On January 28, 2020 US President Trump with Netanyahu at his side announced his blueprint to liquidate the national aspirations of Palestinians. His Admn. called this alleged Arab-Israel Peace Plan as the “deal of the century”. But this was essentially a deal between Trump and Netanyahu, representatives of the most rabid sections of the ruling classes of their countries. It carried forward what have long been US designs in the Arab world and is being done with the now characteristic Trump’s blowing of his own trumpet, with no need to hide their real motives. The 80 page document makes it apparent that this is not a “peace plan” but a plan to do away with Palestinians’ national aspirations.
The plan represents a fresh offensive of US imperialism and its main pillars in West Asia, Zionist Israel and Gulf monarchies led by Saudi royal family, against the Palestinians. This is the price that Arab monarchs of the region are willing to pay to safeguard their rule and plunder of the rich petroleum resources of the region. As the people in their own countries get more and more restive and turn against these decadent rulers, they become increasingly dependent on the military forces of US. Presence of Ambassadors of UAE, Bahrain and Oman in the White House when Trump unveiled this plan is a clear reminder of the fact that Gulf monarchies are also in the loop. Much need not be read into the absence of the Saudi representative; that is only for appearance. They had participated in the Manama (capital of Bahrain) meeting where Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, had presented the economic part of this plan. This plan in fact provided for investments by these Gulf monarchies which only demonstrates that they are very much part of this betrayal of historic proportions. This amounted to purchasing with Arab money compliance of Palestinians to bartering away their national rights, a favourite past colonial practice of paying their agents with their own money. Trump has repeatedly shown this bait of $ 50 billion in investments if Palestinians accept liquidation of their national rights.
The broad contours of the plan involve gifting of the whole of Jerusalem to Israel, acceptance of all the settlements established by Zionist rulers stealing Palestinian lands, annexing the whole of Jordan Valley to Israel, providing for Palestinian settlements isolated from each other and connected through tunnels and bridges, the security of the whole region in the hands of Israel and grant of Palestinian statehood after a few years subject to their good behaviour. It only provides a few residential areas where Palestinians are allowed to live as long as they behave well and that too live under the control of Israel. Gone are also Palestinians’ right to return as provided in UN resolution and also any possession of defence forces by them. The plan envisages leaving only 10% of the historic Palestine land for the Palestinians. Good behaviour involves eliminating “terrorism” which translates into liquidating all resistance and into recognition of Jewish state over 90% of land of Palestine. This statehood, provided Palestinians behave well and get certificate of that issued by US Admn., will at best be a few Bantustans. That is all that is being dangled thought real Israeli design is to drive away all the Palestinians from their “promised land”.
In fact this plan has not emerged all of a sudden. It is essentially modeled on the Bush Administration plan which emerged after Iraq’s occupation by armed forces of US imperialism and its allies. It was denounced then as Bantustan plan. In fact, US imperialist rulers’ two states plan involved one state that is Israel and a non-state i.e. for Palestinians. It had certain points i.e. validation of Israeli occupation of Palestine, creation of Palestinian state without military forces and foregoing of Palestinians’ right to return to their homes in Israel from which they were forcibly driven out. All US Admns. over the years have been insisting on this. Camp David negotiations organized by Clinton during his second term also floundered on this issue. In Oslo accords this was left for future negotiations. Since Oslo Accords there was a misplaced expectation that a Palestinian state will be created in Gaza and West Bank though the entire thing was nebulous and no specifics were laid down. With Trump’s Plan Oslo process, long in the incubator, is finally dead and this time news of its death is no exaggeration.
Now Trump does not feel any necessity to camouflage US designs. For this besides Trump’s own predilections, the connivance of Arab monarchies and dictators is also very much necessary who increasingly need US military and also Israel’s armed might to defend themselves from their own people. The whole Arab world is in turmoil due to rising disaffection of Arab masses, US unwillingness to commit more troops to the region is in the face of rising contradiction among imperialist powers and its reflection in the increasing assertiveness of the countries of the region. Iran and now Turkey are being viewed as existential dangers for these Gulf monarchies. Label of “democracy” and “human rights” cannot be applied to their designs. Hence, Trump has long discarded these labels, which have any way been handy tools of US imperialism and bandied by western powers in pursuit of their imperialist interests.
Besides Gulf monarchies, Trump Plan has been supported by US allies as well. US House of Representatives’ Speaker and a prominent leader of Democratic Party, Nancy Pelosi, said during a press conference that “There appears to be a basis for negotiation”. Boris Johnson Govt. termed this caricature of a Plan a “serious proposal.” Initially Russia called the Plan “assault on peace”, but after Netanyahu briefed Putin, Russian criticism has been much subdued. Russia would like to consolidate its presence in Middle East and would like Israeli acquiescence in that. European Union spokesperson referred to “EU’s established position and its firm and united commitment to a negotiated and viable two-state solution that takes into account the legitimate aspirations of both the Palestinians and the Israelis, respecting all relevant UN resolutions and internationally agreed parameters.” The spokesperson refrained from offering specific comment on the Plan. UN Secretary General spokesperson also commented in a similar vein. Regional powers, Iran and Turkey however, condemned the Plan. Arab Summit held on February 1 and OIC a few days later have rejected the Plan though main sponsors of these two fora are very much a party to the Plan. Even Foreign Policy, a magazine respected in the ruling circles of western imperialist powers, has commented that the Plan “is a far more insidious program that is designed to do away with a genuine two-state solution while normalizing permanent Israeli occupation and annexation within a de facto one-state reality.”
Though Trump Plan is dead on arrival but it does signify growing seriousness of the situation facing Palestinians. They are facing an existential crisis as a nation. They are facing a deadly assault on their rights and their struggle over last nearly a century, especially since 1948. Moreover they cannot rely on the rulers of Arab states who are bartering away their rights for the sake of their own survival in power. On the other hand, balance of force is heavily tilted against them particularly in view of this duplicity. It is an oft repeated dictum that the road to liberation of Palestine runs through Arab capitals. One can make it even more pointed to say that it runs mainly through Riyadh.
United Nations too will not come to Palestinians’ aid. UN resolutions have only been on paper so far as the rights of Palestinians are concerned while it was the UN which had authored the plan which entailed their national subjugation. Zionist rulers backed by the western imperialist powers in their quest for domination of the petroleum rich region, have both used and discarded the UN mandates- used them for establishing their own state and discarded them for negating the rights of Palestinians. United Nations is powerless to act against its most powerful member. Other imperialist countries too may make some appropriate statements but would not go beyond that as they are keen to increase their presence in the region and would not like to antagonize powerful forces like US imperialism, Israel and Gulf monarchies.
The Palestinians have to depend on their own struggle and have only revolutionary and democratic forces as their reliable ally. Though world people have been supporting and do support Palestinians’ national aspirations and their struggle for them, however, Palestinians face most brutal enemies who are out to not only suppress their national aspirations but wish to extinguish their very right to exist in their traditional land. There is growing movement in western countries against Israeli settlements in the Palestinian land. But this movement is being outlawed and suppressed by govts. in imperialist countries. However, while struggle of the Palestinian people will play the decisive role, it will be helped by the growing contradictions among imperialist powers and their regional allies.