The Steal of the Century: A Last-Ditch Effort to Cement an Illegal Occupation

By Julia Kassem

On Tuesday, Trump unveiled his and his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s “Deal of the Century”, categorically rejecting the sovereignty and will of the Palestinian people, in fulfillment of “Israel’s” full-scale occupation and colonization scheme to finish off the West Bank and extinguish any prospect of Palestinian territorial, governmental, or military sovereignty.

The proposal, a Trump-style business deal meant to save face while cutting losses following US failures in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, comes at the helm of Netanyahu’s push to annex all of the West Bank and close off a complete occupation of Palestine. As “Israel” underwent years of failures with respect to its plans for external colonization, such as in south Lebanon and Syria in the occupied Golan’s Quneitra and Daara, it buckled down with its moves in total internal annexation and expropriation. “Israel” did this in the vein of Oslo, picking up where Yitzhak Rabin had left off with signing off the carved-out administrative and security zones in the West Bank to be set aside for a gradual and further procession of ethnic and territorial cleansing of Palestine actualized in the current “Deal of the Century.”

Though the political portion of the deal just unveiled following last June’s announcement of the economic portion, the parts that have been revealed before Tuesday, involving the multi-billion dollar development plans allocated to both Occupied Palestine and the Arab states around it, speaks for itself and exemplifies the material interest underlying any possible political proposal. The plan was brokered last June in Bahrain, a tiny oil-rich island hosting US naval 5th fleet and the US’s first military base established one year before “Israel” in 1947, where years of a relentless uprising against oppression have been hopelessly stifled by the Gulf regime and its neocolonial order.

The plans build upon these age-old schemes and initiatives by enabling “Israel” to annex all of al-Quds [Jerusalem], and over a third of the post-Oslo Area C subdivision in the West Bank, which, under the 1993 agreement had placed it under total “Israeli” security and military domain.

In the largest illegal land-grab since the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War, “Israel” would also be allowed to claim nearly every illegal settlement built in the West Bank. Included in this is the Jordan Valley, with, along with Jerusalem, carved out to extend and overreach the Zionist entity’s claims over Palestine’s eastern boundary and isolate Palestinians from their regional neighbors.

The plan claims to offer Palestinians some concessions in proposing a halt to all new settlements and sparing 15 locations in the West Bank from further settlement. However, the plan as it exists  does not guarantee or ensure a complete moratorium on settlement-building; an irrelevant concession either way given the Deal’s nefarious demand of ensuring US recognition of all current and exiting illegal settlements and annexation of Jerusalem, all illegal under international law but with most recent settlements officially greenlit by the US in November 2019. Before the deal, an uptick of massive illegal settlement construction, daily violations and instructions of the Al-Aqsa mosque, a higher and more aggressive than usual uptick of forced removals and demolishment, and self-declared annexations by the Occupying entity were so endemic to US policy towards Palestine under the Trump administration where violence, occupation, and expropriation had operated more incrementally before. 2018 saw the US’s attempts at slashing UNRWA, a service that not only provides aid to displaced Palestinians but also recognizes their right to return under international law, the opening of a US Embassy in al-Quds [Jerusalem], the shutting-down of PLO offices in DC, and more aid cut to Palestinian programs, services, and institutions, including the Palestinian Authority in February 2019. This helped seal the deal for the upcoming deal, laying the groundwork that would ultimately position any concession a net gain in “Israel’s” favor.

From the December 2017 declaration to declare al-Quds [Jerusalem] as the so-called capital of the Occupying Entity rather than Palestine, to the mobilization to build an additional 10,000 illegal settlements in the last year alone, any lip service given to an unguaranteed halt to settlements has already been surmounted by the largest and most violent cases of land expropriation and forced removal Palestinians had to face since 1967. Just last month, a disabled man in East Jerusalem witnessed his home demolished for the first time in 20 years. West Bank Palestinians, especially in Jerusalem, are continuing to be forced out of their homes in droves, with demolitions and forced removals especially high in the last two years. Palestinian residents and families in East al-Quds [Jerusalem] have even been forced to demolish their own homes as “Israel” remains committed towards its relentless pursuit to seize al-Quds -m a practice commonplace before “Israel’s” anticipation of the Deal, but unprecedented in frequency since then.

These propositions, a means of continuing an age-old project with added characteristics of a renewed, neoliberal development deal, is meant to cement economically what is becoming unsalvageable politically. The deal calls for Palestinians to completely rescind the infrastructure for self-defense and resistance alike, adding to their already feeble military capabilities diminutive in land and absent in air and sea. Though this predictably calls upon resistance groups in Gaza to disarm, it will also force the Palestinian Authority, who post Oslo served as the useful Palestinian containment apparatus of the “Israeli” Occupying Forces [IOF], to also demilitarize.

Though the deal is meant to salvage some semblance of a pre-determined destiny imposed upon the will of the Palestinian people, it rather signals a grave level of defeat on the part of the American empire and its “Israeli” and Gulf allies in the Middle East. The US-”Israel”-Gulf axis is losing militarily in the Middle East and the “Deal of the Century” has been the US’s attempts at saving face in the region and consolidating its neocolonial hold on West Asia. Predictably, the shared political interests of Saudi Arabia, the UAE,

Nonetheless, the effects of the Steal-of-the-Century have already proven to backfire. As the “two-state solution” framework long upholding the discourse of the liberal peace shatters to pieces, Palestinians and their Arab neighbors in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria’s Golan under similar situations of military occupation and aggression will further actualize their right to resist, having long exhausted all diplomatic and legal avenues for peace and sovereignty.

The Deal comes as huge swaths of territory in Yemen, east of Sana’a and Idlib and Aleppo. In Syria are being liberated. Palestinians have rallied in Gaza, Ramallah, and elsewhere to mobilize a mass resistance and rejection of “Israel’s” impunity with theft. And this solidarity extends and will expand past Palestinian boundaries into other Arab struggles; Sayyed Abdul Malik al-Houthi, leader of the Ansarullah movement in Yemen that has resisted Saudi Arabian aggression for years, just called upon “all people of the region” to act in counter to the “Deal of the Century,” which he called a “US initiative to prop up Israeli occupation with Saudi and UAE money.” Hezbollah, honoring these efforts in popular resistance, regarded “resistance” as the “only option to liberate the land and restore the sanctities” in a recent statement condemning the American administration’s decision and the complicitness of its Arab allies, vowing that the Palestinian people will resist to overturn the deal before it can act on its depraved vision.

The $50 billion Trump is proposing to Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Occupied Palestine is not an investment or a package to the Arabs. It’s a bribe, and a package serving only “Israel” and its allies. The Trump administration mistakenly expects complicities of the Arabs of the region with this money, similar to that of its Gulf allies when given such transactions for development and arms deals alike. Yet, the mounting resistance against the Deal – and the reaffirmations from Palestinians that have long declared that Palestine is not for sale, have taken root to uproot occupation and colonization. For better or for worse, the two-state solution is dead – so it’s past time for the US, “Israel”, and the Gulf to face up to phasing out of its overstayed un-welcome in the region; lest all regional forces of progress, resistance, and anti-colonialism appropriately take it upon themselves to do so.

Scores of Yemenis Rally against Trump’s ’Deal of Century’

By Staff, Agencies

Tens of thousands of Yemenis took to the streets in the northern city of Saada, the capital Sanaa and elsewhere to protest the so-called “deal of century” unveiled by US President Donald Trump this week.

Yemen’s al-Masirah television network said the demonstrators carried banners and slogans Friday, decrying the deal and pledging to support the Palestinian struggle against the ‘Israeli’ occupation.

The protesters, in a statement, slammed what they described as the treason of certain “hypocritical Arab regimes” – particularly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – for supporting the plan and betraying the Palestinian cause.

The statement underlined that existing divisions within the Muslim and Arab world have emboldened Tel Aviv and Washington to carry out the measure.

The protesters called on Palestinian factions to unite and overcome existing rifts to liberate Palestine from the ‘Israeli’ occupation.

The statement reiterated an earlier pledge from the leader of Yemen’s popular Ansarullah revolutionary movement Sayyed Abdul-Malik Badreddine al-Houthi to support the “Palestinian and Lebanese” resistance in any future conflict with the Zionist regime.

Trump unveiled the so-called peace plan alongside Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Tuesday.

The so-called deal would, among other contentious terms, enshrine al-Quds as ‘undivided capital’ of the Zionist occupation regime and allow the regime to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

The Tuesday announcement of the deal – which all Palestinian groups have unanimously rejected – has aroused a storm of indignation and protest across different countries in the Middle East along with the condemnation of various international organizations.

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الكيان الأردنيّ والسلطة الفلسطينيّة هدفان لنطحاتٍ أميركيّة – إسرائيليّة قاتلة

د. وفيق إبراهيم

تنتظر السلطة الفلسطينية منذ سبعة وعشرين عاماً تطبيق الكيان الإسرائيلي لاتفاق اوسلو الموقع بينهما، فيما اعتقد الاردن ان معاهدة وادي عربة التي وقعها في 1994 مع «إسرائيل» تزيل عنه أي خطر سياسي أو كياني ناتج من ارتدادات الاستيلاء على كامل فلسطين المحتلة.

فماذا كانت النتيجة؟

أعلن الأميركيون والإسرائيليون الطرفان الراعيان للاردن و»بلدية» محمود عباس في الضفة الغربية عن صفقة قرن تلغي سلطة محمود عباس وتنزع من الأردن الوظائف التي دفعت الانجليز في ثلاثينيات القرن الماضي الى فصله عن سورية وتحويله كياناً للهاشميّين الذين كانوا قد خسروا بالتتابع مشاريعهم في جزيرة العرب وسورية والعراق.

هؤلاء الإنجليز الذين كانوا يستعمرون المنطقة العربية من العراق الى اليمن، هندسوا ولادة الدول العربية الحديثة التكوين والنشأة لتلبية وظائف تسهم في تعميق المصالح الغربية.

فأسسوا دولاً حديثة غير تاريخيّة لتأمين وظيفتين: الأولى نفطية وتشمل معظم بلدان جزيرة العرب والثانية جيوسياسية لامتصاص قوة الدول التاريخية مثل مصر والعراق واليمن وسورية، فكان الأردن واحداً من هذه الدول التي أريد منها إضعاف سورية، ومنع اتصالها الجغرافي بجزيرة العرب، وإنشاء كيان أردني لا يُعادي «إسرائيل» وقابل للتحالف معها، هذا مع ارضاء الهاشميين المرتبطين دائماً بالاستعمار الإنجليزي في جزيرة العرب.

لكن البريطانيين فضّلوا الانحياز الى المشروع الوهابي – السعودي لاقتصار حركته على جزيرة العرب، حيث النفط الغزير والتخلي عن الهاشميين الذين كانوا يبحثون عن خلافة على مستوى بلاد الشام وجزيرة العرب والعراق واليمن. وهذا ما كان البريطانيون يخشون منه على الرغم من الارتباط الانصياعي التاريخي للهاشميين بهم.

لجهة السلطة الفلسطينية فتندرج في إطار حركة إسرائيلية أميركية أريد من تأسيسها إلهاء الفلسطينيين بكانتون صغير يُجهض تدريجياً القضية الفلسطينية دافعاً نحو صراعات فلسطينية لأسباب داخلية جغرافية (الضفة وغزة) او ايديولوجية (خليجية واخوان مسلمون، ومرتبطون بمحور المقاومة).

هذا ما حدث بالفعل لجهة صعود كبير للنزاعات بين منظمات فلسطينية، فمنها من رضخ منتظراً الغيث الإسرائيلي من أوسلو فيما ذهبت غزة نحو قتال دائم ورافض، واعتبرت أن تحرير فلسطين لا يكون بالاتفاق مع الكيان المحتل على مشاريع وهمية، لكن النتيجة هنا ذهبت نحو نتائج صاعقة على مستوى اتفاقات أمنية إسرائيلية مع سلطة عباس أوقفت الجهاد الفلسطيني في الضفة الغربية، على مستويي المنظمات المقاتلة والتظاهرات الشعبيّة.

فأصبح هناك «فلسطينان» الأولى مهادنة الى حدود الاستسلام في الضفة، والثانية مجاهدة الى مستوى القتال المفتوح في غزة من أجل كامل فلسطين.

لكن الإعلان الأميركي – الإسرائيلي لصفقة القرن، أبطل أحلام محمود عباس مؤكداً في الوقت نفسه على صحة تحليل منظمات غزة بضرورة القتال الدائم للكيان الإسرائيلي.

يكفي أن هذه الصفقة تلغي أولاً مفاعيل اتفاق أوسلو الذي كان ذاهباً نحو تأسيس دويلة فلسطينية لها حدود مع الأردن من خلال الغور والبحر الميت بسيادة نسبية وحق عقد الاتفاقات مع دول تجاوره اقتصادياً وسياسياً، وتشكّل غزة جزءاً منها على ان تكون المستعمرات الإسرائيلية في الضفة جزءاً من السيادة الفلسطينية.

هذا أصبح من الماضي، لأن صفقة القرن أطاحت بأوسلو وتطرح إدارة ذاتيّة لمنطقة فلسطينية مبعثرة تدير نفسها داخلياً من غير حدود وسيادة وأي نوع من العلاقات، مقابل تخليها لـ»إسرائيل» عن المستوطنات والأغوار والقدس والنازحين وكل أنواع العلاقات الخارجية مهما كانت تافهة، وتجريدها من السلاح.

بذلك تلغي صفقة القرن «اوسلو» التي لم ينفذها أصلاً الكيان الإسرائيلي.

فما العمل؟ إن أضعف ما يمكن لعباس فعله، هو إعلان التخلّي الفلسطيني عن اتفاق اوسلو الخائب وتحشيد داخلي نحو المقاومة الشعبية والمسلحة، ووضع العرب في موقع المسؤول عن هذا الانهيار من خلال الإعلام والمؤتمرات ودعوة الجامعات العربية والمنظمات الى تبني كل الأساليب لوقف السطو على فلسطين.

على مستوى الأردن فالوضع شديد التشابه، وهناك تغيير كامل لوظائفه القديمة الداعمة بعزل «إسرائيل» عن جوارها العربي وإضعاف سورية.

لذلك يبدو أن اتجاه صفقة القرن ينحو نحو اعتبار الأردن الجسر الحيوي التي تريده «إسرائيل» للوصول الى جزيرة العرب لتسهيل الاتصال الجغرافي والسياسي والعسكري مع الدول الخليجية الحليفة لها، من دون إهمال ما يطمح الكيان المحتل اليه من مواصلات برية تنهض بعلاقاته الاقتصادية مع جزيرة آل سعود ونهيان وخليفة وتميم وقابوس والصباح، فهؤلاء هم الهدف الإسرائيلي – الأميركي لإبقاء هذه المنطقة في القرون الوسطى، وتستطيع «إسرائيل» عبر الدور الأردني المواصلاتي قيادة المنطقة بتقدّمها العسكري والاقتصادي.

هل لهذه الوظيفة الأردنية الجديدة انعكاس على الكيان الاردني؟

إن المشروع الإسرائيلي الفعلي والعميق هو تحويل الاردن كياناً للفلسطينيين فينهون بذلك حتى الأمل الفلسطيني بقسم من الضفة الغربية مع غزة مجردة من السلاح لحي مغلق بشكل عنصري، وما يحتاجون اليه هو محمود عباس جديد يرث الهاشميين في الأردن الفلسطيني.

لذلك فإن مسارعة عبدالله الثاني الأردني وعباس الى إلغاء اتفاقيتي وادي عربة واوسلو، هو الوسيلة الضرورية لإيقاف مفاعيل صفقة القرن، وسحب اعترافيهما بدولة «إسرائيل».

فهذا أسلوب صاعق قد يثير غضب الرئيس الأميركي ترامب، لكنه يؤدي الى المحافظة على الحق العربي بفلسطين وسلامة الكيان الأردني من لعبة تغيير الوظائف التي تهدّد بتفجيره وسحبه من خريطة الدول العربية.

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Lebanon’s FM to Al-Manar: We Categorically Reject Naturalization of Palestinian Refugees

January 30, 2020

The Lebanese FM Nassif Hitti stressed via Al-Manar TV that Lebanon categorically rejects the naturalization of the Palestinian refugees, but that it supports their right to return to their land.

Hitti denounced the so-called “Deal of the Century”, considering that it infringes on the peoples right to choose their destiny and violates the international laws.

“It is unacceptable to tamper with Lebanon’s borders,” Hitti said in a comment on one of the stipulations of the so-called “The Deal of the Century” which denied Lebanon its right to its Israeli-held territories.

The Lebanese to diplomat emphasized that he will convey Lebanon’s stance towards the US ‘deal’ during the meeting of the Arab foreign ministers in Cairo next Saturday.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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This is Bin Salman’s Role in “Deal of the Century”: Israeli Media

January 30, 2020

The Israeli media outlets highlighted the Saudi role in the so-called “Deal of the Century”, despite the fact that KSA’s envoy did not attend the announcement of Trump’s plan.

The Zionist outlets confirmed that bin Salman followed all the process of the plan since its inception, adding that he used to send threat letters to the Palestinian officials in order to oblige them to approve the deal.

The Israeli media reports also focused on the accelerating steps of normalizing ties between the Zionist entity and Saudi, highlighting the enemy’s desire to open the file of the Jewish existence in the Arab peninsula.

It is worth noting that the Zionists interior ministry had decided to allow the Israelis to visit Saudi, as reports indicate a remarkable number of Zionists attending certain KSA’s historical sites which are symbolic for the Jews.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Syrian War Report – January 30, 2020: Advance On Saraqib

South Front

Idlib militants seem to be in disarray amid the developing advance of the Syrian Army. Since the liberation of Maarat al-Numan, government forces have achieved several important breakthroughs on the frontline in southeastern Idlib and southwestern Aleppo.

The army has liberated the villages of al-Qahira, al-Jaradah, Khan Assubul, Maarrat Dibsah and Ain Halbane‏, all located on the M5 highway north of Maarat al-Numan. Near Aleppo city, government forces have liberated Tell Maher, Tell Abiad, Tell al-Zaitoun, Tell al-Mahruqat, Jurf al-Sakhr, the Rashidin 5 neighborhood and one of the key militant strongpoints – Khan Tuman.

Most of these areas were liberated without significant resistance from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) or the Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation. Despite this, according to pro-opposition sources, up to 200 militants have been killed or wounded in clashes with the Syrian Army.

The setbacks of al-Qaeda-backed militants and their pro-Turkish allies has caused discontent in Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that Russia “hasn’t abided by either the Astana or the Sochi agreements.”

“We have waited until now, but from this point, we are going to take our own actions. This is not a threat but our expectation is that Russia will give the regime the necessary warning,” the President said.

The main point of contradictions between Turkey and the Syrian-Russian-Iranian alliance is the fighting of terrorism and the separation of opposition groups from terrorist  groups like Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Ankara does not want or just cannot separate its proxies in Idlib from al-Qaeda. So, it sees anti-terrorism efforts by the Syrian-Russian-Iranian alliance as a threat to its own interests and influence.

On January 29, reports appeared that Syrian government forces had shelled a Turkish military convoy west of Aleppo city. According to photos which appeared online, the shelling destroyed at least one vehicle. However, it remains unclear if it belonged to the Turkish Army. Turkish military convoys moving through Idlib often include members and equipment of Turkish-backed militant groups. So, one of these vehicles may have become a target of the Syrian strike. This would explain the lack of reaction from the Turkish Defense Ministry.

Currently, the advance of government forces seems to be focused on the M5 highway area. The army and its allies exploit the internal contradictions among Idlib militant groups who have failed to cooperate properly to set up strong defenses deep inside the region. It is no secret that mighty Idlib fighters prefer taking selfies to digging trenches.

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