Deal of the century or hypocrisy of the century By Rustam Shah Mohmand

The long awaited Trump plan for ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been unveiled in a conference in Bahrain. Both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority are absent from the deliberations.
The plan envisages an enormous investment in Gaza, West Bank and the three Middle Eastern countries — Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon — hosting a large number of Palestinians displaced from their homes in the aftermath of the wars and the occupation of their lands in 1948-49 and 1967. The total investment as part of the economic dimension of the plan would be $50 billion.
The Trump initiative seeks to bolster the economies of the three Arab countries with large Palestinian population as well as Gaza, West Bank and Jerusalem by making major investment in infrastructure, tourism, education and agriculture.
The architect of the new initiative which has been dubbed the deal of the century, Jared Kushner, Adviser to President Trump and his son-in-law, has claimed that the plan would create hundreds of thousands of new jobs for the Palestinians and would transform the economic landscape of the area.
The workshop in Bahrain is being attended by officials from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, besides a large number of businessmen from across the Arab world, the US and Israel.
Jared Kushner, who has close family ties with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, believes the Trump plan would create conditions for advancement on the political front in finding a sustainable solution to the seven-decade old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has rejected the plan saying it would take the focus away from the real cause of the conflict i.e. the illegal occupation of the Palestinian land by Israel. Hamas has also voiced its complete opposition to any such plan that would be tantamount to accepting Israel’s illegal occupation of Arab lands in wars of aggression.
In reality the plan is a typical Trump response to a complex political and human rights issue by inciting stakeholders with promise of making fortunes. Even the amount that is proposed to be invested would be raised from within the wealthy Arab states in the hope that a rejuvenated Palestinian economy would change the whole socio-economic dynamics of the area and that would create huge opportunities for rapid economic growth of all regional countries .
But here is a paradox: The Trump administration has cut off funds for the Palestinian Authority making it totally ineffective. What is more the US has also reduced substantially its funding for the UNRWA — the UN agency that takes care of the needs of displaced Palestinians, thus making UNRWA, desperately seeking assistance or suspending its activities in a number of areas.
On the one hand the Trump Administration is calling for a huge investment plan to help Palestinians raise their living standard while on the other it is cutting off vital financial aid to cripple the UN agency that is mandated to look after the Palestinian displaced families!
The initiative comes in the backdrop of two very significant and damaging US moves — both seen as reinforcing the Israeli occupation and its narrative.
The recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the shifting of US embassy there was clearly an anti-Palestinian move in complete defiance of the international law and in sheer disregard of the aspirations of Palestinian. The recognition of Golan Heights as Israeli territory was another act of appeasement of Israeli ambitions and against all international norms of justice. That was a gift to Netanyahu, the ultra-right Israeli Prime Minister, to boost his chances of reelection in the upcoming Israeli election.
Netanyahu has hinted in recent statements that Israel may annex parts of West Bank and create more settlements. That would irreparably damage the prospects or hopes of the two states solution.
The Jared Kushner Plan is essentially a camouflaged initiative to kill the two states solution. In a major departure from the US foreign policy stance of supporting the two states solution, the plan jettisons any mention of an Independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The new initiative wrongly labeled as the deal of the century by some in Washington is going to fail because it is intrinsically designed to perpetuate Israeli occupation of lands that rightfully belong to Palestinians. In the garb of that hidden agenda, an ambience of the flow of huge funds into the region is being promoted. All this is orchestrated to alter the whole narrative and deepen the political status quo in a bid to silence any opposition to illegal Israeli occupation.
The initiative would only create more suspicions, more frustration. Simultaneously, it could lead to more polarisation in the Arab world. And from that perspective, the scheme may deliver some gains for the US-Israel scheme.
Recognising that Israel has been in defiance of so many UN resolutions with the full backing of the US, it is hardly surprising that there is nothing that the US would not do to safeguard and promote Israeli national interests at the expense of justice and the rights of Palestinians. The new deal is not really the deal of the century, it is hypocrisy of the century. The international community and the UN must focus on helping to secure the rights of the impoverished Palestinians who have suffered one of the longest periods of persecution in contemporary history.
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