The Trump-Netanyahu Deal: the Path that Led to the “Peace” Plan and What is to be Done

18 April, 2020
Authors

The ACRPS has published The Trump-Netanyahu Deal: the Path that Led to the "Peace" Plan and What is to be Done, by Azmi Bishara, providing an analytical and critical look at the plan that has come to be known as the "Deal of the Century".

In his latest book, Bishara reviews the most important US initiatives intended to solve the Palestinian issue since 1967, demonstrating the dangerous turning point represented by the recent Trump-Netanyahu deal. Not only is this clear from the content, but also from the fact that the deal was put forward in the name of a US president, the leader of the country that has monopolized the patronage of the so-called peace process between Israel and the Palestinians since the Oslo Agreement in 1993.

Bishara also critically deconstructs the text of the US initiative, examining the trajectory that brought the Palestinian issue to this point, and asks what should be done. It reviews the changes that have occurred in the Palestinian cause and the strategies for working for justice in Palestine. The book concludes with a special section on the Arab public opinion, which refuses to normalize its relations with Israel. This book (172 pp.) is made up of four parts.

Right-Wing Israeli Text and Zionist-Religious Discourse

In the first part, Bishara provides a brief presentation of the US initiatives to resolve the Palestinian issue that have been put forward since 1967, to demonstrate how "Trump's vision" constitutes a fundamental change in the American position, from alignment to and alliance with Israel to the declared and uncontrolled identification with the positions of the Israeli right. In documenting past the initiatives, Bishara refers to the Arab and Israeli responses to these plans and projects, revealing - contrary to prevailing opinion - that the Arab positions towards these initiatives were more positive than the position of Israel, which was characterized - mostly - by rejection and unwillingness to concede.

Bishara goes on to explain how the Trump administration had already put the "deal of the century" into action before its announcement, through ceasing funding to UNRWA, moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem which it recognized as the capital of Israel, expelling the PLO mission from Washington, and declaring that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are not a violation of international law.

Bishara deconstructs the text of the "Trump-Netanyahu deal", which seeks to destroy the Palestinian issue, and disproves many of the fallacies in the text. He believes that "Trump's vision" enshrines the logic of force and control over the Arabs. Therefore, the behavior of some Arab countries after announcing this "vision", by declaring their support, is a dangerous precedent that encourages the Israelis to adopt and adhere to this logic. While the European responses varied, they have no real impact, as events have demonstrated, and cannot be relied upon unless work is made to build a strong pro-Palestinian bloc in European public opinion.

How Did We Get Here?

Bishara then discusses regional developments that led to the formulation of this dangerous document, beginning with the decline of Arab nationalism since the 1970s, some Arab regimes and the Palestine Liberation Organization signing peace treaties with Israel, leading to the Palestinian division. Bishara believes that the conflicts between the Arab regimes affected the position of the Palestinian question regarding international alliances, as their stances were determined according to the regimes' need to the legitimacy represented by the issue in popular conscience. Then, Bishara discusses the settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and how Israel took advantage of events in Palestine and the Arab region to ramp up settlement expansion.

What Is to Be Done?

In the third section, Bishara talks about the potential engagement strategy for the Palestinians, wherever they live, in their battle against the apartheid regime. He believes that this strategy requires extensive organization and coordination, without compromising the privacy of each Palestinian gathering and the nature of their confrontation. He stresses the importance of having local leaders who work independently on the issues of their social base issues and citizens, and a framework that defines inclusive national agendas. Bishara adds that the priority today is the democratic struggle to achieve justice for the people of Palestine, which can lead the struggle against the apartheid in Palestine and achieve equality after the historical injustice is recognized.

Arab Public Opinion and the Palestinian Cause

In the final part of his book, Bishara examined public opinion trends regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue. He stressed, based on Arab Opinion Index results from 2011 to 2020, that Arab opinion leans towards the democratic system, and that the most important problems facing these countries are economic issues related to unemployment, poverty, deterioration of the standard of living, political instability or lack of security. This same public opinion consistently expresses support for the Palestinians and refuses to recognize Israel as an occupying power, contrary to some suggestions.


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