Spotlight: U.S.-backed peace deal harmful to Lebanon, will fail: analysts

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-03 21:37:13|Editor: Xiaoxia
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by Dana Halawi

BEIRUT, July 3 (Xinhua) -- The Mideast peace plan proposed by U.S. President Donald Trump, known as the "Deal of the Century," is not viable and will have harmful impacts on Lebanon, analysts said.

"This deal is suicidal for Lebanon because it will naturalize the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, and break the sectarian balance in the country," said Hilal Khashan, chair of the Political Studies Department at the American University of Beirut (AUB).

The over 400,000 Palestinians in Lebanon will turn the Sunni sect into the largest sect, and this will not be accepted by other sects, explained Khashan.

For his part, political analyst Youssef Diab said that the "Deal of the Century" will trigger security instability in Lebanon because the Palestinians' presence is very sensitive in the country.

"Also, the deal will create demographic changes. This could be sensitive as the Christians are concerned that they only represent 30 to 35 percent of the population," he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law and presidential adviser Jared Kushner submitted an economic plan to solve the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, but the proposal was dismissed by Palestinians, Lebanon and many others.

The plan calls for 50 billion U.S. dollars of investments over 10 years, with 28 billion dollars to be given to the Palestinian territories in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and the rest to be split between Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon.

The deal hopes to improve the Palestinian economy by reducing unemployment rate and poverty rate by 50 percent.

While the deal focuses on economy mostly, it does not recognize a two-state settlement, as Trump also refuses to clearly condemn Israel's settlement policy in the occupied territories.

"The Deal of the Century wants Palestinians to give up one of their rightful demands, which is building a legitimate Palestinian state. The deal wants to create something that looks like a Palestinian state, but is more or less biased towards Israel for its security and economy," said Makram Rabah, a lecturer at AUB's Department of History.

Rabah argued that the deal did not take into account any measures to restart the negotiation on a two-state solution.

He thought the deal is not viable because it assumes that everything can be resolved through financial means, whereas past experiences showed that money was never the problem.

"If money was the issue, Gulf countries could have provided the money in 1960s instead of perpetuating this struggle. So technically, the deal is a marketing gimmick by Kushner which lacks any real insights," he said.

Khashan reiterated Rabah's comments, adding that the source of money to fund this deal is still unknown.

"Some Arab and Gulf countries pledged to provide the investment, but it does not mean that the money will come around," he said.

Diab believes that the deal will never be implemented, because Palestinians have never been united as they are today facing this deal.

"Palestinians will not compromise, otherwise their sacrifices for the past 60 years would be wasted," he said.

Diab believes that Trump will not be able to implement the deal or any of the plans that are related to the deal, such as giving Golan Heights to Israel, declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, or naturalizing Palestinians in their host countries.

Local analysts believe that the only way for Palestinians to achieve prosperity is by ending Israeli occupation of their territories.

Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi recently tweeted that "first lift the siege of Gaza, stop the Israeli theft of our land, resources and funds, give us our freedom of movement and control over our borders, airspace, territorial waters etc. Then watch us build a vibrant prosperous economy as a free and sovereign people."