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New but dubious and unreal

Apr 30,2019 - Last updated at Apr 30,2019

While trying to market his plan for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, or maybe the wider Arab-Israeli conflict, Jared Kushner argues that a new approach is needed in response to the failure of previous peace formulas.

While it is true that all previous peace formulas, including those approved or even presented by the US, have failed, it is not because they were intrinsically defective or inappropriate, but simply because of Israel’s outright rejection of all plans and peace-making proposals so far, no matter how favourable they were to Israel’s interests and agenda. This is why they have all failed.

According to a report published in the Times of Israel on April 24, Kushner informed a conference that the White House peace plan will have to try something other than the failed two-state solution formula. "We have taken what I think is an unconventional approach," Kushner is quoted to have said, adding that there is "no point in using a phrase that never achieved peace,” clearly referring to the two states. At the same time, Kushner described the Arab Peace Initiative as "old talking points”.

It is well known that Israel has been very strongly opposed to the two-state formula and the 16-year-old Arab Peace Initiative. Both initiatives have been internationally endorsed as fair, appropriate and reasonable plans for resolving the destabilising century-old conflict. Both plans lean heavily in Israel’s favour.

By discarding all previous peace projects, the new approach of the Kushner peace team simply means transforming Israel's extremist position into a “peace formula”, not for resolving the conflict on the basis of legality and rule of law, but for liquidating the entire Palestinian cause by: keeping and legalising the occupation, abolishing Palestinian rights, abandoning the principle of Palestinian self-determination, continuing the process of colonisation of Palestinian lands, normalising Israel's relations with the Arab world and closing the Arab-Israeli conflict file once and for all. What will the Palestinians get in return? They will be offered economic incentives to make their lives slightly easier under occupation and under siege, with no political rights or freedoms. The best they can hope for is that they would be allowed to stay where they are on the occupier’s terms, whatever such terms can be, but they must behave and sign to abandon any claim for their historic rights. This is to be their status quo until the time comes when they are fully and totally disposed of.

It is true though that the actual details of the plan that Kushner, US president's son-in-law and chief adviser, and Jason Greenblatt, US Middle East envoy, have been working on for the last two years, are yet to be disclosed. Does this make any of the above-mentioned predictions unreal? Not exactly. We already know enough to make sound predictions on the basis of constant leaks, gestures, test balloons, peace team statements and discussions in and with regional capitals.

There are also the facts that were physically implemented on the ground as part of the anticipated new US conflict settlement deal. They include the official US recognition of the occupied city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the US declaration endorsing Israel's annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights, the Israel National State Law and the US measures to end the mission of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which was created by a UN General Assembly resolution in 1949 to provide the Palestinian refugees with all their needs until their return to their Palestinian homeland in accordance with relevant UN Resolutions. The said measures to liquidate UNRWA aim at ending the Palestinian refugee problem by abolishing their internationally recognised right of return.

Some of the widespread leaks about the anticipated “deal of the century” have already been denied by Greenblatt. Last week, Greenblatt denied rumours that the plan "contemplates making Jordan the homeland for Palestinians". He also affirmed that the plan "will not include a confederation between Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan.” There were other denials previously relating to expansions in Egyptian and Saudi territories to compensate for Israel's annexation of more Palestinian lands.

However, neither the clarifications, nor the realistic leaks or the denials add much to a vague, misguided and disconnected from reality project as the so-called “deal of the century”. The deal has been rightly described by many as ‘born dead'. I repeatedly argued that the deal will never be able to convince anyone of the concerned parties of its viability, Israel included. It may or may not be published within a few weeks as promised, but whatever the case, based on the peace team's intentions, connections, commitments, statements, mission and background, the plan is nothing more than another Israeli attempt to consolidate all their territorial and political gains and future ambitions under the guise of a 'novel approach’, with zero justice for the Palestinian victims.

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