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The Kushner deal and Einstein wisdom

Jun 25,2019 - Last updated at Jun 25,2019

According to a quotation widely attributed to Einstein, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

I'm not sure if Einstein really said this, there is some dispute, but there is no doubt of the wisdom of these words.

I have applied them before and they need to be applied again, this time to US presidential adviser Jared Kushner's economic plan for the Palestinians.

Kushner is under the delusion that his plan might offer a novel way to resolve one of the most intractable injustices on the planet.

Initially he and his team hoped to tackle the situation in its entirety: The political and the economic. But early leaks of what the political plan might look like, as well as Trump administration's decisions to cut all aid for Palestinians and recognise Israeli annexation of occupied East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, torpedoed what little credibility Kushner and company started with as potential peacemakers.

So while claiming they are still working on a promising political plan, they turned to the economic part, hoping the temptation of money and prosperity would move things along.

The would-be peacemakers' claim that their approach is different from all previous failed attempts is totally detached from reality. "Economic peace" has been floated before and has failed again and again.

The reason all previous "peace" efforts have failed is not for want of ideas; good, bad or otherwise, whether from the UN, the US, the Arab states or the Palestinians.

Indeed, the Palestinians made the historic and far-reaching compromise of offering Israel the 78 per cent of Palestine it conquered and ethnically cleansed in 1948 in exchange for a mini-state only in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. This outcome has been endorsed for decades by the so-called international community.

But Israel has steadfastly rejected it, as it has rejected every other peace plan, including the Arab Peace Initiative, endorsed by an Arab summit two decades ago.

That initiative offered Israel normal diplomatic relations and full peace in accordance with relevant UN resolutions in return for Israeli recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Even though the 56-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also endorsed the Arab plan, the offer was, and still is, rejected by Israel.

What these past experiences demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt is that all previous peace plans have failed because Israel wants everything for itself and nothing for the Palestinians. It really is as simple as that.

Otherwise, why would Israel be accelerating its colonisation of every corner of the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem, besieging Gaza ever more tightly and building new settlements, such as "Trump Heights" in the occupied Golan?

Efforts to circumvent or distract from Israel's extremist agenda have failed for decades, and Kushner is not going to be any more successful.

After the 1991 Madrid peace conference, Israel pushed for the multilateral track to run parallel to the bilateral negotiating tracks with the Palestinians, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Israel hoped that the multilateral track involving the UN, the EU and other Arab states would end its isolation and integrate it into the region without it ever having to actually withdraw from any Palestinian land or recognise any Palestinian rights.

Once again, a US administration hopes to deliver political and economic rewards for Israel in exchange for nothing.

As noted, the political part of the Kushner plan has already been scandalously exposed.

Delivering Jerusalem to Israel sealed the plan's fate. Obviously, no official text has been published, but the basic ingredients have been gradually revealed, with every new leak dealing an additional blow to an ill-advised and clumsily marketed project.

The Palestinian Authority has adamantly refused to deal with the Trump administration since its Jerusalem move, meaning that there is no one to go along with Kushner's peace process. That is another reason for starting with the economic part without any reference to the political plan, which has been delayed repeatedly.

But since the political content of the so-called “deal of the century” is already known and rejected, the talk about "prosperity" cannot mask reality or fool anyone.

The economic plan promises a $50-billion fund for 10 years of development for the Palestinians and their neighbours, but does not say who will pay for it.

This also ignores the obvious point that Palestinians’ economic misery and continued suffering are the result of occupation, siege, oppression and denial by Israel of their right to self-determination.

How could any economic development in Gaza and the West Bank be possible without addressing such political abnormalities? Will Israel permit any development in Gaza while Hamas, considered by Israel and the US as a "terrorist" organisation, is there?

Israel does not even allow development in most of the West Bank, despite the way the Palestinian Authority smoothly cooperates with the occupation under "security coordination".

The only explanation is that Kushner and company see all this development happening after they have unilaterally changed the Palestinian reality by allowing Israel to annex the West Bank.

After all, Kushner has already admitted he does not think Palestinians are capable of governing themselves.

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