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Between the Announcement and the Implementation
By: Moatasem Hamadeh
April 2, 2018

At the end of last month and early this month, the estimates have come on the proximity of Trump's announcement of the “Deal of the Century”, to solve the Palestinian issue, end the Arab-Israeli conflict and re-shape the political situation in the region through a “regional alliance”, that confronts terrorism, which is supported by Iran, where Israel is an active member in this alliance, along with a number of Arab countries, active in the region.

Then, the estimates have said that Trump has postponed the announcement of the “deal of the century” until further notice.

At the same time, it is noted that the US Special team regarding the region cause, included by envoy Jason Greenblatt and Trump's son-in-law, Kouchner, is still carrying out its duties, with no solution has been announced, which leads us to ask: Have Trump retracted his “deal” in the region? Or have he been hit by some obstacles? Which required the postponement of the announcement of it for a period to come.

In an attempt to find an answer, it is useful to stress a very important conclusion, which is a consensus of a remarkable number of observers and analysts, which says: The “deal of the century” has never been pre-planned, and there is no agenda has been set for implementing it, like the road map, for example, which was proposed in 2013, but it is a plan with gradual steps of implementation, until it is fully built practically, with its theoretical construction. In this context, adjustments can be made to its steps, in line with the emerging realities.

For example, Trump declared his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and decided to transfer his country's embassy to it on February 6, 2017, before the announcement of the “deal”, note that, the “Jerusalem decision” is a key part of the deal, whose goal is to exclude Jerusalem from negotiations. In the same context, the Trump administration announced its decision to relocate the embassy before the end of 2019. As it turned out that the official Palestinian, Arab and the Muslim countries' reactions, were limited to statements of denunciation and condemnation, without any actual steps, Trump announced the decision to transfer the embassy on May 14, 2018.

He also announced his well-known position on the right of return, the issue of refugees, and the dismantling of UNRWA, in a third step in the implementation of the "deal of century" before the announcement of it. The same matter, is with the settlement issue, which in Trump's opinion has become a legitimate Israeli act, because it targets settlements that ultimately will be included to Israel; i.e. they are now part of Israel, and this position towards settlement, is one of the main items of “the deal of century”, whether have been announced or not.

The steps of the "Deal of the Century" are not limited to the Palestinian side, but they also target an important number of regional aspects, including:

• Questioning the feasibility of the nuclear agreement with Iran and the threat of disengaging from it, in an attempt to return to the previous stage that justifies the imposition of economic, financial and diplomatic embargo on Tehran.

• Accusing Hezbollah and the popular organizations in Iraq of terrorism and imposing financial sanctions on them, with special attention to Hezbollah.

• The blatant interference in the Syrian situation, through the establishment of military bases, by the arming and training of various armed groups, and providing political and security protection for some of them.

• Promoting the normalization of Israeli-Arab relations from various economic, tourist, sport and cultural aspects, and others.

• Forming networks of security and intelligence cooperation in the region, under the auspices of the United States and its leadership, within the framework of multiple objectives, all under the title of “counter-terrorism”.

• Developing the relationship with Israel to the extent of regional identification in visions and strengthening the military capabilities of the Hebrew state, including the establishment of US military bases in the Negev, and the implementation of training plans between the Israeli and American armies, simulating the “regional wars”.

In this context, observers do not rule out that the broad changes in the administration (in the State Department, the National Security Council, and the CIA) come within the needs of the "century deal", especially in the context of the differences between Trump and his Secretary of State, Tillerson .

Thus, it is dangerous to regard the delay of announcement of the “deal” as a retreat of Trump, or as an expression of the complexities that impede its progress, as there is no time limit to announce it, but it is based on a principle, which is a “binding plan for implementation”, not for discussion, or negotiation. A plan to serve the United States and Israel, in the region, and there is no retreat from fulfilling the interests of the both parties and everyone should rearrange their situation in the region to receive the entitlements of the plan, and its repercussions.

In light of this, what do we find, if we head to the Palestinian situation?

1) The Palestinian situation is increasingly divided, especially after the Gaza incident, and the reaction of the Palestinian Authority president and its government, as well as the Palestinian, Arab and international positions that warned of the danger of going to the complete separation between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, especially in light of what the American - Israeli circles plan for the Gaza Strip, whose titles are humanitarian, but their content, related to the “deal of century” plan and the final solution to the Palestinian issue as drawn by the Netanyahu government.

2)Delaying in implementing the decisions of the Central Council, and maneuvering around them, that gradually lead them to be frozen with the decisions of the Council on March 5, 2015.

3) A return to the Oslo Accords, from the so-called “President's vision”, i.e. the speech of the President of the Palestinian Authority to the Security Council on February 20, 2018, in which he proposed returning to negotiations of the permanent solution under the Oslo Accords, within an international framework as the both failed Annapolis and Paris conferences.

4) In order to pass all this, the Palestinian leadership continues to marginalize the national institution, such as the Executive Committee (in particular, which is said to be the government of exile for the State of Palestine, and is less than a consultative body), and solve matters by authoritarian laws and decisions, such as the decision of inviting the National Council to convene on April 30, 2018, without preliminary consultations, to ensure its success, and put agreed mechanisms, procedures, documents and outputs for it, to be a station for reunification of the Palestinian situation , in confronting the entitlements of the “deal of century” and the Israeli aggression.

Trump may delay the announcement of the “deal of century”, and may not even announce it at all, but he is going on it, and all that revolves around us, confirms that he is serious in his saying: “It is a plan for implementation”. Without yet being confronted, at the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic levels, with any practical step.

Moatasem Hamadeh is a member of the Political Bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by Rawda Abo Zarqa
Revised by Ibrahim Motlaq

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