Palestinians Brace for the Worst Ahead of Trump's 'Peace Plan'

Netanyahu and Trump at the White House, Jan. 27, 2020. (Photo: Screenshot)

Palestinians Brace for the Worst Ahead of Trump's 'Peace Plan'

It is largely understood that the deal will be heavily pro-Israel.

The anticipation can be felt across the country as Palestinians and Israelis alike wait, some with hope and many with dread, for US President Donald Trump to reveal his "peace plan" for the region on Tuesday.

While the details of the long-awaited "Deal of the Century" have largely been left up to speculation, it is largely understood that the deal will be heavily pro-Israel.

While Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu described the US proposal as a once in a lifetime "opportunity" that Israel "cannot miss," the impending release of the plan has sparked impassioned reactions by Palestinians.

Reports surfaced on Monday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had refused a phone call with Trump, ahead of Trump's meetings with Netanyahu and his rival Benny Gantz on Tuesday.

The move was hailed by Palestinians across social media, who praised Abbas for sticking to his ongoing boycott of the Trump administration.

Palestinian leaders threatened to withdraw from the Oslo Accords, arguing that the Israeli acceptance of the deal--which allegedly supports Israel's annexation of all West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley -- would make the 1994 deal null and void.

The "death of the two-state solution" could be seen across Palestinian media, with the Prime Minister Mahmoud Shtayyeh saying "it is nothing but a plan to finish off the Palestinian cause."

Some leaders, like chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, floated the idea of a One-State solution, saying "it is an attempt to destroy the two states [solution]. But it will open the doors of 'one person one vote' from the river Jordan to the Mediterranean."

Ashraf al-Ajrami, the former minister of prisoner affairs for the PA, defended Abbas's refusal to speak to Trump on i24 News today. "This is an American-Israeli plan," al-Ajrami said. It is intended to help Netanyahu win reelection and "help Donald Turmp maybe to be elected or to use this opportunity maybe before he will fall" to help Israel.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement called for intensifying boycott campaigns across the globe in response to the US plan.

"The plan Trump hatched with Israel's far-right government aims to cement Israel's apartheid rule over the Palestinian people," the group said. "It is the final nail in the coffin of the moribund 'peace process', making #BDS the most effective response."

On the ground, Palestinians across cities, villages, and refugee camps in the occupied territory braced themselves for massive protests on Tuesday, called for and supported by Palestinian political factions across the spectrum.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya warned of a new wave of violence in reaction to the plan, saying it could usher in a "new phase" in the Palestinian struggle against Israel's occupation.

The protests are expected to take on a life of their own, with locals predicting they could last into the coming weeks and months, much like the protests following Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 2017.

Israeli media reported that the army was "preparing" for unrest by deploying extra troops across the West Bank in anticipation of Tuesday's protests.

What to expect

Over the course of the past year, the release of Trump's plan was delayed several times, mostly due to the tumultuous election cycle in Israel. The country will have its third election in a year on March 2.

With each delay came new leaks, mostly from Israeli media and officials, speculating as to the content of the plan.

The US is expected to take a two-pronged approach to the plan -- one economic, and one political. The economic part of the deal was unveiled in June, and promised US investments upwards of $50 billion in the Palestinian territories and neighboring Arab states over the course of 10 years.

The reception of the plan was lackluster, as many regional leaders hesitated to celebrate the promise of economic prosperity for Palestinians without seeing what political solutions the US had in store for them.

The culmination of months' worth of leaks is a picture of a plan that is undoubtedly pro-Israel, conceding to the demands of the right-wing Israeli government without hesitation.

It is expected that the plan will accept Israel's annexation of the Jordan valley and of hundreds of settlements across the West Bank -- a move that has been widely condemned by the international community at large.

Some reports on Monday said that Trump would be unveiling maps showing the new borders of Israel, and a proposed "demilitarized" Palestinian state- a "state" whose borders would still be controlled by Israel.

The plan is expected to include a proposed bridge or tunnel connecting Gaza and the West Bank, and Israel's potential withdrawal from parts of occupied East Jerusalem.

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