Palestine is not for sale

A Palestinian woman holds a symbolic of the Palestine flag with Arabic words that read:"Palestine for us," as she attends a protest against the White House plan for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, at Burj al-Barajneh refugee camp, south of Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

The Middle East peace plan unveiled Tuesday by U.S. President Donald Trump made one thing abundantly clear: People already on trial for crimes against their own countries can’t be trusted to come up with a deal that safeguards the rights of others.

We knew the “deal” was doomed to fail long before it was unveiled for several reasons, but topping that list is the fact that the people who would most be affected by its terms, namely the Palestinians, were not party to drawing up this abomination of a plan. Moreover, calling it a deal when one half of the “handshake” is absent makes it a laughing stock.

Instead, Trump and Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu - both facing elections under the cloud of high crimes against their respective states - were allowed to collude, without oversight, on a matter as grave as the fate of the Palestinian people.

After declaring Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, halting funding for UNRWA, and closing the Palestinian mission in Washington, Trump and Netanyahu believed they could conspire to carve up the Holy Land as they saw fit, granting Israel its every wish, and leaving scraps for the Palestinians while failing to mention the right of return.

Naturally, Jared Kushner, who entirely mischaracterized Trump’s plan as an “opportunity” for peace, accused the Palestinians of “screwing up another opportunity” when they rejected the “slap of the century.”

But the world is not fooled, as CNN made it clear by calling out Kushner on his own screw-up.

And while Trump and Netanyahu may feign ignorance of inconvenient facts, the rest of the world has not forgotten U.N. Resolution 242, which emphasizes the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war, or international laws that stipulate occupiers cannot settle their people on occupied land.

In the absence of negotiating partners, Trump and Netanyahu, during Tuesday’s theatrics at the White house, sought to portray this scam as a “take it or leave it” situation, trying to strong-arm the Palestinians into accepting what they described as a “fair deal,” even as they backslapped and beamed at each other.

It is the height of audacity for these two soon-to-be-felons to presume they can dictate the fate of the Palestinian people by promising them money just so they can save their own hides and score some points ahead of polls.

But in more than seven decades the Palestinian people have never wavered, and perhaps Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said it best when, speaking on behalf of Palestinians everywhere, he categorically rejected the plan with the statement, “Palestinian rights and hopes are not for sale.”

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 30, 2020, on page 1.




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