Washington, DC – The vision submitted today by Donald Trump's White House for an alleged final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict deals a severe blow to efforts to achieve real peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
This vision is not a "peace plan" but rather a scheme, co-authored by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump, to allow for an immediate annexation of all Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the entire Jordan Valley. Hours ago, shortly after the Trump "vision" was unveiled, Benjamin Netanyahu's government announced that it will submit to the Knesset an annexation bill this coming Sunday.
This plan is a recipe for disaster, for annexation, for the perpetuation of Israel's occupation of the West Bank, for the perpetuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for misery and bloodshed.
Trump's vision – contrary to Trump's statement in the White House today – does not stipulate a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem. It offers Palestinian limited transportational contiguity in a Swiss cheese-like territory encompassing no more than 70% of the West Bank, dotted by Israeli settlements and access roads, which are envisioned to remain in perpetuity. Trump's vision does not offer a viable solution for the Palestinian refugee problem, and does not establish a clear, recognized border between Israel and the Palestinians. This plan is therefore doomed to be rejected by the Palestinians and doomed to fail.
Its failure, however, does not mean that it is not consequential.
Reversing the damaging impact of Trump's "plan" is not impossible, but it will require tremendous effort by true supporters of a viable Israeli-Palestinian two-state peace agreement. That effort must start now.
Americans for Peace Now (APN) calls on supporters of Israeli-Palestinian peace – including our friends at major American Jewish organizations – to distance themselves from Trump's vision, and take action to rekindle prospects for a viable two-state solution.
The Trump plan changes the terms of reference for future Israeli-Palestinian relations. It shifts from a record that was carefully built by Israelis, Palestinians, Americans and other third-party stakeholders over the course of decades – a paradigm based on bilateral negotiations for a compromise formula that will end in two independent, sovereign, contiguous states, living side-by side in peace and security, with an internationally recognized border between Israel and the future state of Palestine. Trump's vision shifts from this internationally-endorsed paradigm – the details of which, for the most part, have been negotiated and agreed upon by Israeli and Palestinian leaders – to a vision held by hardline zealots: Israeli national-religious settlers and their messianic supporters in the United States.
Disastrously, Trump's vision threatens to:
* Push the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank to terminate its agreements and cooperation with Israel, including its security cooperation, a process that might lead to the Palestinian Authority's collapse and fully shift the burden of running Palestinian daily life in the West Bank to Israel;
* Severely destabilize Jordan, a key ally of both Israel and the United States, and jeopardize Israel's peace treaty with the Hashemite Kingdom.
* Further destabilize the broader Middle East;
* Further undermine relations between Jewish and Arab citizens of the state of Israel;
* Further escalate the process of international measures against Israel, bringing it dangerously closer to international isolation;
* Further escalate Palestinian frustration and despair, which could unite Palestinians around anti-Israeli and anti-American violence.
Much has been said and written in recent days about the cynical, manipulative timing that the Trump administration has chosen for releasing its "plan." The rhetoric in Israel relating to the "plan" is certainly influenced by the proximity to the March 2nd elections and the criminal indictments filed today in court against Prime Minister Netanyahu. This timing makes it all but impossible for the Israeli public and its leaders to carefully and responsibly examine the Trump "vision" and what its annexation endorsement means for the future of Israel, its character, and its prospects for living in peace with its Palestinian neighbors.
APN and its Israeli sister-organization, Shalom Achshav (Peace Now) will continue working to educate the American and Israeli publics, respectively, about the requirements of a practical, sustainable peace, continue to advocate for a viable two-state solution, and continue to oppose annexation.
At this somber moment – as we always do – we urge policy makers and policy shapers in the United States and Israel to reject Trump's bogus "deal of the century" and instead approach Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking with the responsible, thoughtful attitude that this endeavor deserves, and to act sincerely to advance real peace, peace that both Israelis and Palestinians want and deserve.