Trump’s “Deal of the Century” will hand Palestine to Israel — along with new set of problems

A UN refugee camp in Amman, Jordan which housed seven thousand Palestinians who were expelled from their homes, Apr 30, 1953. (photo / AP)
Netanyahu’s problem is that when you ask Palestinians in the diaspora where they are from, they say Yaffa, Haifa and Ramle. When you ask Israelis where they are from, they say, Poland, Russia and Morocco.

By Miko Peled | Mint Press News | Apr 5, 2019

Israel controls the lives of 2 million Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship, 2.2 million Palestinians locked up in the Gaza Strip and about 3 million Palestinians in what used to be the West Bank. That is a total of 7 million Palestinians living without rights in a state where about 6 million Israeli Jews have exclusive rights.

As Benjamin Netanyahu returns from Washington to Jerusalem determined to keep his seat as Israel’s prime minister, it is clear that the Final Status issues — those pesky issues between Israel and the Palestinians that Israel never wants to discuss – are being eliminated one by one in a regional scheme that is titled Deal of the Century. This so-called “Deal” will be the final undoing of Palestinian hopes for justice, self-determination and return.

From the reckless declaration by President Donald Trump that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, to his more recent proclamation that the United States recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Syrian Golan Heights, it is becoming clear what the Deal of the Century will entail: disregard of the Palestinians and recognition of Israeli rights to all of Palestine.

The purpose of the declaration recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights at this particular moment is twofold: It is an enormous contribution to Netanyahu’s campaign for re-election on April 9, a clear signal that Trump favors Netanyahu; and, what is even more troubling, it is a precursor to what we may soon see happen with Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank.

Four elements are likely to dominate the Deal of the Century: Palestinian self-determination; refugees; Jerusalem; and the future of what was formerly known as the West Bank and has been named by Israel Judea and Samaria. We have already been given a preview of what is to come with the first three:

  • Jerusalem, with the Trump declaration of Dec 6, 2017 recognizing the city as the capital of Israel;
  • Recognition of Palestinian right to self-determination was de-facto reversed when in September 2018, on the 25th anniversary of the Oslo Accords, the Trump administration closed down the PLO mission in Washington;
  • The refugee issue received an almost fatal blow when in August of 2018 the State Department announced that it will no longer provide funds for UNRWA , the United Nations agency created to take care of Palestinian refugees. Even more than financial significance, the $350 million cut to the UNRWA budget was a blow to the very existence of refugee issue. Trump, serving Netanyahu’s agenda, is attempting to eliminate the refugee issue altogether by questioning the right of the Palestinians to aid and by questioning the right of the descendants of the 1948 refugees to refugee status.

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