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Deal of the Century

Deal of the Century

For Whom?

After President Obama’s Middle East policies ended in disappointment, the policies of the incumbent US president Donald J. Trump have further aggravated the situation. Trump’s “Deal of the Century,” a back-channel US Middle East peace plan, has been the talk of the town for quite some time now. This deal would, reportedly, allow Israel to annex large settlement blocs in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, both of which have been occupied by Israel since 1967. In the light of recent developments, including Trump’s acknowledgment of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the Knesset’s approval of the “Jewish nation-state” law, we can see that the deal’s most significant aspect has already been partially implemented. In the following write-up, the author gives an in-depth analysis on various aspects of the “Deal of the Century”.

For some time now, a phrase is being often repeated in international studies. Curiously, neither the writers nor the readers have absolute idea of what it is and what it entails. The term in question is ‘Deal of the Century’. Since he assumed the American Presidency, Donald Trump has been bragging about his ‘Deal of the Century’ that would ‘resolve’ the Palestine issue, and will bring peace to the Middle East; a feat that has eluded many a great statesman since the end of Second World War.

But the problem is that every actor involved in the issue has its own version of the deal of such significant importance. As world is turning from a global village to an arena of self-centred, nationalist states, every state considers the deal close to its interests. But, this American deal is an expansion of Israeli interests at heart as recent American policies and actions have shown to the world. The Americans have supported Israel in its every violation of human rights and international law but all those efforts look pale in comparison to appeasement of Israel by Trump administration. Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have forged an overtly political relationship. Even before the recent election in Israel, Trump had taken unprecedented steps to support Netanyahu’s agenda; from moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to cutting all US funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) — a UN agency that supports Palestinians — to closing the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington DC.

In order to ensure the re-election of Netanyahu in Israel, Donald Trump took a series of irresponsible steps. First, he recognized the Golan Heights as Israeli territory. Then, a buoyed Netanyahu proclaimed that he would annex parts of the West Bank, and claimed he had US support for that. Last but not least, Trump designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, a move for which the Israeli premier immediately took credit. Furthermore, borrowing a leaf out of Trump’s book, Netanyahu pressed the panic button in a bid to bring rightwing voters back home to Likud rather than opting for any of the smaller and even more ultra-nationalist parties when he warned them against Arab voter turnout and possible (and very unlikely) alliance of Arab parties with his opponents.

This utter disregard to Palestinian interests is yet another reaffirmation for many that Trump’s America is racist; it will further alienate America from global partners and publics. Trump claims he is a champion of Israel and he has proven it by supporting Netanyahu’s agenda and siding with Israel against its neighbours in disputes. He accuses Democratic Party of being “anti-Israel” and “anti-Jewish”.

US recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory has also raised question whether Trump would endorse Netanyahu’s plans to annex the West Bank – Netanyahu has retained his premiership after the April 9 election wherein his Likud party got 35 seats but 64 lawmakers have recommended that he build a coalition. Many believe that this is exactly what the much-touted Deal of the Century entails. It is no longer a shot in the dark as in recent US Senate hearings, American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to say whether the US would recognise Israeli annexatioof the West Bank.

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