Peace plan: “Palestinians have already turned down far more favorable proposals”


The Middle East peace agreement was presented with great fanfare after three years of suspense. Called “deal of the century” by Donald Trump, is it realistic? How is it perceived on the Palestinian side? And on the Israeli side? Sputnik France asked historian Gil Mihaely these questions.

As Donald Trump likes to say, his book “The Art of the Deal” is his second favorite book after the Bible. We understand why when we study its relations with the various international actors, which is still verified in what it called the “deal of the century”.

A Middle East peace plan purporting to bury the hatchet between Israelis and Palestinians, but which is – Trump is no secret – favorable to the State of Israel. This is also the transactional aspect: I give a gift to my Israeli counterpart and I recover the profits in the United States. Win-win.

Colonies, Jerusalem, disarmament, suppression of Hamas, the plan demands huge concessions from the Palestinian authorities. They did not participate in its development. However, given the balance of power, the leverage available to the United States, and the current security architecture in the Near and Middle East, the Palestinians could be forcibly brought to the negotiating table.

Will that be enough to conclude an agreement that would put an end to this conflict of almost 70 years? To answer it, Sputnik France handed the microphone to Gil Mihaely, historian and director of the publication of the reviews Causeur et Conflits.

Sputnik France: Do you think that the peace plan proposed yesterday by the White House is realistic?

Gil Mihaely: “No. It is unrealistic to think that representative Palestinian authorities are likely to sign this agreement or anything like it. Can this plan be the starting point for negotiations? I can hardly believe it too. The Palestinians have already refused proposals that were much more favorable to their demands. ”

Sputnik France: Do you think this deal could force the hand of the Palestinian authorities to come to the negotiating table?

Gil Mihaely: “The balance of power has never been so unfavorable for the Palestinian side. Proof is that three ambassadors members of the Arab League (Oman, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates) were present at the press conference of Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu. It has been published since Saudi Arabia and Egypt were not hostile to this plan. This is a major change.

During the Cold War, the Palestinian cause served the interests of the Soviet allies in the region. This is no longer the case today, there is only one superpower and it is the United States. No major power actively supports Palestine, neither China nor Russia, which has a balanced position. The problem is that the Palestinians have chosen a balance of power in the past and today the balance is totally against them. ”

Sputnik France: Precisely, if they weigh so little, isn’t this an ideal opportunity to force their hand? Especially if American allies in the Gulf are in favor of this plan, there seems to be a real window of fire there…

Gil Mihaely: “I do not think so. Palestinian society could be resigned without too much violence, but I do not see how a Palestinian government could accept this plan, or a plan which would go in this direction. This is a bit of the paradox and the tragedy of the Palestinian people. ”

Sputnik France:… Even under political and economic pressure from different actors?

Gil Mihaely: “These are not the criteria that motivate people. The first motivations of the Palestinians revolve around questions of dignity, pride … It was possible in the 19th century to sell Louisiana to the United States, but today, it is not possible. And Palestinian society is not ready to abandon its demands for economic comfort. ”

Sputnik France: How was this peace plan received on the side of Israeli society? Taking into account all the heterogeneity of it …

Gil Mihaely: “Three main reactions emerge depending on the political camps. The first, overall, is the left. She thinks it is a tragedy and that Israel cannot contain the Palestinians indefinitely. According to them, this is the beginning of the end of the Zionist project, because it will either be apartheid or democracy and therefore the end of a Jewish majority in Israel.

The second, the mirror image, is the Israeli right, that of the settlers. They are afraid, because Israel receives a lot, but gives up a lot too. For the settlers, this is not acceptable. What settled Netanyahu’s hard right was to keep this ambiguity, especially in the settlements. And without this hard right, he cannot govern. He could have tried to siphon support from Benny Gantz in the center right, but his political setbacks prevent him.

The third is what’s in between. Basically, the Blue-White party of Benny Gantz, which still represents half of the deputies of the Knesset, that is to say more than half of the population. And this block is rather happy with the situation. For them, the current state of affairs is decent and since the withdrawal from Gaza, they no longer think that a negotiated solution with the Palestinians is possible. For them, the recent level of violence was bearable, and in addition there is now this agreement that suits us on the table, so everything is swimming! ”


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