The US peace plan on which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was reportedly briefed earlier this month, and to which he was responding in his recent enraged speech against Israel and the White House, was leaked this week on Israeli televison on Friday.
Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat presented Abbas with a 92-page document outlining the peace plan being formulated by the United States, that would include a number of measures previously rejected by the Palestinians. Erekat is said to have urged Abbas to reject the plan outright.
The plan reportedly calls for overall security responsibility for the West Bank to remain with Israel, with an Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley and in key West Bank vantage points. The Palestinian state would be demilitarized with a strong police force, but Israel would maintain ultimate military control. Just like now.
It would also see the establishment of a Palestinian capital in Abu Dis, outside Jérusalem, with Israel (supposedly) maintaining freedom of worship for all religions at Jerusalem holy sites under its control.
Under this new US "peace plan", Israel would retain 10 percent of the West Bank, although the final borders between an Israeli and Palestinian state would be worked out between the two sides. It did not say which specific areas of the West Bank Israel would keep, though Israel has long maintained that settlement blocs should be part of the country under any future peace deal.
Trump would announce his support for Israeli annexation of 10% of the territory within months. Israel was said to have requested 15%, but was refused.
A timetable would be set for negotiations, though no deadline would be given for an Israeli military withdrawal from the West Bank once a deal was reached: the pace of an Israeli pullout would be determined by the Palestinians’ ability to maintain security.
As part of the deal, the Palestinians would receive control of certain sections of Ben Gurion Airport and the ports of Ashdod and Haifa, although security control would remain with Israel. Furthermore, the sides would establish regular passage between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip — under Israeli control.
Regarding the Palestinian right of return, the US proposal speaks of a “just solution” for Palestinian refugees that would see them settled in a Palestinian state, without the option to live in Israel.
Countries would recognize Israel as the “national home of the Jewish people,” while a Palestinian state would be the “national home of the Palestinian people.”
Fortunately, Erekat urged Abbas to reject the deal out of hand, saying it was an attempt by the US to “impose dictates” regarding its vision for a peace deal.
“We have no reason to wait for an American plan that in practice will keep the status quo in place and give American legitimacy to settlements while establishing an eternal autonomy” rather than a full-fledged state, Erekat would have written in his briefing.
Following the bad reaction of the international community to this plant that formalizes the occupation, White House officials denied the report and said that the Palestinians should not base their reactions to the Trump plan on them. They said they continued to work on a plan that would serve both sides’ interests. Which can't be true at all.
The worst part of it is that Saoudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan might support the US agaisnt the Palestinians and push for an unilateral deal that hurt them to the core.
Some members of the international community, which once in a great while notices the abject suffering of the Palestinians (not that it cares to do much about it), and recognizes that Israel is in violation of numerous international laws, provided some tepid reaction, ranging from ‘unhelpful’ (France) to ‘completely understandable’ (Russia).
There are a variety of questions this latest, non-binding ‘decision’ raises, and we will look at a few of them.
. Why did Palestine ever recognize its brutal occupier without demanding the same concession from Israel? Doing so gives some legitimacy to the occupation, and of all the countries that shouldn’t in any way imply that, Palestine is at the top of the list. Of course, since the U.S. has for decades called the shots, supported Israel and oppressed Palestine, it’s likely that Palestine had little choice in the matter.
. Why wouldn’t a country be able to withdraw its recognition of another country? Circumstances change, and while it may not be something that can be done easily or quickly, when one nation is in serious violation of international law, over a period of decades, has an apartheid system of government and refuses to be a part of any international monitoring of its nuclear capability, other nations would seem to have good reason to withdraw their official recognition.
. Why is Mahmoud Abbas still in the picture? Palestine is years past the time for scheduled elections, which would surely put the aged, traitorous, incompetent Israeli puppet out to pasture. The U.S., of course, while it hypocritically proclaims its support for the self-determination of people everywhere, works to prevent such an election, since Hamas would, in all likelihood, win in a landslide. And if not Hamas, some other party that won’t toe the U.S.-Israel line. The victorious party would be one that, for the first time in years, has the needs and desires of the Palestinians at heart, rather than one that would kowtow to the demands of Palestine’s brutal occupier and its cruel enabler.
Preventing foreign elections, if their outcome cannot be pre-determined to be in the U.S.’s favor, is not something with which the U.S. government has no experience. Once very specific case in point will suffice to demonstrate this fact.
In 1954, as the French were attempting, quite unsuccessfully, to hang on to Vietnam as a colony, the Geneva Accords agreement was signed that divided Vietnam into a Communist north, and a non-Communist south. The Accords provided for elections to be held in 1956, which would have been a referendum on reunification. These elections were boycotted by the south, at the urging of the U.S. In the memoirs of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, he wrote that if the elections had been held in 1956, “Ho Chi Minh (the Communist leader of the North), would have gotten 80 percent of the vote.” Allowing people to determine their own leadership is only permitted if the U.S. likes that leadership.
The U.S.’s stated support for the will of the people has always been a myth. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson said that “Every people has a right to choose the sovereignty under which they shall live.” Wilson’s Secretary of State, Robert Lansing, was deeply troubled by such statements. “In his private notes he wrote that it (the concept of self-determination) was loaded with dynamite, might breed disorder, discontent and rebellion. His neat, logical mind saw it leading the President into strange contradictions. ‘Will not the Mohammedans of Syria and Palestine and possibly of Morocco and Tripoli rely on it? How can it be harmonized with Zionism, to which the President is practically committed?’”
Palestinians in the West Bank, unarmed and unprotected, know that when Palestinian law enforcement officers are not on the scene, they can expect IDF terrorists to invade their homes, business, mosques and schools, arresting and terrorizing anyone they encounter, and killing innocent, defenseless men, women and children. This is known, in the peculiar parlance of Israel and Abbas, as ‘security cooperation’. Palestinians can’t throw stones, but Israelis can shoot to kill.
This is the policy that, a year ago, Abbas said he would no longer respect. Much like U.S. politicians, his words are meaningless; Palestinians in the West Bank continue to be harassed, killed, demoralized, held without charge for months or years at a time, regardless of age, all with the willing assistance of their so-called leader. Any election in Palestine would bring an end to this ‘security cooperation’.
The moves that Abbas says he’ll make, but doesn’t, could be game-changers for the Palestinians.
If Fatah’s law enforcement personnel spent their time opposing Israel, rather than working with it, the civil disobedience would quickly reach a boiling point that the international community would have to address. If he withdraws recognition of Israel, even the very threat of doing so may motivate other nations to agree to recognize Palestine, if it maintains recognition of the apartheid state.
But these are moves that would benefit the Palestinian people, and Abbas has proved repeatedly, over a period of several years, that that is the least of his concerns.
What comes next?
With the U.S. tightening the screws on the coffin of Palestine, and Israel busy digging the grave, one looks in vain for significant help from the leaders of the international community. The greatest hope lies with the rank-and-file members of that community, the people who are ever expanding the boycott, divestment and sanctioning (BDS movement) of Israel. The U.S. and other countries futilely attempt to outlaw such actions (in the U.S. completely disregarding the Constitution), while Israel spends millions of dollars to counteract the economic and reputational consequences of BDS.
Unfortunately, in the near-term, this changes nothing for the Palestinians; in Gaza, they are still locked in the world’s largest open-air prison, and in the West Bank, they continue to suffer from the brutal actions of IDF terrorists and settler terrorists. People of conscience and humanity the world over must increase their efforts; the very existence of the nation of Palestine depends on it.
The big lie about Gaza