Israeli settlements in the West Bank; the long-term status of Jerusalem; and the fate of Palestinian refugees the chances of this so called peace plan will be remote and impossible to achieve. Moreover, no Jewish settlers will be uprooted and Israeli sovereignty will apparently be extended to the settlement blocs and the Jordan Valley. The Palestinians might have a capital in the East Jerusalem suburbs. This "take it or leave it offer" does not a give & take befitting proposition. It seems long way to reach at a holy destination.
Serious Issues of Human Survival
Humanity has been in the “line of fire” since long in this region of uncertainty. It has been “unmatched tussle” between forces of “destruction” and “unbending spirits” of “self-determination”, “unnecessary brutality” and “unfading gestures” of “brotherhood”, “state & status” “discrimination” and “demonstration” of “people’s unending struggle”, “terrorism” and “tireless” efforts of “reconciliation”. Forces of “darkness” enemies and attackers of humanity still hold the exercises of “siege”, “annexations”, “boycott”, “planned socio-economic marginalization”, “political isolation” and genie of denial and rejection to other faiths are still fly sky-high unfortunately. Although the two sides signed a breakthrough peace accord in 1993, more than a quarter of a century on the two sides is arguably as far apart as ever.
Peace Plan & United Nations Security Council Resolution 242
Moreover, the Trump peace plan crushes over United Nations Security Council resolution 242, which requires Israel to return to its 1967 borders (or to their approximate, according to past US initiatives), and redraws the borders to suit Israel's settlements and facilitate its control. , the areas of East Jerusalem offered to the Palestinians consist of poor, crowded neighborhoods located behind a hulking concrete separation barrier.
The only concession the plan appears to demand of Israel is a four-year freeze on the establishment of new Israeli settlements in certain areas of the West Bank. But Israeli prime minister clarified later that this only applied to areas where there are no settlements and Israel has no immediate plans to annex, and that he considered the plan to impose no limitations on construction. It is clear-cut deviation from the recently proposed Middle East peace plan.
American-led "peace process”
In the last three decades of the American-led "peace process", successive administrations at least pretended to engage, consult or listen to the Palestinian side, even when doing Israel's bidding. It is hoped that US arrogance towards the Palestinians will backfire. Because continued deprivation of the Palestinians of their participation in the negotiations and debar them of their land, liberty and dignity will achieve nothing but further political chaos and widespread unrest in the region and beyond.
Repacking of long conflict between Israel and Palestinians and now presenting them as a permanent solution has some serious contradictions. Even after the Palestinians meet all the new conditions imposed on them, they would still ironically, be at the mercy of Israel's security forces. Furthermore, US envisions half a Palestinian state on half of the West Bank, but only after the Palestinians combat terrorism and recognise Israel as a Jewish state extending over some 90 percent of historic Palestine. It is feared that US’s embrace of apartheid in the holy land, as a pragmatic even indispensable prerequisite for so called peace and political stability adds insult to Palestinian injury in the future.
Inhumane Actions of Trump Administration
In this connection, the Trump administration has already closed down the office of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in Washington, suspended aid to the Palestinian Authority, transferred the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and repealed US recognition of the refugee issue by suspending all funding to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.
New Pandora Box
Trump's 80-page Middle East Peace Plan has backfired and opened a new “Pandora box”. Deal of the Century has become deal of destruction. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, who has taken part in previous US-led peace talks with Israel, vowed Mr Trump's plan will "not pass." Mr Abbas made the statement in the West Bank city of Ramallah following a meeting of various Palestinian factions including Islamist group Hamas, which pledged to "resist the deal in all its forms." “We will not kneel and we will not surrender,” he said, adding that the Palestinians would resist the plan through “peaceful, popular means” he further added.
“Trump’s plan allows for an independent state of Palestine, if it is demilitarized and the leadership recognizes Israel as a Jewish state. The plan rejects any dealings with Hamas, the Islamist militant organization that runs Gaza, and says Israel will not implement any deal unless the Palestinian Authority “or another body acceptable to Israel” has full control of the impoverished territory”.
Mixed International Reactions
The EU and Russia, which have tried to help revive the long-stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, pledged to study the plan but insisted it must satisfy both sides.
Top EU diplomat Josep Borrell said the bloc will "study and assess" Mr Trump's proposals on the basis of its commitment to a "negotiated and viable two-state solution that takes into account the legitimate aspirations of both the Palestinians and the Israelis." Germany, the EU's most powerful player, echoed Mr Borrell's point by calling for a balanced approach. "Only a negotiated two-state solution, acceptable to both sides, can lead to a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.
Britain, gave the warmest reaction. "This is clearly a serious proposal, reflecting extensive time and effort”. Russia said it would study the plan and called on Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate directly to find a "mutually acceptable compromise."
Whereas, Turkey the strongest advocate of the Palestinian cause strongly condemned the plan. Turkey's foreign ministry said in a statement "this is an annexation plan aimed at killing a two-state solution and extorting the Palestinian territory." Iran denounced the plan as a threat to regional stability and called it “shameful deal of the century”. "The shameful peace plan imposed by America on the Palestinians is the treason of the century and doomed to fail", the Iranian foreign ministry said.
Saudi Arabia welcomed the proposed peace plan and termed it a first step towards regional peace but stressed to need to protect the basic rights of Palestinians. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) called it first giant step towards conflict resolution but wants protection of Palestine and its people. Jordan supports every genuine effort aimed at achieving a just and comprehensive peace that people will accept.” He said the only path to a comprehensive and lasting peace was the establishment of an independent Palestinian state based on 1967 lines and with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Egypt is a main player in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It controls part of the Gaza Strip’s border and it has repeatedly been the country that brokers ceasefires between the Palestinians and Israelis.
Cairo was more cautious about the proposals, urging Israel and the Palestinians to carefully study it and hold talks with US mediation.
In a statement published the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said it "appreciates the continuous efforts exerted by the US administration to achieve a comprehensive and just settlement of the Palestinian issue". It urged the two sides to hold talks to find a solution "that satisfies the aspirations of both peoples to achieve a comprehensive and just peace", and sets the stage for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
Pakistan’s Principal Stance
“On its part, the government of Pakistan has consistently supported a two-state solution, as enshrined in the relevant Security Council and General Assembly Resolutions. Pakistan continues to support a just and lasting solution of the Palestinian issue, through dialogue and negotiations, that leads to the realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinians, including the right of self-determination. We renew our call for the establishment of a viable, independent and contiguous State of Palestine, on the basis of internationally-agreed parameters, the pre-1967 borders, and with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital”.
White House Promise
The White House promises that a future Palestinian state would be developed with bridges, roads and tunnels, including a high-speed corridor that links the West Bank and Gaza over Israeli territory, and enjoy a free-trade agreement with the United States. The Palestinians would also enjoy access to two Israeli ports, although Israel would retain control of the waters. The US has also unveiled an economic component of the plan in June 2019 in Bahrain, with promises of US$50 billion of investment in the Palestinian territories and its neighbors. The Palestinians boycotted the presentation, calling it a way to buy off their political aspirations.
Being prominent regional expert of GCC & Middle East I personally evaluate the new peace plan as the reflection of Netanyahu’s earlier vision of a Palestinian “state minus”. It consisted of Palestinians to have “all the powers to govern themselves and none of the powers to threaten us”. The plan stressed Hamas to be fully disarmed and Gaza to be demilitarized, while Israel retains the status quo of control over Palestinian territories for the next few years, including over the Jordan Valley.
Flaws & Fallacies
The US New Middle East Peace Plan (UNMEPP) is a “win-win” situation only for the US and its strategic ally Israel. It badly ignored all basic needs of struggling people of Palestine. It put Israel in a driving seat. It gives a strategic comparative advantage to Israel. The government of Palestine, political parties and people alike has all strongly condemned the newly announced peace plan. Moreover, all the major regional stakeholders have now strongly rejected this so called peace plan and termed it shame of the century and assault on peace. It has further polarized the Middle East.Concluding Remarks
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said it rejected US recently unveiled Middle East plan. The 57-member body, held a summit to discuss the plan in Saudi Arabia's Jeddah, stressed all member states not to engage with this plan or to cooperate with the US administration in implementing it in any form. It upheld that it did not meet the minimum rights and aspirations of Palestinian people. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) criticized the US New Peace Plan for Middle East terming it unacceptable” and contrary to UN values. Christian Saunders, interim commissioner-general of UNRWA, said, “the plan was extremely unsettling for the Palestine refugees living under occupation, under blockade and through conflict after conflict and crisis after crisis, hoping for justice and human rights”.
It has numerous inbuilt flaws. It protects the interest of occupier and destroys the genuine hopes and dreams of real owners of the land. It is true that after announcement of new peace plan conflict would not end. But it would change the geopolitical equation and socio-economic propositions in the days to come.
Being prominent regional expert of GCC & Middle East I assess that new peace plan will not guarantee a completely sovereign of Palestine but it will be partially sovereign. Restrictions on movement, construction and economic growth will be swept away. It is now obvious that from the “Balfour Declaration 1917” which was seized upon for the creation of a self-declared Jewish State by the promise of support for a “Jewish homeland” to the “Oslo Proces1993”, every attempt to find a solution has been seized by Israel as an opportunity to consolidate its land grab, secure new negotiating positions and exact new concessions from the Palestinians. In the past, peace plans have been nothing more than new staging grounds for the mounting of fresh attacks on the Palestinian national movement.
People of Palestine have been confronting the Israeli occupation for so many years. It has been unending journey during which hundreds of thousands innocent people have been martyred, wounded and kept in prisoners. They have also been victim of state terrorism and racist policies of Israel. Constant apartheid policies of Israel has badly damaged basic core of the Palestinian society. Nevertheless, it has been vivid reflection their collective struggle, determination, nationalism, patriotic spirits and above all political means to defend their rights of independence despite all hurdles. Unfortunately, with the patronage of international establishment and invisible support of the regional countries, Israeli occupation has been further strengthened which is still being ruthlessly implemented and making lives of common Palestinians miserable and crestfallen.
Israeli policy of annexation and grabbing of land from the real owners (Palestinians) have been creating havocs in the lives of common Palestinians. The Israel forces have been wagging unstoppable human siege, cruelty, brutality, drastic demographic decomposition, social and political marginalization, alienation, and callous killing in their home land. Israel forces are also engaged to destroy Palestinians limited resources of human survival in shape of SME, agriculture, demolition of comfort zones (houses/homes) and building, massive displacement, harming natural harmony and racist separation walls etc. According to World Bank report restrictions on Palestinian movement and access have serious repercussions on its fragile national economy.
The Israeli government continued to enforce severe and discriminatory restrictions on Palestinians’ human rights; economic mobility and restrict the movement of people and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip; and facilitate the unlawful transfer of Israeli citizens to settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The illegal Israeli blockade has been in place for more than a decade. The occupation forces do not spare any effort to harm the Palestinian people and its components, including destroying their properties, stealing their wealth and giving free hands to settlers in uprooting trees and harassing Palestinian farmers. They also use to push herds of pigs to our agricultural crops sabotage them all, as well as the destruction of vegetables and agricultural facilities we have. They use to damage our exports, especially roses, fruits, and seasonal vegetables in different ways. The occupation army is also putting obstacles in front of our small and medium-sized companies regarding imports, exports and construction.
The so-called peace plan or “Deal of the Century” is one of the United States conspiracies to support Israel. With the support of the US President Trump Jews are now attempting to undermine the basis of a two-state solution and to cut off the continuity of the old state of Palestine. The aim of so called deal of the century is to completely eliminate the Palestinian cause. This conspiracy has been rejected by Palestinian people and free people of the world.
The new peace plan is simply to further consolidate exploitation of Palestine. It has now finally shattered the two-state delusion, a vision that has been the fantasy of “progressive” supporters. According to US peace plan there are many political concessions with a new level of surrender. Arrogantly, Palestinians are ordered to abandon their pursuit of Israel in the International Criminal Court in exchange for what is nothing more than a colonial deal that surrenders every single one of their legally safeguarded right.
According to the plan, Israel would annex "the vast majority" of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank which would be connected to the rest of Israel with their own access roads and a transportation system. Ninety-seven percent of Israelis living in the West Bank would be incorporated into Israeli territory. The Jordan Valley would also be under Israeli sovereignty, giving Israel a permanent eastern border along the Jordan River
President Trump has claimed that his peace plan is a win-win solution for both sides but this is, in fact, a formula for perpetuation of illegal occupation of Palestinian lands by the Israel. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas dismissed the plans as a “conspiracy” firmly stating that neither Jerusalem nor rights of Palestinian people were for sale or bargain. The plan has overturned aspirations of Palestinians and with the passage of time it is becoming clear to them that the US was not an honest broker.
Frankly speaking, new peace plan not only inflicts further humiliation and suffering on the Palestinian people but also grants Israel’s politically powerful settler movement its every desire in its promise to “finish off the Palestinian cause.”. It pardons Israeli war crimes and violations of international law, while also resurrecting a system of grand apartheid not seen in a country with claims to democracy since South Africa in the 1980s.
The Palestinians have angrily rejected Trump’s plan, especially given they were excluded from the drafting of the proposal in the first place. The new peace plan has been dismissed as “worthless,” “one-sided” and even “criminal” by large swathes of the international community.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed a strong rebuke, calling the US president’s proposal “a plan to ignore the rights of the Palestinians and legitimise Israel’s occupation,” adding that “Jerusalem is sacred to Muslims” and it can “never be accepted.” Egypt urged the Palestinians to “carefully study the proposal.” The United Arab Emirates said it “offers an important starting point for a return to negotiations within a US-led international framework.”
Qatar expressed appreciation for “Trump’s endeavours,” while Saudi Arabia has essentially operated as Trump’s public relations liaison officer in the region at all unveiled stages of the “Deal of the Century.”
There is an urgent need to rise above the self-notions of prejudice, bigotry, hatred and even holy prophecies to reach at any befitting proposition in the days to come. It is need of the hour to apply holistic approach to put an end to horrendous crimes in the Middle East and especially in the holy land because integrity, sovereignty, pride and human survival of all the Palestinians are now at risk. Denial of international law may not be good omen for the spirits of modern globalization. In persuasions of “good ties syndrome with Israel”, Palestine and its people must not be scapegoated.
I conclude that Israel has to make a tough decision between “criminal apartheid” or a new future which respects international law and the political and other rights of everyone in the land between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea. It seems that the US new peace plan having no function other than to serve Israel’s “colonial takeover of Palestine”. Tough time is ahead for the region especially. struggling Palestinians.
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