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Palestinians brace for the worst ahead of Trump’s ‘peace plan’

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The anticipation can be felt across the country as Palestinians and Israelis alike wait, some with hope and many with dread, for US President Donald Trump to reveal his “peace plan” for the region on Tuesday.

While the details of the long-awaited “Deal of the Century” have largely been left up to speculation, it is largely understood that the deal will be heavily pro-Israel.

While Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu described the US proposal as a once in a lifetime “opportunity” that Israel “cannot miss,” the impending release of the plan has sparked impassioned reactions by Palestinians.

Reports surfaced on Monday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had refused a phone call with Trump, ahead of Trump’s meetings with Netanyahu and his rival Benny Gantz on Tuesday. 

The move was hailed by Palestinians across social media, who praised Abbas for sticking to his ongoing boycott of the Trump administration.

Palestinian leaders threatened to withdraw from the Oslo Accords, arguing that the Israeli acceptance of the deal — which allegedly supports Israel’s annexation of all West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley — would make the 1994 deal null and void.

The “death of the two-state solution” could be seen across Palestinian media, with the Prime Minister Mahmoud Shtayyeh saying “it is nothing but a plan to finish off the Palestinian cause.”

Some leaders, like chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, floated the idea of a One-State solution, saying “it is an attempt to destroy the two states [solution]. But  it will open the doors of ‘one person one vote’ from the river Jordan to the Mediterranean.”

Ashraf al-Ajrami, the former minister of prisoner affairs for the PA, defended Abbas’s refusal to speak to Trump on i24 News today. “This is an American-Israeli plan,” al-Ajrami said. It is intended to help Netanyahu win reelection and “help Donald Turmp maybe to be elected or to use this opportunity maybe before he will fall” to help Israel.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement called for intensifying boycott campaigns across the globe in response to the US plan.

“The plan Trump hatched with Israel’s far-right government aims to cement Israel’s apartheid rule over the Palestinian people,” the group said. “It is the final nail in the coffin of the moribund ‘peace process’, making #BDS the most effective response.”

On the ground, Palestinians across cities, villages, and refugee camps in the occupied territory braced themselves for massive protests on Tuesday, called for and supported by Palestinian political factions across the spectrum.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya warned of a new wave of violence in reaction to the plan, saying it could usher in a “new phase” in the Palestinian struggle against Israel’s occupation.

The protests are expected to take on a life of their own, with locals predicting they could last into the coming weeks and months, much like the protests following Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017.

Israeli media reported that the army was “preparing” for unrest by deploying extra troops across the West Bank in anticipation of Tuesday’s protests.

What to expect

Over the course of the past year, the release of Trump’s plan was delayed several times, mostly due to the tumultuous election cycle in Israel. The country will have its third election in a year on March 2.

With each delay came new leaks, mostly from Israeli media and officials, speculating as to the content of the plan. 

The US is expected to take a two-pronged approach to the plan — one economic, and one political. The economic part of the deal was unveiled in June, and promised US investments upwards of $50 billion in the Palestinian territories and neighboring Arab states over the course of 10 years.

The reception of the plan was lackluster, as many regional leaders hesitated to celebrate the promise of economic prosperity for Palestinians without seeing what political solutions the US had in store for them.

The culmination of months’ worth of leaks is a picture of a plan that is undoubtedly pro-Israel, conceding to the demands of the right-wing Israeli government without hesitation.

It is expected that the plan will accept Israel’s annexation of the Jordan valley and of hundreds of settlements across the West Bank — a move that has been widely condemned by the international community at large.

Some reports on Monday said that Trump would be unveiling maps showing the new borders of Israel, and a proposed “demilitarized” Palestinian state– a “state” whose borders would still be controlled by Israel.

The plan is expected to include a proposed bridge or tunnel connecting Gaza and the West Bank, and Israel’s potential withdrawal from parts of occupied East Jerusalem.

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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13 Responses

  1. brent on January 28, 2020, 1:13 am

    Erakat, “If Netanyahu begins annexation of Palestinian territory officially…….. it will open the doors of one person one vote from the river Jordan to the midditterraen.”

    Can’t figure how another round of protesting, no matter how long they continue or asking supporters to use their energy to ramp up the BDS Campaign, will be effective tactically for Palestinians under occupation.

    Regardless of what path Palestinians under occupation choose, a campaign for one person, one vote by Palestinian citizens of Israel and Jews who buy into equality, would change the politics significantly.

    Trump stated clearly, “one state or two.”

    • Kathleen on January 28, 2020, 1:11 pm

      One person, one vote, one nation the only way for a true democracy. Netanyahu chose an apartheid state once again.

      • jon s on January 28, 2020, 1:54 pm

        But there isn’t one nation.
        Therefore one person, one vote, two states.

      • eljay on January 28, 2020, 2:12 pm

        || jon s: But there isn’t one nation.
        Therefore one person, one vote, two states. ||

        If Israel annexes not-Israel, there will be one nation: Israel – the secular and democratic state of and for all people living in and up to n-generations removed from it, equally.

        It’s easy to understand why that troubles a supremacist like you.

      • annie on January 28, 2020, 2:38 pm

        But there isn’t one nation

        what definition of “nation” are you using jon? and what definition of state? certainly not one in which the citizens have no say over borders, airspace, aquifers, maritime waters, electromagnetic spectrum, trade or immigration. how could that be a legitimate state?

      • jon s on January 29, 2020, 3:10 pm

        There are different definitions. My old Webster defines “nation” as:” a stable community of people with a territory, history, culture and language in common.”
        But whatever definition you use , it’s clear that there are two nations here, not one. As to a definition of “state” , certainly not the situation you describe, which sounds like the Netanyahu-Trump Peace Sham.

      • Talkback on January 29, 2020, 3:56 pm

        jon s: “But there isn’t one nation.”

        Here we go again. Seriously, how many was this allready discussed on MW?

        When Kathleen says: “One person, one vote, one nation” she means “nation” in the legal and civic sense of the word which means one constitutive people, one nation OF A state as in United NATIONs.

        When you say “nation” the you only mean a “nation” WITHIN citizenship, that is a “national” subgroup.

        And that’s why Israel is an Apartheid state, because it is not the state of its constitutive people or all of its citizens and makes the distinction between nationals and citizens.

        jon s: ” As to a definition of “state” , certainly not the situation you describe, which sounds like the Netanyahu-Trump Peace Sham.”

        Israel is NEVER voluneteraly going to allow the two state solution and has been NEVER interested in this solution since the days of Herzl and has NEVER proposed a real two-state solution. Apartheid and a Palestinian Bantustan is the most they are willing to over. At least on paper.

  2. James Canning on January 28, 2020, 11:54 am

    Trump’s arrogant assumption that he can encourage Israel openly to defy international law, and in so doing position the US as a rogue state in order to support Israel, is hardly comforting. Israel can purport to annex various portions of the occupied West Bank.

  3. Kathleen on January 28, 2020, 1:00 pm

    Just watched and listened to Netanyahu address Kushner, Greenblatt, Ivanka etc etc about this sham of a plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Just watched the influence that Israel and the I lobby continue to have over U.S. foreign policy. Just watched and listened to the Palestinians get whacked again.

    Shameful farce!

  4. genesto on January 28, 2020, 1:06 pm

    This, hopefully, will be like manna to the cause for Palestinian for justice. First of all it should, FINALLY, put to death the 2SS and make a single democratic state the only viable option in the future (assuming the world will still reject apartheid).

    Secondly, I expect Israel, because of the objections of the settlement blocs, to reject this plan outright. They will NEVER agree to a Palestinian state, no matter how feeble it looks. This should put an end to any notion of the Palestinians ‘never missing a chance to miss a chance’, or Israel ‘not having a partner in peace’.

    Finally, it should spur on the BDS movement to greater achievements at an even faster rate. All of this, hopefully, will terrify the fine citizens of Israel to think twice, or three times, into carefully considering what their continued oppression of the Palestinian people has wrought for their future.

    Maybe this will finally wake them up!

  5. bcg on January 28, 2020, 1:51 pm

    On the “peace plan”, the Washington Post has published a piece by Mairav Zonszein titled “Christian Zionist philo-semitism is Driving Trump’s Israel Policy” – worth reading-

    The evangelical-heavy Trump administration is the most fervently Christian Zionist government the United States has ever had, making it a driving force of pro-Israel attitudes in Washington. U.S. support for Israel these days doesn’t mean just championing the idea of a Jewish state — it means supporting the idea of Greater Israel, the Israeli far right’s dream of a single state. The United States hasn’t merely dropped the support for a two-state solution, or stopped condemning Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. U.S. policy has shifted to endorsing the reality that Netanyahu’s right-wing government has put on the ground: an ethno-national state where Israel retains territories it occupied in the 1967 war, Jews are the sole sovereign from the river to the sea, Palestinians are denied self-determination and international law has no currency.

    • genesto on January 28, 2020, 4:08 pm

      I don’t believe the Trump administration is Christian Zionist in its basic nature, though it is doing just about everything the Christian Zionists want it to do in Palestine. Trump, whom the Neocons once hated and for whom Trump had (has?) a mutual contempt, was simply bought off by Adelson, Marcus, Singer and all the other uber rich Zionists in this country. He’s given them the Golan Heights and Jerusalem and could very well start a war with Iran, all decisions the billionaire Zionists bought and paid for with their hundreds of billions of dollars in donations to the Repubs since the 2016 campaign.

      Ideologically, Trump does hate Arabs and Muslims (at least those in the Middle East, which brings us back to his hatred for Arabs). But, I believe, he does want to avoid wars, though not strongly enough it appears to ward off these Zionist hawks. Bottom line, though, I don’t think he’s a Christian Zionist. He’s a white nationalist who will say and do what the Zionists want, as long as they are lining his and the Republican Party’s pockets.

      Once again, it’s really all about the Benjamins.

      • James Canning on January 28, 2020, 5:28 pm

        Trump curries favor from rich people no matter their color or national origin. I think he pretends to be something of a “white nationalist” to maintain his base.

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