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Why Trump’s ‘Deal Of The Century’ Is Anything But A Deal

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Recent statements by US President Donald Trump cast the resolution of the conflict between Israel and Palestine as a deal of the century. Trump insists that under this deal of the century, Israel would expand its territory by including the West Bank and it would also be given control of the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, whereas the contours of a Palestinian state would be negotiated through a dialogue process between the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships. It was also mentioned by the US president that those Palestinians who left and migrated to Lebanon, Syria and Jordan after the wars fought in 1948 and 1967 would be allowed to return to Palestinian territory. Donald Trump announced this plan unilaterally without consulting the Palestinian leadership. The announcement of this plan by the Trump administration is very relevant in the wake of the presidential election campaign – and the fact that Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu is facing allegations of corruption.

This announcement of a “deal of the century” has been a source of consolation for the Israeli Prime Minister’s popularity ratings, which had been deteriorating.

On the other hand, the Muslim world is divided due to the tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. So Middle Eastern countries which are dependent on US aid, incline towards Saudi Arabia and have a fear of Iran’s influence, are cautiously examining the whole situation. Such countries, which perceive Iran as a looming danger in the entire region, are receptive towards recognizing Israel’s existence – which in their view would act as a balancing of power in the Middle East region.

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This deal of the century has been brought in at this juncture by the Trump administration to consolidate its position amongst the neo-cons which would give him a competitive edge over his opponents in the next presidential election. As far as Israel-Palestine conflict is concerned, Jerusalem is considered to be a sacred place by both Jews and Muslims. In 1948 Israel and many Arab countries fought against each other as a result of which Israel exerted its control over west Jerusalem whereas Jordan got control over East Jerusalem. In the 1967 war between the Arab world and Israel, the areas of West Bank, Golan Heights and East Jerusalem were all annexed by Israel. Although the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution that Israel illegally annexed these territories and should revert to the pre-1967 position, Israel never paid any attention to international law, which demonstrated that in international relations it is the realist perspective which has attained dominance.

At present the Arab world’s support for the Palestine cause has deteriorated. For instance Libya, Iraq, Syria and Egypt once supported this cause strongly. But now these countries have been devastated by civil wars, internal strife, chaos and disorder after the Arab Spring revolutions.

Israel, due to its robust political institutions, strong defence and economic strength has managed to become a regional power in Middle East politics. Such is not the case with the Arab powers.

The Arab world is not only afflicted with internal strife and civil wars but its poor educational system has not enabled it to make huge economic strides – whereas the technological advancement in Israel allowed it to become an exporter of advanced weapons.

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At present the ongoing civil wars in Yemen, Syria and the recent chaos and protests witnessed in Beirut have created yet more uncertainty for the Arab and Muslim countries. These circumstances have strengthened the entire edifice of Zionist ideology and Israel’s power in the entire Middle East region is yet more unassailable – leaving the Palestinian cause weak and bereft of any vigour.

 

The writer is a human rights activist, lawyer and teacher. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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