Dr… Salim Muhammad al-Zaanoun
Translated by : mudhaffar al-kusairi
Finally, Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, announced the long-awaited deal of the century, which, according to its terms, squandered the real opportunity to establish a Palestinian state on the borders of June 4, 1967 AD.
Given the importance of the study prepared by Dr. Salim Muhammad Al-Zaanoun, as it came in harmony with its analyzes and expectations, largely with what was presented by Trump and his ally Netanyahu, and this is calculated for Dr. Salim Muhammad Al-Zaanoun for his anticipation of the future of the Palestinian issue from the American-Israeli perspective.
Index of contents :
– Executive summary
– Introduction :
– First : the challenges surrounding the century deal.
– Second : the negative repercussions of the unilateral application of the deal .
–Third : the window of opportunities .
— Conclusion .
Executive summary :
The American peace plan ” Deal of the Century “faces four main challenges that make it difficult to succeed in establishing a permanent state of peace and stability in the region , despite its actual implementation on the ground from one side :
The first: undermining traditional concepts in the peace industry.
The second: disruption of the international system.
The third: the regression of the Israeli desire for peace.
The fourth: the inability of the Arab states to support a political plan without settling the Palestinian issue.
According to this perspective, Washington was unable to find an international or regional umbrella that would support the deal and persuade the Palestinian side to deal with it. The practical implementation of the century deal on the ground from one side left its negative repercussions on three levels:
First and foremost at the Israeli level.
Secondly at the level of the countries of the region
Third at the Palestinian level.
However, the current reality provides Israel with a window of rare strategic opportunities a supportive and helpful American administration and Arab countries are ready to help find a solution to the conflict, and the Palestinian issue is at the bottom of international and regional meetings. Israel and the international community should use this opportunity to separate from the Palestinians politically , economically , demographically , geographically , and find a comprehensive settlement , such a move would constitute an Israeli interest in the first place , and if this opportunity is not be exploited at the present time ,things will seem more complicated in the future .
Since the current US administration took office in 2016 and it talks about a mysterious peace plan in the Middle East and has not yet announced details of settling the Arab -Israeli conflict , with the exception of media leaks and scattered statements , the announcement if the plan as postponed more than once , recently the announcement was postponed until after the Israeli elections in next April , and after that , the American elections will be close, and it will probably be postponed until after the American elections in 2020 .
In practical terms , Washington has taken a set of measures indicating the implementation of the deal on the ground from one side , but the chances of its success in achieving a permanent state of peace and stability are facing a set of challenges , and its coercive application has left negative repercussions on the main actors , but the current reality opens a window opportunities , if exploited properly , it will redirect the path .
First: the challenges surrounding the century deal :
The American peace plan , deal of the century , despite its actual implementation on the ground by one side , faces four main challenges that make it difficult to succeed in establishing a permanent state of peace and stability in the region , the first is to undermine traditional concepts in the peace industry and the second is the disorder of the international system , and the third is the inability of the Arab leaders to support a political plan without settling the Palestinian issue, and the fourth is the decline of the Israeli desire for peace .
1. Undermining traditional concepts in the peace industry :
The Trump administration adopted a negotiating approach contrary to the previous US administrations , which were involving Israelis and Palestinians in the negotiations , setting broad lines , and leaving the parties of the conflict to decide and agree on the details , that the new negotiating approach of the Trump administration is based on two main pillars :
The first : the peace approach from outside to inside , that is , managing negotiations with the Arab countries and normalizing the relationship with Israel , under the item of confronting Iran in the hope that the Arab countries will exert their influence on the Palestinians in order to advance peace in the Middle East .
The second : a policy of complete coercion , and forcing the Palestinians to accept , by shaping the reality on the ground , on the issue of al-Quds and refugees , settlements and punitive measures , such as allocating aid and closing diplomatic offices.
On the ground, there is no longer anything to offer or negotiate with the Palestinians.
The new administration ‘s negotiating approach contributed to strengthening the deadlock in Israel-Palestinian relations and deepening the stalemate , against the background of the Palestinians ‘refusal to hold our talks with administration officials , and from a practical outcome , these steps had a negative impact on the ability of the United States to lead a successful political process .
2. Disorder of the international system:
The urrent international environment differs from its counterparts in the 1990s , which are in the framework of the Madrid conference and the signing of the Oslo agreement , more than a quarter of a century ago, , USA was dominating the top of the international system , including its people to impose its vision on other international powers while the current international system is undergoing a state of change , since Obama’s term the Unites States began to retreat from its international obligations , bearing the burdens of dominating the international system , and adopted a policy of “leadership from behind ” and this trend was reinforced with Trump’s mandate , not only to reinforce the trend towards the internal interests , the gradual withdrawal from the Middle East , but even the destabilization of the structure of transatlantic relations with European Union , along with economic war with China, the tense relations with Russia , and in the broader perspective of the international system , China and Russia rose as the rival powers to the USA at the top of the system , and Washington was no longer able to imposing its policy on the international scene , or working in alliances to implement its vision of resolving crises .
The European Union:
There is a case of deep disagreement between Brussels and Washington , and the leaders of the European Union announced that the relationship between Europe and the United States must be re-evaluated , and the European Union began adopting different positions and visions to the American vision , especially in the Iranian file and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict , given that the European Union states , member in the Security Council , issued a joint statement on December 18, 2018 , stating that any peace plan that ignores the internationally agreed standards based on the two-state solution on the borders of 1967 with a joint capital of al-Quds will face failure .
Tensions have increased in the recent period between Washington and Moscow , and the relationship between them has reached a low point , and the potential trend is to exacerbate tensions , including the possibility of increasing sanctions imposed on Russia , and their inability to reach consensus , whether on issues in the Middle East or the issue of Eastern Europe .And Moscow opposes Washington’s directions regarding Middle East issues , and has adopted a different approach with regard to the Palestinian issue , as it has hosted Palestinian factions , called for peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis , opposes the century deal for a a settlement , and its foreign minister indicated that this deal will destroy what has been achieved so far … , adding ” we see the greatest danger in the US position aimed at promoting a unilateral approach , and breaking the legal basis for solving the Palestinian problem .
The US National Security Strategy Document of 2017 considered China for the first time as it posed a challenge for the USA , and in addition to the trade dispute , the tension between the two countries is increasing due to China’s arms acquisition from Russia , American aid to Taiwan , and the struggle for control over the South China Sea . Beijing started to compete Washington in the Middle East to secure its economic interests and work to formulate a policy , consistent with Moscow in issues such as Iran and North Korea , and adopted a vision to settle the Palestinian –Israeli conflict , where it put forward a four point initiative in 2013 to settle the dispute , and the Chinese ambassador confirmed in July 2018 that his country would present its peace initiative again , and this is an alternative to the deal of century .
According to this perspective , there is now a state of uncertainty about the position of the USA in the international arena , and its ability to impose its vision on many issues on the world scene , and in this context , Washington was unable to create a state international consensus on Trump’s peace plan , ” the deal of century ” . The positions of the international powers are opposing, which lead Washington to implement the plan unilaterally without obtaining the minimum level of international consensus.
3. Arab inability to support a political plan without settling the Palestinian issue:
The Arab countries have been living since the beginning of the current decade , an existential battle in the face of a series of regional and internal threats , Iran and Turkey , civil wars in some Arab countries , and the escalation of terrorism , Muslim brotherhood , and internally economic, ideological and cultural tensions . These threats changed the map of regional interests , and pushed Arab countries to change the scale of their priorities regarding the Palestinian issue and Israel , and found themselves in harmony with interests of Israel to face common threats , within hich Israel gradually transformed from a “problem” to a main part of a solution to the problems facing the region , , this was reflected in the high level of Arab-Israeli relations , while the Palestinian issue was excluded to the bottom of the Arab priorities list . Despite this, the Palestinian issue still has a unique position popularly , with obstacles preventing Arab countries from agreeing to the deal of the century , and forcing them to organize behind the Palestinians , for several considerations :
Any solution or rapprochement with Israel that does not include a settlement to the Palestinian –Israeli conflict requires an internal and regional price and it is difficult for Arab leaders to expose themselves to danger and pay the political price for any solution or rapprochement with Israel without a settlement to the Palestinian issue .
First : internally , Arab public opinion still fully supports the Palestinian demands ,opposing any solution or relationship with Israel before settling the Palestinian-Israeli conflict , and in the light of the internal challenges of Arab countries such hostile an inciting powers , economic decline , and rapid technology , it is difficult to accept solutions that lead to deterioration of the internal situation , and destabilization .
In addition to that, both Egypt and Jordan are more related to the Palestinian issue , they will not express flexibility on any plan that affects their national interests , in light of Egypt’s fear of Gaza’s economic dependency on it , in a ay that makes it an Egyptian problem , notIsraei , and Jordan’s fear of the affects of the deal of the century to change its demographic composition , as the percentage of Jordanians od Palestinian origin reaches between 50-70 %
Any solution without settling the Palestinian issue will be exploited by Iran and Turkey in order to violate the legitimacy of the Arab countries and accuse them of abandoning the Palestinian and Islamic sanctities , given that the Arab countries , especially Saudi Arabia , in its conflict with Iran , and Egypt in its competition with Turkey , are unable to allow for themselves to offer gains to Iran and Turkey that allow them to accumulate regional political profits at their expense
.As a result of that , the Arab countries will not support any political plan , including the deal of the century if it is close to the position of Israel and far from the position of the Palestinians .
The failure of Washington ‘s policy to bring peace from “outside to inside ” and dispel expectations that Arab states would help to soften the Palestinian position , and ultimately the US administration was unable to find a serious Arab party that deals seriously with the outputs of the “deal of the century ” and failed to form a regional umbrella that supports the plan and convince the Palestinian side with the deal .
4. The decline of the Israeli desire for peace:
The Israeli government understands that a comprehensive settlement with the Palestinians cannot be reached at this stage for various reasons , including the absence of a unified Palestinian leadership capable of reaching and implementing agreements , with the Israeli government relying on a right-wing coalition opposed to any agreement stipulating a two-state solution .
This was reflected in a sharp decline in the Israeli desire for peace compared to the past, whether on the popular level or the political level.
Popularly, an opinion poll conducted by Tel Aviv University last August showed that only 9% of the Israelis want their government to give priority to reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
In 2019 , statements were made at the political level between Netanyahu ” Trump’s peace plan is not an urgent necessity ” and statement by the minister of Justice ” that the plan is a waste of time ” , given that the Israeli government is currently positioned in the comfortable space called ” a standing situation ” which is a space that does not require difficult decisions but to continue the management of the conflict with the Palestinians as a secondary arena compared to the threat on the northern side .
Second: The negative repercussions of the unilateral application of the deal:
In practice , the deal of the century is being implemented on the ground , by the USA and Israel , and this has left its negative repercussions on Israel in the first place, , and the region as marked on a second level , and the Palestinians in a third degree .
1. At the level of Israel:
Contrary to what some believe that Israel is the first winner of the implementation of the deal of the century, but actually it leaves its negative repercussions on it in two directions:-
A. Sipping into the reality of one country:
The practical implementation of the deal deepens Israel’s control over the Western bank and al-Quds , where the law regulating settlement was retroactively enacted for illegal settlements , and the implementation of the law is considered a form of legal annexation , and in the framework of which proposals were put forward in the Israeli Knesset to examine the process of annexing parts of the west Bank to Israel , and that arranged a new complicated reality , the core of which is the inability to separate fro the Palestinians , thereby putting Israel before the one –state option that includes two possibilities :-
The first: a state with equal rights for Jews and Palestinians, and this eliminates the idea of a Jewish state.
The second: a state without equal rights and this eliminates the idea of Israel as a democratic and moral state.
The most dangerous thing is slipping toward one state with an Arab majority, thereby endangering the continuity of the Israeli state. Thus, it is better for Israel to be separated from the Palestinians politically, demographically and geographically according to the option of two states for two peoples…
B. Demolishing the idea of a clean occupation:
Failure to achieve a political settlement acceptable to the Palestinians will lead to the destabilization of the Palestinian Authority as a responsible authority , and able to work and cooperate with Israel to maintain stability, and carry out its civil duties towards the population , thereby raising the chances of the outbreak of violence in the West Bank , and the exploitation of regional powers such as Turkey and Iran for the movements of Hamas and Islamic Jihad against the Palestinian Authority and Israel , in this case , Israel is forced to interfere in security and military activities in the West Bank , thereby increasing the economic , security and military costs .
As a result the launch of the deal of the century on the ground of rality has negative impact on Israel, in the short term destroying the idea of clean occupation and raise the cost , and in the long run threatens the idea of a democratic and Jewish state, that ensuring the existence of a Jewish and democratic state , and at the same time enjoying security and stability requires a solution that takes into consideration the existence of the Palestinians and their rights .
2. At the regional level:
The repercussions at the regional level come in two directions, the first in the balance of regional conflict and the second in the balance of fighting terrorism:
A. In the balance of regional conflict : the start of implementing the century deal on the ground without settling the Palestinian issue , gives Iran and Turkey an opportunity to undermine the legitimacy of Arab states and accuse them of abandoning the Palestinians and Islamic sanctities , noting that the accumulation of points in the regional conflict as in favor of Turkey and Iran , especially in the conflict with Saudi Arabia and Egypt respectively , and in this conext , the Turkish media and the media of the Muslim Brotherhood began to promote that Arab leaders sold al-Quds in order to confront Iran , a away that would incite Arab public opinion and feed the opposition and extremist organizations with anger against Arab regimes .
B. in the balance of fighting terrorism: the historical experience indicates that extremist organizations exploit the Palestinian issue as an excuse and justification to justify their actions. The question of al-Quds and Palestine has formed basic pillars in its literature. With the start of implementing the deal of century on the ground , many statements were made by extremist organizations such as al-Qaeda , ISIS , the Mujahid Youth movement , the movement to resolve the military conflict of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and the movement for the Liberation of Al-Sham in Syria , all of which called for action for al-Quds , and in this context the extremist organizations will work to exploit the conditions to do in three directions :-
-First : Using the conditions to restructure itself and take shape within the Palestinian issue, especially as an organization like Al-Qaeda wants to return and control the scene again , and ISIS wants new justifications for self- rebuilding .
-Second: Exploiting the situation to work against the existing regimes. , the movement to resolve ( Hasam ) , the arm of Muslim Brotherhood confirmed in its statement that al-Quds will not be liberated before the liberation of Cairo , and the movement of liberation of al-Sham confirmed that the road to al-Quds passes through the Sunni cities in Syria .
-Third : Extremist organizations will exploit the issue the issue as a justification for recruitment , then the recruits were directed towards carrying out operations in other regions and different goals in the countries of the world under the slogan of the violation to Islamic Sanctities .
According to this perspective , implementing the deal of century from one side will weaken the position of moderate Arab states in their regional struggle with Turkey and Iran , on the other hand , providing a fertile environment foe re-activation of extremist organizations , by taking the issue of sanctities as a pillar of violent action , either against the regimes or at the broader level.
3. At the Palestinian level:
The implementation of the deal of the century , and the consequences of moving the American Embassy to A-Quds , liquidating the issue of refugees , financial drying of the Palestinian Authority , and stopping diplomatic work , leads to destabilization and stability of the Authority , and opens the ay for Hamas and Islamic Jihad to implement their plans to activate violence in the West Bank , in order to violate Israel and the Palestinian Authority .
Third: the opportunities window
The current status of Israel provides a window for rare strategic opportunities:
A supportive and helpful American administration , and leading Arab states ready to cooperate with it and contribute to the process of settling the conflict with the Palestinians , and the loss of the Palestinians issue its importance for the sake of Middle East policies and the international system, , these conditions enable Israel to take effective steps on the Palestinian issue , and if the international community is not able to use this opportunity to achieve political agreement based on the settlement of the Palestinian issue , things will appear more complicated in the future .
Based on the current reality , Israel and the USA can practice an active and proactive policy in order to find creative solutions , with the participation of the Palestinians , instead of the policy of coercion , which has serious implications for Israel and the region , a policy based on Israel ‘s political, demographic and geographic separation from the Palestinians according to the two-state solution .
This will constitute an Israel interest for several reasons:-
First: It will prevent Israel from slipping toward a one-state reality, which will destroy the concept of Jewish and the democracy of the state, a state with a demographic composition in favor of the Palestinians .
Second : Designing a more stable political and security reality that helps it achieve the vision of a secure Jewish and democratic state , demarcating its borders , confronting regional challenges , and improving its international standing .
Third: It improves its ability to take advantages of the opportunities inherent in establishing formal relations with Arab countries, to counter common threats.
It is not possible for the American administration to succeed in leading a successful political process that enables it to establish a permanent state of peace and stability, as a result of a complex set of challenges. The unilateral implementation of the century deal leaves its negative and dangerous repercussions on the main actors , as the current international , regional and Palestinian situation opens a window of opportunities , if they are not exploited , then things will appear more complicated in the future . Israel and the USA should pursue an active and proactive policy in order to find creative solutions based on Israel’s political, economic , demographic , and geographic separation from the Palestinians , according to the two- state solution , and this is in favor of Israel first and foremost.
Translated by Mudhaffar al-Kusairi
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies.