The Web

Articles & Analyses

Back to Oslo through the Trump Gate
By: Moatasem Hamadeh
March 21, 2018

Since more than three weeks ago (and perhaps a little more), the US administration has been talking about finishing the formulation of the "deal of the century" to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and that soon to be launched.

These statements, however, do not deny at all, but try, through some concealment to cover an important issue: that the deal is ready, and that, although not publicly announced as paragraphs and clauses, it has taken its way to be applied. Also, it has been leaked through some sources, to the Palestinian side, some Arab capitals, and the capitals of the European Union.

Perhaps the report which was submitted by Saeb Erekat, secretary of the Executive Committee, to his chairman, on the eve of the Central Council's meeting on January 15, 2018, on which Abu Mazen depended in dealing with the fate of the city of Jerusalem, as the Trump administration wants, was based on those leaks.

Thus, we can say that the major elements of the deal of the century are no longer a secret, but at the same time, they have not yet become an official project, adopted and proposed by the United States through its institutions, as a basis for resuming the negotiating process.

So, the deal of the century has not been announced, but it is necessarily an Israeli- American consultative issue. As the facts confirm that the US-Israeli congruence, is not only on the major elements, but even on the details, and it has reached its highest levels, so that President Trump and his guest, Netanyahu, no longer need more than a quarter of an hour of dialogue and discussion, to discuss the Palestinian issue, and then move on to other issues, including the nuclear file, strategic missile industries in Iran, the presence of Hezbollah in the Golan, and the developments in the situation in southern Lebanon.

What is striking, in all of this, is the official talk of President Trump and the State Department spokespersons that the Palestinian side should be involved in the negotiations in the framework of this deal. Trump was very clear when he stressed that the Palestinians must be brought to the negotiating table.

Also, these words are not just statements made here and there. They are an expression of a policy, in which the White House, along with the European Union, are cooperating with some Arab capitals to provide the necessary conditions to bring the Palestinian side to the negotiations and overstep the two conditions proposed by President Abbas: Excluding the United States' unilateral sponsorship of the negotiations, and the US administration's withdrawal from its decision to the recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and transfer its Embassy to it (or "freezing" it). (The term "freezing" was mentioned in Abu Mazen's speech in the Security Council on February 20, 2018, "freezing" is something, and cancellation is another).

What are Abu Mazen's demands:

• Not to return to the sole US sponsorship of negotiations.

• "Freezing" the American decision on the city of Jerusalem and the transfer of the embassy to it.

• The adoption of the "two-state solution" with Israel.

At the same time, Abu Mazen confirms his commitment to negotiations as a single option, and his willingness to go as far as possible to reach a "peaceful solution" with the Israeli side.

Moreover, he confirms his rejection to all alternative options, to the option of negotiations, and he is ready to disrupt the decisions of the Central Council, and manage the procrastination game, through the implication of their near implementation to shed the ashes in the eyes of the Palestinians, and to use these decisions (without their implementation) as tools of pressure to return to negotiations and resolve permanent status issues, as stipulated in the Oslo Accords.

This does not anger neither the Europeans, nor the relevant Arab capitals, especially since the alternative to the single American patronage, is the sponsorship of an "international team" in which the United States is a party, i.e. there will be no exclusion of the United States. Rather, it is necessary to find a "partnership" in managing the negotiations that does not cancel neither the negotiating basis, its authority, mechanisms nor does it have any powers to compel Israel to abide by the resolutions of international legitimacy, namely, resolutions 242 and 338.

This talk would seem to close the door before the United States, but it actually leads to two outcomes:

• The first is that it opens the door to Abu Mazen to go back to the negotiations, with the preservation of face, especially after he promised to react properly regarding the "deal of the century" towards the American side (and then he retracted with European- Arabic advice).

• The Second, it allows to the United States to regain its position (which it has not lost) in managing the negotiating process, not in the old version, but with "companions". However, the irony this time lies in the following: The United States was formerly a single party, but it did not offer binding solutions to the Palestinian side, even it was running the negotiating process with a bias towards the Israeli side. This time, the US may return to sponsoring the negotiations, along with others, but with a "binding" project for the Palestinian side, and the job of negotiations is not to reach a "compromise solution", but to "agree on the mechanisms of the American solution".

Therefore, the American "development" regarding the formulation of the "deal of the century" can be traced, and its consultations with the Arab capitals and the European Union can be seen. At the same time, it is possible to note that Abu Mazen retreated from attacking the United States and the Trump administration, while continuing to criticize the "deal of the century" (with no talking about reacting properly) and his clear willingness to return to negotiations, under the Oslo ceiling, as stated in his speech at the UN Security Council on February 20, 2018.

The American statements and the ongoing consultations have confirmed that the United States made some amendments that do not affect the major elements of the "deal of the century" in its first edition:

• Firstly, about the "two-state solution" the United States, as Saeb Erekat explained in his recent statements, on the US "deal", has reverted to the principle of "two-state solution" for two peoples. The Israeli state is a national homeland for Jews in the world, and the Palestinian state is a national homeland for the Palestinians. Such a solution would have major repercussions, foremost of which would be the re-delineation of Israel's borders (i.e., the cancellation of the borders before June 4 in favor of Israeli expansion) and revoking the right of return of refugees . In addition, the residents of the Galilee Triangle (Umm al-Fahm, Wadi Ara and others) to be moved to the borders of the Palestinian Authority. As well as legalizing the policy of bringing the Jews of the world to Israel and the transformation of the Arab Palestinian population in Israel into third or fourth class citizens, i.e. a national and religious minority deprived of its distinct rights.

Which means the return to recognize Israel as a "Jewish state", while the leaders of the national Palestinian action inside Israel requested from the Palestinian official leadership to reject it and warned of the dangers of approving it with all its disastrous repercussions on the Palestinian issue.

• Secondly, on the sponsorship by an "international team", the United States has confirmed that it sees no problem towards the participation of an international team in overseeing the negotiations at the "right moment". As it has become clear, the United States is already planning to hold an "international conference", like the Annapolis conference or the Paris Conference, under the Oslo Accords, not under the UN umbrella and its resolutions on the Palestinian national cause and rights. And the international Quartet committee (United States, Russia, the European Union and a representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations) to participate in the “Conference” , joined by some Arab countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, perhaps Morocco, the UAE, and later Sudan, Bahrain, in addition to Israel and the Palestinian team. The conference will hold an opening session or two and then split into two parallel frameworks:

- A framework for bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian team to complete the Oslo negotiations (as stipulated in the Accords and confirmed by Abbas's speech in the Security Council), to reach the "two-state solution", with its known repercussions.

- A regional Arab-Israeli framework, under the patronage of the Quartet committee, to complete the steps of Arab-Israeli normalization and normalize the relations of the Muslim countries with Israel, so that the normalization process is ready or even implemented with the birth of the "Palestinian-Israeli solution according to the so-called the Arab Peace Initiative (Beirut 2002).

• Thirdly, with regard to Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority will only accept the American statement that President Trump did not specify where Jerusalem which he recognized as the capital of Israel is. Also, he did not specify where Jerusalem which he would transfer its embassy to is. The delimitation of Jewish Jerusalem and Arab Jerusalem would be one of the main topics on the agenda of the bilateral negotiations, and the Israeli and Palestinian sides are concerned with defining the two cities (the Jewish Jerusalem and the Arab Jerusalem) and drawing the borders of each.

And with some of the media demonstrations, which may arise in some Arab international capitals, and resonate in Ramallah and the media of the PA, the political scene is being prepared to return to the negotiations, so that the PA has made a major session, that has launched on 6/12/2017, in its rejection of the Trump decision on Jerusalem, to return at a later date, to co-exist with this decision, withdraw from all previous positions, freeze the decisions of the Central Council, and return unsuccessfully to the Oslo Accords and their political, security and economic commitments, which have not been touched at all, and still retain their luster.

Moatasem Hamadeh is a member of the Political Bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by Manal Mansour
Revised by Ibrahim Motlaq

Share |
copyright © 2004 - dflp-palestine.net