U.S. President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century”, a backchannel plan to reach peace between the Palestinians and Israel, is nothing but a mere “hoax”, experts believe.
Since taking office in early 2017, Trump has been formulating the plan, along with senior adviser (and son-in-law) Jared Kushner and special Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt.
According to past statements by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, the scheme would give Israel parts of the West Bank which are considered “occupied territory” under international law.
“The deal of the century is a pro-Israel colonial plan,” Rabab Abdulhadi of the San Francisco State University told Anadolu Agency on Sunday.
“Peace means respecting the inalienable Palestinian rights and self-determination, allowing the Palestinians to decide their own future, giving refugees the right to return to their lands, eliminating racism and discrimination, and stopping all the abusive practices against the Palestinians.”
“If you [U.S.] don’t provide this, there will never be peace,” Abdulhadi said.
She argued that Trump, Kushner and Greenblatt are all “pro-Israel, pro-racism, and pro-Islamophobia”.
“This is a new attempt to divert, derail and liquidate the Palestinian cause,” Abdullhadi said. “To confront this scheme, the Palestinians have to continue what they are doing; resistance.”
Details of the U.S. plan are expected to be announced after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which will start early next month.
Mohanad Mustafa of the Haifa University in Israel said the Arab states have yet to come up with a clear position on the U.S. peace scheme.
“The Palestinians need a clear and obvious Arab stance rejecting this deal,” he told Anadolu Agency.
He called on the Arab world to take “practice steps to support the Palestinians in face of Trump’s plan”.
“The Palestinians should feel that they have an Arab shield,” he said. “However, it looks like that the Palestinians are going to face this scheme alone.”
The Cairo-based Arab League has rejected Trump’s peace plan, saying peace cannot be achieved without first guaranteeing Palestinians’ legitimate territorial rights.
The expert went on to call on the Palestinians to end their internal divisions and “come up with a unified position against the deal”.
“We, Palestinians living inside Israel, know very well the nature of the Zionist project and we, as well, should embrace a clear political position regarding this deal.”
Hani al-Masri, head of the Ramallah-based Masarat research center, believes that the Palestinian unity is the best effective tool to confront Trump’s plan.
“The Palestinian people should take the lead and exert pressure against the Palestinian leadership to impose unity,” he said. “Without such unity, it is difficult to regain our national rights.”
Al-Masri criticized Trump’s approach of dealing with the decades-long Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
“Unlike previous administrations, Trump didn’t come up with a scheme that convinces both conflicting parties,” he said. “Rather, he totally embraced the demands of the Israeli side.”
He said Trump tends to use the fait accompli policy in dealing with disputes.
“Even before he announces his plan, Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Syrian Golan Heights and seeks to terminate the refugees’ right to return.”
Al-Masri also said that the U.S. administration was pressuring Arab states to normalize relations with Israel.
“Israel is not only a threat to the Arab world, it’s also a threat to the whole world,” he opined.