Ivanka Trump and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stand next to the dedication plaque at the US Embassy in Jerusalem, during the dedication. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun

The much-vaunted US Middle East peace plan, advertised by President Donald Trump as the “Deal of the Century,” has once again been delayed. Israel is caught in a political paralysis as its parliament voted to dissolve and send the country to a second round of elections, a mere month and a half since the last round. 

The elections will almost certainly delay the unveiling of the plan, which was set to start with an event later this month in Bahrain. The event, slated for June 25-26, was described by the host government as an attempt to “facilitate discussions on an ambitious, achievable vision and framework for a prosperous future for the Palestinian people and the region, including enhancements to economic governance, development of human capital, and facilitation of rapid private sector growth.”

In other words, a purely economic push for Palestinian development which either ignores or postpones the political elements.

The onset of new elections may lead the Trump administration to further tilt the deal in favor of Israel in order to assist Netanyahu in his re-election efforts. The plan will not be released before September 17 this year and will also likely await the end of the difficult process of Israeli coalition formation. According to some reports, the political section of the plan will not be released until well into 2020. Since this is a presidential election year in the United States, that development could doom it to permanent irrelevance.

There is rife speculation that the plan will now be used to bolster the ailing Netanyahu in the elections and in his efforts to (yet again) attempt to build a coalition. The American president was not exactly objective when he commented on the decision to go to elections again. Trump said sorrowfully that, “It looked like a total win for Netanyahu, who’s a great guy. That is too bad. Because they don’t need this. I mean they’ve got enough turmoil over there. It’s a tough place.”

Trump will act in Netanyahu’s interests as his re-election campaign begins, since he will not want to alienate evangelicals and Jewish pro-Israel donors when he needs them most. Therefore, the plan is already being shaped in a manner which benefits Netanyahu and his political agenda. This is a concerning prospect for the Palestinian Authority (PA). It had already been leaked that the plan would not endorse a two-state solution. This would renege on the stated American policy of the last two decades and fly in the face of international community consensus.

Kushner speaks

The prospects of an even greater pro-Israeli tilt in the plan were confirmed when its architect, Jared Kushner, gave a rare television interview. He needlessly questioned the Palestinians’ ability to practice self-governance. When asked if the PA was ready to rule, he said, “That’s a very good question. That’s one that we’ll have to see. The hope is that they, over time, will become capable of governing.”

He cited the “need to have a fair judicial system … freedom of press, freedom of expression, tolerance for all religions” before the Palestinian areas can become “investable.” This seemed calculated, assuming the comments were not sheer incompetence, to drive the already distrustful Palestinians further from the negotiating table.

Whatever influence the Israeli elections have on the plan, the “Deal of the Century” was for all intents and purposes dead on arrival. The Trump administration lost all credibility when it moved the American embassy to Jerusalem. This led the Palestinian Authority to boycott talks until the decision has been rescinded.

The futility of the process was revealed when Palestinian leaders from both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip announced they will boycott the Bahrain event. PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi explained that Palestinian participation would be counter-productive since it is “just an economic workshop … [and] another way of rewarding Israel again and maintaining Israel’s control of our land and resource.” China, the United Nations and several Arab states will also not attend the event. Not to mention that the other party to the supposed agreement, the State of Israel, was not invited. This mind-boggling display of incompetence makes for a rather inauspicious start to the renewed peace process.

Peace without Palestinians?

It is indisputable that attempting to launch a peace process without the participation of one of the principal parties is a fool’s errand. Even if Israeli elections had not been called again, the plan was always going to be completely one-sided and unacceptable to the Palestinians.

The Trump administration has already moved the embassy to Jerusalem, recognized the annexation of the Golan Heights, ceased funding the UNRWA organization which aids Palestinian refugees, and closed the PLO offices in Washington D.C. They are making it very clear that they are a biased and essentially malicious mediator.

The bankruptcy of the plan is so overt that even Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has lost faith in it. Pompeo spoke at a private event held by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations last week and showed a palpable lack of faith in the plan.

Audio leaked of the secretary of state admitting that the deal could turn out to be “unexecutable” and “may be rejected” by the Palestinians. He added, “I get why people think this is going to be a deal that only the Israelis could love.” While this is the consensus in diplomatic circles, it is still striking to hear it from the administration’s top diplomat.

From day one, the entire approach of the Trump administration towards the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has been shaped by the desire to shore up its political base. There was never any reason to believe that the “deal of the century” would take Palestinian needs into account in even the most cursory manner.

Israeli elections will not alter the moribund trajectory of a plan which was never intended to advance the peace process. What may seem like a fatal blow to the plan is more akin to shooting a well-preserved corpse. It makes a lot of noise and defaces the remains, but has very little influence on the well-being of the subject.

Asia Times Financial is now live. Linking accurate news, insightful analysis and local knowledge with the ATF China Bond 50 Index, the world's first benchmark cross sector Chinese Bond Indices. Read ATF now. 

Join the Conversation

1135 Comments

  1. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was wondering what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100 certain. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Cheers

  2. Great V I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your site. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs and related information ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, site theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Nice task..

  3. Hi, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, fantastic blog!

  4. I want to express my passion for your kindness giving support to men who actually need guidance on that niche. Your personal commitment to getting the message all through appeared to be wonderfully advantageous and have regularly empowered workers much like me to achieve their aims. Your entire warm and helpful advice can mean so much a person like me and substantially more to my peers. With thanks; from each one of us.

  5. I’m writing to let you know of the exceptional encounter my cousin’s daughter undergone going through your blog. She picked up too many details, with the inclusion of what it is like to have an incredible helping spirit to have men and women just master certain specialized things. You really exceeded my desires. Thank you for churning out these warm and friendly, safe, edifying as well as easy guidance on the topic to Julie.

  6. Hi there. I found your website by the use of Google even as searching for a comparable matter, your site got here up. It looks great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to come back then.

  7. Hello, i think that i saw you visited my blog so i came to “return the favor”.I’m attempting to find things to improve my website!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

  8. This blog is definitely rather handy since I’m at the moment creating an internet floral website – although I am only starting out therefore it’s really fairly small, nothing like this site. Can link to a few of the posts here as they are quite. Thanks much. Zoey Olsen

  9. The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy looking for attention.

  10. Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Extremely useful information specially the last part 🙂 I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this certain info for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

  11. My partner and I stumbled over here coming from a different web address and thought I might as well check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to finding out about your web page yet again.

  12. I’ve been exploring for a little for any high-quality articles or blog posts on this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this site. Reading this information So i am happy to convey that I’ve an incredibly good uncanny feeling I discovered exactly what I needed. I most certainly will make certain to do not forget this web site and give it a look on a constant basis.

  13. I’ve been surfing online greater than 3 hours these days, but I never discovered any fascinating article like yours. It is beautiful value sufficient for me. In my opinion, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you probably did, the internet can be a lot more useful than ever before.

  14. Howdy very nice web site!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…I am satisfied to seek out numerous helpful info right here within the publish, we’d like work out extra strategies in this regard, thank you for sharing.

  15. An impressive share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing a little analysis on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast because I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If possible, as you become expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more details? It is highly helpful for me. Big thumb up for this blog post!

  16. Good ?V I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your website. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs as well as related information ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Reasonably unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, site theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Excellent task..

  17. Oh my goodness! a tremendous article dude. Thank you However I am experiencing difficulty with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting similar rss problem? Anyone who is aware of kindly respond. Thnkx

  18. Hi, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, fantastic blog!

  19. You made some good points there. I looked on the internet for the subject matter and found most individuals will go along with with your website.

  20. Its such as you learn my thoughts! You seem to understand so much approximately this, like you wrote the e book in it or something. I feel that you just could do with some p.c. to pressure the message home a little bit, however instead of that, that is magnificent blog. A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.

  21. hello there and thank you to your information – I’ve definitely picked up something new from right here. I did on the other hand experience several technical issues using this website, since I skilled to reload the website a lot of occasions prior to I could get it to load correctly. I have been puzzling over if your web host is OK? No longer that I’m complaining, but sluggish loading cases instances will very frequently impact your placement in google and could injury your high-quality ranking if advertising and ***********|advertising|advertising|advertising and *********** with Adwords. Anyway I’m adding this RSS to my email and can look out for a lot more of your respective interesting content. Ensure that you update this once more very soon..

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *