January 29, 2020
Last edit: January 31, 2020
Introduction By Karl Pomeroy
United States President Donald J. Trump yet again proves an embarrassment to many of his supporters with the unveiling of Jewish-Israeli son-in-law Jared Kushner’s Palestinian-Israel “Peace Plan”, which amounts to little more than a Madison Avenue-style marketing brochure dripping with sleaze and condescension.
Absent the devil of practical details, this nepotistic high-gloss document attempts to sell to long-suffering victims of British-Israeli injustice a vision of $50 Billion investments, bringing to their ravaged land the glittery prospect of modern infrastructure, business development, high-paying jobs and Western-style education.
Would you want this in your neighborhood?
These are the values of the New York billionaire Trump family, not of the Palestinians, who had no say in the matter. Shame on Trump to impose his materialistic values on people of a foreign culture—values which even I, an American, abhor.
And who would profit from these lavish investments? Transnational megacorporations.
What would this do to the ancient landscape? Pave it, level it, and demolish its history.
What would this do to the Palestinian people? Indoctrinate, enslave and unltimately crush them.
Is it any wonder Palestinians are saying no?
What the citizens of Palestine need and deserve is freedom, sovereignty within the 1967 UN mandated boundaries, the right to choose their own economic and political system, and the right of return to their original homes without Israeli harassment.
Below I present an editorial by Marwan Bishara. Following that are excerpts from Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century”, with a link to Kushner’s already infamous Peace Plan document. A Quemado Institute concluding commentary wraps up the post.
January 28, 2020
The Trump administration has finally lifted the curtains on the final act of its Middle East diplomacy by revealing the long-awaited, ahem, “peace plan” in a surrealistic White House celebration.
I will admit from the outset that I cannot write about it with a straight face, considering the absurdity of the last three years of Trump policies towards Israel and Palestine.
To call it a “peace plan” is to do injustice to the infamous “peace process” and its many failed “peace plans”. It is so much worse, that a better term for it would be an “assault on peace”.
Everything about the plan is farcical.
Its pompous name, the “Deal of the Century”; its unfit author, Jared Kushner, a fanatic Zionist supporter of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land; its premise, “when humiliation does not work, more humiliation will”; its bizarre framing as a lovefest between the American and Israeli right; and its absurd substance, which punishes the victims and rewards the aggressors.
In the three decades of the American-led “peace process”, successive administrations at least pretended to engage, consult or listen to the Palestinian side, even when doing Israel’s bidding.
But since occupying the White House, the Trump administration has, on Netanyahu‘s advice, unashamedly acted to permanently deprive the Palestinians of their participation in the negotiations – and deprive them of their land, liberty and dignity.
And today, the Trump administration, in complicity with the Netanyahu government, is taking the root causes of the protracted conflict in Palestine, repackaging them and presenting them as a permanent solution.
Theatre of the absurd
The devil is not in the detail; it’s in the headlines of Trump’s initiative.
So, to resolve the problem of the illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian lands, Trump wants them legalised and recognised as part of Israel.
To resolve the problem of Israel’s illegal annexation of occupied Jerusalem, Trump wants it recognised as the capital of Israel and Israel alone.
To deal with the question of Palestinian refugees and their inalienable right of return and compensation, Trump wants to prevent their return.
To solve the problem of violent, repressive and inhumane Israeli control over the Palestinians, Trump wants to see that extended indefinitely. Even after the Palestinians meet all the new conditions imposed on them, they would still be at the mercy of Israel’s security forces.
The Trump plan tramples over United Nations Security Council resolution 242, which requires Israel to return to its 1967 borders (or to their approximate, according to past US initiatives), and redraws the borders to suit Israel’s settlements and facilitate its control.
Instead of ending Israel’s apartheid system in Palestine, Trump wants to see it continue under a different name, at least until his promise for a provisional Palestinian “state” is fulfilled, one which will have no sovereignty or independence.
Basically, Trump envisions half a Palestinian state on half of the West Bank, but only after the Palestinians combat terrorism and recognise Israel as a Jewish state extending over some 90 percent of historic Palestine.
Trump’s embrace of apartheid in the holy land, as a pragmatic even indispensable prerequisite for “peace” and stability adds insult to Palestinian injury.
And lest we forget, the Trump administration has already closed down the office of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in Washington, suspended aid to the Palestinian Authority, transferred the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and repealed US recognition of the refugee issue by suspending all funding to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.
The fraud behind the farce
Future generations will probably remember nothing of significance from Trump’s 80-page plan, but they will recall the soap opera behind the “Deal of the Century”: how an inexperienced but ambitious man-boy named Jared manipulated his father-in-law, the powerful president, to support the fraudulent Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stay in power, and help Israel maintain all it gained illegally through war and violence.
If Jared cannot solve the Middle East conundrum, Trump remarked last month, no one can. He actually said that! A slap in the face to countless able American diplomats.
At any rate, no one really believes Trump is acting deliberatively, fairly or altruistically. No one. I suppose not even the president himself.
Nor does any reasonable person believe that the talented Mr Netanyahu is anything but a fraud – certainly not Israel’s own attorney general, who indicted him on fraud charges just weeks before the US House of Representatives impeached Mr Trump over the abuse of power.
What a great couple they make! What a match!
Netanyahu has obviously a lot to gain, but what is in it for Trump?
The president is clearly after the vote of evangelical Christians, especially after some have denounced him recently; and of course, he is after the support of rich radical Zionists like Sheldon Adelson.
And Trump is seemingly buying into the ego trip – or trap – laid out for him by radical evangelicals and Zionists who have designated him a Jewish Messiah, destined to save not only the Jewish people, but the world.
Being a messiah certainly beats being a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. It has a nicer ring to it.
So it is opportunism, populism and cynicism all wrapped in one deal, as Trump sacrifices whatever is left of US credibility on the international scene to get himself a second term – and Netanyahu a fourth.
Indeed, as one prominent former US diplomat remarked, never has an American president conceded to a foreign leader so much, so quickly, for so little, until the self-declared “great dealmaker” appeared on the scene.
And so the farce continues: the blatant lies, the obvious complicity, the offensive deceit – and the disastrous consequences.
It is so outrageous that even leading American Zionist officials and diplomats, who long stood behind unconditional support for Israel, feel eerie and anxious about Trump’s “disastrous” plan.
It is as tragic as it is laughable. But it will also prove dangerously disruptive for the region and America’s standing in it.
Arrogance before the downfall
The Trump administration is banking on the more vulnerable or the more cynical Arab regimes to support and finance its plan despite its unbearable shortcomings.
That is why the plan is modelled, at least structurally, on the Bush administration’s 2003 road map for peace that was conceived after the US invasion and occupation of Iraq to ensure Israeli supremacy and Arab support.
Like Trump and Netanyahu, President George W Bush, in complicity with Israeli then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, also envisioned a Palestinian pseudo-state in the form of self-governing autonomy, somewhere down at the end of a long road of Palestinian concessions and humiliation.
It was the sort of bait necessary for Arab and European leaders to justify their support – or at least non-rejection of the plan to their people. And it was the sort of trick that allowed Sharon to claim moderation and concession despite opposition from his fanatic settlers.
Bush hoped Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat would be gone before the final implementation of the final phases and replaced with the “moderate” Mahmoud Abbas.
Today, Trump hopes to see the 84-year-old Abbas, now considered an obstructionist, also gone and replaced by someone more amenable to US dictates.
Meanwhile, Trump has been deluded into thinking that if the US cannot write off the Palestinians altogether, at least it could pay them off with Arab money.
Kushner’s Bahrain summit last year was designed to pave the way for that kind of Gulf investment in his “Deal of the Century”.
Billions in of dollars may buy the Trump administration some time and some leverage, but that will be short-lived, as such bribery proved in the past.
Sooner or later, the Trump plan will find its way to the same place where the Bush plan ended, the dustbin of history.
Subservient Arab dictators will eventually fall but the people will endure, and they will not be so forgiving to American and Israeli arrogance. Their pent-up fury will come out sooner rather than later.
So, before president Trump gets too comfortable in his new anointment as messiah, he should familiarise himself with basic biblical wisdom: arrogance leads to downfall.
Excerpts from Donald Trump’s Peace to Prosperity Plan
January 28, 2020
“With the potential to facilitate more than $50 billion in new investment over ten years, Peace to Prosperity represents the most ambitious and comprehensive international effort for the Palestinian people to date.”
1. “Peace to Prosperity will establish a new foundation for the Palestinian economy, generating rapid economic growth and job creation. This part of the plan will create a business environment that provides investors with confidence that their assets will be secure by improving property rights, the rule of law, fiscal sustainability, capital markets, and anti-corruption policies.”
2. “The plan will reduce constraints on Palestinian economic growth by opening the West Bank and Gaza to regional and global markets. Major investments in transportation and infrastructure will help the West Bank and Gaza integrate with neighboring economies, increasing the competitiveness of Palestinian exports and reducingthe complications of transport and travel.”
3. “Essential infrastructure is needed for the Palestinian people and their businesses to flourish. This planwill facilitate billions of dollars of investment in the electricity, water, and telecommunications sectors,increasing generation capacity while creating efficient transmission and distribution networks. The applicable authorities will receive training and assistance to manage this infrastructure and to increase competition to keep costs low for consumers.”
4. “Following the adoption of key policy reforms and the construction of essential infrastructure, Peace to Prosperity envisions extraordinary private-sector investment in entrepreneurship, small businesses, tourism, agriculture, housing, manufacturing, and natural resources. The goal of early-stage investment will be to remove constraints to growth and to target key projects that build momentum, generate jobs, and increase gross domestic product (GDP).”
5. “Peace to Prosperity encourages Strengthening Regional Development and Integration, creates new opportunities for Palestinian businesses, and increases commerce with neighboring countries. This vision will boost the economies of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon and reduce trade barriers across the region. Increased cooperation between trading partners will support companies in these countries, which are seeking to develop international business, particularly in the West Bank and Gaza. The plan will help the Palestinian private sector capitalize on growth opportunities by improving access to strong, neighboring economies.”
6. “Enhancing the Quality of the Education System in the West Bank and Gaza will ensure no Palestinian is disadvantaged by inadequate educational opportunity. This vision supports the development and training of Palestinian educators while expanding access to educational opportunities to underserved communities and demographics.”
7. “Peace to Prosperity will Strengthen Workforce Development Programs, reducing unemployment rates and increasing the occupational mobility of the Palestinian workforce. By supporting apprenticeships, career counseling, and job placement services, this vision will help ensure Palestinian youth are fully prepared to enter the job market and achieve their professional goals.”
8. “Peace to Prosperity will support projects that Improve the Quality of Life for the Palestinian people. From investments in new cultural institutions to financial support for Palestinian artists and musicians, the plan will help the next generation of Palestinians explore their creativity and hone their talents. It will also support improved municipal services and the development of new public spaces across the West Bank and Gaza. These developments will help turn the West Bank and Gaza into a cultural and recreational center to the benefit of all Palestinians.”
Peace to Prosperity Gushes with Political Double-Speak
Concluding Comments by Karl Pomeroy
January 29, 2020
The allusion to “investors” and “improving capital markets” in excerpt 1 suggests a foreign capitalist invasion replete with corporate enslavement and the descruction of the Palestinian culture and land. Will the Palestinians now enjoy deadly 5G cell towers on every corner, GMO foods, killer pesticides, cancer-promoting fast food joints and 100-acre Amazon warehouses?
This Orwellian nightmare is confirmed by excerpt 2, which promises “opening the West Bank and Gaza to regional and global markets” amplified by “major investments in transportation and infrastructure”.
Totalitarian Big Brother control and surveillance is further promised in excerpt 3, which boasts that the plan “will facilitate billions of dollars of investment in the electricity, water, and telecommunications sectors, increasing generation capacity while creating efficient transmission and distribution networks.” Such networks will of course ensure that no Palestinian remains free of Western-Zionist indoctrination, technology, and electronic surveillance.
And who will govern Palestine? Reference to “the adoption of key policy reforms” in exerpt 4 hints at vague changes in Palestinian governance, while conspicuously omitting mention of who will design and implement these changes. The Palestinians? Not likely, unless they’re Zionist puppets. The United Nations? An utter joke. We can already predict the United States and Israel would dictate these authoritarian new policies, thereby subjugating the will of the Palestinian people.
The excerpt gushes on, stating the plan “envisions extraordinary private-sector investment in entrepreneurship, small businesses, tourism, agriculture, housing, manufacturing, and natural resources.” Since Palestine comprises only 2,400 square miles, or an area 24 by 100 miles, such large-scale economic activity would leave no sacred land unpaved, no biblical hill unleveled, no historic natural viewscape unblemished by power plants, high-tension lines, cell towers, freeways, high-rises, warehouses, parking lots and factories.
The oozing arrogance of excerpt 5 is encapsuled in the statement that the plan will “boost the economies of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon” and will “support companies in these countries which are seeking to develop international business, particularly in the West Bank and Gaza.” Here we see the hideous face of globalism, that elitist New-World-Order tenet we hoped Trump would eschew.
Foreign intervention and Western authoritarianism is ensured in excerpt 6, which cheerfully notes that the plan “supports the development and training of Palestinian educators” so that “no Palestinian is disadvantaged by inadequate educational opportunity.” This is double-speak for “no Palestinian will be allowed to escape American-Zionist indoctrination.”
Excerpt 7 optimistically envisions all young palestinians entering the “job market”, which is double-speak for the corporate imprisonment that Trump seems to favor even here in the United States. Ignored are those who aspire to become craftsmen, shop owners, farmers, artists, journalists, instructors, trainers and other free individuals who prefer to work for themselves (although regimented bureaucratic “opportunities” will be endowed as a form of let-them-eat-cake compensation).
Alarming cultural rape is suggested in excerpt 8, which refers to “investments in new cultural institutions.” Palestine has its own ancient culture, thank you, and does not need Trump’s version of dead-end cultural institutions.
What about respect? What about sovereignty? What about freedom for the Palestinian people? Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity” addresses none of these.