Middle East plan reveals Trump’s inability to play peace broker
Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal
The endless sufferings of the Palestinians from Israel’s state terrorism are not only the failure of humanity but also a validation of might is right. President Donald Trump, instead of relieving the Palestinians miseries by announcing a realistic peace plan, has complicated the situation. His impractical recommendation that Jerusalem will remain the undivided capital of Israel exaggerated Palestinians’ frustration and resentment.
While announcing his plan to solve the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict, President Trump said, “My vision presents a win-win opportunity for both sides, a realistic two-state solution that resolves the risk of Palestinian statehood to Israel’s security.”
In reality, the revealed plan was only to the advantage of Israel. The plan drafted kept in view Israeli objectives rather than the Palestinians’ legitimate demands. For instance, Israel obtained US consent to annex key parts of the occupied West Bank and control over Jerusalem as its undivided capital. It conditioned Palestinian leadership on the full de-militarization of a Palestinian state and the disarming of Hamas.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu endorsed the peace plan by saying it was a ‘historic day’ for the Jewish state. It indicates that the plan was drafted with Israeli input to legitimize their illegal occupation in West Bank and Gaza.
Palestinians immediately disapproved of it. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas termed the plan a conspiracy against the Palestinians. He said: “I say to Trump and Netanyahu: Jerusalem is not for sale, all our rights are not for sale and are not for a bargain. And your deal, the conspiracy, will not pass.”
Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri expressed similar sentiments, “Trump’s statement about Jerusalem is nonsense and Jerusalem will always be a land for the Palestinians … The Palestinians will confront this deal, and Jerusalem will remain Palestinian land.”
The timing of the peace plan reveal aimed to divert attention from Trump’s domestic troubles, especially from his impeachment trial in the Senate, and also to win the affluent American Jewish community’s support and vote in the forthcoming presidential election. Additionally, it will solidify his support among the White Evangelical Christian Americans.
For Netanyahu, the peace plan will help in a general election scheduled on March 2, and he is using it to distract Israel’s attention from the charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.
In simple words, the peace plan intensifies anti-Americanism in the entire Middle East, which is not in the interests of US-allied regimes, including Pakistan.
Pakistan has always supported Palestinians right to self-determination and their legitimate right to an independent state based on pre-1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital. On Jan. 29, the Foreign Office reiterated a two-state solution as enshrined in the relevant Security Council and General Assembly Resolutions. It insisted on the establishment of ‘a viable, independent and the contiguous State of Palestine, on the basis of internationally-agreed parameters, the pre-1967 borders, and with Al-Quds Al-Sharif [Jerusalem] as its capital.’
The unrealistic peace plan has dented the credibility of President Trump as a peace broker between two conflicting parties. His apparent inclination toward Israel has exposed his partiality. It revealed that as a politician, he gives priority to his domestic vote bank rather than merit, and as a President of the United States, he guarded the interests of an ally state instead of respecting UN resolutions.
Pakistanis should strongly rethink President Trump’s repeated offers to mediate between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir dispute. His participation in the ‘Howdy Modi’ event in Houston on Sept. 22 has already revealed that he is simply pursuing voters of Indian origin.
His work to cement the Indo-US strategic partnership indicates that he will prefer Indian interests over Pakistan’s. Thus, geopolitical and domestic factors will determine his decisions on the Kashmir dispute rather than norms and principles.
In summary, Trump’s peace plan is a non-starter. Therefore, the US and its like-minded states should chalk out a negotiated settlement plan with the input of all stakeholders. The parameters of the peace plan ought to be grounded on international law and UN Security Council resolutions for ending the lingering conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.