historical map israel
For over a year now, the Israeli "Deal of the Century" for Palestine has been endorsed by the US establishment and is now echoing to the four corners of the world. The two novices in foreign policy, US President Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, manoeuvred by Israel from behind the scenes, are trying to promote it among Arab states, particularly Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, the three countries who are supposed to exchange territories to further Israel's plans in Gaza and the West Bank. It remains improbable that the US and Israel can impose this plan that has taken shape under the watchful but impotent gaze of Europe and the Arab nations.

Notwithstanding US-Arab-Israeli initial approval of this deal, the ultimate decision is in the hands of the Palestinian people. Although bickering and serious splits are omnipresent among the Palestinian leadership, all (including the President ad interim Mahmoud Abbas) have agreed to reject the Israeli-US deal. Thus, the "Deal of the Century" is expected to fall through because the Palestinians will never again make the mistake they made in 1948, and will hold on to their territory. They will not agree to exchange Palestine for parcels of land in Egypt and Jordan as written in the plan leaked by the same US establishment.

Palestinian officials said "the Deal of the Century was launched by Israel in 1956 when, for nine days, Israel was committing genocidal massacres against Palestinian civilians and refugees in the Gaza strip and in particular in Khan Yunis and Rafah. The objective then was to push the Palestinian refugees toward an exodus so Israel could annex Gaza without refugees. The Palestinians who sought shelter in Gaza escaped the Israeli killing in 1948 from Akka, Haifa, Yafa, Safad, Gallilea, al-Led, al-Ramla, Nablus, al-Quds and Bir el-Sabe'. Today, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is trying to accomplish what David-Ben Gurion, the founder of the Zionist state and the first Prime Minister of this state, failed to achieve".

West Bank map
"Today Netanyahu feels euphoric following the victory of the extreme right-wing parties in the last elections. Extremism in Israel dominates the Knesset. The classic right-wing party has a share in power but centrists like Labour went from 42 seats to 6 in the last legislative elections, its worst showingin its 71 year history. Thus, most of Israeli society has decided to vote for the extremism that is now overwhelming Israeli culture together with the armed forces. It is time for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to realise that Israel is not willing to give a state to the Palestinians and will always reject the right of return. No one today except President Abbas holds to the Oslo agreement (signed between Israel and the PLO in 1993 in Washington). Thus, it is time to reject every single article in the Oslo treaty and refuse any deal with Israel. President Abbas (Abu Mazen) believes in peaceful resistance and in "talking-resistance" at the United Nations and Europe, both of whom are impotent in the face of Israel's plans and those of Trump. For this reason, we believe that armed resistance is the only way to get our state, because we reject any deal and any swap of territories", said the source.

Several Arab states are promoting the Israeli "Deal of the Century". Oil-rich countries, i.e. Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, are trying to convince the Palestinians, Egyptians and the Jordanian leadership to swap territories to ease the deal and accommodate Israel.

Nabka
According to well-informed sources, the "Deal of the Century" offers Egypt a sum between 65 and 100 billion dollars in exchange for offering part of Sinai (Sheikh Zuweid, Rafah and al-Aresh) to the Palestinian refugees in Gaza. In exchange, Jordan gives al-Baqoura and al-Ghamer to the Palestinians in the West Bank in exchange of "part C'. Amman would be offered around 50 to 60 billion dollars. Saudi Arabia is expected to offer Jordan a piece of Haql and Magna in exchange for the Egyptian islands of Tiran and Sanafir (the Saudis already paid for these Islands but an Egyptian court blocked the transfer of property). The Palestinians who remain in Palestine are expected, according to the deal, to receive tens of billions of dollars "to ease their life". Also, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are supposed to receive a handsome quantity of billions of dollars to naturalise the Palestinian refugees on the condition they never return to Palestine.


Comment: So, in essence, Trump wants to bribe the entire Middle East (including the Palestinians) into moving Palestinians out of their homeland in order to appease Israel. The problem is, even if the Palestinians - and all the other parties involved agreed to such a deal - does everyone really think that it would stop Israel's acts of aggression in its stated goal of creating a 'Greater Israel'??


The above details of the "Deal" confirm that it will not go through for many reasons: Lebanon and Syria will never agree to naturalise the Palestinian refugees. When young Palestinian teens living in Lebanon or Syria are asked where they come from, they immediately respond: "I am from Haifa, Yafa, Nablous, Quds, Safad..." They never say, even if they were born in Lebanon or Syria, that they belong to the country their parents or grandparents were forced to migrate to. They have never renounced their right to return and keep the key of their home hanging on the wall so as to never, ever forget where they belong.

silenced Palestinian
Jordanian and Egyptian leaders will never dare offer territories to ease Israel's plan because the population will revolt and regimes will fall. These and many more reasons lead to one conclusion: the "Deal of the Century" was dead even before it was born.

At the heart of US efforts to promote the deal is the economic strangulation of a few Middle Eastern countries - i.e. Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Gaza - who are going through a serious economic crisis. US forces are occupying north-east Syria, an area rich in oil and gas and agriculture. US forces also block the main crossing between Syria and Iraq at al-Tanfin order to block trade and keep the area insecure for commerce between the two countries, with the goal of breaking the Syrian government's back. The US establishment is also putting pressure on the Arab Gulf States and has succeeded in stopping them from restoring a normal relationship with Syria, to prevent their participation in the reconstruction of the country. Israel and the US believe this is the best way to force Syria to the negotiation table - but this is not going to happen either.

Lebanon is going through a severe economic crisis but will never accept to naturalise the Palestinians for many reasons. First, the Palestinian cause will remain alive so long as Israel rejects a Palestinian state that meets the aspiration of the Palestinian population. Second, naturalisation would unbalance the country's demography and to the detriment of the Christians so that they eventually be marginalised in Lebanon.

Saudi globe
Neither will Jordan ever exchange this territory, even for the billions of dollars the country is in need of. By taking the money the monarchy would lose the country.

Egypt rejected Trump's characteristic attempt at blackmail to force acceptance of the "Deal of the Century". US officials threatened Egypt in reference to its military deal with Russia; in reality these threats were meant to force Sisi's hand into accepting the "Deal".

All these Middle Eastern countries are aware that geography moves history and changes regimes. This "deal" is not new at all. It started in 1956 and over the years Israel has contrived to create the conditions for its acceptance. It is exactly what Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice advocated in 2006 when she announced the creation of a "New Middle East". To support this plan, the US invaded Iraq in 2003; Israel declared war on Hezbollah in 2006 and half of the world gathered - but failed - to change the regime in Syria by means of terrorist proxies. His recent election victory is motivating Netanyahu to take advantage of a totally obedient President in the White House, and push him to endorse his "deal of the Century". The time is right, from Israel's point of view, to push through the deal. This Israeli insistence is forcing its neighbours to the opposite conclusion: it is proof to the "Axis of the Resistance" that no solution is possible in the Middle East but through resistance.

Note: The 1948 Palestinian exodus, also known as the Nakba (Arabic: النكبة‎, al-Nakbah, literally "disaster", "catastrophe", or "cataclysm"), occurred from December 1947 to January 1949 when more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs were expelled from their homes, during the 1948 Palestine war. 600 Palestinian villages were sacked during the war, while urban Palestine was almost entirely extinguished.

Oslo agreement
Israel is using its influence over the US establishment to try to impose the "Deal of the Century" to enable Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to officially occupy the West Bank. This would violate the Oslo agreement signed in 1993 and legalise all illegal Israeli settlements in Oslo-designated zone C of the occupied West Bank. The countries directly concerned in the "deal" (Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria) are unwilling to give away any part of their territories. However, Israel has managed to create enough noise around this "deal" to distract the world from its doings in Palestine, where it is in essence already implementing the "Deal of the Century". The Israelis won't wait for the results of US negotiations in the Middle East.

President Donald Trump seemed indifferent to Palestinian President ad interim Mahmoud Abbas's comments that the US is "no longer viable as a partner and unfit as a mediator for any peace talks between Palestine and Israel", in response to Trump's gift to Israel of what doesn't belong to him: Jerusalem. The Palestinians see the US playing the role of judge and executioner, totally biased in favour of Israel - and disrespectful of United Nations' resolutions.

Palestine was lost when Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo agreement. He believed Israel would abide by the agreement, particularly regarding the West Bank in zones B and C. Israel disregarded Oslo and the Wye River Memorandum, giving the Palestinians less than 2% of the 13% of the land granted in both agreements.

West Bank demolitions
A UN office for the coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) report confirms that Israel had confiscated 35% of East Jerusalem even before Trump's "gift" and that, in the West Bank, 5,773 structures were demolished displacing 9,033 people and affecting 51,491 Palestinians in zone C. "Israel planned for Palestinian development on only 1% of the land", according to the OCHA report.

Indeed, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said: "Everybody has to move, run and grab as many Palestinian hilltops as they can to enlarge the Jewish settlements because everything we take now will stay ours...Everything we don't grab will go to them".

Israel can grab as much land as possible but the Palestinians, including Fatah and President Abbas, will never give up Palestine for any amount of cash on the table. Thus, the Arab countries incapable of facing down Trump's bullying (Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt) must count on Palestinian refusal of the "Deal of the Century".

Rabin Arafat
The Palestinians cannot rely on Europe; the old continent lacks the courage or resolve to stand up against US bullying. This was shown already in the Iran deal, when Europe reacted negatively to the US decision but took no steps to meet its commitments, for fear of US reprisals. Moreover, when Trump gave away the Golan Heights and Jerusalem, Europe was only able to express its "disapproval". Europe has lost any vestige of its position as a potential partner in the Palestinian peace process (if anything is left of this process).

Jordan, directly concerned by the US "Deal of the Century", is expanding its horizons towards Syria and Iraq. King Abdullah II is trying to boost the Jordanian economy by re-establishing economic ties and commerce with Syria, notwithstanding US pressure to keep the borders closed. Baghdad has agreed to construct a $10bn oil pipeline between Basra and Aqaba, providing the Kingdom with 150,000 barrels/day of crude oil. Jordan will provide Iraq with much-needed electricity and is aiming for a customs exemption between the two countries. King Abdullah also visited Turkey to ease the commercial relationship between the two countries; he lifted the customs duties on Turkish imports re-imposed last year. He is also expected to visit the Gulf countries to balance the relationship with all neighbouring countries to the benefit of Jordan's domestic economy.

Abas Netanyahu
Jordan lost its privileged position as an intermediary in the region when Benyamin Netanyahu revealed Israel's relationships with Saudi Arabia, Oman, the Emirates, Qatar and Bahrein. This has reduced the importance of Jordan for the US establishment, pushing Netanyahu to propose the exchange of Jordanian territory with Saudi Arabia and Palestine as part of the "Deal of the Century".

The differences among Arabs and the Muslim states allowed Netanyahu to take the initiative in Palestine and grab as much territory as possible. He has managed to divert the attention of the Arabs to concentrate on Iran as the "most dangerous enemy of all time." The Palestinian cause was replaced by the Iranian "threat," although Tehran has taken no initiative to attack any of its neighbours since the Islamic Republic took power in 1979.

Trump Bibi
Israel and the US are sending messages of war to both Hezbollah and Iran (and Hamas in Gaza). In reality, the US wants Iran to come to the negotiation table and to forget about Palestine and the Palestinian cause. Brian H. Hook, US Special Representative for Iran and a senior advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, wrote an article entitled: "Isn't it time to abandon the policies that have kept the people of Iran and the United States apart since 1979? The people of the United States and Iran should have diplomatic ties. We can foresee a new American Embassy in Tehran issuing visas to tourists, business travellers and teachers". Trump tried eight times to meet President Hassan Rouhani to no avail. Iran, before accepting a meeting, wants first to see the signed nuclear deal honoured.

The question poses itself: how can Iran be considered Enemy Number One of the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia (& Co.) with its security forces (IRGC) on the US Terrorist list, while at the same time the US State Department (that takes no initiative without Presidential approval) wants to open US doors to Iran?

Palestinian flag
Israel is not preparing a military adventure against Gaza, Syria, Hezbollah or Iran because it is in fact already attaining its objectives both internationally and domestically.

Its military apparatus regularly hits targets in Syria with a calculated risk of retaliation from Damascus and its allies. Israel willingly risks a Syrian reprisal. If Syria were to respond to Israel's continuous violations of its sovereignty, it would help Israel attract world attention. The world powers would then do their best to try and stop an escalation between Israel and all its enemies gathered in one place in the Levant, rather than looking in meticulous detail at Israel's wrongdoing in Palestine, and its violations of UN and Oslo agreements. Israel is aware that its enemies will evaluate the timing, benefits and reaction to any military response. Syria and its allies believe a war will slow its recovery from 8 years of war. The potential consequences of a war with Israel on the Syrian economy - at a time of ongoing economic crisis - would be devastating. Syria's allies are not willing to be dragged into a confrontation at Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu's whim. They are also aware of Trump's unlimited support for Israel at all costs and by any means. An Israeli-US war on Syria would be disastrous.

Netanyahu feels very confident, given Trump's unlimited support and the confirmation of his domestic support in recent legislative elections. He holds the initiative and has managed to concentrate global attention on Iran rather than Palestine. Demonization of Iran as the head of the "Axis of Evil" diverts attention from the Jewish Nationalist law, the dislodging of the Palestinians from the West Bank-Zone C, and the Israeli attempt to wipe out any trace of Palestinians in the occupied Israeli territory.

Saudi Arabia's record of militant hatred against Iran's wide influence in the region is nothing new. It dates back to 1981 when Saddam Hussein declared war on Iran. Moreover, Saudi's extremist Wahhabite Islamic doctrine leaves little room for tolerance towards any other practice of Islam or towards any other religion. Saudi's takfiri Wahhabist doctrine is the same creed as that of al-Qaeda and ISIS, who consider secular, Shia, Druse, Isma'ili and Zaidi men, women and children as deserving to be killed at sight, and Yazidi and secular women and children as subject to enslavement.

The Israeli Defence Minister has said that he would prefer to have ISIS on Israel's borders than the Syrian army and its allies; he publicly acknowledges Israeli military and non-military support to jihadist terrorists during the war against Syria. At the same time Saudi Arabia generously invested in support to Jihadists and opened its prisons and borders for Jihadist-tourists to leave the Kingdom in direction of the Levant. Israel and Saudi Arabia agreed and still agree today that their common enemy is Iran not ISIS.

Netanyahu plans to keep up his aggressive rhetoric against Iran while at the same time domestically pushing the one million Palestinian refugees from Gaza towards the Egyptian Sinai territory, so that he can later divide Gaza into parts A-B-C as his predecessors did to the West Bank through the 1993 Oslo agreement. The Israeli Prime Minister is also aiming to normalise Israeli-Arab relationships and establish overt diplomatic and commercial ties with Arab states, isolating Iran and its allies, i.e. Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Gaza and Yemen.

The Israeli Prime Minister was happy to share with the world that "more than two Arab Leaders rushed to congratulate him for his victory in the last legislative elections", when a coalition of the far-right wing overwhelmingly defeated more conventional right-wing elements.

Gaza Strip:

Gaza strip
Gaza is the cornerstone of what Israel calls the "Deal of the Century". Netanyahu cannot, any more than Hamas, deal with one million refugees and another million inhabitants - when he or his successors decide to move on Gaza. These people need water, electricity, medical care, infrastructure, schools, universities, security, and links with the outside world. The economic situation in Gaza is critical and Hamas is suffering from the sanctions imposed on its administration of the Strip.

Gaza was under Egyptian administration from 1948-1959. This inspired Netanyahu's idea to relocate the Palestinians to Sinai. In the 1950s, President Abdel Nasser sent to Gaza his General Mustafa Hafez who in 1955 created "the Palestinian Fedayeen Forces". Abdel Nasser visited al-Arish with Abdel Hakim Amer and Salah Salem and considered Hafez commander of the "Army of Palestine". The Egyptian President considered it important not to rely on any UN resolutions, but he proved incompetent to give the Palestinians back their territory. Hafez was confronted with the Israeli unit 101 led by Ariel Sharon and was assassinated by the Israeli intelligence service.

David Ben Gurion decided to join the British and the French in their war against President Abdel Nasser following his decision to nationalise the Suez Canal. Israel saw in the charismatic Egyptian President an existential danger; Israel wanted control of Gaza and demanded that France build its nuclear military facility in Dimona.

Ben Gurion entered Gaza, Rafah and al-Arish and attacked the 200,000 Palestinian refugees (the population in those days). They had come from Haifa, Yafa, Gallilea, Jerusalem and other parts of Palestine. The Israelis killed in cold blood between 275 to 900 civilians during the nine-day massacre. In the 50s, Ben Gurion already wanted to implement the "Deal of the Century". Israel was also responsible for another massacre, in Kfar Qassem, killing 49 farmers returning to their home because they hadn't heard about a sudden curfew imposed by the Israeli army, as ex-Prime Minister Ehud Barak later acknowledged.

prisoners threatened gaza
Israel adopted the "open door" policy, encouraging or intimidating Palestinians to leave their country. But the Israeli massacres didn't persuade the Palestinians to leave their territory, like those who left in 1948. These were no longer affected by the Israeli "Ironing policy" and decided to stay even in wretched conditions.

These days, Israel is using Trump to try and twist the Palestinians' arms. He gave Jerusalem (and the Golan) to Netanyahu and will probably give him the West Bank-zone C too. Trump also halted funding for the UN agency helping Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), in an attempt to force the Palestinians to accept Netanyahu's objectives.

This is pushing the Palestinians to adopt what now appears the only solution - to join the resistance, to fight for their land. Those who have decided to stand up to Israel believe it is "weaker than the spider's web". Despite the murder of children, the elderly and women by Israeli bullets, Palestinians demonstrate weekly for the right of return. The Palestinian resistance (for the first time 14 groups have united in one military operational room joining their decisions, military actions and capabilities against Israel) has shown its capability to bomb Tel Aviv, forcing Netanyahu to positively respond to some Palestinian demands.

"Netanyahu said he will allow the re-opening of the passage between Gaza and Egypt; he will allow money to reach Hamas; he has agreed to enlarge the fishing space and allow trucks to supply Gaza with most needed goods. The Palestinian resistance agreed to stop using "rough methods" (flying burning kites) and managed to bring out of Israeli jails 1027 prisoners in the Gilad Shalit exchange deal. The Palestinian resistance has now halted all negotiations with Netanyahu in regard to the 5 Israelis detained by the Palestinian resistance. In turn the Israelis have re-arrested 56 prisoners who were released during the Shalit deal. Unless these are first released unconditionally, negotiations between the resistance and Israel will not be resumed", said the Palestinian source.

The Palestinians find it difficult to reconcile amongst themselves to unite against Netanyahu's "deal of the Century". President Abbas wants to control Gaza, and Hamas is happy to pass on political leadership to him provided the armed resistance keeps its autonomy. Hamas is in organisational and economic trouble in Gaza and would like to take such responsibilities off its back. Hamas didn't learn from the Hezbollah experience in Lebanon. Despite its huge military power Hezbollah wisely refuses to exert political control, thus avoiding blame for bad administration. Abbas believes in verbal resistance rather than armed resistance. Netanyahu supports the Palestinian President's peaceful methods because he believes that talking has never won back any territory for the Palestinians. Abbas wants Hamas to retain control of Gaza if it won't give up its weapons. This condition has been rejected by all resistance groups in Gaza.

torture gaza
Hamas has made many mistakes in the past. In Iraq and Syria, many ex-Hamas joined al-Qaeda and the "Islamic State" (ISIS) with the aim of establishing an Islamic State. Many of them had been trained by Hezbollah in Lebanon but reappeared later as suicide bombers and on the battlefield, fighting against the Iraqi and Syrian governments for a purpose unrelated to Palestine. The political leadership jumped from one alliance to another and declared enmity to President Bashar al-Assad who still today refuses reconciliation with Hamas. Other Palestinian groups acted as a "guns for hire" in the service of Muammar Ghedaffi, Saddam Hussein and Hafez Assad.

Netanyahu has failed to tame the resistance because he has no intention either of giving the Palestinians any territory, or of giving back territories Israel is currently occupying or has received from Trump. Netanyahu's policies vindicate Hezbollah's raison-d'être, justify Iran's continued presence in the Levant, and provide strong motivations for President Bashar al-Assad to reject any future negotiations with Israel and to stick with the "Axis of the Resistance" for good. He is also offering to Iraq a motive to sympathise with the cause of the Levantine peoples and is dooming Israel to a state of ongoing war with its close neighbours.

The last word does not belong to Netanyahu or Trump. It belongs to the Palestinians. The wealth of the Middle East is being invested in Middle Eastern wars and is now being used in the service of Netanyahu - through Trump - to divide and reshuffle the Middle Eastern map. But the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

Proof-read by: Maurice Brasher & C.G.B