Much has been said about the deal of the Century; though in real terms it has neither been declared officially nor unofficially, however, from the few leaks emerging, the bulk of what the supposed deal is all about, is economics. In other words, painting by numbers an economic peace.
By – Khairi Janbek:
At the same time, plenty of lamentation ink has been spilled decrying the deal and justifying its emergence by the perception that Palestine has fallen behind in importance relative to the threat of Iran in both Arab and international community point of view.
I think this impression indicates a serious case of cognitive dissonance in the minds of those believing it and whom have not realised yet that, Palestine has not fallen into the backburner of Arab and international community thoughts, rather the case is that, its importance has been gradually changing from the notion of establishing a nation-state, to a humanitarian question , and finally now to an important financial deal.
One is not going to talk here about the merits or otherwise of the Deal of the Century, or pass a moral and a political judgement about it, rather trying to gather from the pieces available, how the Deal can work , if indeed it will work.
Of course the lynchpin of the Deal’s success is the idea that there should be a political and security stability on the west bank and in the Gaza strip. I suppose it is worth noting here, that a united one Palestinian authority is not a pre-requisite for the operational side of the Deal, as both the PNA and Hamas controlled Gaza may exist side by side , each dealing with their own respective security and political affairs.
Though the two major pillars of the Deal of the Century are the Palestinians and the Israelis, the deal cannot work without bringing in Jordan and Egypt into the arrangements in order to create a four angled square of a ” Benelux ” arrangement that allows Egypt to be an outlet for Gaza and Jordan an outlet for the west bank . In this context the term “Benelux” would indicate that, there would be certain freedoms which the four angles of the square; Egypt, Gaza, Jordan and the west bank would have to guarantee, namely, the freedom of movement of capital, people and goods.
In other words, investment would be directed initially, to create infrastructures that allow linkages in order to facilitate the three freedoms aforementioned, between the four corners of the square..
In this context, the proposed Deal; at least in as much as we know about it, transcends the question of political authority for the Palestinians; making it appear as an autonomous self-rule but with the trimmings of a state in Gaza and the west bank, enshrined in the notion of economics, while the burden of the Palestinian refugees; at least in the immediate short term, would be shared by nationalising them in Jordan, west bank and Gaza in accordance with their preference if it is indeed a matter of choice.
One supposes if the Deal succeeds in being implemented, it could actually work as a cornerstone for the future economic integration of the whole region , between countries with different political structures and regimes; integrated on the basis of economic and business imperatives. of course one is not in the business of reading the future, rather looking at the possibilities through its prism.
However, having said all that, the practicalities of the Deal remain nebulous, as In any case, it has not been openly proposed in any way, and billions are required for investment in the four angles of the “Benelux” , so that at least the possibility can be created for each country in the group to develop at least its own economic comparative advantage if not to be pulled up on par with the rest.
Who would be ready to commit financially to the Deal of the Century? , we can of course speculate, but we really do not know.