Last night, US president Donald Trump announced his so-called deal of the century alongside Israeli Premier, Benyamin Netanyahu, in a move that has been widely denounced and immediately faced with anger by the Palestinians.
The plan key points were the following:
- “Undivided Jerusalem” as the capital of Israel, while the Palestinians will have a capital in east Jerusalem based on northern and eastern neighborhoods that are outside the Israeli separation wall.
- Israel will take over 20% of the West Bank and will lose a small amount of land in the Negev near the Gaza-Egypt border. Israel will maintain control of all borders.
- Settlements: Israel will annex the Jordan Valley and all Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Meanwhile, Israel will freeze its settlement activity for four years.
- Palestinian state: The plan does not include immediate recognition of a Palestinian state; rather, it expects a willingness on Israel’s part to create a pathway toward Palestinian statehood based on specific territory, which is about 70% of the West Bank, including areas A and B and parts of Area C.
- Refugees: A limited number of Palestinian refugees and their descendants will be allowed into the Palestinian state. None will enter Israel.
- According to the map published by Trump on twitter, a bridge/ tunnel will connect the West Bank and Gaza.
On the popular level, Palestinians have always rejected this plan, as they consider that it gives up the Palestinian right to self-determination, end of occupation, an independent state, dropping the right of return for refugees, and annexation of occupied Palestinian land in an illegal move.
Immediately following the announcement, the Mosques played Qur’an, particularly verses from Surat Al-Ahzab (Parties), while the Churches rang their bells against this deal.
Clashes broke out at the West Bank’s contact points with the Israeli occupation forces after massive marches roamed the streets of the cities of Ramallah and Al-Bireh, Hebron, Jerusalem and Bethlehem, in protest against the announcement.
The Israeli occupation forces fired “rubber bullets” and tear gas canisters towards the youths who set tires on the road leading to the military checkpoint located at the entrance, wounding a young man in the face, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.
Palestinians also voiced their protest against the deal through the social media hashtag “#لن_تمر” meaning “It will not pass”. Others wrote “Down with the Deal” and “Palestine is not for sale.”
They also likened the deal as a second Balfour Declaration, which in 1917 promised a state for the Jews in Palestine.