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  • Palestinian women in the southern Gaza Strip protest against the US-led economic workshop in Bahrain.

    Palestinian women in the southern Gaza Strip protest against the US-led economic workshop in Bahrain. | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 December 2019

Lawmakers rejected having funds be set aside in the government's 2020 budget in a bipartisan decision for the so-called “Deal of the Century.” 

The United States Congress rejected Monday a request from the White House for US$175 million to fund Donald Trump administration's Israel-Palestine proposed “peace plan.”

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Israeli Occupation Cost Palestine $48b Between 2000-2017: UN

Lawmakers rejected having funds be set aside in the government's 2020 budget in a bipartisan decision for the so-called “Deal of the Century.” 

A congressional source, who was involved in the negotiations over the budget decision, told Israel’s Haaretz that the rejection was not motivated by politics, but rather by budgetary considerations.

"One argument against it was, 'No one thinks this peace plan is coming out any time soon, so why devote money to it?’" the newspaper's source informed.

The deal,  led by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, is a mainly economic proposal that would make way for alleged peace in the region. A draft, which circulated in May, outlined a plan for a two-state solution which includes the creation of “New Palestine.” 

This new Palestine would not be allowed to have an army, share Jerusalem as the capital of both countries and would legitimize all the illegal settlements in West Bank as part of Israel.

In June, the White House presented its economic proposal which is a US$50 billion economic plan that would create a global investment fund to lift the Palestinian and neighboring Arab state economies, and fund a US$5 billion transportation corridor to connect the West Bank and Gaza.

Around US$28 billion would be going to the Palestinian territories, US$7.5 billion to Jordan, US$9 billion to Egypt and US$6 billion for Lebanon. The objective was to pressure other Arab nations to agree on the Israel-Palestine project. 

However, since its unveiling the Palestinian Authority boycotted the plan, saying only a political solution will solve the long-standing conflicts between them and Israel, which has annexed and occupied the majority of Palestinian land starting in 1948 with the Nakba. 

Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh stressed early this year that any initiative short of a sovereign Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 boundaries with the entire East Jerusalem as its capital would be doomed from start.

Since 1967, Israel has built some 140 settlements in the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem​​​. These settlements are illegal under international law.

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US Says Israel Settlements Not Illegal Under International Law

On Nov. 18, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank are not “inconsistent with international law,” leaving behind a 40-year-long position of policy regarding the sensitive issue and endorsing Israel’s illegal settlements at the expense of the peace process and the two states solution.

The announcement is consistent with Trump’s pro-Israel position, which in 2017 severed political ties the U.S. government announced Jerusalem was the capital of Israel. 

The administration later moved the nation's embassy there in May 2018, while pulling funding from the Palestinian government as well as aid organizations such as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and recognizing Israeli sovereignty over Syria's Golan Heights.

According to several United Nations Security Council resolutions, the Israeli occupation is illegal under international law as they violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, which says an occupying power cannot move its civilian population into the territory it occupies. 

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