What ‘just peace’ deal does the PA want from Trump?

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends the 34th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council at the United Nations office in Geneva, Switzerland on February 27, 2017 [Mustafa Yalçın / Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends the 34th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council at the United Nations office in Geneva, Switzerland on February 27, 2017

By Motasem A Dalloul

US President Donald Trump telephoned the Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday and discussed several issues, including his desire to reach a peace deal between the Palestinians and the Israelis. In return, Abbas hailed him and his commitment to the Palestinian cause.

Revealing some of what was discussed between Abbas and Trump, Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said: “Trump stressed his commitment to a peace process that would lead to a real peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.”

Going further than speaking about Trump’s phone call with Abbas, Abu Rudeineh gave remarks to the press reflecting that Trump could be a saviour for the Palestinians and is a president who is “committed” to liberating occupied Palestinian land from the Israelis. “President Trump is a very honest man, very courageous man and looking for a deal,” he said.

Therefore, Abu Rudeineh stressed that the Palestinians are ready to deal with Trump and the Israeli occupation to resume peace talks. “If the Israelis are ready, President Abbas has committed himself to a peaceful deal with President Trump.” But Abu Rudeineh did not clarify the features of that deal which he dreams to see fulfilled at the hands of the new “saviour”.

Read: Trump invites Palestinian leader Abbas to White House

Abu Rudeineh spoke of “a peace deal, and a just deal.” What means by these two words is still vague because these words have different meanings for the Palestinians, the Israelis and the Americans. However, he stressed that reaching such a deal is a “strategic choice for the Palestinians”.

Regarding the Palestinians, let’s presumably speak about what has been known as the two-state solution, which was proposed by the George W. Bush Administration, accepted by the PLO and the Arab League.

For the Palestinians, a just peace deal means building an independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian lands occupied in 1967 with occupied East Jerusalem as its capital, including land exchange in some areas. This state is to live in peace and security alongside the State of Israel.

For the Israelis, it has become very clear that all the Israeli occupation leaders consider to be a just peace is based on the Palestinian concession of all the Palestinian lands as almost all of them have denied the right of the Palestinian to have an independent state whether in the past, present or in the future.

Regarding Trump, since his inauguration on 20 January, he has been using vague language regarding the Israeli-Palestinian cause and the expected solution, namely the two-state solution. During his call with Abbas, he never mentioned the two-state solution and at the same time he did not speak about any clear solution.

However, monitors have always said that Trump’s administration has distanced itself from the two-state solution. Last month, he said in a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “I am looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like.” Commenting on this, Foreign Policy magazine said that this is a departure of the two-state solution.

This departure was very clear in Trump’s remarks reported by the Guardian when he met with Netanyahu in the White House, as he said: “A two-state solution that doesn’t bring peace is not a goal that anybody wants to achieve.”

If the Palestinians eye a just peace deal based on the two-state solution, the Israelis see it as one based on no rights for the Palestinians and Trump favours the one which is agreed by both sides. In light of that, what is the deal which Abu Rudeineh speaks of based on? After all, Abu Rudeineh believes that Trump, a man who supports illegal Israeli Jewish settlements, is a “very honest man, [a] very courageous man.”

(Source / 12.03.2017)

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