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The Settlement and the "Deal"
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
October 29, 2018

President Trump has begun his blatant war on Palestinian rights by glorifying settlements. So, when he saw that the administration that preceded him committed a heinous crime when it passed resolution 2334 in the Security Council, he reassured the Netanyahu government that it would not be repeated in his term.

The dimensions of this position have become clearer with the subsequent steps taken by his administration towards Jerusalem and the refugee issue. Thus, the Israeli government realized that the American ally has moved from a supportive role to a partner in vision and implementation. But it recognizes at the same time that the optimal translation of this partnership must be concentrated in the field of settlement, Judaization and ethnic cleansing, and on this basis it has adopted a “new” expansionist policy that combines the deployment of settlements and strengthening it and the implementations of the “nation-state law” in Jerusalem according to the compass of “Palestinian titles” for the deal of the century.

The National Office for the Defense of Land and Settlement Resistance drew the attention to a fraudulent method adopted by the Israeli government in the "establishment" of new settlements that have grown out and separated from the "mother settlements" and formerly were known as neighborhoods within those settlements. So, since the construction of new settlements will receive more severe international reactions than expansion within the settlements, the Israeli government has resorted to this deceptive method, waiting for the appropriate time and conditions for legalizing the new settlements. The intention is to wait for American additional steps and measures towards the official declaration of the “deal of the century”, and imposing its adoption on the countries targeted with its implementation in the region.

In the same way, the Israeli government seeks to find a "happy ending" for the settlement outposts issue, which has been subjected to the international criticism in previous years, including the American one through the “road map”, which called for the dismantling of these outposts. Therefore, the Netanyahu government seeks to consider each outpost and the needs of its settlers as a neighborhood to the nearest settlement, without legalizing it for known reasons. Over time, it allows for the growth of the outpost to become an established settlement in the settlement map.

This track is consistent with the previous Israeli declarations about the Netanyahu government's intention to bring one million settlers during the next 10 years to Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank. This is confirmed by the number of settlements units it plans to establish, the latest of which is the announcement of an additional 14864 settlement units under construction in the settlements of Gush Etzion, located between Bethlehem and Hebron.

Needless to say, that the "deal" did not prepare for the Israeli expansionist policy, but its declared Palestinian titles made this policy more blatant and arrogant in three complementary fields: the first, accelerating the spread of settlements, the second, the practice of ethnic cleansing openly, for example, (Al-Khan Al-Ahmar), and the third, enabling settlers to own private Palestinian lands and property by extending the jurisdiction of the Israeli judiciary to settlements in the West Bank, and giving Israeli courts the power to decide in the disputes between the owners of stolen lands and properties and settlers on the "guidance" of the "nation-state law".

The Netanyahu government has paved the way for this by requiring Jerusalemites to present the " title registry" to prove their ownership, as, over the past decades they were prevented from registering their property by the Israeli governments, which means that the occupation is determined to confiscate lands and properties that the owners cannot prove their ownership, and some of those were displaced during the aggression of 1967.

One of the serious repercussions of the deal on the future of East Jerusalem is the declaration by the American administration that Jerusalem is the capital of the occupation and the transfer of its embassy to it. Thus, the Trump administration gave Tel Aviv the green light to deal with Jerusalem as part of the "Israeli state". This was clear as the Israeli government announced its intention to close all UNRWA institutions in East Jerusalem, and to abolish the definition of Shu'fat refugee camp north of Jerusalem as a refugee camp. This would not have been possible without the new US position on UNRWA and Jerusalem.

On the other hand, most of the international community is still against US decisions regarding settlement, Jerusalem and UNRWA. This was reflected by Security Council Resolution 2334, which condemned the settlement and considered it as illegitimate and by the rejection of most of the countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel to transfer their embassies to Jerusalem. With regard to UNRWA, the period following the suspension of the US contribution to its budget, has witnessed several international conferences and meetings that, to offset the Agency's budget deficit caused by the US financial embargo. In addition, an important factor at the American level, and in particular the memorandum signed by 112 members of the US Congress, from both Republican and Democratic parties, in which they asked their Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, to retreat from the Trump administration's decisions to stop the funding of UNRWA and Palestinian hospitals in the Occupied East Jerusalem. As they have realized that Trump's decisions threaten the region's stability with their negative impacts on the situation of Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jerusalem, and the rest of the Diaspora camps. The memorandum criticized the Trump administration's decisions as they worsen the tensions in the region and close the prospects for a settlement to the conflict.

All the above mentioned, means that the international climate is helping to open up a broad political field engagement with the US-Israeli project. It basically means that the American plan is not a destiny, and cannot impose its solutions on the Palestinian people and its national movement. This requires from the official Palestinian leadership, to implement the decisions of the Central Council (15/1/2018) and the “National” Council (30/4/2018), including aborting the bet on the so-called "vision of the president" and the return to the futile Oslo Accords, in order to withdraw the recognition of Israel and stop security coordination with the occupation, disengage from the Israeli economy, and take a firm position to transfer the national issue and rights to the United Nations and the International Criminal Court to delegitimize the occupation and isolate the Israeli entity and the Trump administration.

The Central and National Councils stressed the need to launch popular resistance, provide it with political protection and support it, and stressed the need to end the division and restore unity from the realization of the magnitude of the great dangers that threaten the cause of the Palestinian people and its rights by the American-Israeli project, called "the deal of century".

Important steps and many tasks before the Palestinian situation to arrange its status and move from the state of retreat and reluctance to restore the initiative, under the banner of the national liberation program.

Notes:Mohammad Al-Sahli is Editor in Chief of Al-Hourriah newspaper, the official speaker of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by Rawda Abo Zarqa
Revised by Ibrahim Motlaq

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