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It is Not a Fate
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
June 14, 2018

The Trump administration, along with the Netanyahu government, believes that the Deal of the Century has the factors to apply it, and they find in its power over the positions of a few Arab officials what helps to impose the deal on the region. Therefore, the US administration does not offer its project to be deliberated or to mobilize the regional and international support on it, but as a one-way roadmap.

For the first time in the path of US contributions to the settlement, the gradual application precedes the plan's titles, details and even objectives. So, as a project for a regional solution with integrated fronts and function, Washington runs multiple operations rooms, that puts each party targeted in its plan under pressure and temptation in linking with the files that concerns it and the obsessions that it has.

It is noteworthy that the Palestinian official leadership has found itself in this deal without a negotiating card about the future of the occupied Palestinian territories and resolving the issues of the conflict with the occupation after the Trump administration has legalized its solution it in favor of Israeli expansionism.

Netanyahu has already considered that the decisions, taken by the Trump administration about the settlements, Jerusalem and the Palestinian refugees as his personal victories, ascribing them to his success in countering the Obama administration's attempts to impose a settlement freeze before the approximate negotiations in 2010. And that his speech at Bar-Ilan University (June 14, 2009) was a strong response to Obama's speech in Cairo (June 4, 2009), in which he spoke about the right of the Palestinians to an independent state and called for a settlement freeze and the cessation of the demolition of Palestinian homes.

Netanyahu was always digressing when showing his efforts with his friends in both the Republican and Democratic parties and in Congress to form a strong lobby, which exerted pressure on Obama's administration to backtrack on the content of its president's speech in Cairo about the settlement. Thus, he was able to overcome the approximate and direct negotiations without giving the Palestinians anything. In addition, the Secretary of State, Clinton, considered the Palestinian negotiator responsible for the failure of direct negotiations, which were held only twice, and collided with the refusal of Tel Aviv to discuss the core issues in the conflict, especially the issues of borders and Jerusalem, which it stuck to its position to limit the discussion on the security file only.

Netanyahu's close circle repeated that this result enabled the prime minister to strengthen his position in his Likud party first and then in the coalition government, especially in his success in ignoring the US demand to get Lieberman and his party out of the government and to include the leader of Kadima, Tzipi Livni (collapsed at that time and later faded away), to take over the negotiations.

It is possible to say, that Netanyahu mastered the management of the differences with Washington at that time, but the real reason for the erosion of Obama's speech on the settlements and the Palestinian state, is that what the speech proposed came to attract the Palestinian negotiator to negotiations after the failure of their rounds after the Annapolis Conference which did not even come out with a Framework Agreement. Also, the American verbal positions on the settlements have not been accompanied by serious pressure on the successive governments of the occupation, as well as on the Palestinian state. That was clear with the end of the transitional period, stipulated in the Oslo Accords, when Washington warned the official Palestinian leadership not to declare the establishment of a Palestinian state, after Tel Aviv's evasion from completing the handover of areas in the West Bank to the PA.

The positions of Obama's administration and its predecessors on ways to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have enabled the occupation to continue its expansionist policies at a rapid pace and to develop a strong settlement network. It was clear that the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state was diminishing over time, and the scenarios, presented by these administrations on Jerusalem, talk about certain neighborhoods around the city as a possible capital for the Palestinian state if it is established and this is a denial that East Jerusalem should be the capital. As for the issue of Palestinian refugees, the American and Israeli positions are one, in terms of denying the right of return and pushing for the resettlement and dispersion.

The leap in the US policy toward the Palestinian issue with the advent of Trump administration, is in the mechanisms of implementing this policy, not in its determinants, by moving from pressuring on the official Palestinian leadership to accept the American and Israeli conditions and visions, to taking steps and measures that affect the essence of the issue without taking into consideration the acceptance or refusal of them by this leadership. Trump and his administration have not developed any law that would put the Palestinians in front of new political and financial targets. What he's done is activating previous laws that affect the Palestinian political and popular situation and have not been canceled by the American administrations despite the signing of the Oslo Accords. He also has used powers that provided by Congress to him to decide to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

The situations, the conflicts, wars and divisions in the Arab region have contributed to the highlighting of the most brutal aspects of US policy, under the assumption, that say that the conditions are available for the United States to rearrange the situation of the region according to its interests. The same applies to the Palestinian situation in terms of the growing division and the continued absence of the unified national program, as well as the implications of this on the continuation of adhering to the Oslo political ceiling.

This does not mean that the Deal of the Century is an inevitable fate for the region in general and the Palestinians in particular, as putting a government or an official leadership in the range of political and financial pressure in one thing. And putting a people and its national rights under such pressure in another thing, especially that it lives either under the occupation or in the bitterness of asylum and diaspora. This reality of the Palestinian people daily produces thousands of reasons and motives to reject and resist any projects or initiatives aimed at perpetuating the reality of occupation and dispersion. Dozens of uprisings confirm the Palestinians' adherence to their rights and defense for them, and what the Gaza Strip has witnessed since the Land Day is one of the evidences

In addition to the above, the Deal of the Century is a blatant provocation to the Palestinians as it begins with the denial of their national rights. And more over it demands them to deny them!

There is nothing in the headlines of US policy (even for media consumption) about the Palestinian issue today what can be marketed by anyone. Therefore, it is important to emphasize that submitting the file of complaints, after a significant delay, by the official Palestinian leadership to the International Criminal Court should be a decisive option, and necessarily has its implications on Palestinian politics and internal files.

Mohammad Al-Sahli is the Editor in Chief of Al-Hourriah newspaper, the official speaker of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by Manal Mansour
Revised by Ibrahim Motlaq

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