By Jamal Kanj*
June 24, 2019
The Trumpian hyperbole marketing brand had generated unrealistic expectations for the “Deal of the Century.” For over a year and a half, Jared Kushner promised but missed at least three dates to unveil the “secret” plan.
Assisted by two bono fide Zionists, Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt and US Ambassador David Friedman, Kushner’s lone political experience with Palestine/Israel is his family’s tax deductible contributions to building “Jewish only colonies.”
Kushner’s predisposed conviction and his parochial bias were palpable in the June 2nd interview with Axios on HBO. In the interview, he opined that Palestinians were not “capable of governing” themselves or become free from Israeli occupation.
After more than a year of hyped promotion, Kushner’s Zionist team revealed a scaled down version of Trump’s “concrete plan.” Evident in the leaked conference agenda, the goal of Kushner’s gathering is not to offer economic support to Palestinians, but rather to provide a cover-up for opening the doors of Arab capitals to Israeli officials.
Israel gets the reward of the illusionary peace upfront while US tantalizes to Arabs a peace process that may never materialize. Deferring and circumventing political process is archetypical Israeli trademark strategy that seeks to harvest fruits before the tree blossoms. Hence, the fruits of the US proposed miniature workshop in Bahrain.
In the Oslo Accord in 1993, the PLO agreed to recognize Israel, in advance, over 78% of historical Palestine. There was no reciprocal Israeli obligation toward the PLO on the remaining 22% (West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza).
A quarter of a century later, peace did not blossom and the only implemented sections of the Oslo Accords were the PLO recognition of Israel. In addition, it relieved Israel of administering the life of five million Palestinians, security coordination and outsourcing―free of cost―the security services to the Palestinian Authority.
Meanwhile, Israel continued to violate and effectively buried the Oslo Accords under new expansive “Jewish only colonies” changing the demographics of the population in areas allotted for the future Palestinian state.
Ten years following the Accord, George W Bush proposed a Road Map for peace. To placate Israeli reservations, Bush rewarded Israel, in advance, with an official American letter agreeing to annex “Jewish only colonies” in the West Bank as part of any future peace agreement.
Israel crushed Bush’s Road Map under the bulldozers of yet more “Jewish only colonies.” The American letter remains the sole outcome of the Road Map. Greenblatt and Friedman are using Bush’s letter to advocate Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Kushner’s economic peace is an age old Israeli contrived gas bubble intends to skirt compliance with international law and UN resolutions. Shimon Peres floated the idea to equivocate Israel’s commitments under the Oslo Accords. Current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revived it in 2009 to sidestep the American (Bush and Obama) administration’s support for two-state solution.
Yet, for quarter of a century since the establishment of the Palestinian authority, Israel had systematically strangled the very economy it (and now Kushner) claims to champion.
Since 1993, the European Union invested billions of dollars in economic infrastructure, including an airport and seaport in Gaza. In 2002 after the failure of Camp David, Israel obliterated both facilities denying Palestinians access to trade and fishing.
To further stifle the economy, Israel erected walls separating farmers from their olive groves and farms, spiked the West Bank with intrusive military checkpoints encumbering the movement of goods, divided towns and cities and misappropriated tax money held on Palestinian imports.
Kushner and Israel’s invented economic peace is a political shenanigan to sedate the bird cage (walled) economy, or leverage it in the form of collective punishment to suppress resistance and subjugate Palestinians.
Like Oslo Accords, the Road Map, and now ahead of rolling the political plan for the “Deal of Century”, Trump conferred on Israel another advanced installment by recognizing Jerusalem as its capital, cut financial aid to Palestinians including UN organizations, and the annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights without any Israeli concession.
In addition to normalizing contacts between Arabs attending the Manama workshop and Israel (another advanced installment), Kushner’s plan would relegate the cost of the caged Palestinian economy to Arab countries, gifting Israel yet more freebies without negotiation.
Kushner economic peace workshop is a false allure to salve Palestinian (and Arab) capitulation before rolling out the eon of all political disasters.
*Mr Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) an author who had written weekly newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. His recent coauthored book “Bride of the Sea” was published in Germany and Poland.