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This is not a peace deal: thoughts on Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’

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on 12 Comments

The following first appeared as a thread on Tareq Baconi’s Twitter timeline:

Broad thoughts on Trump’s plan, while awaiting the details:

1. Palestinian absence from negotiations that shape their fate is nothing new. With the expulsion of the PLO mission from DC, this is a contemporary manifestation of pre-Oslo American-Israeli dealings to design Palestinian autonomy. (Also of past colonial practices).

2. This is not a peace deal, it’s an Israeli domestic political ploy and a battle within Israel’s right. Should sovereignty be asserted in the West Bank? How many Palestinians should be made citizens? The incompatibility between Israel’s proclaimed democracy and Jewishness is at its starkest.

3. But the plan is also more than that. It’s the post-Oslo blueprint that hopes to distract international/local stakeholders in interminable legal/political battles as they pursue the specter of peace, while colonization of Palestinian lands continues apace.

4. Nothing changes on the ground as the one-state reality gets entrenched. Palestinians have been living in de facto annexation for years. A collective shrug (many responses I’m getting) is understandable. This is the expected outcome of a process rooted in offering a façade of peace.

5. That façade is being revamped. “Facts on the ground” used to be settlements. In the Trump/Bibi version, it’s how much of the West Bank can be annexed – all of the Jordan valley, parts of Area C, all of Area C? The discrepancy between these positions will spin much analysis.

6. Instead of a collective shrug, protests, already planned, are also understandable. Palestinians are again witnessing nothing short of the reconfiguration of international plans to sustain their dispossession. Some have described it to me as a nakba, others as our time’s Balfour.

7. Where is Palestinian anger directed? Americans for moving even more explicitly in support of Israeli expansionism. Europeans for not effectively safeguarding the two-state-solution and for subsidizing the occupation. Arab countries for being too preoccupied with their domestic agendas.

8. Equally, at a leadership that continues to put its faith in false hopes. Trump’s plan, whatever it contains, raises serious questions about the PLO/PA role, their ability to resist such manipulations, and their disconnect from the people who long ago lost trust in their elite.

9. Would things have turned out differently if the Palestinian leadership did not play along all these years? This plan is an opportunity to answer this question and return to basics. Many Palestinians are not calling for piecemeal negotiations around parcels of land, but for fundamental rights.

10. Is this the moment when stakeholders move away from trying to define political formations, and focus instead on the values that must accompany any future in Israel/Palestine? How might people in Israel/Palestine and their global alliances lead that shift?

Tareq Baconi

Tareq Baconi is the Israel/Palestine and Economics of Conflict Analyst at the International Crisis Group, and author of "Hamas Contained: The Rise and Pacification of Palestinian Resistance."

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12 Responses

  1. brent on January 28, 2020, 12:02 pm

    Baconi writes, “Palestinian absence from negotiations that shape their fate is nothing new.”

    Did not Palestinians rebuff Trump by refusing to meet with his emissary Vice President Pence? Ignore Trump saying he would be expecting concessions from Israel toward Palestinians, that good things would be coming their way. Ignore his attempts to speak by phone?

    Baconi , “Many Palestinians are not calling for piecemeal negotiations around parcels of land, but for fundamental rights.”

    Seems Palestinians are without a consensus on what they are calling for, or even if they should negotiate to get there.

    Baconi, “How might people in Israel/Palestine and their global alliances lead that shift (to values)?”

    Will not Palestinians themselves have to lead the way?

    • eljay on January 28, 2020, 2:16 pm

      || brent on January 28, 2020, 12:02 pm ||

      Hi, brent. Any thoughts on the question I posed here?

      || brent: … When Trump’s ego is on the line, he can be manipulated. He wants to be the greatest of all time. Perhaps the Palestinian leadership will be able to capitalize on that ego and outsmart him. ||

      Trump is a Zionist and – like all Zionists – he believes in Jewish supremacism in/and as large as possible a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”. His ego and his bank account are generously stroked by Zionists and by the “Jewish State” of Israel.

      Serious question: What, exactly, can the Palestinians do to “outsmart him” and cause him to turn away from all that and become a staunch advocate of justice, accountability and equality in I-P?

      Thanks.

      • Donald on January 29, 2020, 7:54 am

        Yeah, imagine a fair and just solution for Palestinians that depends on their ability to manipulate a sociopath. A sociopath who happens to be surrounded by people who are extremely racist against Palestinians.

        Brent, if you happen to read this, I honestly don’t know what to make of you. I had thought you were someone with the views I held several years ago, but you have a pattern of blaming Palestinians and their supporters for literally everything that goes wrong. Even when Palestinians are shot down by Israelis with hundreds killed and thousands wounded, you urge them to protest peacefully because that will win over Westerners and Israelis. In the real world the liberal NYT published several pieces defending the slaughter and most NYT readers didn’t give a crap, most Israelis didn’t either.

        And now you blame Palestinians for Trump’s racist policies.

        I am not going to jump to conclusions— people can sincerely adopt the most bizarre positions out of frustration maybe. But you aren’t helping. Not even a little bit.

    • Misterioso on January 29, 2020, 10:13 am

      @brent

      “Will not Palestinians themselves have to lead the way?”

      It’s somewhat difficult for Palestinians ‘to lead the way’ while most of the world looks the other way and they are forced to live under the brutal, fascistic, expansionist, racist boot of “armed to the teeth” illegal Zionist occupiers.

      • jw500 on January 30, 2020, 8:06 pm

        They are not forced to live under the “boot.” They chose that path from day 1 by launching a genocidal war in 1947 to remove the Jews (drive them into the sea). They have followed that with one mistake after another. Now their choices boil down to accept peace on Israel’s terms (which actually are quite generous and more generous than Assad or Hussein would have given them), maybe with slight modifications if they want to negotiate, fight to the death (which they will lose) or go live in one of the many other Arab Muslim nations.

        Now I understand they chose to fight because they don’t recognize Jews as a people entitled to any land, especially not “Muslim land” (i.e., land conquered by military force by the Muslims in the 7th century). But they lost. And now they have to accept the consequences.

      • Bumblebye on January 30, 2020, 9:47 pm

        Hmmph.
        I see a great tit has fluttered into the comment section.
        Trilling the thoroughly debunked myth history nonsense peddled by israel and its ardent supporters, while its own archives contain more of the truth.

      • oldgeezer on January 31, 2020, 12:06 am

        shorter jrw ….

        Bow down before your masters.

      • Talkback on January 31, 2020, 2:42 am

        jw500: “They chose that path from day 1 by launching a genocidal war in 1947 to remove the Jews.”

        Actually the Zionist launched a genocidal war in 1947 and did remove almost all of the Nonjews, because after the Nonzionist rejection of the partition scam Jews chose to set up a state through war and make it Jewish through expulsion and massacres.

        When in April 1948 the Security Council decided to put partition on ice, the Jews started their offensive operation under Plan Daleth. At the end of April 1948 the Arab states accepted a US proposal for truth, while the Jewish Agency rejected it.

        “…, U.S. officials there faced the Jewish Agency’s rejection of a truce as well as a trusteeship arrangement to replace what the State Department and the White House conceded to be the failure of the partition plan. In evaluating the situation, Robert McClintock, a special assistant to Dean Rusk, then director of the Office of UN Affairs, deliberated over the implications of these developments. It may well be, he speculated, that Washington would soon be confronted with a situation created by Jewish military forces, including the Haganah, the Stern Gang and Irgun, in which it would have to determine whether a “Jewish armed attack on Arab communities in Palestine is legitimate or whether it constitutes such a threat to international peace and security as to call for coercive measures by the Security Council.”15 Washington would face what McClintock called an “anomalous situation,” in which “the Jews will be the actual aggressors against the Arabs. However, the Jews will claim that they are merely defending the boundaries of a state which were traced by the UN and approved, at least in principle, by two-thirds of the UN membership.””
        http://mepc.org/journal/middle-east-policy-archives/us-policy-israel/palestine-1948?print

        jw500: “Now their choices boil down to accept peace on Israel’s terms …”

        Which is why Israel’s pronlonged occupation is illegal, thank you for reminding us. And btw, peace is never imposed by the oppressor. Just more oppression.

        jw500: “But they lost. And now they have to accept the consequences.”

        What are the “consequences” of the oppressed who tried to defend their country against partition and expulson of its people? More violation of international and human right law? That’s Nazi rhetorics. Is that what you wold also said about Jews who tried to resist Nazism? That they lost and had to accept the consequences?

      • Talkback on January 31, 2020, 5:04 am

        jw500: “They are not forced to live under the “boot.”.

        Yeah, if only they would accept to`either volunteraly live under the “boot” or just leave, right? This has always been the boot makers wet dream.

  2. brent on January 29, 2020, 3:36 pm

    @eljay, “Serious question: What, exactly, can the Palestinians do to “outsmart him” and cause him to turn away from all that and become a staunch advocate of justice, accountability and equality in I-P?”
    ____________

    I base my take with the proposition the key to change is to influence the politics in this system of competing interests. To empower the support system’s ability to influence the public and therefore Congress. Some say it is “blaming the Palestinians” to suggest rocks, rockets, kites have not been effective. They feed the major problem, the public perception that Israelis are the victims and “have the right to defend themselves”, something all politicians have regurgitated over and over. Violence is Israel’s game and counterviolence permits it to do what it wants when it wants without paying a political price.

    Also, we see Abbas not understanding how politics works. One disagrees agreeably while holding position. You avoid cheap shots. as all heads of states do, especially when you are dealing with an egomaniac who has shown he will react negatively to disrespect.

    The most effective way to outsmart any politician is to influence his public’s perceptions. (a book in itself) With Trump, recognizing him for who he is, a person who overvalues his sense of worth, who has an ego problem, who punishes all who publicly criticize him and wanting to prove they were all wrong by becoming the greatest of all. Public respect is of the utmost importance,as are recognition and praise. Restate things he has said, for example, ” I’ll be good with one state or two so long as both agree”. Asking for clarifications for example what he was conveying when he said, “I’m not deciding sovereignty or borders of Jerusalem”. Most important you don’t say “No” to him, you state where you agree and where you don’t.

    Trump will never become a staunch advocate for anything than his aggrandizement You want him to be great by making a deal of the century, one that all can agree on, a win-win. A win-lose will not be successful. So, in the end, Trump needs Palestinians to sign on. NEGOTIATE with him, not Netanyahu. This deal he’s laid down likely reflects the way he perceives the way he was treated personally. Abbas’ rebukes were costly. I reason where we are today has also been influenced by Arafat’s disdain for the concept of PR/politics.

    Donald slightly misreads what I wrote as “pleasing westerners”. My angle is more violence has worked against Palestine, the ability of their supporters to make headway has reinforced Israel’s greatest advantage, victimization, all while denying/undermining the majority’s non-violent approach. Are Palestinians going with non-violence or violence? Both together will not be effective.

    A friend holds a mirror, provides feedback. I believe placards are far away more powerful than rocks, ESPECIALLY in this conflict (media corruption), so I write at the expense of being seen as siding with the Israelis, or Trump, as blaming the victims.

    Had there been a serious campaign by Israeli citizens for equality under the law, placards, marches, Trump’s plan today would have been “outsmarted”. It would have changed the politics significantly. If Palestinian citizens do not take the lead, that won’t happen.

    I don’t know whether supporters around the world would get off their rear ends and build upon their campaign. That is another question. However, Palestine unresolved can have side costs way into the future. Perhaps the destruction of Iran.

    Something good may come of Trumps plan, the RECOGNIZED death the 2SS. It has opened the door to the PLO’s secular state. Erekat is now talking one person, one vote for Palestinians under occupation. Palestinians will have to take the lead. Respect, even when not reciprocated, is key.

    • eljay on January 29, 2020, 7:40 pm

      || brent: @eljay, “Serious question: What, exactly, can the Palestinians do to “outsmart him” and cause him to turn away from all that and become a staunch advocate of justice, accountability and equality in I-P?”
      ____________

      … Public respect is of the utmost importance,as are recognition and praise. Restate things he has said … Asking for clarifications … Most important you don’t say “No” to him, you state where you agree and where you don’t. …

      … Trump needs Palestinians to sign on. NEGOTIATE with him, not Netanyahu. … ||

      That’s it? Trump is a Zionist, fully bought and paid for. Zionists and Israel have vigorously stroked his ego and fattened his wallet and, in return, he has handsomely rewarded their greed and desires. And the way to get him to turn away from all this – the way for Palestinians to “outsmart him” and get him to pursue justice, accountability and equality in I-P – is to:
      – restate things he has said;
      – ask for clarifications;
      – not say ‘no’; and
      – NEGOTIATE with him (what exactly are they supposed to negotiate with?).

      I appreciate that you took the time to reply but, sorry to say, I’m seriously underwhelmed.

      • Donald on January 30, 2020, 2:54 pm

        Yeah, Brent, I think you are sincere, but that won’t work. Again, what you are asking is for Palestinians to do something which has to my knowledge never happened. You want them all to be perfect exemplars of nonviolence in the face of a brutal violent foe. The civil rights movement wasn’t perfectly nonviolent. There were riots in the mid and late 60’s. Racists could and did point to those riots as excuses for their own law and order racist reactions. But people of good faith would point out that none of this justified Jim Crow.

        I know less about India;’s independence movement, but I am pretty sure there was violence there. There was violence in South Africa–quite a lot of it.

        Again, what you are doing, however well-intentioned, is destructive, or would be if it weren’t simply one person making comments in a blog comment section. But if your views and attitudes became widespread, it actually amounts to a gift to the Israeli side. The unmistakeable implication of your position is that kites and rocks (and sometimes actual terrorism) by the Palestinians is the reason for the lack of an Israeli -supported peace and justice movement. You want the Palestinians to be a thousand times better than the Israelis or the Americans and if they aren’t, it’s their fault that they can’t be given basic human rights. You say you are just giving them advice and criticism as a friend and I guess I believe you mean well, but you sound exactly like every liberal I’ve ever read making excuses for the Israelis, because that is the logical endpoint of your position.

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