President Trump has been given the clearest notice that his deal of the century will be stillborn if he designates any role for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in its implementation.
In a remarkable outburst that can best be described as his “suicide note” – PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas declared on 25 July:
“I reiterate that we will not surrender, we will not coexist with the occupation and we will not deal with the deal of deal of the century, or the slap of the century or the deal of shame - all names for one title. Palestine and Jerusalem are not for sale and bargain. They are not a real estate deal in a real estate company.”
Yet for the last 25 years the PLO – aided and abetted by Jordan - has refused to yield its claim to sovereignty over every square meter of 'West Bank' (aka Judea and Samaria) real estate – when compromise could possibly have resolved the 100 years-old Arab-Jewish conflict.
Two days prior to Abbas’ suicide note - the US Congress in a rare show of bipartisanship had offered the PLO a lifeline to enable it to negotiate with Israel on Trump’s yet-to-be-released proposals - overwhelmingly passing House Resolution 246 by a vote of 398-17 with 5 present.
- Urged: Israelis and Palestinians to return to direct negotiations as the only way to achieve an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
- Reaffirmed: its strong support for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resulting in two states—a democratic Jewish State of Israel, and a viable, democratic Palestinian state—living side-by-side in peace, security, and mutual recognition.
48 hours later Abbas’s suicide note had trashed Congress’s Resolution.
So where to from here?
First some indisputable facts:
- Jews have the legal right to settle in the 'West Bank' under Article 6 of the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine (Mandate) and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.
- Jordan and Israel are the two successor States to the Mandate: Jordan being sovereign in 78% of the Mandate territory and Israel sovereign in 17%.
- 4% of the Mandate’s remaining real estate – Judea and Samaria – was unified with Transjordan between 1950 and 1967 and renamed Jordan - whilst Judea and Samaria were called the 'West Bank'.
- The 1964 PLO Charter made no claim to territorial sovereignty “over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan”
- The revised 1968 PLO Charter declared the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the Mandate and everything based on them null and void.
- 'West Bank' Arabs were Jordanian citizens between 1950 and 1988
- Abbas and Arafat have acknowledged Jordanians and Palestinian Arabs are one people.
Reunifying some parts of the 'West Bank' with Jordan in direct negotiations between Jordan and Israel should now be Trump’s objective – recognising the following resolution passed at the 8th meeting of the Palestinian National Council in February- March 1971:
“Jordan is linked to Palestine by a national relationship and a national unity forged by history and culture from the earliest times. The creation of one political entity in Transjordan and another in Palestine would have no basis either in legality or as to the elements universally accepted as fundamental to a political entity. .. In raising the slogan of the liberation of Palestine and presenting the problem of the Palestine revolution, it was not the intention of the Palestine revolution to separate the east of the River from the West, nor did it believe the struggle of the Palestinian people can be separated from the struggle of the masses in Jordan…”
Abbas has written his suicide note - Trump shouldn’t demean himself begging Abbas to reconsider.
Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog