In response to the so-called “Deal of the Century”, which U.S. President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu announced on 28 January 2020, The Global Network of Experts on The Question of Palestine, has expressed strong condemnation and firm rejection of the Plan and called for global mobilization against it.
The members of the Network believe that this Plan is blatantly devised to secure the colonial interests of Israel over occupied Palestine only, against the inalienable rights and legitimate interests of all Palestinians including the refugees. If implemented, the Experts maintain, such Plan would bury all the rights of the Palestinians once and for all: hence it can only be strongly rejected.
The Signatories of the Statement therefore call on governments and civil society in the Middle East and across the world to unite and mobilize against this plan and in favour of comprehensive, just, lawful and dignified solutions in Israel/Palestine.
Statement by The Global Network of Experts on The Question of Palestine
Condemning and Calling for Rejection of the So-Called “Deal of the Century”
2 February 2020
The newly released Peace to Prosperity, A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People, also known as the “Deal of the Century”, constitutes a new blunt act of aggression against the Palestinian people, where the noble meaning of “peace” is absent from this ‘Deal’. After decades of disregard of Palestinian rights and aspirations, this ‘Deal’ formalizes and seeks to legitimize Israeli annexation of more Palestinian land and further repression of Palestinian rights. This imposes a responsibility on everyone to take action against it. Therefore, We, as a Network of Experts on The Question of Palestine, firmly and unconditionally reject this ‘Deal’ and call for revived civil, political and legal action across the Middle East and abroad for a principled approach to the ’Question of Palestine’, based on the following considerations and recommendations.
We believe that:
- Peace is made by parties who accept to treat each other as equals. In this ‘Deal’, the Palestinians are treated as unequal, divided, and patronized. What the ‘Deal’ calls ‘peace’ is a reality where only Jewish Israelis are presented as having legitimate historical and legal claims to the land, while the rights of the Palestinians, whether in Israel or occupied Palestine or in the diaspora, are simply ignored.
- Peace should be premised upon respect for the Law, including the UN Charter and UN decisions on how to advance peace and security (which in the case of Palestine can be counted in multiple recommendations and other measures) and basic principles of human rights, fundamental freedoms and dignity. This ‘Deal’ instead builds upon what it is absolutely prohibited by the Law, such as the acquisition of territory by force, and it thrives on the bold and wilful disregard for the primacy of international law, including the UN Charter, authoritative judicial decisions and numerous UNSC and UNGA resolutions.
- Peace should be premised upon: minimum preconditions of freedom from occupation; justice and respect of all fundamental rights and freedoms of all; and the prevention of perpetuating injustice and the furthering of the oppression of one people at the behest of another. The Palestinians, as a people, have the right to realize their self-determination. This means enjoying to the fullest their rights as citizens of a sovereign state that controls territory and the resources that grow on and under it, its airspace and borders. What constitutes the land of the state of Palestine is enshrined in numerous UN resolutions and agreements that should be the basis for negotiating peace.
What the ‘Deal’ calls “Palestinian state” is in fact a set of fragmented islands under full Israeli security control, scarred by checkpoints, tunnels, endless crossings and borders that would remain under the control of a greater Israel colonial state, with severely restricted rights for Palestinians. This is colonialism not a path to peace.
Peace cannot simply ignore the rights and claims of millions of refugees by disingenuously manipulating historical facts and their legal character. Palestinian refugees’ rights to return, restitution and compensation are firmly grounded in international law as it stood prior to 1948 and as it was reaffirmed by hundreds of UN resolutions, starting with UNGA resolution 194 of 1948. Palestinian refugees deserve a comprehensive plan for a just and durable solution, without further delay. This should afford the refugees the opportunity to see their right of return fully recognized, be afforded the choice to rebuild their life in safety and dignity where and how they wish to, and be compensated for the injustice and loss they have suffered. Not only does the ‘Deal’ make no mention of the origins of Palestinian displacement and dispossession of 1948 and 1967, except by conflating the Palestinian refugee question with the Jewish refugee question, but also, it clearly places Palestinian refugees outside the scope of the agreement.
Therefore, in solidarity with the Palestinian people we, as members of the Network, support their decision to firmly reject this ‘Deal’, and call upon others to do the same unconditionally. In particular:
– We call upon Arab countries who have stayed silent, to openly distance themselves from this ‘Deal’. We urge those who have expressed an initial interest or support in it, to reconsider, as their endorsement could embolden those who consider the ‘Deal’ as “the new baseline for future negotiations” between the Israelis and Palestinians.
– We call upon other States, and European Union Member States in particular, who so firmly support the realization of a fully independent state of Palestine, to step in with principled alternatives to realize the individual and collective rights of the Palestinian people, including its millions of refugees.
– And ultimately, we urge the United States to reconsider their blanket endorsement of the status quo in occupied Palestine, which by paving the way for the annexation of Jerusalem and much of the West Bank, and deepening the oppression of the Palestinian people, will further encourage committing war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Palestinians, bringing the lack of accountability in the region to a new level. As the UN Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Professor Michael Lynk, has underscored, “there are serious consequences of reversing decades of settled law prohibiting annexation, which is among the most serious jus cogens crimes in international law”.
Finally, we encourage all people of conscience who care about a dignified peace for both the Israelis and the Palestinians to make their voices heard on the fallacy and absurdity of this ‘Deal.’
Mahdi Abdul Hadi
Oroub El Abed