J STREET’s take on Trump’s new Israel/Palestine anti-peace plan

J Street

 

If there was ever any doubt that the Trump-Netanyahu “peace plan” was anything other than a smokescreen for annexation, it was removed just moments after President Trump stepped aside from the podium at the White House yesterday.

When Prime Minister Netanyahu took the mic, he announced that he would immediately take action to annex all West Bank settlements as well as the Jordan Valley, claiming he had the Trump administration’s full support to do so — a claim US Ambassador David Friedman backed up a few minutes later.

Now, you might have heard about the mountains of cash promised to Palestinians if they embrace the so-called deal. About a “freeze” on Israeli settlements and a pathway to statehood for Palestinians.

I want to be very clear, this plan is full of misleading language designed to mask its true intention: the legitimization of illegal, unilateral West Bank annexation.

On almost every issue, rather than proposing workable compromises, the plan continuously and disingenuously seeks to redefine the substance of final-status issues, to a point that is downright Orwellian. None of this does anything to move the region closer to peace and stability, or to guarantee Israel’s long-term security as a democratic state and a homeland for the Jewish people.

Here are some key takeaways about the plan to illustrate that point:

  • It’s a two-state solution in name only. The Palestinian “state” proposed by the plan is actually an archipelago of enclaves and islands of territory surrounded by Israel. The Israeli military would continue to control all airspace, ports, territorial waters and borders indefinitely. The document itself even attempts to redefine sovereignty as an “amorphous concept” which has become an “unnecessary stumbling block.”
  • The plan describes a vision of indefinite occupation. Even if Palestinians submit to every requirement under the proposal, the Israeli government must only commit to “minimize” its military occupation of Palestinian territory. At any time, and at its sole discretion, the Israeli military is permitted increase its footprint across any and all of the Palestinian territory. This is not different in any meaningful way from the current situation.
  • The promise of a Palestinian capital in “Eastern Jerusalem” is completely hollow. In reality, the plan grants Israel the authority to retain control over the entirety of Jerusalem, including Arab neighborhoods in what is currently referred to as East Jerusalem. The Palestinian “Eastern Jerusalem” capital the plan proposes consists of small, far-flung, disconnected neighborhoods beyond the current separation wall.
  • There is no settlement freeze. While Trump’s announcement alluded to some kind of freeze in Israeli settlement construction, the plan is almost precisely the opposite. Under the terms of the plan, Israel is granted sovereignty over all existing settlements, where it can continue building as much as it wants. It only commits to not building settlements on enclaves of PA-controlled territory where no settlements currently exist.
  • The proposed ‘land swaps’ are not comparable. In exchange for giving vast, geographically vital portions of the occupied West Bank to Israel, the plan offers to give Palestinians areas of Israel that are mostly desert and are almost entirely disconnected from the rest of their “state.”
  • The plan is clearly designed to elicit Palestinian rejection. As if it wasn’t clear enough from the content of the plan and the fact that the authors haven’t spoken to a Palestinian representative in over two years, the plan also includes several additional poison pills which ensure it will never be viable. Israel is only compelled to fulfill its obligations under the deal if Gaza is fully controlled by another entity approved by Israel. There is total rejection of even a tiny, symbolic number of Palestinian refugees being allowed to return to live inside Israel. The plan also floats the idea of transferring Israel’s “Triangle Communities,” home to roughly 300,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel, to the Palestinian “state,” a plan pushed for in the past by Israel’s far-right former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman as a means of decreasing Israel’s Arab population.

On issue after issue, the Trump-Netanyahu proposal falls far short of UN resolutions, previous agreements between the Israelis and Palestinians and decades of bipartisan American foreign policy. This is a cynical proposal designed to shift the baseline of US foreign policy and greenlight immediate annexation.

We can’t let the Trump administration get away with it.

Please join J Street members across the country and tell Congress to reject Trump’s peace sham >>>

We’ll have more to say on this in the coming days and weeks, and are committed to mobilizing the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement to fight back.

Thank you for your support.

Debra Shushan
Director of Government Affairs

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