MIDDLE EAST

President Trump and the Palestinian issue

There is no doubt that Palestine is one of the most complicated problems on the face of the earth. There are not many other problems that have caused such wars as have been fought over Palestine. There are not many people who have been subjected to so much injustice, persecution, murder and displacement as have the Palestinians.

The people of Palestine have been expelled from their land, have been victims of massacre, and have been forced to flee their homeland and take shelter in neighboring countries. A large number of them are languishing in refugee camps in miserable conditions with the hope that their rights will be restored to them one day and that the conscience of the global community will bring them international justice.

There are currently reports that US President Donald Trump will send a delegation to the Middle East to enhance the chances for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Trump is sending his son-in-law Jared Kushner, accompanied by Special Representative for Foreign Affairs and Advisor on Middle East Peace Jason Greenblatt, and Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell, to Middle East countries with the aim of resolving the Middle East conflict.

This mission is part of Trump’s attempt to find a solution after his realization that the problems in the Middle East are interdependent and hence require interrelated solutions. There have been several opportunities to resolve the conflict in the past but all ended in failure. In such a scenario, Trump is apparently determined to give a further push to resolving the Middle East issue.

According to sources, the delegation does not have any specific formula to resolve the crisis. The proposals it will make are of a general nature. The delegation will hold consultations and examine the directions issued to the two parties to return to the negotiating table and start implementing confidence-building measures.

President Trump as well as his administration and envoys can do a lot to help resolve the Mideast issue

Dr. Ali Al-Ghamdi

Halt to incitement

President Trump’s instructions to Palestinians include a total halt to incitement against Israel. The US Congress also favors making such a demand to the Palestinians. It is noteworthy that the Foreign Relations Committee of Congress has endorsed a law suspending US aid to the Palestinian Authority.

While making these demands on Palestinians, the president has not issued any reference or criticism of Israel’s continued expansion of settlements and Judaization of occupied Jerusalem as these have the potential to scuttle the peace process. Unlike Trump, his predecessors at least dared to come out openly against these Israeli measures.

President Trump has also not mentioned the principle of the two-state solution on which the peace process was established between Palestinians and Israelis. His visions and solutions as well as his old and new statements on Palestine have showed no evidence that he is an honest broker, and, therefore, he must prove his neutrality and credibility so as to be acceptable by Palestinians and Arabs.

Let us examine the recent developments pertaining to Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque and the actions taken by Israel against the Palestinians, including preventing them from performing prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque. The heroic resistance by Palestinian residents of Jerusalem against these unjust practices has played a major role in forcing Israel to retreat from its evil plan for Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque.

It was the first time that Israel suffered defeat as a result of the willpower of the Palestinian people and their determination not to allow Israel to control al-Aqsa Mosque and erect obstacles for worshipers by installing electronic gates and beam lights.

The retreat of Israel against the steadfastness and sacrifices of the Jerusalemites does not mean that Israel is halting its hellish plans aimed at total Judaization of Jerusalem after enacting arbitrary laws and unjust practices against the indigenous population, such as demolition of houses and the expulsion of the population under false pretexts.

These practices are in defiance of all laws and resolutions of the UN Security Council and UNESCO that affirm that Israel has no right to the holy city of Jerusalem and that it has been an occupied city ever since the aggression of Israel in 1967.

Just and acceptable solution

President Trump as well as his administration and envoys can do a lot to help resolve the Mideast issue. But that should not be done simply by putting pressure on the Palestinians and accusing them of terrorism and cutting off aid to them. Instead, it should involve seeking just and acceptable solutions and restoring at least some of the usurped rights of the Palestinian people.

There have been many initiatives made to resolve the Arab–Israeli conflict, the latest of which was the Arab Peace Initiative, which was originally a Saudi initiative submitted by the late King Abdullah and adopted by the Arab Summit held in Beirut in 2002, after which it was known as the Arab Peace Initiative.

This initiative is based on the vision of establishing an independent Palestinian state on internationally recognized borders based on the 1967 borders as well as a just solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees in accordance with international resolutions. In return, Arab states would recognize Israel and establish diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

However, the Israeli right-wing extremist government has rejected this. The Jewish government has also rejected the peace initiatives and solutions that it accepted when they were framed under the aegis of the United States.

If President Trump adopts the Arab Peace Initiative and exercises his influence on Israel to accept it, perhaps it would be a landmark step in the realization of his attempt to find a major solution and thus would place him in a respectable position in the annals of history.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette.
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Dr. Ali Al-Ghamdi is a former Saudi diplomat who specializes in Southeast Asian affairs. He can be reached at algham@hotmail.com or via Twitter @DrAliAlghamdi.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 23 August 2017 KSA 09:28 - GMT 06:28
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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