Much have been said and written about the so-called “Deal of the Century”, also called by different names depending on the perspective of different parties. The deal has been in development for two years and is eventually being unveiled this week in Manama, Bahrain after long periods of postponement. It was headed by Trump’s son-in-law; Jared Kushner, with the assistance of Jason Dov Greenblatt and David Melech Friedman.
Kushner is a young real-estate investor and developer, who was made Trump’s senior advisor. Kushner is still a young kid; a 38 years old kid maneuvering through adult world. He is politically inexperienced, and totally ignorant of the history of the Middle East. One wonders what kind of political experience he has to be nominated as senior advisor to president Trump. Kushner is an ardent Zionist Jew, who backs and finances Israeli settlements (colonies) in occupied West Bank. The Kushner family foundation contributed financial donations to the Israeli settlement Bet El.
Jason Dov Greenblatt was the personal lawyer for Donald Trump and The Trump Organization. After becoming president, Trump appointed Greenblatt as his advisor on Israel and assistant for international negotiations. Greenblatt is an ardent Zionist Jew, who is a backer and financer of Israeli settlements (colonies) in occupied West Bank claiming that these colonies are not obstacles to peace.
David Melech Friedman was a bankruptcy lawyer and the chairman and president of The Trump Organization, who was appointed later by president Trump as the US Ambassador to Israel. Friedman is the son of a rabbi at Temple Hillel in North Woodmere, New York. He is an ardent Zionist Jew who supports and finances Israeli settlements (colonies) in occupied West Bank. In an interview with The New York Times June 8th. Friedman stated that Israel has the right to annex parts of occupied West Bank.
Yet this Zionist Jewish team claims that it has an economic plan (Deal) to improve the lives of Palestinians by investing money (Gulf Arab money) to invigorate Palestinian economy. They claim that this economic deal would eventually lead to a political deal that would lead to peace and prosperity. It is worth noting that this team does not include a Palestinian or even an Arab member, who would represent the Palestinian side. It is as if this Zionist team see themselves as “light onto nations” with their solutions believing that Palestinians are incapable of understanding or planning an economic plan for themselves.
Kushner’s team is approaching the issue with the mentality of a business transaction, where money can buy everything and the price depends on skillful negotiations. During a Reuter’s interview, whose reporter seems to boringly read questions from an already prepared transcript, Jared Kushner unveiled portion of his economic deal. He talked about “a global investment fund” of $50 billion used to lift the Palestinian and neighboring Arab States’ economies and a $5 billion fund to build a transportation corridor connecting the West Bank and Gaza.
Kushner explained that $25 billion would be spent in Palestinian territories over a 10-years period, while the rest of the money would be split between Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon to boost their own economies. Some of the projects would be in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, where Palestinians from Gaza Strip could benefit from.
The necessary funds for this plan, Kushner explained, would come from wealthy Arab Gulf States, nations from Europe and Asia (but not America), and from private investors. It is implied here that most if not all of the money would come from Saudi Arabia and UAE. Kushner explained that the international economic “workshop” in Bahrain on June 25th and 26th will bring together government and business leaders to launch the plan.
In this “Peace to Prosperity Workshop” or as Kushner called it “The Opportunity of the Century” compared to “The deal of the Century” Kushner gave a business presentation on developing the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Stating that Israel is not the problem he blamed the Palestinians for sabotaging previous political plans to solve the conflict due to their poor political decisions. Throughout his speech one detects that he believes that Palestinians are not well educated and are incapable of having a vision of prosperous future.
Kushner’s plan is built on the bases that building economy would lead to peace as he kept stressing in all his media interviews and in his presentation in Bahrain. Yet during his speech he contradicts this premise many times by sentences like “… if we have real peace and we don’t have fear of terrorism … then we can thin the borders and allow for much flow of goods and people”, and “… all these plans could be phased in real time if there is a real seize fire and real peace” and “ … how to make a safe environment so people can invest in the area” among others. Kushner’s economic plan puts the cart in front of the horse, for how a country’s economy would be developed if the government does not know where its political borders are?
The two business men; Mr. Stephen Schwarzman, chairman, CEO and co-founder of Blackstone Group, the world’s largest equity investment firm, and Mr. Mohamed Alabbar, the Emirati leading developer and chairman of Emaar Properties famous for building the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai, speaking as a panelist stated clearly that safety, security and the rule of law meaning peace are prerequisite for any investments. An independent country with secured border and a government are essential prerequisites for investment and building an economy.
Kushner kept pushing the statement of “help the Palestinian people” when what he really means is “help the Israelis”, who will eventually control all these projects as what had happened during all the previous peace agreements. This so-called economic plan (Deal of the Century) is the same as all previous economic and political peace agreements between Arab countries and Israel that promised peace and prosperity to the region. The 1978 Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt, the 1994 Wadi Araba Treaty between Israel and Jordan, and the 1994 Paris Protocol and later 1995 Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO allowed Israeli goods through and in Arab countries improving Israeli economy but not the other way around. The Oslo Accords gave Israel total control of Palestinian economy; control over customs, taxes, agriculture, industry and all gates to the world economy.
To prevent Palestinian and Arab economies from competing with its own economy, Israel had violated all these treaties and had broken international laws. Israel would take control of all Kushner’s proposed economic projects built mainly by Arab Gulf states.
Kushner stated that his plan has two parts; the economic plan is the initial part followed by political part hoped to be released next November. Everybody knows that the political part had already preceded the economic plan when President Trump declared al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital of Israel, closed the PA office in Washington, withdrew support to UNRWA, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, and indirectly hinted that Israel should also annex large parts of the West Bank. This is Trump’s favorite mafia technique of imposing life threatening pressure in order to enforce his Deal of the Century.
Other leaked political plans for the region include forcing Jordan to give the fertile Baqoura area; where the Yarmouk River flows into the Jordan River, to Israel. In return Saudi Arabia would give Jordan part of its northern desert. Saudi and Emirati money would buy Al-Arish area in Sinai Peninsula south of Gaza Strip as well as Tiran and Sanafir islands at the mouth of Gulf of Aqaba leading to the Red Sea. According to Kushner’s plan a Saudi oil refinery and a water desalination plant would be built in al-Arish to benefit Palestinians living in Gaza. Tiran and Sanafir islands would be turned to and controlled by Israel, which gives Israel free access to the Red Sea. This territorial division will be the cause of even more future conflicts.
This Deal of the Century is similar to Sikes-Picot agreement, Balfour Declaration and all the other Arab/Israeli agreements, which in reality are progressive phases of implementing the Zionist Greater Israel Project. The main goals of this Deal are the elimination of the Palestinian refugee’s issue and the establishment and confirmation of the state of Israel as a legitimate state in the region, who could normalize relationships with some Arab countries and even become their military and intelligence partner against outside enemy; namely Iran. This also means the end of the two-state solution and making the PA an Israeli security apparatus keeping any Palestinian dissent into check.
The Deal of the Century was faced with strong rejection since its first inception by Palestinians as a whole including the PA and all the Palestinians factions. The Palestinian factions called for mass demonstrations in every city in the West Bank and in Gaza Strip starting on June 24th and continue until the 26th for the duration of Bahraini conference under banners calling “The Manama Workshop is Treason” and “Palestine is not for sale.”
The Deal was also rejected by all Arab countries and populations except by the leaderships of Saudi Arabia, its occupied Bahrain and the UAE. Mass protests have been taken place throughout the whole Arab world extending from the Persian Gulf all the way west through north African countries to Morocco on the Atlantic Ocean. In Bahrain, itself, every house raised the Palestinian flag in solidarity with Palestinians against Kushner’s economic workshop.
It is not just the Arabs who are giving the Deal of the Century the cold shoulder. The EU, who has always supported the two-state solution, had also rejected the Deal. High-ranking former European politicians; 25 former foreign ministers, six former prime ministers, and two former NATO secretary generals, signed a letter to the EU calling for the rejection of the Deal and the implementation of the two-state solution with Israel and Palestinian state living side by side.
This Deal is destined to fail. Even US Secretary of State; Mike Pompeo acknowledge that the Deal will fail in a speech to Jewish leaders in New York calling it “a deal that only the Israelis could love” and admitted that the plan is “un-executable”, and “it may be rejected”
The economic conference will serve only to intensify the Palestinian and in general the Arab’s hatred to Saudi Arabia and UAE, who claim their goal is to help the Palestinians. If they really wanted to help they could have done so directly and without the American pro-Israeli mediation.
The Palestinians have learned the hard lesson not to depend on Arab leaders. The only method of liberating the whole Palestine and rebuilding their state is through armed resistance. They have done so generation after generation throughout the last 71 years. Last generation used stones and knifes, this generation is using rockets that could reach Tel Aviv.
Dr. Elias Akleh is an Arab American from a Palestinian descent. His family was evicted from Haifa, Palestine, after the 1948 Nakba when the Zionists stole his family’s property. Then the family was evicted again from the West Bank during the 1967 Naksah, after the Zionist, again, occupied the rest of Palestine.