Arab Public Debate on the “Deal of the Century” in the “Versailles” Framework

Ádám Éva

Abstract


The Trump administration has reportedly planned to publish its self-drafted Middle East peace initiative some time during the year 2019, exactly 100 years after the Treaty of Versailles (1919) was signed. Although previous and subsequent agreements, declarations and treaties, such as the Sykes-Picot Agreement (1916), the Balfour Declaration (1917), the Treaty of Sèvres (1920) and the Treaty of Lausanne (1923) had much more to do with the fate of the Middle East than the Treaty of Versailles itself, the coincidence of the announcement of the “deal of the century” with the anniversary of “Versailles” provides great significance to the latter in current Arab public debate. While the above mentioned events and decisions did not meaningfully hinder the long-term Israeli–Palestinian peace process, the “deal of the century” might have harmful effects for it. Arab leaders as well as opinionmakers of all kinds agree on the existence of a strong parallel between the aims and design of the Versailles-related treaties and those of the “deal of the century.” They agree that both of them deny the right of self-determination to Arab nations and that they are both designed to foreshadow decades of bloody conflicts between the nations of the Middle East. The “deal of the century” might also sanctify the “acquisition of land by force” which has clear implications for state-to-state relations. In my analysis, I will provide a snapshot of the Arab public debate on the “deal of the century” and how it is related to the anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles and related agreements.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14267/cojourn.2019v4n2a8

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