By: Hamada Al Kohly
The repercussions of Jared Kushner tour to the region still cast a shadow over the regional scene, especially with regard to the arrangements of what is known as "deal of the century", which the US administration depend upon to end the Arab–Israeli conflict according to its vision.
The deal, which Washington is seeking to finalize it as soon as possible, has recently entered an important round after the tour made by Kushner, senior adviser to US President Donald Trump, to the region. In addition, the Jordanian King Abdullah II has also paid a visit to the United States amid active diplomatic moves related to Trump's plan to put an end to the Palestinian issue.
According to several reports, the "deal of the century" proposes that Abu-Dis will be the capital of a future Palestinian state instead of East Jerusalem. In return, Israel will withdraw from three to five Arab neighbourhoods east of Jerusalem. Therefore, the Old City will remain under full Israeli control. The Jordan Valley has to remain under Israeli sovereignty. Moreover, the Palestinian state will be demilitarized; namely, without an army and any heavy weapons. The deal also includes developing an economic plan for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.
In light of the recent moves of the American administration, Egypt is the strongest party among those who are rejecting the deal of the century. This is illustrated by the following:
- According to several reports, the deal of the century depends proposes exchanging land with Israel and granting part of Sinai for the establishment of a Palestinian state, which is totally rejected by the Egyptian state.
- The Egyptian rejection to all aspects of the American vision regarding the Palestinian issue was reflected following the meeting that took place last Thursday between President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Jared Kushner, in the presence of Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and acting General Intelligence Chief Abbas Kamel. The Egyptian presidency had issued a statement that Cairo supports all efforts and initiatives aim at reaching a comprehensive agreement ( the two-State solution based on the United Nations resolutions and pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the Palestine capital). This vision is totally contrary to the current American proposal.
- The Egyptian vision totally rejects separating of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank as an independent entity, as well as proposing any views that do not include Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.
- Egypt believes that peace must be political first and then economically. The occupation is the main and direct cause of economic hardship in Gaza or the West Bank. It is inconceivable that the Palestinian side will abandon its issue and land in return for projects and economic aid to the Palestinians.
- Egypt rejects to exert pressure on the Palestinian Authority to sit at the negotiating table with Israel or the US administration. Furthermore, Cairo does not support the attempt to replace the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.