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May 13, 2019 No.
8052

Chief Editor Of Saudi 'Al-Jazirah' Daily: Do Not Reject The 'Deal Of The Century' In Advance; There Is Need For Concessions By Both Sides

Reports about the immanent publication of the American Middle East peace plan known as the "Deal of the Century" have sparked much debate in the Arab press. Most of the articles attacked the Trump administration and called to reject the deal out of hand. A conspicuous exception was a May 5, 2019 article by Khaled Al-Malik, editor-in-chief of the Saudi daily Al-Jazirah, who urged the Arabs and Palestinians not to reject the plan even before it has been published, but rather to wait until it is officially revealed and then study it carefully. He added that the deal cannot be worse than the continued Israeli occupation, and noted that the Palestinians have missed opportunities in the past, which involved better proposals than the one they are likely to be offered today. He called on both sides to show good will and receptiveness, and make the necessary concessions, in order to achieve the goal of establishing a Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel and ensure a future of stability and mutual cooperation for both sides.

The following are excerpts from his column:[1]

 


Khalid Al-Malik (source: albayan.ae)

"It is the greatest mistake to judge America's proposed plan for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict even before it has been officially announced... [Only] after the details of the plan are revealed, will we be able to examine it, study its positive and negative aspects, and determine whether it is a good option that will yield an independent state for the Palestinians.

"We do not expect the plan to meet all the Palestinians' demands. But it will not be worse than the continued Israeli occupation, with its systematic policy aimed at causing the Palestinians to emigrate and expelling them from the small areas they still hold under Israeli rule, [which is characterized by] aggression, abuse of the free [Palestinians], and the ongoing construction of settlements on the [Palestinians'] land and the Judaizing of [this land].

"[At the same time], it is certain is that this plan, or any other plan endorsed by the U.S., will be announced only if conforms to the desires of Israel, which [presently] has the upper hand and is victorious. The Palestinians, on the other hand, are still divided on how to respond to any initiative, however flawed, that provides them with an opportunity to [realize their] right to an [independent] state. This has caused them to miss  opportunities in the past that involved better [proposals] than what they are now being offered.

"Therefore, the new initiative must be met calmly, without populist slogans, [so as to] derive every possible benefit from it, and then demand, in negotiations, what cannot be implemented at the moment. Good will and readiness for peace must be shown by both sides.

"Israel needs someone to reassure it, allay its fears and assure it that it is welcome in this region, providing it is willing to cooperate and live in peace with its neighbors. The Palestinians, on the other hand, are concerned that, [even] if they recognize a [peace] initiative and agree with Israel on its details, Israel's [real] intentions and the absence of adequate relations with it [will be to their detriment].

"It is also a fact that the Arab-Israeli wars have not realized the state that the Palestinians dream about and  hope for. The peace process and dialogue with the Israelis did not bring the Palestinians happiness either, nor did they give the Israelis a sense of confidence regarding their distant future. Therefore, there is need for concessions by both the Israeli and the Palestinian sides leading to the establishment of the hoped-for Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel. There is need for cooperation between them that will ensure them [both] stability and allay fears of future war. These concessions are meant to meet the demands of both sides, and the implementation of whatever they agree on must be guaranteed by the superpowers. American guarantees are not enough, since the U.S. is biased in favor of Israel and the Palestinians do not trust it.

"I repeat: there is no need to judge the American initiative or plan based on what has been leaked about its details, even if it was leaked by official and high-ranking sources in the U.S. administration. We must wait for the plan to be publicized, so as to avoid sabotaging it when it is still a draft whose details are unknown." 

 

[1] Al-Jazirah (Saudi Arabia), May 5, 2019.