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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

Confederacy is the latest hammer blow to Palestinians

Time and again, they have been betrayed by promises of a peaceful solution

US Senior Presidential Advisor Jared Kushner and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem on June 22. Matty Stern / EPA / US Embassy Jerusalem handout
US Senior Presidential Advisor Jared Kushner and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem on June 22. Matty Stern / EPA / US Embassy Jerusalem handout

A dark cloud hangs over this week’s developments in the Arab-Israeli conflict amid an ominous sense that we have been here before. In 1993, then Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo Accords but the conflict remained intractable. A decade later, the US, EU, UN and Russia laid out a road map for peace – but peace never came.

In the latest proposal, the US administration has reportedly suggested solving the conflict by forming a confederation between Palestine and Jordan – a move that would obliterate all hope of a two-state solution. It marks yet another attempt to rob Palestinians of their right to return to their homeland and to determine their future.

Time and again, Palestinians have been tormented by their powerful occupiers and a silently watching world. Since the 1948 Nakba, or catastrophe, Palestinians have been living in deprivation, forced to watch their family members tortured and killed, their houses bulldozed and their land seized by the stealth creep of Israeli expansion.

This year has been particularly harrowing. More than 130 Palestinians – most of them peaceful protesters – have been killed by Israeli brutality and gunfire since March. But the true death toll of a decades-long conflict amounts to hundreds of thousands.

Successive US presidents – some more determined than others – have tried and failed to make headway. Each has brought new hammer blows to the Palestinian people who, after 51 years of occupation, remain bereft of land and rights.

As reported yesterday, one worrying suggestion is a confederation between Palestine and Jordan. It confirms that the Trump administration has no interest in brokering a deal that will satisfy both Israel and Palestine. It would deny Palestinians the right to return to their homeland and steal all hope of sovereign statehood, with East Jerusalem as their capital.

It would also short-change the Jordanians by compromising their dominion. The Jordanians said on Sunday that such a plan “is not open for discussion” while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wisely said he would only accept such a deal if Israelis also join the confederacy – a move he knows they will never make.

While the United States has not officially confirmed this is part of the plan they are working on, the very suggestion is unacceptable.

This is simply the latest act in the US’s dismal record of favouring Israel at every turn. But the past few months have been exceptional, even by American standards. Indeed, a straight line can be drawn from US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, to the US embassy relocation, to the cancellation of funding to UNRWA last week, to this reported confederacy proposal.

The millions of Palestinian refugees across the region long to go home while millions more are denied citizenship and living in an open-air prison on land stained with the blood of thousands upon thousands killed by Israeli fire.

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