The “Deal of the Century,” President Trump’s expected Middle East peace plan, largely has been rejected before it even has been released.
The Jerusalem Post headlined a story “Palestinians reject U.S. Middle East plan before rollout,” reporting a former Palestinian Authority official has said the proposal is “born dead.”
But Khaled Al-Malik, editor of the Saudi daily Al-Jazirah, contends that attitude has been costly to Palestinians, causing them to miss previous opportunities.
“It is certain that this plan, or any other plan endorsed by the U.S., will be announced only if conforms to the desires of Israel, which [presently] has the upper hand and is victorious,” he recently wrote.
“The Palestinians, on the other hand, are still divided on how to respond to any initiative, however flawed, that provides them with an opportunity to [realize their] right to an [independent] state. This has caused them to miss opportunities in the past that involved better [proposals] than what they are now being offered.”
His comments were captured and posted online by the Middle East Media Research Institute, which said the “imminent” plan has sparked much debate.
“Most of the articles attacked the Trump administration and called to reject the deal out of hand. A conspicuous exception was a May 5, 2019 article by Khaled Al-Malik, editor-in-chief of the Saudi daily Al-Jazirah, who urged the Arabs and Palestinians not to reject the plan even before it has been published, but rather to wait until it is officially revealed and then study it carefully,” MEMRI reported.
Malik argued the deal could not be worse than “continued Israeli occupation.”
“We do not expect the plan to meet all the Palestinians’ demands,” he wrote. “But it will not be worse than the continued Israeli occupation, with its systematic policy aimed at causing the Palestinians to emigrate and expelling them from the small areas they still hold under Israeli rule, [which is characterized by] aggression, abuse of the free [Palestinians], and the ongoing construction of settlements on the [Palestinians’] land and the Judaizing of [this land].”
The priority, he said, should be to find a path to an independent Palestinian state.
“Therefore, the new initiative must be met calmly, without populist slogans, [so as to] derive every possible benefit from it, and then demand, in negotiations, what cannot be implemented at the moment. Good will and readiness for peace must be shown by both sides,” he said.
“It is also a fact that the Arab-Israeli wars have not realized the state that the Palestinians dream about and hope for. The peace process and dialogue with the Israelis did not bring the Palestinians happiness either, nor did they give the Israelis a sense of confidence regarding their distant future. Therefore, there is need for concessions by both the Israeli and the Palestinian sides leading to the establishment of the hoped-for Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel. There is need for cooperation between them that will ensure them [both] stability and allay fears of future war.”
The Post reported Jason Greenblatt, the Trump administration’s top peace envoy, had a similar message, criticizing the Palestinian leaders who have rejected the plan without even seeing it.
The PA that severed all communications with the U.S. over a peace plan in 2017. It happened shortly after President Trump moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognized the city as Israel’s capital.
Trump’s Middle East team, which consists primarily of Greenblatt and the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, is preparing to introduce its long-awaited “Deal of the Century after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends in mid-June.