THE ANGRY ARAB: Deal of the Century? Which Century?

As’ad AbuKhalil explains why Palestinians will see through the latest U.S. illusion of a Middle East “peace process.”  

By As`ad AbuKhalil
Special to Consortium News

There is great speculation about the “Deal of the Century” for the Middle East, about which very little is known. What is known is that the Trump administration formulated the plan basically through bilateral talks with the Israeli government, as the Palestinian Authority has refused to talk to the Trump administration since the relocation of the U.S. embassy from occupied Jaffa (Tel Aviv) to occupied Jerusalem. 

The release of the plan has been delayed: first until after the Israeli election and now until sometime in the summer. None of the individuals tasked with formulating the plan have expertise in the Middle East, although in Washington, D.C., strong advocacy on behalf of the Israeli occupation often counts as a substitute.

This plan will be the latest attempt by a U.S. administration to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict — once and for all.  There was the Nixon administration’s famous Rogers’ Plan (named after Secretary of State William Rogers, who later resigned after complaining about National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger’s usurpation of his authority).

Nixon, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and Kissinger on right, March 1, 1973 in the Oval Office. (Oliver Atkins, Nixon's photographer, via Wikimedia Commons)

 Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir with Nixon and Kissinger in 1973, Oval Office. (Oliver Atkins, via Wikimedia Commons)

Before the Nixon administration, President John F. Kennedy also tried to deal with the Arab-Israeli conflict only to be rebuffed by strong Zionist figures within the Democratic Party.

The origins of U.S. intervention were initially clear: that the U.S. would push for a deal based on UN Security Council Resolution  242, which calls on Israel to withdraw from “territories” it occupied in the 1967 war in return for Arab recognition and acceptance of the Israeli occupation state within the 1948 occupation. But Kissinger attached a secret appendix to the Sinai II agreement in 1975 (between Egypt and Israel) in which he pledged to boycott and ostracize the PLO, which all Arabs accepted as the legitimate and sole representative of the Palestinian people.  This exclusion of Palestinian political representation was consistent with UNSC 242, which did not mention the word “Palestinian” once, although it made a passing reference to the “refugee problem.”

Zionist Influence

And while the management of the American-led “peace process” was, during the early decades, handled by Middle East experts (known then as “Arabists,”) strong Zionist influences in successive U.S. administrations and houses of Congress marginalized their influence and slowed down the progress of the “process” — in terms of U.S. pressure on Israel.

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But the American-led “peace process” lived on for decades, not as a testimony of U.S. interest in peace in the Middle East, nor as evidence of American interest in solving the Palestinian problem, but as a way to provide Israeli occupation and aggression with a cloak of international legitimacy and to give Palestinians the illusion of “progress.”

With the Reagan administration a change occurred in the management of the “peace process;” it was taken from the Arabists and given to ardent Zionists who had no background in the Middle East. (Dennis Ross, for example, never studied the Middle East and was in fact a Soviet expert in the 1980s, before he was put in charge of the “peace process.”)

Dennis Ross, at right, with Dan Shapiro, NSC senior director for the Middle East, Oval Office. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at left. (White House/Pete Souza)

 Ross, at right, in 2010, with Dan Shapiro, NSC senior director for the Middle East. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at left. (White House/Pete Souza)

The “peace process” underwent major transformations over the years, largely to accommodate Israeli needs and preferences.  The Rogers’ Plan started as a response to Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s emphasis on a “comprehensive and just” peace, which clearly precluded separate deals between Israel and any Arab state. It was this which prevented King Hussein of Jordan from reaching a separate deal with Israel. 

Nevertheless, President Jimmy Carter brokered the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel (which basically committed the U.S. to provide the Egyptian despot, President Anwar Sadat and his successors, with an annual large bribe to maintain peace with Israel despite the disapproval of the Egyptian people).  With Camp David, the “peace process” was splintered into separate “peace” deals.

The U.S. official ban on contact with the PLO was removed in the Reagan administration when Yasser Arafat agreed to read a statement faxed to him — word-for-word — by the U.S. Department of State.  The PLO was allowed into the “peace process” but only on conditions set by Israel: that the agenda would be set by U.S. and Israel and not by any Arab party. 

Initially, the U.S. worked for decades to sidestep PLO participation by anointing the Jordanian king (who is remembered by the Palestinians for the massacres of Black September in 1970) as the representative of both Jordan and the Palestinian people. But the Intifada in 1987 finally convinced the U.S. that the Palestinians are determined to insist on their self-determination.  And during the George W. Bush administration the idea of a Palestinian state was finally formally advocated by the U.S. but only within boundaries set by Israel.

No Mystery 

The new “Deal of the Century” is not a mystery.  We can read the writing on the wall and on the ground in Palestine.  The U.S. is working on a formula that does not necessarily operate on the assumption that the creation of a Palestinian state is a prerequisite for peace.  Furthermore, the U.S. plans to reduce the size of the Palestinian territory which would be theoretically managed by the Palestinian people.  The Palestinians have historically insisted on liberating 100 percent of their homeland, i.e. historic Palestine in which the Palestinians have enjoyed a majority for many centuries, and in which the Jews — as a small minority — were considered part of the local native population.

But the Zionist forces — through terrorism and through Western indulgences — persuaded Western powers that Palestinian rights to 1948 Palestine (what became declared by force as “Israel” in 1948) should never be acknowledged. 

With that principle, Western powers worked to convince Palestinians to confine their national aspirations to no more than 45 percent (in the UN Partition plan of 1947) and then to no more than 22 percent since 1967. With the U.S. entry into direct negotiations with Palestinian representatives since the Madrid Conference of 1991 (disguised as non-PLO), the Palestinians were told that they can have a homeland over most —but not all — the West Bank and Gaza and East Jerusalem. But the American stance was not categorical because it always left it to Israel to decide on how much of the 22 percent of Palestine should the Palestinians have control over, and under which juridical conditions.

Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin acknowledge applause during joint session of Congress during which President Jimmy Carter announced the results of the Camp David Accords, Sept. 18, 1978. (Warren Leffler via Wikimedia Commons

Sadat, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin acknowledge applause during joint session of Congress during which President Jimmy Carter announced the Camp David Accords, Sept. 18, 1978. (Warren Leffler via Wikimedia Commons)

President Bill Clinton, in the famous Camp David negotiations, wanted the Palestinians to accept 91 percent of the 22 percent of Palestine, while sovereignty over the “holy sanctuary” would be shared between Israelis and Palestinians, with the Israelis having control over the land and what is underneath it (which Palestinians consider a threat to the very foundations of Al-Aqsa).  Camp David fell and Clinton — typical of him — blamed the Palestinians after having promised Yasser Arafat that he would not blame the Palestinians if the talks did not bear fruits.

What will emerge out of the “Deal of the Century” is even less than what the Palestinians have been offered before — and which they rejected.  The Palestinians will probably be promised Gaza and Area A (under the Oslo agreement, which basically covers areas that the Palestinians — only in theory—control), and East Jerusalem will be part of a united capital for Israel while the Palestinians will be allowed to name areas outside of Jerusalem as their own “East Jerusalem.”

The Israelis will continue, of course, to maintain control of air, land and sea over all Palestinian areas, and the Israeli occupation army will continue to decide who can enter and who can exit Palestinian areas.  And Israeli settlements will be untouched by any of the terms of the “deal.”

Sovereignty over those small Palestinian areas won’t be considered as the U.S. and Israel both have recently reneged on previous promises of statehood. Instead, the plan will revert to what Israel’s Menachem Begin called “autonomy” (under the Camp David negotiations), according to which the Palestinians will exercise limited municipal management of their areas (trash collection, postal service, sewage, etc). 

But it is quite clear that the Palestinians who had rejected such plans in a previous century won’t agree to them now, especially that the octogenarian Mahmoud Abbas (who is already despised and detested by his people for his corruption and fealty to the occupation) won’t dare agree to what Arafat before him had rejected. 

But Trump and his team assume that an infusion of foreign aid and new business in Palestinian areas would serve as a compensation to the Palestinians for the loss of their homeland.   But that assumption is based on a false premise: that people live by bread alone.

As’ad AbuKhalil is a Lebanese-American professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus. He is the author of the “Historical Dictionary of Lebanon” (1998), “Bin Laden, Islam and America’s New War on Terrorism (2002), and “The Battle for Saudi Arabia” (2004). He tweets as @asadabukhalil

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22 comments for “THE ANGRY ARAB: Deal of the Century? Which Century?

  1. May 8, 2019 at 11:40

    First king of egypt 2019

  2. Dr Andras Kanos
    April 26, 2019 at 04:09

    Occupied Jaffa?? Because of vile propaganda like this, moderate Israelis who are in favor of Palestinian statehood and rights, say Arabs cannot be trusted because you obviously deny Israel’s right to exist, anywhere between the sea and the Jordan river.With this attitude, you can simply continue your current misery because nobody including the rich Arab states or Egypt will ever support your extremism.

    • old geezer
      April 26, 2019 at 12:14

      i concur, with one exception

      the iranians do

    • SPQR70AD
      April 26, 2019 at 12:57

      when in the history of the world did a state /country demand the right to exist? name one

      • Traveller
        April 29, 2019 at 15:41


    • mark
      April 27, 2019 at 16:26

      SO WHAT? People like you deny the right of the Palestinians to exist. Why should they make unilateral concessions to the utterly vile, genocidal, pirate, terrorist Zionist Regime for absolutely nothing in return? Zionists take, take, take, take. The Trump Mafia Regime gives away everything to Adelson and their Zionist paymasters that doesn’t belong to them. Palestinians were willing to give the Zionists 78% of Palestine to bring about a lasting peace. They said, thank you very much, we’ll carry on taking the remaining 22% and 75% of the water for another 600,000 settlers. Trying to negotiate with Zionists in good faith is utterly pointless. They just carry on throwing Palestinian families out of homes they have lived in for generations and land they have farmed for generations to make way for rabid settler fanatics from Brooklyn who have never set foot there before. Let Trump give them what belongs to him if he wants to. He can give the Zionists Florida and New York. They’ve already got Washington DC and all the 30 Shekel Whores in it. The only people who have ever achieved anything in dealing with the Zionists is Hezbollah – by fighting them to a standstill for over 20 years. If they had tried “negotiating” like the Palestinians, Lebanon would still be occupied and covered with filthy illegal Zionist settlements.

      The Palestinians are expected to smile gratefully as they undergo continuing slow suffocation, punctuated by periodic Zionist “mowing the grass” pogroms. If they are very lucky they might be able to choose what day their dustbins are collected as they watch their kids gunned down by the IDF kiddie killers with their British sniper rifles and dum dum bullets. .

    • Adwoa Oni
      April 28, 2019 at 02:48

      Your feigned indignation is disingenuous and hypocritical. Given the one-sided atrocities routinely perpetrated by the state of Israel against the Palestinians, you’re literally freaking out over something relatively trivial. Netanyahu and the Zionist occupation state routinely refer to the occupied West Bank as Judea and Samaria. The Palestinians effectively live under an apartheid system; apparently that does not offend you! What has the so-called moderate Israelis done for the freedom of the Palestinians. And to label Palestinians as “Arabs cannot be trusted …” is deeply offensive and racist.

  3. jeff montanye
    April 26, 2019 at 00:28

    imo trump has proposed the only possible, practical solution for israel/palestine: the one state solution, that is israel sovereign in all of palestine (which it already is, and willing to defend it with hydrogen bombs whose initial triggers were stolen by the producer of jfk, pretty woman and the medusa touch, which featured a passenger jet flown into the pan am building, arnon milchan) and voting israeli citizenship for the five million disenfranchised arabs now living in eretz israel when they renounce violence against israel.

    trump’s recent assent to israeli annexation of large parts of the west bank and the golan heights is bound to snuff out any last flicker of hope for an israeli-palestinian deal on the terms of a palestinian state on lands israel captured in 1967. but, like the recognition of jerusalem as israel’s capital, it is a necessary step, if painful for many people, because the two state solution was never, ever going to occur. it was always a chimera, a mirage used by the likud mossad to play the palestinians along as the israelis consolidated their position once egypt was taken out of the picture by the return of the sinai.

    donald trump’s vision for israel/palestine will actually work, will bring peace to the country, the region and the world. and also make the country less “racist” (which is a poor term since the arab and the jewish people are both semites). it is why he put forward the one-state solution as an endgame acceptable to the united states.

    and this has led to the “palestinian leadership” suspending contact with the trump administration and probably suspending it with netanyahu as well. again this is a necessary step toward trump’s goal: the two-staters must be isolated and rejected for they have accomplished nothing of use and indeed have hurt the palestinians, as well as the israelis, badly. long, long ago these leaders should have turned the struggle away from a (pitifully weak) “war” to a civil rights battle a la gandhi and mlk. and the palestinians, as israeli citizens, indeed the swing bloc of voters, would be many miles ahead of where they are now. it is past time to start down this road. the u.s. did it for the mexicans it conquered in 1848. better late than never.

    • mark
      April 27, 2019 at 16:58

      Garbage. Your “practical solution” is to pander to the Zionist Regime and rubber stamp any and all of its demands. In return the Palestinians get absolutely nothing – not even a South African Bantustan. If you think the Talmudic Supremacists are going to give them any rights as citizens of this One State, you are even more stupid or dishonest than you sound. Palestinians have NO RIGHTS. Dogs have more rights than Palestinians in Israel. Apparently it is a “necessary step” for Stooge Goy Trump to give the Zionists everything they want, Jerusalem, Golan, West Bank, which aren’t his to give away, and the Palestinians who make up 50% of the population absolutely nothing. Maybe he should just give them the whole planet while he’s at it, unless he’s anti semitic or something. This will never work because the Palestinians will never be any more than tenth class helots under the Zionist jackboot. Supposedly this will bring peace to the country. I’ll tell you what – give me your money, your house, your wife, your dog, that’s a really good deal for you. Honest. But if you think the Palestinians will ever get the right to vote I’ve got some swamp land I want to sell you. Even someone as venal and corrupt as Abbas could never endorse this sell out. They won’t find a single bum in the country to legitimise their genocide. Any Palestinian Gandhi wouldn’t last 5 minutes before being gunned down by Zionist thugs. You can no sooner negotiate with Zionists than you can with Nazis.

      Palestinians can do the one thing within their power – refuse to deny historical reality and deny the Zionist Regime the legitimacy it craves. It is an illegitimate racist regime created through terror, atrocities of a Nazi character committed on a Nazi scale, corruption, influence peddling, blackmail and denial of human rights on a colossal scale. The Zionists can face the reality of having created the world’s only explicitly racist state, an apartheid regime where over 50% of the inhabitants are living under a brutal occupation little different from Nazi rule in Occupied Poland. And so can their backers in the US and elsewhere. The corrupt western puppets who run the countries in the region may not care what happens in Palestine, but the 2 billion moslems in the world, and many non moslems, sure do.

  4. OlyaPola
    April 25, 2019 at 03:32

    “Deal of the Century? Which Century?”

    The “two state solution” was always a charade for various reasons including the locations of settlements – castles and walls to control the hinterland a technique of many practicising settler colonialism through history – akin to the notions of other wall builders whether in the GDR or The United States of America.

    The “two state solution” was always a one state solution with control vested in those performing apartheid – aka The Jewish State.

    Opportunities of transcendence are deflected by bemoaning the demise of the two state solution, but facilitated through redefining the one state solution as not “the Jewish State” with benefit of name change.

    Like other builders of walls, the builders have “imprisoned” themselves facilitating the demise of their state.

    The builders of walls and their associates are partially aware of that, and due to their immersion in ways of coercion, resort to belief to bridge doubt and other fixations, are acting in forecastable ways.

    Practioners pondering “How to drown a drowning man with the minimum of blowback?” have noted that those bound together drown faster thereby minimising blowback.

    • Abe
      April 26, 2019 at 02:19

      As the US-Saudi-Israeli Axis prepares to launch its next war to “secure the realm”, it is important to understand the meaning of the word “separation” that is increasingly prevalent in Israeli political discourse.

      Revisionist historian Benny Morris, notorious for his pro-Israel bias, provides a case in point:

      “Morris is changing his euphemisms. He used to call the ethnic cleansing of Palestine ‘transfer’ (although he had a Freudian slip on “cleanse” […]) but now […] he’s calling it “’separation of populations’. This is precious, really. It also points a dark and sinister finger at the notion of ‘separation’ which has become a very central code-word for Zionist leftists and centrists. This ‘separation’, suggested also by other more colorful euphemisms such as “divorce”, has also been a central talking point for people like the late Amos Oz. So here, Morris, who also wants to somehow be known as a leftist, is making clear that ‘separation’ is part of a genocidal scheme. He would not call it genocidal, and he denies that what he’s describing is ethnic cleansing, but that’s what it really is […]

      “Morris says that the only point of the ‘diplomatic game’ is to keep up an appearance, in order to ‘retain the West’s sympathy’. Yes, you heard it here. The ‘peace process’ serves no other function than that of a ‘diplomatic game’. […]

      “As a liberal Zionist, Morris portrays the classical contradiction of the ethnic-cleanser who seeks to portray himself as a liberal (so he calls the ethnic cleansing ‘transfer’ and then ‘separation’). Furthermore, Morris the historian appears to face the contradiction of having made findings that point to a genocidal scheme, yet faced with a need to minimize this so that it would not apply to the Zionist case. It’s as if Morris the Zionist pundit is constantly interfering with the work of Morris the historian. So when it comes to Turkish perpetration of genocide, it’s ok for him to call it that. But in the Zionist case, the findings need to be toned down in their overall moral appraisal. […]

      “Since his bias to exonerate the Zionist project is so great, Morris the Zionist sheds a huge shadow of historical revisionism upon Morris the supposed forensic historian.

      “I would like to thank Morris for uncovering Turkish genocide. But seeing how he simultaneously whitewashes Zionist crimes, this leads me to believe that Morris has an insidious political agenda with this uncovering – to dwarf the crimes of the Zionist venture. Knowing that mere numeric comparison cannot suffice to hide the Zionist crimes, Morris also resorts to historical revisionism, even of his own findings. He even advocates that it didn’t go far enough then – there should have been a complete ‘separation of populations’…

      “But Morris can’t even separate Morris the Zionist from Morris the historian. So in the end, at least for me, he’s just Benny Morris, the racist, genocidal ethnic cleanser.”

      Israeli historian Benny Morris doubles down on his advocacy for ethnic cleansing
      By Jonathan Ofir

      • OlyaPola
        April 26, 2019 at 12:04

        “As the US-Saudi-Israeli Axis prepares to launch its next war to “secure the realm”, it is important to understand the meaning of the word “separation” that is increasingly prevalent in Israeli political discourse.”

        If something is extant and has been for some period neither preparation to launch, nor launching, nor next is an option.

        Spectators tend to ponder their projected holograms of what is/will be through prisms of being practitioners as illustrated in the link below.
        although the currency requires extension to include but not be limited to, the Mr. Yeltsin/Mr. Zhirinovsky roadshow which enjoyed an attentive audience.

        Some practitioners in co-operation tend to ponder how to address Gordian knots with the minimum of blowback which includes but is not limited to what is, thereby facilitating what can be through lateral processes of evaluated/modified implementation.

        Some other practitioners attempt to emulate previous practices of how to address Gordian knots with the maximum of blowback since such is perceived to be fit for their purpose based on past experience – tribute bands such as Benny and the Jets enjoying a limited repetoire-, which through attempts at implementation encourage some practitioners in co-operation to render some other practitioners spectators pondering holograms of their own projection of what is/will be in “discourse” of belief to bridge doubt, as even pondered in a limited way in the public domain linked below.

        Practioners pondering “How to drown a drowning man with the minimum of blowback?” have noted that those bound together drown faster thereby minimising blowback, and hence are not unduly apprehensive if some other practitioners seek to test their “hypotheses”.

        • OlyaPola
          April 26, 2019 at 12:08

          And why Euclid was wrong – the shortest distance between points is not a straight line.

          Enjoy your journey.

      • hamparsoum agop torossian
        April 28, 2019 at 18:11

        the Young Turks ideology, at the outset, was generated in the majority-Jewish town of Thessaloniki in the last decade of the 19th. century of the Ottoman Empire. in the Bureau of the Young Turks Party which gave the orders of elimination of the Armenian elite in 1915 THREE were Jewish-out of nine: “get the Sarafians (the Armenian money dealers) out was their motto”!

  5. Kathy Heyne
    April 24, 2019 at 23:57

    Of course the Palestinians will see through it. I can see through it. The US as a peace broker between Israel and the Palestinians under any administration is an old, stale joke. The US is the most dishonest, partial broker in the world.

    How the American people can applaud each new round under each new president bewilders me.

  6. Old geezer
    April 24, 2019 at 22:39

    i remember a kid when i was growing up who told me his parents were told they had to leave after the jews took over.

    for whatever reason, at the age of 12, i replied, “ that is a sad story. but think about it a little, if it didn’t happen you would have been born there instead of in the us. and you are much better off here than there”.

    just like the angry arab writer of this article, in the valley.

    so what about the rest of the ones who stayed ? maybe some time they will admit they will never be able to kill off the descendants of those egyptian slaves.

    until then, they will live as they do now. the world’s largest welfare recipient, useful pawns. very useful.

    • jeff montanye
      April 26, 2019 at 03:55

      pretty cogent reasoning for a twelve year old. and you were right. similarly the five million disenfranchised, dispossessed arabs (still) living in the “occupied territories” would be much better off legally migrating to the advanced state of israel, as voting citizens, than remaining in the persecuted limbo they now inhabit. and, considering the very large fraction of “palestinians” who are young, hence more able to form new opinions, or opinions at all in the case of the very young, there is a real chance that the option of such a radical change in such people’s motivations would bring a similarly radical shift in their behavior. in fact they would admit they will never be able to kill off the jewish israelis. and, particularly since the jewish israelis seemingly could never bring themselves even to force and/or bribe the arabs to leave, perhaps they could return the favor.

      especially considering the higher birth rate of the “occupied arabs,” the growing boycott against israel (no democratic presidential candidates made the pilgrimage to the aipac convention), the likely effect of the increase in the arab diaspora brought on by the yinon wars aka “seven countries in five years,” with the wild card of 9-11 truth being held by donald “bombs destroyed the wtc” trump, perhaps it’s time for the likud/mossad to integrate its arab captives.

      • old geezer
        April 26, 2019 at 12:06

        well, my mind has a way of getting to the core of a situation quickly
        nuance and detail are obviously very sorely lacking
        history is essential to know, but i am more interested in what happens next
        my repeated question is, so what are we going to do now
        what exactly are the objectives

        • OlyaPola
          April 26, 2019 at 12:23

          “what exactly are the objectives”

          It is often more illuminating to render the question as:

          “What is the purpose” since immersion in Kant and/or catagorical imperatives facilitate can’t, as regularly illustrated by the opponents.

      • mark
        April 27, 2019 at 17:15

        There is about as much chance of Israel “integrating its Arab captives” as there is of you being struck by lightning.
        As regards “killing all the Jews” the genocide is one way, in the other direction.
        You have “Justice Minister” Shaked calling for Palestinian mothers to be killed, so no Palestinian children can be born.
        Or rabbis publishing “The King’s Torah” calling for the murder of Palestinian children.
        Or the Times of Israel, a national newspaper, quite openly advocating genocide and calling for the extermination of the Palestinian people at concentration camps in the desert.
        Maybe it is the Zionists who need to give up on the idea of murdering all the Palestinians, when they aren’t pretending they don’t exist.

  7. Jeff Harrison
    April 24, 2019 at 17:50

    Thump is not a negotiator. He’s a conman and a grifter and not a very good one either as he went bankrupt three times. He doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell.

    • OlyaPola
      April 25, 2019 at 03:45

      “He’s a conman and a grifter”

      Also a useful fool to some and a dangerous fool to others.

      Some of the “elites” in “The United States of America” and elsewhere perceive this which facilitates various precipitations.

      The “elites” in “The United States of America” and elsewhere are guided by the notions of Mr. Louis Bourbon 14th – “je suis l’etat”,
      so some of the preciptations were given bright shiny stage clothes of deflection to wear, like another emperor described by Mr. Andersen as being a requirement to maintain “We the people hold these truths to be self-evident” thereby not requiring definition of “truths” but practices to implement “truths”.

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