Addressing the conference held at the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations (SCFR), former ambassador to Lebanon Dr Mohammad Fatah Ali and Dr Hamid Reza Dehghani Poudeh, Assistant to the Foreign Minister and Director-General for the Middle East and North Africa at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs delivered speeches at the conference and then answered questions by experts present at the event.
At the beginning of his remarks, Mohammad Fatah Ali stated that one should see under what conditions has the Deal of the Century been presented. He said the unveiling of Deal of the Century is the outcome of several years of work, adding that what matters is how Iran is going to deal with the plan, given its sympathy with the Palestinians.
He added: In 2017 Trump recognized Qods as the capital of the Zionist regime; in 2018 the US moved its embassy to Qods; In 2019 the US recognized the annexation of the Golan Heights by the Zionist regime and during this time and transferred the embassy to Qods in the year 2019. In the 5th year, he recognized the accession of the Golan Heights to the Zionist regime and during this time regulated its distance from Tel Aviv.
Fatah Ali commented on the terms and conditions of the plan and said in these circumstances, some believe the plan was presented when the Muslim world was weak and the West Asian armies were in a weak status. In this context, they discuss the conditions of the Iraqi, Syrian, Lebanese and Egyptian armies. Some say if Trump and the Zionist regime are in a hurry to come up with the Deal of the Century is because the Resistance Front has been tightening the security chain after the Zionist regime since 2006.
Features of Deal of the Century
The senior expert on West Asian affairs describing the features of the Deal of Century said: “The first layer of the Deal of the Century includes Trump, Kouchner, Friedman and Netanyahu. The scheme aims to legitimize the Zionist regime. Another point is to further empower Israel. The next point is to resolve the Jerusalem issue in the interest of the Zionist regime. Most importantly, they want to provide a map of security arrangements.
The reaction of the Resistance to Deal of the Century
Former Iranian ambassador to Lebanon said that regional armies such as Syria and Iraq have been promising in the peak of despair. He said Israel was once seeking territorial expansion, but now is stuck in the Gaza, Syria and Lebanon triangle and today the Axis of Resistance gained success at various levels.
Fatah Ali said that the Resistance has been successful at both logistical and institutional levels, adding that institutional success means that the Resistance maintains a presence in the political structures of countries. Today the Resistance has been able to present a discourse that everyone believes is better than any other discourse. The discourse of the Resistance has grown in places where there has been a territorial threat, namely in Lebanon against Israel and in Syria against ISIS.
The former Iranian ambassador to Lebanon said the Resistance had reached a level where Hezbollah had the first say in decision making but the last say in decision taking: “The Zionist regime is in the throes and the Deal of the Century is the ceiling of Zionist regime’s expectations.
Consequences and Challenges of Deal of the Century
Fatah Ali commenting on the consequences and challenges of the Deal of the Century said: All the attention of the US and the Zionist regime is to turn the Palestinian issue into an economic, social and welfare issue and to remove it from the region’s vital priorities to target the Resistance. The other issue is to make the West Bank and Gaza more dependent on the Zionist regime and, more importantly, they are seeking a new order and convergence between Israel and the Arabs.
“The Resistance Front has been able to influence all games in the regional arena, and every actor has to pay attention to the role and status of the Resistance, as the Resistance is embedded in political structures,” the senior diplomat noted.
The outlook of Deal of the Century
Fatah Ali emphasized that after the Cold War, some actors came to the region that was tension creators like ISIS, and said: “Today, the actors are diversified. If we want to delineate any security arrangements in the region, we need to see the level of activism widened, because, in addition to governments, non-state actors are also effective on the scene. Before the Cold War, only the US and the Soviet Union were effective. Today it is a completely political and security environment.”
He added: Today, Mahmoud Abbas calls the Deal of the Century the “Slap of the Century” thanks to the Resistance backing. These words are uttered thanks to the backing of material resources of the Resistance in the logistical arena. Today, due to its strong deterrence, Hezbollah has been able to stand up to the regime that waged the 1967 war.
Iran and Resistance Need to Counter Deal of the Century
“Iran’s view of Palestine is a strategic one,” the former Iranian ambassador to Lebanon said on the strategy of Iran and the Resistance in countering Deal of the Century. However, we need to understand the logic of power in the region and take a smart look at our strategies. What is most needed in opposing the implementation of Deal of the Century is in the sphere of the Resistance, because history has shown that negotiations on the Palestinian issue are not essentially fruitful, but stem from the same logic of power.
In the meantime, the conditions of the Resistance groups need to be understood and upheld in the current situation, especially as they have now realized that they have no real supporters other than Iran. Therefore, various media and logistical means must be used to defeat this plan. Moreover, the cooperation of non-Arab countries opposed to the plan, as well as the gap between the Persian Gulf Arab states can be used to this end. Overall, today’s level of strategic resistance in the region, as we have seen in the case of ISIS, has reached a point that will defeat Deal of the Century.
Trump, Netanyahu Goals behind Deal of the Century
Hamid Reza Dehghani Poudeh, Assistant to the Foreign Minister and Director-General for the Middle East and North Africa at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also addressed the meeting. He said: Within the United States and the Zionist regime, Trump and Netanyahu are after taking instant and immediate advantage of the Deal of the Century.
He continued: In the United States, Trump was facing an impeachment trial, and in the Zionist regime, Netanyahu was facing corruption charges. The Deal of the Century could marginalize those two cases.
“In the medium term, both of them were looking to exploit the plan during the elections: Netanyahu for the Israeli elections and Trump during US elections.
Implications of Deal of the Century
“The actions of Trump give us a worldview of him and the people behind him, in the sense that they have provided a new definition of all the achievements human beings have made in the last two centuries,” Dehghani said of the possible outcomes of the Deal of the Century. For example, he said, the right to self-determination is one of the issues that have been overlooked in the recent plan for Palestinians.
“Under international law and in all agreements and resolutions, the use of force to seize land is unlawful, while the Deal has ignored this issue and considered the occupation legitimate,” the Foreign Ministry Director-General for the Middle East added.
“All Security Council resolutions have been ignored in the Deal of the Century,” Dehghani said. Resolutions condemning the occupation, the Quds debate, and settlements have been overlooked in the Deal. He emphasized that the principle of equality of states is one of the most important principles of international law that has been overlooked in this plan and the rights of Palestine have been damaged.
Main Dimensions of Deal of the Century
Dehghani commented on various aspects of the Deal of the Century and said the deal discusses land, population, state and settlements. On the land side, the geography of occupied Palestine from the river to the sea is about 27 thousand km which until 1967 some 78 per cent is occupied; from that time till the Oslo Agreement, the remaining 22 per cent is seized. After the Oslo deal, it is divided into three parts, giving Israel about 30 per cent of the West Bank.
“As for the population, the plan says that Palestine must accept the Jewish state and it does not agree to the issue of refugees,” Dehghani added. They have three solutions. First, those who are present in any territory should stay where they are. Second, four years after government formation, some return to Palestinian territory based on existing potentials. “The third issue is that Muslim countries admit 5,000 Palestinians each year,” he said.
“Under the plan, Zionist settlements remain,” the Middle East director-general doe the Middle East added. According to the Deal, Israel and the US will hold talks for our years and the judges will be the United States and the Zionist regime itself.
Dehghani said: “The condition for negotiations is to accept the Jewish state, disarm the Resistance and accept the Palestinian state without an army and military force so that its security is provided by the Zionist regime.”
According to the Deal of the Century, the Palestinian border is not clear and there are roads, overpasses and bridges to allow Palestinians to travel from one place to another, which is also governed by the Zionist regime.
Ultimate Goal of Deal of the Century
“The essence of Deal of the Century is the annihilation of Palestine,” said the Foreign Ministry’s director-general for the Middle East on the purpose of the Deal. Their aim is not to connect the Palestinians with the outside, and their ultimate goal is the permanent transfer of the Palestinians to Jordan.
“The number of Palestinians is approximately 100,000 more than the Zionists,” Dehghani added. This is against the nature of the Jewish state. The extreme way to deal with this is to expel the Palestinians.
He said: “The plan is relatively extreme and wants to adjust the growth rate of the Palestinians to be lower than the growth rate of the Zionists.”
“The meaning of Deal of the Century is that the Jewish nature of the state must be accepted and the structures are all Jewish,” the Middle East Director of the MFA said.
The world and the West had a problem with the Jews, Dehghani said. Jews in Europe were not integrated into society, and this had been a problem for centuries. Another debate on the subject of Jews was an extraterrestrial issue with the result that the Jews were sent to a place called the Promised Land to stay there.
“When the whole world was in Madrid, we held a conference on Palestine,” he said. The Madrid conference didn’t come up with any positive result but at the conference we held, everyone came, all those who had a slingshot at the intifada.
Future of Deal of the Century
“No one in the world is in favour of this plan,” the MFA Director General for the Middle East said. Palestinians themselves, who disagree on any issue, are unanimous in opposing the Deal of the Century. They are trying to normalize Arabs-Zionists relations and one has to be careful no one would cross this bridge,” he said.
He said: The Supreme Leader’s plan for Palestine has really been a viable solution and the Palestinians must resist. This is a pivotal issue and Iran supports them.
“A nation that has resisted for 70 years will not be destroyed by a plan,” he said. If Trump is not re-elected, the Palestinians will only have to resist for a year. If Trump is re-elected, he will have to wait four more years for his term to end.
Dimensions of Global Opposition to Deal of the Century
Speaking at the meeting, Dr Farajirad, chairman of the conference said: “In my opinion, the Islamic world, except for those heavily dependent on the Saudis, had a good reaction in opposition to the plan. Malaysia, Iran, Turkey and even EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell have reacted well. Within the US, the Democrats were not very much in agreement with the White House.
Saying the Deal of the Century is a White House plan, not an American one, the professor said: The American withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Agreement (known also as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), Naphtha, Paris Treaty, and so on are the White House plans. I think the European Union’s view of the Democrats is very close, and the outcome of the upcoming US presidential election could weaken the plan.
Farajirad said the Persian Gulf Arab states had been encouraging Deal of the Century, stating: “The goal of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain is that the Deal of the Century can solve the Palestinian problem in a way that the Resistance Front would be erased from the face of the earth. They believe that the Resistance Front has been a factor in Iran’s expansion of influence, and if the Resistance Front disappears, Iran will no longer have a pretext for presence in the region.”
He said that there were differences of opinion both within the US and within Israel over the plan, noting that former Israeli Prime Minister Olmert would meet with Mahmoud Abbas at the UN and reject the plan.
Tactics to Deal with the Deal of the Century
The former diplomat said that we need to strengthen the front launched by Malaysia, Turkey, Mahmoud Abbas, etc.: We must help Fatah, Hamas and other Palestinian groups maintain their unity against the Deal of the Century. I find Zarif’s phone call to Mahmoud Abbas quite appropriate.
Referring to Russia’s approach to the Deal of the Century, Farajirad said: “The Russians have always been supportive of UN resolutions on Palestine, but have been silent this time. I think this Russian approach is because of Trump himself. The Russians will budge when Trump receives a blow, but they will not draw their horns in if the US sustains a blow. They are seeking re-election of Trump.”
He added that Russia’s geopolitical role is increasing day by day, so if they want to continue to play with Palestine it is in Israel’s interest.
The American affairs expert said that Deal of the Century could also be the Achilles’ Heel of Trump: “The Deal of the Century, if they want to be operational, can lead to a new intifada, and Trump and the European Union will turn it into an excuse to beat Trump and say that the cause of Trump’s chaos was his plan.”