Deal of the century is non-starter

Dr. Norman Bailey

Drawn up by a demented cartographer, the plan, however, does bury the Oslo agreement and demonstrate that Arab Israelis don't want to be Palestinians.

Now that the famous "Deal of the Century" has finally been unveiled, enough time has gone by to see past the praises and the condemnations and examine calmly what it's all about.

Much has been written about the relatively positive reception of the "deal" among a number of the Arab countries, including such heavyweights as Egypt and Saudi Arabia. More than anything else this is due to the behavior of the Palestinians themselves and their international enablers, such as the UN and various Western countries. The Palestinians have been encouraged to think of themselves as the center of the universe and their problems as of fundamental concern to everyone in the region and beyond. This was always an illusion and with every passing day is becoming more so. Their fate is paling in significance compared with the Iranian threat and the necessity of diversifying economies from near-total dependence on oil and gas. Now more than ever, support for the Palestinians is limited to Iran, Turkey, and what the Soviets used to refer to as the "useful idiots" in the West.

The plan itself, of course, is a non-starter and it is not clear that it was expected to be taken seriously. It is a complex and convoluted attempt to square about a dozen circles and if ever implemented would prove a nightmare for everyone involved, including the IDF, which would tie itself into knots trying to surveille hundreds of kilometers of twisting borders, mostly isolated from each other. The deal's map is designed by a demented cartographer and would be a smuggler's and terrorist's paradise.

The plan's manifest impossibility of implementation has given rise to all kinds of speculation, including that it is nothing more than a gift from the impeached to the indicted. It is that, to some extent, no doubt, but it is also much more and much less. On the less side a heaven-sent opportunity to divide Fatahland from Hamasland and treat them separately has been wasted. Instead, it is proposed that they form a single entity, connected by a....tunnel? One would think that the Israelis have had quite enough of tunnels. More terrorist Heaven.

On the more side, and in this commentator's opinion, the most significant aspect of the deal, is that it buries all previous attempts to untie the Palestinian Gordian knot. Finally, Oslo and its bastard children can be forgotten.

Which brings me to what I believe to be the single most positive result of the announcement of the "deal". A ridiculous idea of detaching more than 200,000 Arab-Israelis from Israel and declaring them part of "Palestine" has destroyed the delusions of both the Israeli right and left about the feelings of the Arab inhabitants of the country. They like being in Israel and being Israelis! My goodness, who would have guessed? Can we all now, please, stop playing with their lives and proposing silly plans and passing unnecessary and insulting laws and welcome them with open arms as our fellow citizens? And I refer not just to the Druze and Christians but to the great majority of the Muslims as well.

Thank you Messrs. Trump, Greenblatt, Friedman and Kushner, even if you didn't intend any such result. We'll take even accidental gifts with gratitude.

Norman A. Bailey, Ph.D., is Professor of Economics and National Security, The National Security Studies Center, University of Haifa, and Adjunct Professor of Economic Statecraft, The Institute of World Politics, Washington DC. He was formerly with the US National Security Council and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on February 9, 2020

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

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