Standing next to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Donald Trump revealed what Israel called the “Deal of the Century”. The absence of any Palestinian leader from the announcement foretold what kind of “Peace Deal” this was going to be.
Drafted by Trump’s Jewish son-in-law with no input from Palestinians or Muslims, the deal gives Jerusalem from the Palestinians to Israel. This is likely to be rejected by all representatives of the Muslim world, as they condemned the US decision to move their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2017.
Saudi Arabia said that recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel obscured the peace process and provoked the sentiments of Muslims worldwide. The Saudi Ambassador to the US stated that Saudi Arabia recognised East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
The Kingdom’s policy – has been – and remains in support of the Palestinian People, and this has been communicated to the US Administration– Saudi Arabia
The deal would give Palestine 15% of historical Palestine according to The Palestinian Liberation Organisation, who called the plan a “conspiracy”. To make matters worse, reports have emerged that on Sunday Israel would move to take 30% of the Palestinian land in the West Bank.
President Mahmoud Abbas said it is “impossible for any Palestinian, Arab, Muslim or Christian child to accept” continuing to say “We rejected this deal from the start and our stance was correct.”
Turkey, Saudi Arabia & the Muslim World Reject the Deal
Saudi Arabia released a statement saying that in order to move forward the peace process must “achieve the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people”. The statement expressed support for the restarting of negotiations saying they encourage disagreements to be directly negotiated between Israel and Palestine.
Turkey also rejected the deal. Turkey is one of the only Muslim countries to recognise the state of Israel and have historically enjoyed close economic and military ties with Israel. In 2017 Turkey also condemned the US embassy move to Jerusalem stating that Turkey would keep its embassy in Tel Aviv.
Turkey protested the US embassy move by sending the Israeli ambassador to Turkey home, leaving the Israeli embassy in Turkey without an ambassador for over 3 months. Israel’s only embassies in the Muslim world are both in Turkey, the Israeli embassy in Ankara and the Israeli Consulate General in Istanbul.
After Trump’s announcement on Tuesday, Turkey again stated that Jerusalem is a red line for Ankara, stating that “This is an annexation plan aimed at killing a two-state solution and extorting the Palestinian territory. Palestinian people and its land cannot be bought for money.”
“The United States’ so-called peace plan is stillborn,”– Turkish Foreign Ministry
Saudi Arabia responded to Trump’s deal expressing its long time support for their “brotherly Palestinian people,” and said Saudi Arabia only backed “all efforts aimed at reaching a just and comprehensive resolution to the Palestinian cause.”
Saudi Arabia has never recognised the state of Israel nor had any ties with Israel. Earlier this week the Saudi Foreign Minister refuted claims that Israel would allow its citizens to visit Saudi Arabia by saying “Our policy is fixed. We do not have relations with the state of Israel and Israeli passport holders cannot visit the kingdom”
At the first vote in the UN to create the state of Israel in 1947, Saudi Arabia voted against the creation of the state of Israel. This lead to Saudi Arabia sending troops to fight against Israel in 1948 and 1973. Since the creation of Israel, even Saudi Airspace is forbidden for use by flights to Israel.
“We say a thousand times, no, no, no”– President Mahmoud Abbas
Peace was encouraged by Saudi Arabia in its reaction to Trump’s deal, as it said it support negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli sides the Saudi condition that the deal must achieve “the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people”
The UN echoed what many Middle-Eastern states said by stating that Israel should move back to the pre-1967 borders.
Iran called Trump’s deal a “nightmare” but Iranian comments are unlikely to be received well by any of the sides in the negotiations after the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stated that Iran had never helped Palestine with even a “dime” and that “We have never heard of Iran contributing to the construction of a school, university or hospital. We have never seen any development project”
Palestinian tensions towards Iran have been raised since Iranian support for terrorist organisations inside Palestinian territories often leads to Israeli-Palestinian escalation with Palestinians paying the price.
The Palestinian President condemned Iran of providing financial support to Hezboballah which stoked division. From 2009 the Palestinian authorities have called on Iran to stop meddling in Palestinian affairs. The calls fell on deaf ears as Iran’s successful policy of destabilising Arab states across the region has been successful. From its support for President Bashar al Assad to helping the Houthis in Yemen, Iran has helped destablise Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon in favour of Iran-supporting governments.