In 2020, Israel killed more than 40 Palestinians, and the child Ali Abu Alia was one of the last of those who were martyred this year, and he is the one whose mother will carry her pain to the new year on the land of her village, Al Mughayir, in the central West Bank, which is one of hundreds of Palestinian villages that are still being settled. And the Israeli annexation plans plunder its lands and the existence of its inhabitants.
The new year will tread on critical milestones that the Palestinians have gone through during their difficult year that is about to leave, besides the global Corona pandemic, they have faced transformations that will carry their consequences for the coming years.
The Palestinians began the year 2020 with US President Donald Trump announcing the “Deal of the Century” under the name “Peace Plan” in the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and representatives of the UAE and Bahrain, who are embarking on an unprecedented normalization with Israel.
On March 5, the Authority decided to close the areas of its control in the West Bank after discovering the first cases of Corona, an epidemic that will cost the Palestinians more than 1,300 deaths inside and outside their homeland, and inflict economic losses that exceeded its estimates of $ 2.5 billion. It is estimated that the arrival of the vaccine and the vaccination of the population will need more time in the new year.
Just as Netanyahu invested the Corona pandemic to establish himself in the presidency of the Israeli government, the Knesset also approved during the pandemic the installation of his government, which adopted a “plan to annex 30% of the West Bank lands” to Israel in mid-May.
In response, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced on May 18 that the Authority was dissolving from its political and security agreements with Israel, before returning after that.
Despite the political and economic costs incurred by the Palestinians as a result, the estrangement with Israel along with the wave of Arab normalization, which was described as a “stab in the back,” opened the door for internal Palestinian reconciliation, and this culminated in the meeting of the secretaries-general of the factions between Ramallah and Beirut in early October, and the agreement To form a unified leadership of the popular resistance.
But this door was quickly applauded in the face of those who believed the reconciliation again, after Trump lost to his rival Joe Biden, and the Palestinian Authority decided to return to its relations with Israel and receive the full delayed clearance funds.
New old legacy
With all this legacy, the Palestinians will move to 2021. In his anticipation of the new year, Sabri Sidam, a member of the Fatah Movement’s Central Committee, provides general outlines for future directions.
Regarding the Palestinian leadership, any return to negotiations with Israel is accompanied by the positions of the new US administration after its inauguration and the announcement of its plan for the peace process in the Middle East, while the Biden administration’s statements in support of the two-state solution and relying on international legitimacy decisions are read Palestinian positive, “despite its emphasis on the necessities of Israel’s security.” And although the Palestinian cause and peace in the region are ranked after the tenth in Biden’s agenda, according to US reports.
However, the future of the Palestinians will remain threatened after what was consecrated in the Trump era of the acceleration of settlements, the “deal of the century”, the drying up of the financial resources of the Palestinian Authority, and the attempt to strangle the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
In the new year, Israel continues with the annexation steps, the latest of which is the approval of the construction of the settlement of “Givat Hamatos” between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, which will represent the killing of the Palestinian state, according to Sidam, and in implementation of Netanyahu’s saying,
The Palestinians also believe that the US administration will support more Arab normalization projects with Israel, and here Saidem calls for international support to establish full membership for Palestine in the United Nations as part of what the Palestinians plan diplomatically to reconsider the Palestinian reality.
Nevertheless, the Palestinian leadership is waiting for Biden to activate financial support for the Authority and reopen the PLO office that Trump closed in Washington.
But all of this, according to Sidam, cannot succeed “as long as it comes from a torn house and cannot confront its opponents,” referring to the failure of internal reconciliation.
From the point of view of political analyst Hani Al-Masry, the features of Palestinian politics appear to be clear without optimism, through the expected return to the political process with Israel, in a way that ensures the consolidation of the Palestinian Authority, “which appears to be the goal of the goals now,” although it will cover settlement plans and identify options. Palestinians in action.
The gradual liquidation of Palestinian rights will continue in a less cruel manner than in the deal of the century, and the survival and strengthening of the authority appears as the ultimate goal of any political process. Therefore, the negotiations expected during the new year will not include the final status issues such as borders, Jerusalem and refugees.
Despite the Palestinian President’s call to hold an international peace conference instead of direct negotiations, and perhaps a chance in 2021, this “will be a platform for normalization and for the return of negotiations,” according to Al-Masry.
This conference will expand the parties of the Quartet to follow up on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which is made up of the European Union, the United States, Russia and the United Nations, to include Arab parties who are printing to Israel.
Al-Masry believes that the conference will allow, if it is held, an Israeli openness to dialogue with more Arab countries that have not yet announced normalization, while its decisions will have no effect, because it will not be based on international legitimacy decisions regarding the rights of the Palestinians – just like previous stations such as the “Annapolis” conference. It will provide a platform for the resumption of direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
On the other hand, and with the decline in the popularity of the Palestinian government in light of the worsening of the Corona epidemic and its effects, as well as the vacancy of important sites in the Palestinian Authority after the death of Saeb Erekat and the resignation of the Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi, the change of the government of Muhammad Shtayyeh became expected in the new year. But it seems to go further, as the new changes in the international arena also impose a “more pliant” Palestinian structure, according to Al-Masry.
Despite all this, serious internal reconciliation is not likely, and if its dialogues are activated, it will still be subject to collapse, and the choice of Palestinian elections will be difficult, and it may be a new factor for division if it is held in the West Bank alone, given the need for it in the Palestinian leadership.
However, settler colonialism and the completion of Judaization and “Israeliization” of the West Bank in particular will remain the greatest Palestinian challenge in light of Israel’s efforts to settle it and remove it from any future negotiations, after excluding the issues of refugees, Jerusalem and borders. Added to this is the challenge of Israeli subjugation to the Gaza Strip and Hamas.