‘Heads I win, tails you lose’ peace plan offered to Palestinians

Two challenges need OIC’s collective response

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 11:55 AM, 30 Jan, 2020
A girl holding Palestinian Flag

The so-called “Deal of the Century” – or peace plan –  announced by US President Trump in the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu at a ceremony in White House has added to the challenges facing the Muslim Ummah. It’s a test of the Eiman of Islamic countries and their leaders.

Before this, on August 5, 2019, another challenge had come from Indian Prime Minister Modi who had annexed occupied Kashmir, a step that amounted to rubbishing all UN resolutions on Kashmir about the disputed status of the territory.

The sufferers in both these cases are Muslims. The Palestinians are facing at the hands of Israelis, who have full backing of the United States, and Kashmiris at the hands of Hindus, probably the meanest nation on the face of the earth.

The plan given by the US president is linked to the collective Muslim cause and thus calls for a collective response from the Islamic countries.

The “deal of the century” given by Christian Trump clearly favours Israel, something foretold by Allah Almighty that Jews and Christians are friends among themselves but enemies to Muslims.

Hindus are also feather of the same flock as far as their enmity to Muslims is concerned.

The grand imam of Egypt's prestigious Al-Azhar Mosque and university lambasted the “deal of the century”, or peace plan.

He has been quoted as saying that the identity as Arabs and Muslims is over... “I felt totally ashamed watching Trump with the Israeli leader," Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb said.

"They're the ones planning, talking, controlling and solving problems for us and there's no Arab or Muslim," Tayeb added.

No Palestinian leaders were invited to the much-touted White House event.

On the peace deal some countries have come up with individual reactions.  But there is a need for a strong collective response.

For this purpose, an OIC summit should be convened at the earliest. The participants should discuss the situation at length and work out a line of action on both these issues. The Islamic states, for the time being, should forget their bilateral differences, if any, for the greater causes.

Individual reactions in the prevailing situation will not serve any useful purpose.

For example, Saudi Arabia has been quoted as saying that it encourages Israel and the Palestinians to start direct peace negotiations overseen by the United States.

According to a report in the Arab News, King Salman reassured the Kingdom's commitment to the Palestinian issue and Palestinian rights, in a phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Kingdom’s foreign ministry said it reiterates support for all efforts aimed at reaching a just and comprehensive resolution to the Palestinian cause.

“The kingdom appreciates the efforts of President Trump's Administration to develop a comprehensive peace plan between the Palestinian and the Israeli sides,” the ministry said.

The entire world knows that KSA and USA have very close relations and the former is not expected to oppose any initiative taken by the latter.

If KSA appreciates the efforts of the Trump administration to develop a peace plan between Palestinian and Israeli sides, then the Palestinian issue is over, as also the role of the Islamic countries.

Once Jerusalem is accepted as the capital of Israel – which the US and Israel want Muslims to do – the matter ends there.

But this is not so. The liberation of Al-Quds and establishment of the state of Palestine is a collective cause of Muslims. The KSA is legitimately expected to play the lead role for liberation of Jerusalem.

As of now it has been decided that the Arab League will convene an urgent meeting on Saturday in response to US President's Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

Hossam Zaki, the pan-Arab body's deputy secretary, has been quoted as saying that Palestinian President Abbas would also be among the participants to discuss the so-called “Deal of the Century".

The extraordinary meeting comes on a Palestinian request to the League.

In a related development Pakistan's foreign ministry said the country consistently backs a two-state solution, as enshrined in the relevant Security Council and General Assembly Resolutions.

"Pakistan continues to support a just and lasting solution of the Palestinian issue, through dialogue and negotiations, that leads to the realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinians, including the right of self-determination," it said in a statement.

"We renew our call for the establishment of a viable, independent and contiguous State of Palestine, on the basis of internationally-agreed parameters, the pre-1967 borders, and with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital."

Now let’s see how the ‘peace plan’ is totally lopsided and favours only the Jewish state:

The plan says that Israel is not legally bound to provide the Palestinians with 100 percent of pre-1967 territory, a departure from previous plans which called for near 1-to-1 land swaps.

Israel will benefit from having secure and recognized borders. It will not have to uproot any settlements, and will incorporate the vast majority of Israeli settlements into contiguous Israeli territory.

While a physical division of the city must be avoided, a security barrier currently exists that does not follow the municipal boundary and that already separates Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem from the rest of the neighborhoods in the city. This physical barrier should remain in place and should serve as a border between the capitals of the two parties.

“Jerusalem will remain the sovereign capital of the State of Israel, and it should remain an undivided city. The sovereign capital of the State of Palestine should be in the section of East Jerusalem located in all areas east and north of the existing security barrier, including Kafr Aqab, the eastern part of Shuafat and Abu Dis, and could be named Al Quds or another name as determined by the State of Palestine.

The plan would allow the Arab residents of Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, beyond the 1949 armistice lines but inside the existing security barrier to choose one of three options: Become citizens of the State of Israel, become citizens of the State of Palestine or retain their status as permanent residents in Israel.

Fifteen Israeli enclaves located inside contiguous Palestinian territory will become part of the State of Israel and be connected to it through an effective transportation system.

The Jordan Valley, which is critical for Israel’s national security, will be under Israeli sovereignty.

The plan praises Israel for safeguarding religious sites and calls for maintaining the status quo at them, particularly at the Temple Mount. However, the plan says that people of all faiths should be able to worship at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif. 

The plan says that a division of Jerusalem would be inconsistent with the policy statements of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 of the United States.

While a physical division of the city must be avoided, a security barrier currently exists that does not follow the municipal boundary and that already separates Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem from the rest of the neighborhoods in the city. This physical barrier should remain in place and should serve as a border between the capitals of the two parties.

The embassy of the United States to the State of Israel will remain in Jerusalem. Following the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement, the embassy of the United States to the State of Palestine will be in Al Quds at a location to be chosen by the United States, in agreement with the State of Palestine

The plan aims to achieve mutual recognition of the State of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, and the State of Palestine as the nation-state of the Palestinian people, in each case with equal civil rights for all citizens within each state. The United States would only ask Israel to make compromises that it believes will make Israel and its people more secure in the short and long term.

The State of Palestine shall be fully demilitarized and remain so. It will have security forces capable of maintaining internal security and preventing terror attacks within the State of Palestine and against the State of Israel, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Arab Republic of Egypt.

This plan envisions three options for Palestinian refugees seeking a permanent place of residence:

1: Absorption into the State of Palestine (subject to the limitations provided below);

2: Local integration in current host countries (subject to those countries consent)

3: The acceptance of 5,000 refugees each year, for up to ten years (50,000 total refugees), in individual Organization of Islamic Cooperation member countries who agree to participate in Palestinian refugee resettlement (subject to those individual countries’ agreement).

Conditions for Palestinian statehood

The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement will provide that the parties recognize the State of Palestine as the nation state of the Palestinian people and the State of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.

If Hamas is to play any role in a Palestinian government, it must commit to the path of peace with the State of Israel.

The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement will provide for the release of Palestinian prisoners and administrative detainees held in Israeli prisons, except (i) those convicted of murder or attempted murder, (ii) those convicted of conspiracy to commit murder (in each case murder includes murder by terrorism) and (iii) Israeli citizens.

Significant improvements for the people in Gaza will not occur until there is a ceasefire with Israel, the full demilitarization of Gaza, and a governance structure that allows the international community to safely and comfortably put new money into investments that will not be destroyed by predictable future conflicts.

The Palestinians shall have ended all programs, including school curricula and textbooks, that serve to incite or promote hatred or antagonism towards its neighbors, or which compensate or incentivize criminal or violent activity.

PA shall refrain from any attempt to join any international organization without the consent of the State of Israel

The PA shall take no action, and shall dismiss all pending actions, against the State of Israel, the United States and any of their citizens before the International Criminal Court and all other tribunals.