By Cengiz Tomar
- Dr. Cengiz Tomar is dean of Marmara University’s political science department and director of its Palestinian Studies Center.
It all began after Donald Trump, who remains under the influence of his Christian evangelist support base, became president.
After former President Barack Obama's Middle East policies ended in disappointment, the policies of Trump -- who is known for his pragmatism -- has further aggravated the regional situation.
Meanwhile, the Muslim world and the wider international community -- with the exception of Turkey -- have had a tepid response to these developments.
Trump believes that his Islamophobic and pro-Israel statements will serve his interests in the run-up to November’s mid-term elections in the U.S.
The Israeli administration, for its part, which believes that Trump will maintain his policies, unabashedly approved a “Jewish nation-state” law, which has drawn widespread criticism inside Israel itself.
The issue revolves primarily around Trump’s “Deal of the Century”, a backchannel U.S. Middle East peace plan, details of which remain vague.
Leaks by the media, however, suggest that the plan has already been put into practice; that it is being carried out now -- step by step -- by the U.S., Israel and their allies.
The deal’s most important aspect is that Jerusalem would be recognized as Israel's capital, while a Jerusalem suburb -- probably the Arab town of Abu Dis -- would serve as Palestine’s administrative capital.
In light of recent developments, including Trump’s acknowledgment of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the Knesset’s approval of the “Jewish nation-state” law, we can see that the deal’s most significant aspect has already been -- despite Palestinian objections -- partially implemented.
The “Deal of the Century” would also reportedly allow Israel to annex large settlement blocs in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, both of which have been occupied by Israel since 1967.
And, thanks to the “Jewish nation-state” law, Israel now appears to be planning further settlement expansion on stolen Palestinian territory.
Yet another aspect of the "Deal of the Century" would involve granting the Gaza Strip a “special status” before eventually linking it to neighboring Egypt.
Within the context of the “Jewish nation-state” law, the West Bank and Jerusalem are both regarded as parts of Israel, while the blockaded Gaza Strip is not.
What’s more, while the contentious law allows Jews from all over the world to “return” to Israel, some six million Palestinian refugees -- 1.3 million of whom are now in Gaza -- are not granted similar rights.
All these recent developments pertaining to Palestine can be attributed to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s rejection of Trump’s deal -- a plan that has reportedly secured the support of at least four Arab countries.
In order to punish the Palestinians for rejecting his plan, and in hopes of appealing to his Christian evangelist support base, Trump has only shown support for Israel’s unilateral decisions.
It is worth noting, meanwhile, that the countries that are most hostile to Iran -- and which support U.S. sanctions on Tehran -- are the same ones that approve of Trump’s “Deal of the Century”.
Turkey, however, which opposes U.S. sanctions on Iran and which has long supported the Palestinian cause, remains a thorn in the side of both the U.S. and Israel.
That’s why Washington has recently ratcheted up pressure on Ankara.
On the issue of Palestine, the “Southern Bloc”, which is composed of the U.S, the Gulf States and Egypt, is at total variance with the “Northern Bloc”, which is composed of Turkey, Russia and Iran.
Russia, the strongest element of the Northern Bloc, will not raise any objections to Israel, given that Russian President Vladimir Putin has held frequent talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Through these political maneuvers, Russia is expected to maintain control over Iran, whose military presence in neighboring Syria continues to rattle Israel.
If the global community remains silent, Israel will carry out its cherished goal of building a “Third Temple” on the site in Jerusalem where the Al-Aqsa Mosque currently stands.
Such a scenario would surely cheer the hearts of the evangelist Christians courted by the U.S. president.
*Opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Anadolu Agency.
*Ali Murat Alhas contributed to this article from AnkaraAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.