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Trump’s MidEast Plan Not Panacea For Conflict But To Further Aggravate Situation

Fuad Muxtarlı Analysis 30 January 2020
Trump’s MidEast Plan Not Panacea For Conflict But To Further Aggravate Situation

Today Russia’s strongman Vladimir Putin is meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Trump’s Middle East plan top on the agenda. The plan, backed by Israel and designed to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian problem, was immediately rejected by Palestinians and its allies, but also welcomed by Israel and several Arab states, who shied away to openly admit it.

Politicians sometimes have to pretend that they are dumber than they really are, in order not to fall for the bait of those who would like to get a frank, honest reaction to their crafty initiatives. A very striking example of this was voiced on Tuesday by US President Donald Trump in Washington in the presence of his great friend, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a peace plan for the settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

It is so one-sided (pro-Israeli) and unrealistic that it was developed solely for one purpose - to be rejected. That will allow this “sweet couple” to relieve themselves of any responsibility for the state of affairs: we, they say, are striving for peace and offered to solve everything, but the other side showed a lack of goodwill and obstinacy. Now let everything dissipate. And those who supported her in this let them also take on some of the guilt.

Evasive speeches and hints

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Russian president, of course, did not fall into this trap. Commenting on this initiative on Wednesday, the representative of the Kremlin, tried to maintain the most correct relations with the U.S. and Israel, and repeated several times that Moscow continues to “analyze” Trump’s initiative.

Peskov cautiously remarked: "For the time being, it can only be stated that the plan received the full support of Israel, was supported by a number of other states, but was categorically rejected by a direct participant in the so-called deal - the Palestinians." He did not mention that a number of key regional countries that play an important role in resolving the Palestinian problem (Syria, Iran, Turkey), unconditionally rejected it.

The spokesman for Putin made it clear that until Thursday - until first-hand information is received from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who comes specifically for this to Moscow - there will be no clear reaction. In conclusion, Peskov recalled that Russia "if necessary... is ready to continue to make every effort to do everything possible to achieve a viable peace in the Middle East.

Still, there was a certain hint. How else can one interpret the phrase “does everything possible to achieve a viable world”, except as follows: Trump’s proposal is not viable, there are very few chances to make it viable. But this is so, if you read between the lines.

By the way, the position of the Russian Foreign Ministry is exactly the same: they also “study” and “analyze” Trump’s peace plan, which proposed immortalizing Jewish settlements on the West Bank and depriving the Palestinians of a significant part of the territories they claim, including Jerusalem, making them a state similar to the bantustans scattered here and there. This, who does not know, is the reservation created at one time by the Boer colonizers for the indigenous people of South Africa and Namibia.

The period during which it is planned to reach a deal with the Palestinians looks precedent, as a precondition for them to give up armed struggle (which is also impossible because there are several main Palestinian factions, and they do not get along with each other) for returning the lost lands, - four years.

It sounds almost like the well-known initiative of Xoca Nasraddin, who promised the emir, under the threat of losing his head, to teach donkey literacy in 20 years. When this oriental sage was asked how he took such a risk, he answered: “It's okay. In 20 years, either the donkey will die, or the emir will die, or I will die!”

The entire plan as a whole, and in particular the creation of a Palestinian capital just in the suburbs of Jerusalem, provoked fierce rejection of the Palestinians. The American promise of a "bribe" in the form of an investment of $50 billion did not help, and the project of creating about one million jobs. The Palestinians have billions of dollars from the UN and Muslim sponsors without it, and they definitely prefer to quarrel with Israel or mess around than to work.

Who are against?

So, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, speaking on a Palestinian television live in Ramallah on Tuesday, said: “Jerusalem is not for sale, and your plot will not work. We will not allow neglecting the historical rights of the Palestinian people. We are committed to the State of Palestine with its capital in Jerusalem.”

Abbas was very critical, because before Trump announced his peace plan, no one consulted with the Palestinians: We will not kneel down and give up... Conspiracies, deals and treacherous plans to resolve the Palestinian question are doomed to failure. At this difficult moment, I appeal to the Palestinians to rally.

The main Palestinian leader repeated: "Our position has not changed in two years and today it will not change: we give priority to the resistance front in order to frustrate Israeli plans, our unity will put an end to injustice and occupation." According to Abbas, the Palestinians "are committed to negotiations based on international legitimacy, and we will not accept only Washington as a mediator in the Middle East peace process".

The only way, he pointed out, is to create Palestine within the borders of 1967.

The Hamas movement which rules Gaza Strip said Trump’s plan was “not worth the ink.” Spokeswoman Sami Abu Zuhri has no doubt that "Trump and his deal will go to the dustbin of history.

The Syrian authorities, part of whose territory Trump “wrote off” Israel in his peace plan, called the “deal of the century” proposed by the US president “surrender to the Israeli occupation” and another confirmation of the “hostility of the US and Israel to the Arab nation”. 

Yadollah Javani, a spokesman for the Iranian IRGC, called Trump’s “peace plan” one-sided, taking into account only Israeli interests and “failing from the start.” In his opinion, it will only serve to unite the Palestinians and enter their struggle with Israel into a "new phase." Trump will soon realize, anticipates Javani, that he made "another strategic mistake."

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif considered the Trump plan "a nightmare for peace and the region." He expressed the hope that the US initiative "will be an alarming bell for all Muslims" and makes them "unite." Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi, for his part, called the US president’s plan a "great conspiracy." 

Turkey’s ruling party considered Trump’s "deal of the century" a "plan to enslave the Palestinians", "having nothing to do with a peaceful settlement" and containing "only occupational mechanisms." Justice and Development Party spokesman led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Omer Celik, said on Turkish television that Trump was trying to “legitimize the Israeli presence in the occupied Palestinian lands,” noting that “talking about security in the context of the plan is pointless". Celik criticized Trump for the fact that this "nothing new" plan appeared despite the fact that the US president "did not talk with the Palestinian side and did not find out the views of Turkey"

The Turkish Foreign Ministry called Trump’s plan “an annexation aimed at usurping Palestinian lands,” warning that Ankara will not allow “steps aimed at legitimizing the occupation and tyranny of Israel”.

Who are for?

In Lebanon, the powerful Shiite Hezbollah group, that actually protects this country from Israel, called Trump’s plan a “deal of shame,” noting that it was “the result of a betrayal of a number of Arab regimes who were complicit in backstage conspiracy.” This refers to Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, which in fact do not clearly support this deal, but consider it only a starting point for the start of the Palestinian-Israeli dialogue and direct peace talks. A similar position is held by the UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar.

In Europe, Washington, out of “heavyweights”, is supported, for obvious reasons, only by London, and also, surprisingly, by Paris, while other leading EU countries, such as Germany, have doubts. The Deal of the Century is also sharply criticized by Trump opposition Democrats in the United States. The reaction of the American press is generally negative, most media consider the "deal of the century" "dead born". Trump is suspected of using this initiative to divert the attention of Americans from the impeachment process.

What do we have in the dry residue?

Thus, instead of peace, Trump brought another split to the Middle East and strengthened the Palestinians in the fight against Israel, because the compromise elements of the plan that it actually has (Israel gives away about 70% of the West Bank) will now be considered concessions wrested by them from the Jewish state.

Under these conditions, as well as in connection with the fundamental insolvability of the Palestinian-Israeli problem in the next 50-100 years, the end of which will be the evacuation of Israel like the crusader states that once existed in the region, it is not difficult to foresee Moscow’s reaction to the "deal of the century".

Netanyahu will surely be told on Thursday in Russia that she stands for everything good and bright, is interested in peace and tranquility in the Middle East and will approve any agreement that Israel will reach with the Palestinians. And the same thing will be said to Abbas by phone. After that, everything will remain without visible changes: unlike the Israelis, the Palestinians, relying on demography, play for a long time, and the current situation of many of them actually even suits.