Off the path to peace

17 September, 2018, 19:07 | Author: Myra Gill
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The funding reductions come as the Trump administration prepares to unveil a controversial Mideast peace plan dubbed the "Deal of the Century", details of which have yet to be publicized. Also in picture is Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres (L).

Fresh off of multiple major aid cuts to the Palestinians, efforts to get the vast majority of Palestinians stripped of refugee status, and the U.S. office of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) closed, there are concerns of a backlash, with Palestinians saying that they are considering cutting all remaining ties with the US.

As if to drive home the flaws inherent in Oslo's original Declaration of Principles, 25 years later it's the very issues that were postponed for later resolution that now dominate the headlines once again.

"Peace will only come through a two-state solution, including [eastern] Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine, in accordance with legitimate global resolutions and Arab League summit decisions", Nabil Abu Rudeinah said in comments published on the official P.A. news outlet Wafa.

Now 73, Abed Rabbo concedes his side made mistakes.

"It is not a peace process in the first place".

The Trump administration has confirmed it will no longer fund peace-building programs for Palestinians and Israelis - including an interfaith youth program and a project for children with disabilities.

"We should not mourn a ghost", Abed Rabbo said.

However, the statement said, the United States would look for other ways to aid the Palestinians.

But Yossi Beilin, one of the Israeli negotiators in the Oslo talks, said the parameters of a final agreement are well-known.

Some Palestinian people believe that it's unfair, and diminishes Palestinian rights, settlements have expanded and the borders have no Palestinian authority.

"Trump is not a game-changer - he is a spoiler ... but he will not be there forever", Beilin said. "If we don't make a deal, we're not paying".

The USAID said in a statement on Friday that it is "currently unable to engage Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza as a result of the administration's recent decision on Palestinian assistance".

Going on for decades now, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict erupted following the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and the Western-backed creation of Israel in 1948.

At the end of 2017, the United Nations said there were 611,000 Israelis living in 250 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, both of which were captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.

Peace talks between the two sides have been frozen since 2014 due to Israel's settlement expansion policy, which is met by regional and worldwide rejection.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014. There had been a string of speculations about what exactly constitutes Trump's "ultimate deal".

For his part, Netanyahu has said that any future Palestinian state must be demilitarized and must recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people - conditions that Palestinians say show he is not honest about peacemaking.

On Friday, Kushner told The New York Times that US President Donald Trump had actually improved the chances for peace by stripping away "false realities" that surround Middle East peacemaking.

The US has been penalizing the Palestinian people after their leadership cut off contact with the Trump administration after the new incumbent in the White House recognized the occupied Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December. It withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza, which is ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement.

"They won", she said.


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