Trump dooms his own peace plan

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Whether President Trump delivers his much-vaunted Middle East peace plan in a speech or on Twitter, it is very probably dead before he opens his mouth or his fingers hit his smartphone.

Every peace plan is about negotiation and compromise. And such talks are hardly going to work if you throw one of the parties out of the room before a word has been spoken. That is what the Trump administration has done with its extraordinary announcement it is closing down the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Washington mission. The PLO, recognized internationally for over 50 years as representing the Palestinians, opened the Washington mission in 1994.

It is hard to see how this move is anything less than ill-advised, if the president is really sincere in his own Middle East peace plan. The grounds given by the State Department are that the PLO has failed to engage with Washington’s efforts to bring about peace with Israel and that the Palestinians were seeking to have Israeli actions in the Occupied Territories investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Since both the United States and Israel, along with many other states including Russia, China, India and the Kingdom have refused to recognize the ICC, set up in 2002, it seems odd that the PLO’s move seeking to this investigation by the court’s officials in The Hague, should have such an impact.

The fact that Trump’s hawkish National Security Adviser John Bolton has also this week threatened ICC judges with sanctions if the court presses ahead with the prosecution of US soldiers alleged to have mistreated detainees in Afghanistan, is actually a side issue when it comes to a Middle East peace plan. How can Washington be threatened by the PLO’s recourse to a body that it does not acknowledge?

Sadly it is not difficult to work out the real agenda behind the US administration’s enforced closure of the PLO’s mission in the US capital. Whatever other global and economic initiatives the independent-minded Trump may be pursuing, his administration was captured from the outset by Zionists, led by his son-in-law Jared Kushner, a good friend of hard-line Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu.

The decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has been only the most obvious outcome of this pro-Zionist policy. Washington no longer even bothers to cry crocodile tears over the continued building of illegal Israeli settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Weapons deals, cooperation of technology and intelligence, to say nothing of generous financial aid from US taxpayers have probably never before reached the current pitch and intensity.

Trump has effectively removed American hands from every single lever of persuasion that Washington might have used. At least in openly giving Israel’s Zionist leaders carte blanche, the US president has the merit of frankness. Past administrations have hidden their almost unwavering support for the country behind duplicity.

Perhaps Donald Trump, the deal-maker, imagines that by cutting away from the Palestinians every hope of support, by isolating them politically and financially and by handing his total backing to an intransigent and aggressive Netanyahu, the PLO leadership will buckle and accept whatever pathetic crumbs are on offer. Since the complex history of the Palestinian tragedy cannot be written double-spaced on a single sheet of A4 paper, Trump does not know how wrong he is.


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