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Provocative thoughts

Jun 10,2019 - Last updated at Jun 10,2019

As if the Palestinian-Israeli conflict needs more complications and obstacles, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said in an interview published by The New York Times last Saturday that Israel has the right to annex at least some of the occupied West Bank.

Who gave Friedman the right to determine the future of the West Bank or the licence to seal the future of the Palestine is something that is most troubling to all parties. Friedman went on to amplify his provocative thoughts on the future of the West Bank by saying that “under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank”.

It is no solace to the Palestinians to hear the US ambassador to Israel make such dangerous policy statements, which Israel would not hesitate to interpret as yet another green light to annex more of what is left of the occupied Palestinian territories.

The timing of the publication of Friedman’s ideas on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict came after Jared Kushner, the senior adviser at the White House and the reputed broker of the “deal of the century” on behalf of President Donald Trump, had just concluded his visit to Israel.

Friedman’s remarks reinforce the long-held Palestinian suspicion that the infamous “deal” will entail the usurpation of large parts of the West Bank, leaving the Palestinians little territory to construct their own independent state, and dissipating whatever hope is left to resuscitate the conflict from imminent demise.

No doubt Friedman wanted to test the waters on the controversial “deal of the century” by revealing bits and pieces of it before it is finally exposed in full to all parties, including the international community.

This gradual administration of the bitter medicine for the final shape of the US-made “solution” to the Palestinian case will not make the reception of the “deal” any more palatable to the Arab and Muslim worlds, which have set the parameters of the minimum basis for the resolution of the Palestinian problem in the recently held Arab and Islamic summits in Mecca.

Both the Arab and Islamic summits conditioned the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the two-state solution, with East Jerusalem serving as the capital of the Palestinian state in all of the West Bank. Any deviation from this Arab and Islamic principled proposal for ending the Palestinian case is obviously and automatically rejected outright.

Washington should be the first to take on board this final Arab and Muslim stance on the Palestinian problem if it is ever serious about ending it.

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