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The Harbingers of the "Twentieth Meeting"
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
August 25, 2017

Washington denies the liberal character of Palestinian cause, because of its interests with the occupation.

There are many questions that the Palestinian Authority expects from Trump's delegates to answer. In the forefront of these answers, is the US position on the "two-state solution" and settlements, after Ramallah has been assured over 19 previous meetings toward the "positive" position of legitimacy of the official Palestinian leadership.

It seems obvious, that the optimism that the PA has been having after Trump's contact with President Abbas, has begun to fade away, since US Envoy Greenblatt, has sat down stimulated and cautious behind the barricades of his nine terms, that he talked about, at the PA's provincial headquarter, where a joint team has been formed, only to implement these terms, which primarily are Israeli requests that were submitted by Washington on behalf of it.

It is also clear, that Trump's administration is dealing with its terms as one package, and it is not enough to execute some of them to escape from American observation and Israeli anticipation. The 20th meeting is within a stone's throw away, and PA may wait for the next meeting and may not receive the answers, that it is awaiting.

The truth is, that the Trump administration has provided a lot of answers about its position on Palestinian issue, as in the nine conditions that were approved, there is a denial of the liberal character of this issue, as it has been made by the Zionist invasion and the consequences of it, that have been represented by Nakba, demographic replacement, and then occupying the rest of Palestinian land and spreading settlements and settlers in all over it.

This fact is approved by what these conditions have stipulated, starting from cutting the salaries of families of the martyrs and prisoners, deleting the history of struggle from the Palestinian memory, and considering the pursuit of freedom from occupation and achieving the independence, as an incitement to violence and terrorist practices.

The American delegate has already explained that the failure to implement these conditions would make President Trump's reluctant to achieve the settlement that has been advocated by him. This means, that the objective of these conditions, is to rehabilitate the Palestinian situation, in line with the specifications, that Tel Aviv wants to be available in the negotiating partner.

The PA recognizes that any attempt to implement these conditions, will fuel a public and political anger. Al-Aqsa uprising recently confirmed that the Palestinian people, has red lines that are not limited to the moral and political status of Al-Aqsa Mosque; it also extends to many issues and essentially the issues of martyrs and prisoners.

The American misunderstanding of Palestinian issue is based on common interests with the occupying state, and not a mental deficiency in understanding the complexities of this issue and its confusions.

The strategic relations, that have been produced by these interests, have specified determinants, including that Washington should not put pressure on Tel Aviv, to take a position that it rejects. This was evident, at the Camp David summit in the summer of 2000, when the Clinton administration adopted the Israeli vision for the future of Jerusalem and put its pressure on Palestinian negotiator to accept it. Before that, Washington had not exerted any pressure on Israel, to implement the entitlement of the end of transitional period of Oslo Accords in 1999, although it was the US administration that sponsored and co-signed the agreement.

On the issue of settlement, which the leadership of PA is waiting answers from "Trump" on them, the new administration has given many proofs that confirm its concern for the safety and survival of settlements. All that the US administration has tried to market to the Palestinian side, is its (future) intention to initiate organizational plans for the settlement expansion, and direct it within the framework of major settlement blocs, and in this, there is an approval to annex settlements to Israel.

Trump has repeatedly declared his rejection to the Obama administration's ignoring of UN Security Council resolution on settlements and he has pledged to rectify what happened. Since the start of Trump's administration to date, the US ambassador in Security Council has reiterated that Washington will not allow any resolution against Israel to be passed. Trump declared many statements, starting with announcing the "death of two-state solution", to the regional framing of settlement, which its highlighted titles and objectives are about accelerating the Arab official normalization with the occupying state; at the time of emerging of many warnings, that have warned of the adoption of Trump's administration to the "economic peace" plan which was launched by Benjamin Netanyahu many years ago.

This administration did not hide its preference for settlement through multiple paths that are separated from one another. In each path, one of the known main issues is negotiated without connecting the fate of any path to the other. This has not happened even in the implementation of mechanisms of Oslo Accords, which have at least kept the borders, security and Jerusalem issues on a single path.

The Palestinian negotiator is pessimistic when he thinks about his expectations from the current US administration toward the settlement, and maybe he is sighing on the previous administration, which at least issued enough promises to operate the settlement marketing machine and to bet on it, even among PA and its affiliates.

It is not useful here to explain the sluggish positions of Trump's administration (which are known), that they are linked to the priorities of this administration and to put the Palestinian issue at the lowest level of its attention; because this was applied by the previous administration, which had already announced the US president's refusal to continue the settlement process and it was exclusively referred to the Secretary of State.

However, the Trump administration and many regional parties were unable to not concern about what happened about Jerusalem, during the uprising of Jerusalemites, against the occupation measures in Al-Aqsa Mosque and its surroundings. The event was big, escalating and open to all odds. Before the occupation retreated from its actions, these parties, including the Trump administration, realized that there was no way to achieve compromises, and they could not create a successful way of communication with the rebels to adjust their demands, because the leadership of uprising, was firm and its aims were: either the occupation would withdraw or the confrontation would be escalated, and the victory was a clear message to all.

The occupation has realized that the road is not always paved for it, to implement the expansion and Judaization plans. The Palestinian Authority has also known that there are limits to any waiver that would be proposed, no matter how much pressure is associated with this proposal. Moreover, the region has realized that "Trump's peace" is not an easy deal, when it requires an overstepping to the red lines of Palestinians.

Through promises or ambiguities, the path of settlement, will not be opened in line with the US and Israeli limitations. While the supposed path of Palestinian situation, and in the forefront, the "two authorities" in Ramallah and Gaza, would be open to major national achievements, in case of availability of a political will to eliminate the division, restore unity and respond to the entitlements of complex crisis of this situation.

Many advanced decisions which were taken by the national meetings, in the presence of all, and what has been previously accomplished ensures implementing them, but again it is just the political will.

Mohammad Al-Sahli is an Editor in Chief of Al-Hourriah newspaper, the official speaker of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Translated by: Hassan Barazi
Revised by: Ibrahim Motlaq

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