Opinion

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

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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?

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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… Read more »

@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… Read more »