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The Price of the Partnership with USA
By: Moatasem Hamadeh
May 19, 2017

Yes, Donald Trump received Abu Mazen in the White House with the required hospitality.

Yes, Trump received Abu Mazen in the same hall that he received Angela Merekle.

And yes, both presidents stopped at the press conference, with a Palestinian flag standing behind, side by side with the US one.

And yes, Abu Mazen is one of the first ten presidents, who were received by Trump in the White House.

Does this hospitality means that there is a change in the US policy toward the Palestinian cause and national rights? Also, does the visit achieve its objective, to win the support of the US administration, in favor of this issue and these rights, and to move away from the Israeli ally, and approach the Palestinian "friend"?

Or does this hospitality, which the official and pro-Abbas media exaggerated to highlight, come to cover other issues, that were raised by the visit, and which the members of the Palestinian delegation to Washington kept them silent?

Did the visit and the meeting with Trump, reach a solution to the Jerusalem issue after Trump promised to transfer his country's embassy to it?

Did the visit reach a solution to the issue of refugees, in guaranteeing them the right of return under resolution 194? Have it reached a solution that guarantees the Palestinians their legitimate right in independence, sovereignty, return and self-determination? Have it dealt with the issue of the "two-state solution" and the issue of "Israel as a national homeland for the Jews"? The settlement issues? Prisoners and the Israeli siege on Gaza Strip? Otherwise, what does ensure that the visit was successful and achieve its objectives?

Far from any ambiguity, we return to the official statements, and to the White House press secretary Sean Spicer (4/5/2017):

• President Trump asked the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, to help to prevent incitement to violence, particularly in the media directly linked to the Palestinian Authority.

• President Trump expressed his concern about payments by the Palestinian Authority, to the families of "prisoners" in the Israeli prisons. Noting that Trump stressed the need to put an end and find a solution to this problem.

• Trump discussed with Abbas the necessary methods to combat terrorism and to develop the security coordination with Israel. Trump praised the role played by the Palestinian security services in this field and at the same time he pledged to provide permanent support for them.

• Trump promised to do all his effort to empower the Palestinian economy and provide economic opportunities for the Palestinians.

• At this time, while Abu Mazen was at the White House, US Vice President Mike Pence, was participating in "Israel's establishment" celebrations and he publicly stated in his festive address that his administration is still discussing the transferring of the US Embassy to the occupied Jerusalem. The White House press secretary declined to comment on the matter, stressing that "Trump's policy is not to reveal things publicly, including not conducting public negotiations".

Last and not least, Trump ignored the "two-state solution", he also ignored any reference to the "Palestinian state" and spoke about reaching "a comprehensive agreement that would end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict".

On the other hand, we should note that George Papu Dobolos, Trump's adviser in the Israeli affairs, during his recent visit to Tel Aviv to convey the results of Abu Mazen's visit, spoke for the first time about the West Bank by the name which is favored by Israel, "Judea and Samaria", which was well understood by Israel like an American pre-recognition of Israel's right to annex the West Bank. He repeated that with the head of the Settlements Council Yossi Dagan, when he said «We look forward to good relations with all of Israel, including historic Judea and Samaria», while the US Defense Secretary James Mattes said in a visit to Tel Aviv that «Israel is our old ally and friend in the region, and the threats that it is facing are the Shiite extremism led by Iran and the Sunni extremism led by ISIS, that was what I came for to discuss with the Israeli government".

Thus, in contrast to the "ambiguity" and the "lack of clear declaration" that the White House press secretary used with the Palestinian issue, there was a great deal of clarity in the American talk about Israel, which means that what is being planned at the White House, is the formation of a strategy, that its basis is "the interests of Israel first" and that all parties must formulate their regional policy to serve this interest.

So, from here, Trump spoke about the "comprehensive peace deal", without specifying its features. He also said that he supports what will be reached between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, as he is the one who understands that it is due to Israeli plans, the lines of the solution could be , drawn on the ground and on the table.

It is perhaps an unfortunate coincidence that a member of the Palestinian delegation to the White House, told that President Abbas agreed to resume negotiations from the point that he has reached with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, which was based on maps presented by Olmert himself to the negotiations, which included re-drawing the borders including annexing the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

So, why is this rejoicing about the results of this visit, and this praise of President Trump, that even one of the prompters of the Palestinian press referred to what he described as President Abbas' ability to influence Trump, to the extent that «the United States re-discovered itself in light of the historic visit».

It is clear that this media hurly-burly is no more than an attempt to cover up the Palestinian negotiator's crisis and the failure of his negotiating project, which was started with the Oslo Accords, and it collapsed with the Camp David negotiations (2000) and it still moves from failure to failure, along with a growing intransigence of the Israeli position.

This media hype is to cover up the American vision for the nature of the preliminary measures to resume negotiations and reach a "comprehensive peace deal", including:

• Negotiations without prior Palestinian conditions, regarding Jerusalem, borders, rights, nor the resolutions of the international legitimacy.

• No stop for settlements, as settlement is a sovereign Israeli right.

• No solutions outside the table of negotiation. Therefore, there is no heading to the Security Council, the UN General Assembly, the International Criminal Court, or any other body (e.g. the Palestinian official insistence on considering the issue of prisoners as a humanitarian issue and not a political issue, and instead of resorting to the United Nations and the International Criminal Court, the PA's Foreign Affairs Minister resorted to the ICRC ).

• Emphasizing on the security cooperation with Israel against terrorism (the Palestinian resistance).

• Stopping the salaries of the prisoners and compensation of families of martyrs.

• Stopping the media incitement against the occupation.

• Restructuring the education programs in the PA schools in harmony with the peace with Israel, and «stopping the incitement and hate policy» (this condition does not oblige Israel, for example).

Last but not least, returning to negotiations from scratch. Which means to delete a quarter of century of negotiating suffering and of life of Palestinian people, without appointing a time limit for the solution.

The Walla website, close to the Netanyahu government, said that President Trump had received Mahmoud Abbas generously and warmly and embraced him, but he returned him to Ramallah, empty handed without any achievement for his people.

The website forgot to mention Trump's package of procedures in Abbas case to be after that the Palestinian Authority's plan to reprogram itself, to become eligible, to be a partner in the US deal.

Moatasem Hamadeh is a member of the Political Bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by: Rawan Albash
Revised by: Ibrahim Motlaq

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