Being one of the most complicated challenges of the past and current centuries, the Palestinian cause has so far made many humanitarian organizations seek a solution to the conflict that guarantees the Palestinian people’s rights.
An array of arrangements has so far been proposed to settle the case, including holding a referendum in the occupied Palestinian territories to allow people choose their own government, Israeli regime’s return to the pre-1967 borders, full recapture of the occupied territories from the Israelis, Palestinians’ transfer to other countries, and two-state solution, all suggested by global politicians.
What presently is more focused on is the two-state initiative which eyes establishment of an independent Palestinian state beside an Israeli one. The initiative was developed years ago, and was followed by previous American administrations. Now the American President Donald Trump is pursuing its implementation as he believes that it can yield peace results for both sides in practice.
The White House officials have recently debated the issue in the US and also during their visits to the Israeli regime and Palestine with the two sides’ leaders. The US even formed a delegation and sent it to the Palestinian territories to decide how successful the American moves could be once Washington decides to re-launch the process officially.
As the American arrangements for a settlement continued, Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, following his May Washington visit said that they were close to striking a “historical deal” with the Israelis. The Palestinian leader appeared to have taken seriously Trump’s help promise and is dreaming of an accord with the Israelis.
“I support Abbas in being the Palestinian leader who signs his name to the final and the most important agreement that brings safety, stability, prosperity, to both and perhaps to the region,” Trump was quoted as saying after his face-to-face meeting with Palestine’s Abbas early in May.
There should be an investigation to make clear what conditions in the region have driven re-rise of this peace plan, and if these conditions are real or they are fabricated and pieces of an Israeli-American puzzle under the cover of Palestine peace initiative.
The stages of this puzzle development are as follows:
Stage 1. Making crisis in West Asia region to drive out Palestinian cause as a priority: The takfiri-made terrorism crisis in the region has expanded substantially since its opening following the 2011 Arab uprisings, affecting nearly all of the regional countries. Syria, a top member of the regional camp against the Israeli atrocities, became a hotspot of terrorism and conflict and thus became involved in its own devastating internal war.
Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah intervened against the terrorist groups in support of their ally Syria. On the opposite side, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and other Arab states stepped in the crisis as they feared Iran’s power gain which they understood as costing them their strength. Such a deep involvement in the Syrian conflict drove aside the Palestinian cause as a Muslim world priority. Even the Iranian warnings over such deprioritization failed to call attention.
Stage 2. Sugarcoating Tel Aviv for Arab and Muslim nations: Recently, Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli defense minster, in his remarks pointed to an interesting thing: normalization. Encouraging diplomatic normalization with the Arab countries, Lieberman said that the Arabs now concluded that not only Tel Aviv is not enemy of them but also holds the key to many problems. These remarks very clearly reveal the second stage of the Israeli-American project. He further referred to Iran and Qatar ‘s diplomatic crisis. Demonizing Tehran and Doha can decorate Tel Aviv’s record in the eyes of the Arabs. This arrangement will push the Arab states to seek enemy among them and in Arab world, something paving the way for sustainable divisions. The Iranophobia propaganda campaign and diplomatic row with Qatar serve this aim.
Stage 3. Arab-Israeli normalization: The two early stages very properly prepared the ground for this stage. Failing to recognize Tel Aviv as a top enemy and marginalization of the Palestinian cause could destroy justification for continuing to avoid diplomatic ties with the Israeli regime. This will help the US embolden the Arab states to normalize relations with Tel Aviv in return for military, security, and economic help pledges. This will usher in the next stage of the Israeli-American project to reach agreement on a plan Washington and Tel Aviv prepared for Palestine.
Stage 4. Territory transfer between the Arab countries: During this stage, Egypt gave Saudi Arabia its Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir, with the Israeli regime showing no opposition to the transfer. While the deal could be very hard in normal conditions, now it is struck very easily. This deal is said to be carrying the potentials to depict as normal for the Arab and even the Palestinian public opinion any later transfer of Palestinian lands to the Israeli regime and accomplishing the two-state solution.
Stage 5. Reviving two-state solution and US mediation
Abbas of Palestine talked about establishment of a Palestinian state beside an Israeli one as a historical deal. He looks complacent about this process development. Other Arab countries are expected to show green light to the plan without any objection to its terms.
However, some resistant groups inside Palestinian come against it as they push for full liberation of the Palestinian territories from the yoke of the Israeli occupation. They insist that settlement building should be ceased by Tel Aviv and there must be an answer for the challenge of the displaced and captive Palestinians. Tel Aviv and Washington have declined to guarantee that for the Palestinians under any deal.
As it becomes clear, the Israeli-Palestinian accord is just one piece of an Israeli-American puzzle. Any compromise will run counter to the Palestinian people’s interests and rights because the US will take the Israeli side as it did before. The initiative will serve the Israeli interests because Trump holds deep bonds with the Jews. Netanyahu, who sees any deal as profitable for Tel Aviv, will support the two-state initiative. The Palestinian side will face a series of disadvantages including snub of its refugees- and settlement-related demands. Any deal will also strip Palestine of once-unwavering support from the Arab countries, not to mention that the main condition is the Israeli satisfaction not the Palestinian interests.
Any deterrence to the initiative should be sought at first hand among the Palestinians and then the Muslim countries. The roots of problems in the Palestinian side lie in internal divisions and naïve reliance on the opposite side. Exhaustion among the Palestinian and disappointment at effective Muslim world’s backing are other factors behind any failure to respond to the Israeli-American project.
The analysts call attention of the Muslim world to its capabilities and capacity to avoid more Palestinian plight on the one hand and unanimously guard against Western-led hostility campaign on the other hand.
However, experts are not fully disappointed. They assure that even the existing currents could turn the tide. Ongoing Muslim awakening and insistence on demands and even raising their levels could get the Muslims on the right track and put an end to the current deplorable conditions.