Palestinians must have a say in the peace plan

And the strategy, a rather discreet one, to thwart a two-state solution and focus on the definitive separation of the secular West Bank and the Gaza strip would become strikingly clear.

By Christiane Waked (Regional Mix)

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Published: Sun 19 May 2019, 9:52 PM

Last updated: Sun 19 May 2019, 11:54 PM

May marks the 71st anniversary of the Nakba or the great "catastrophe" which, in 1948, pushed over 800,000 Palestinians out of 1.4 million citizens on the path to exodus, with no possibility of return. During the Nakba, more than 15,000 Palestinians were killed.
It all began on May 15, when the Alexandroni Battalion, part of the Israel Defense Forces and paramilitary forces such as the Hanaga began a sort of ethnic cleansing, causing the destruction of 500 Palestinian villages, including towns and small towns in the regions of Tiberias and Galilee (northern Palestine).
Since then Israel has been bluntly remodelling the landscape to promote Zionist agenda and brutally erase Palestinian identity and history.
Majority of the displaced Palestinians ended up in neighbouring Arab countries such as Jordan and Lebanon and in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while a few fled to other countries.
The whole region was affected by the displacement of Palestinians; the 15 years of civil war in Lebanon was, in fact, triggered by this.
From arbitrary arrests, destruction of houses and confiscation of lands to forced induction of colonies, the Palestinian culture is still being denied and annihilated.
The US President, Donald Trump is set to reveal his Middle East plan early next month. Though details of the plan have not been revealed, reports suggest that it does not provide for a full Palestinian state.
According to an article written by Anne Gearan and Souad Mekhennet for the Washington Post, the plan which should be revealed in June, would offer the Palestinians an improved version of the status quo, highlighting "autonomy" to the detriment of "sovereignty". The article relied on interviews with US officials who have remained anonymous, as well as sources close to this file kept secret.
If what is aforementioned is true, no peace could come of this plan and there is no doubt that it would face resistance from the Palestinian side which has already refused to cooperate with Trump's administration following the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017, in defiance of all United Nations resolutions.
The new prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Mohammad Shtayyeh has already expressed his views on the matter saying Trump's plan is "stillborn".
Truth is, the Palestinian landscape has been severely altered since the Oslo Accords came into being in 1993. The accords should have led to the creation of a Palestinian state as stipulated in 1967, instead it has led to further alienation of the people living there.
The Oslo Accords are, themselves, based on the Camp David Accords signed in 1978, but reality is, nothing has been done to implement the agreements in spirit.
One can only blame the failure of the peace negotiations to the lack of will and interest from the Israeli side.
Today, if Trump fails to offer a real peace plan, the Palestinians will once again feel abandoned by the international community. And the strategy, a rather discreet one at that, to thwart a two-state solution and focus on the definitive separation of the secular West Bank and the Gaza strip would become strikingly clear. The influx of refugees has turned Gaza Strip into one of the most populous places in the world.
Trump's strategy is no longer discreet and its realisation will create more tension not only in Palestine but in the region as a whole, giving existential reasons for terrorist groups to recruit new members and create terror and chaos everywhere.
The United States should keep in mind the repercussions before announcing strategies. No policy will be viable unless the Palestinian narrative and their struggles to have a decent life are addressed.
Christiane Waked is a political analyst based in Beirut

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