Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the blessing of Donald trump announced the start of the “Deal of the Century.” So in Tel Aviv and Washington they call the plan, which implies the annexation of “originally Israeli lands”, the expulsion of Palestinians from there and thus ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. However, this plan has a lot of pitfalls that are very dangerous for Israel.
For decades, great diplomats around the world have tried to untie the knot of Arab-Israeli contradictions in the Holy Land. Determine the status of Jerusalem, which both Jews and Arabs consider their holy city and are not going to share with each other. Decide the fate of the West Bank, occupied by Israel after the 1967 war. The Israelis did not then attach this territory to their state, but they built there more than a hundred settlements with a population of more than 400 thousand, which are now practically impossible to withdraw. Many American presidents approached this diplomatic shell, tried to find a compromise – and all of them failed.
And then Trump came. I saw the complexity of the Middle East knot, all its complexity. And he decided to win the standard way for him – to abandon the principle of compromise, fully supporting all Israeli territorial claims.
At first, Trump “decided” on the status of Jerusalem – he unilaterally recognized it as the capital of Israel. And now it is the turn of that part of the West Bank where the Israeli settlements are located – for which the so-called deal of the century is proposed. Although it can be called a deal conditionally, it is rather an annexation of foreign territories with a chance of compensation to the opposite side.
Within the framework of this “deal”, the legitimization of the existing status quo should actually take place. Jewish settlements in the West Bank with their territory (about 30% of the entire West Bank) and their entire 400,000th Jewish population are planned to formally become part of Israel. The Jordan River Valley (the eastern part of the West Bank bordering Jordan) will also enter there. Thus, the part of the West Bank that remains with the Palestinians will be like an enclave inside Israel (the connection of the Palestinian territories with the kingdom will be through two specially constructed roads). Jerusalem itself will remain Israeli and as the capital of Jewish statehood. And several Arab quarters will unite with the nearby town of Abu Diz, give them the name Al-Quds (the Arabic name for Jerusalem) and appoint, instead of the present Ramallah, the center of the Palestinian Authority, the capital of the demilitarized State of Palestine.
In fact, only 70% of the territories that now have the status of “occupied by Israel” will remain in the Palestinian state – but this is only 15% of historical Palestine, without special water resources and agricultural land. As for the “compensation”, they are very arbitrary. The lost land to the Palestinians is offset by territories in the Negev desert, which should become an industrial and agricultural cluster for the overpopulated Gaza Strip. In addition, Palestinians will receive about $ 50 billion in development funds.
They are trying to explain to the Palestinian leadership: if they do not agree to Trump’s terms today, tomorrow they will receive even less – and even nothing at all. What if the Palestinian leadership doesn’t like it, then a “wedding without a bride” will take place – Israel will unilaterally annex the territories of the West Bank. Actually, Netanyahu is talking about this now – the law on the annexation will most likely be proposed to the Knesset in less than a month and a half.
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This annexation, like the whole plan, violates everything that is possible. Resolutions of the UN Security Council, the Oslo Accords, the very principles of the Arab-Israeli settlement. Finally, the foundations of American foreign policy. The state is occupying (according to the United States) a part of another state, and the States de facto unilaterally recognize and legitimize this “occupation” – this is not only a blow to international law, but also a most important precedent in the international recognition of the return of Crimea to the Russian Federation.
US officials can talk about the “uniqueness” of the situation with the West Bank (as they said earlier about the “uniqueness” of the situation with recognition of the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights). However, a sincere belief in the inviolability of the principle “what is allowed to Jupiter is not allowed to Bull” has already served the Americans poorly in the case of the “Kosovo precedent”, partly relying on which Moscow did what it did in Crimea. Now, Russia has the opportunity to use the “Israeli precedent” – and it will surely use it at the right time.