The one factor missing for the Trump Peace Plan to work
The international observers who criticized the inapt political timing of the release of the “Deal of the Century” have a valid point that should be taken into consideration while studying the Trump Peace Plan. Yet, this should not dismiss the fact that the proposed plan, in its essence, is a game-changer that adopts a whole new approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Peace Plan is the first proposal to recognize Palestine as a national state and to open windows for direct peaceful and fruitful communication, through economic and security cooperation, between Israelis and Palestinians.
While looking at the internal political complexities in the United States and Israel that pushed President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu to announce the plan, after building so much suspense and anticipation worldwide; we highly appreciate the sincere efforts invested by White House Counselor, Jared Kushner, and his team to tailor an offer that neither party could refuse. Kushner brought, into this Peace Plan, the spirit of the young millennial who did not shy to think out of the box and break into the pre-determined patterns of the long-term conflict to find a feasible solution that could actually work, only if the right actors are present to get the deal closed, and take this innovative Peace Plan from paper into the real world.
History tells us that the Peace Accord between Egypt and Israel was not possible if it was not for Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Menachem Begin willingness and capacity to challenge the statuesque and prioritize the good of their people to idealistic political prejudices. Unfortunately, the right men to get the Trump Peace Plan accomplished are not existent on top of the Palestinian political leadership. Unlike the Trump move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, this Peace Plan cannot be unilaterally forced as a new statuesque. The Palestinian leadership must be involved, and the Palestinian leadership is not willing to pursue peace with Israel.
Look at the extreme irony in the paradoxical responses of Israelis and Palestinians to the Peace Plan. The Israeli leaders, who clearly understand that this peace plan is burdening them with unprecedented territorial compromises and providing security to Israeli and Palestinian people, are approving the plan! While, on the other hand, the Palestinian leaders, who cannot deny that this peace plan is proposing a great opportunity for the Palestinian people to enjoy unprecedented territorial and economic advantages, are rejecting the plan! That is not only because the peace plan is not serving the immediate interests of the political elite in Fatah and Hamas, which mostly have nothing to do with the public interests of the Palestinian citizens whom they represent. But also, because of the severe divisions between Palestinians, on both the political elite and general public levels.
Fatah and Hamas can hardly agree on a plan to coordinate governance over Gaza and the West Bank. Measuring on this, it is almost impossible to imagine that Fatah and Hamas could come together to negotiate a peace plan; let alone cooperating with Israelis on making it happen. Up till today, Hamas labels Israel as the “Jewish enemy” and practices violent “Islamic Jihad” with the purpose to “eliminate the Jewish people.” Fatah leadership, which is more political in nature and does work with the Israeli government on a limited scale in the West Bank, still labels Israel as the “Zionist occupier” that should be “removed from the holy lands.” Neither Fatah nor Hamas leaders – or their affiliates – are willing to coexist with Israel. That is part of their Islamic and nationalist ideologies.
Another important point to notice, in the Peace Plan, is the proposal to demilitarize Hamas and trust that Hams would voluntarily stop practicing violence against Israel. No one can convince, and no one should even trust, Hamas to become a peaceful political group, ever. Hamas is a militia that sneaked into government in Gaza because of the weakness of Fatah and the generous support from Qatar and Iran.
Hamas’ identity, reputation, funding, and everything is revolving around what they call “the Islamic resistance to the Jewish occupation.” Hamas existed to practice violence and thrives through practicing violence against everything that is Israeli, whether it is a human, a building, or even a plant. Asking Hamas to put down their weapons and submit to Israeli security forces is like asking a scorpion to stop injecting poison. The United States, Israel, and involved Arab leaders cannot and should not trust Hamas on this, especially now with Hamas’ political popularity is on the rise, in both Gaza and the West Bank.
If they were sincere enough to reach a solution for the miserable life of the majority of the Palestinian people, especially in Gaza, the Palestinian leaders should have jumped to take the opportunity provided by the Peace Plan, which may not be given again to Palestinians, as President Trump noted. But, they do not care for the well-being of their people. They only care for their own narrow interests.
Rather than focusing on analyzing and criticizing the timing of announcing the Trump Peace Plan, international observers, think tanks, and concerned decision-makers in the United States and the Middle East should investigate into how to fix the political leadership on the Palestinian side. In other words, focusing on bringing the right men in the right place to get the job done is a priority to make this Peace Plan achievable. The prospected Palestinian general elections, planned for this year, could be a good starting point to pursue.
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