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Deeply Cynical “Peace Plan” Is a Gift for Israel

For decades America's presidents

have pursued the grail of a peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians, an achievement that would add luster to their names, not to mention a sure fire Nobel Peace Prize. All of them failed. Donald Trump, who thought he should have won that prize last year — "I saved a country…I saved a big war, I've saved a couple of them" he said, without further explanation — has found the answer: simply impose a plan on the Palestinians, they to have no say. It's "the deal of the century", he proclaimed.

For Trump in this election year, the move is to bolster support of evangelicals, who believe God's eternal promise gave Jerusalem — and the rest of Palestine — to the Jewish people, and what kick-starts the apocalypse is Israel’s takeover of the Holy Land. Israel is delighted with this support, even though the evangelicals' end times call for the conversion or extermination of the Jewish people.

The plan is a gift to Bibi Netanyahu, who needed to please right-wing Israelis just before a third election in a country that has not been able to

form an enduring coalition. There in the White House to announce the diktat was an American president who had just been impeached for abuse of power, then acquitted in a sham trial, and the Israeli prime minister who had just been indicted for fraud, bribery, and breach of power.

The Deal

Israel would take some 30% of the West Bank, which "my vision provides to be part of the state of Israel" newly Zionist Trump tells us. It would annex the Jordan Valley on the other side of the West Bank as well as declaring all settlements in the West Bank — a large percentage on stolen land — part of Israel. What's left to the Palestinians is a pocket of land
Settlement in the West Bank

pockmarked with Jewish settlements and surrounded by Israel. The annexations would begin immediately. Most of the world considers the settlements' usurpation of Palestinian lands illegal.

There would be land swaps. Nearby settlements would be connected to Israel proper in return for disconnected chunks of land given to the Palestinians. Where? In the Negev desert along the Egyptian border.

Trump already scored big with evangelicals by moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, a city that the "deal" gives entirely to Israel, with the Palestinian capital moved to a slum area on the Russia Applauds: America has set "a precedent for major powers dictating terms to weaker ones" which Russia might find useful to refer to when it takes certain actions, said the publication Republic. The Palestinians wouldn't "control their skies, waters or communication frequencies" in a "limited sovereignty" much like what "Moscow had once wanted to give to the former Soviet republics".

other side of the barrier away from Jerusalem. Trump, "in a triumph of real estate branding", as the New York Times put it, dubbed it to be "East Jerusalem".

The Palestinians' unyielding demand of the right of return to their home in Israel for refugees driven out by the 1948 War to internment camps in Lebanon would of course be nixed. For that matter, almost none are left who once lived in Israel; they were of two and three generations ago.

It's a deal that simply recognizes the facts on the ground, said the Israeli newspaper Yisrael Hayom. That rewards Israel for over a half century of oppression and occupation that produced the facts on the ground. Might makes right.

The Palestinians would not even be offered their own state, just a limited sovereignty subject to their agreeing to oppressive security measures. They would be bought off with a $50 billion economic plan that Kushner or his people claim would create a million jobs over 10 years. The money would come from other Arab states, not the U.S. A tunnel would be dug to connect Gaza with the West Bank. Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza, would have to be dismembered before that could happen.

The U.S. itself gets no guarantees in Israel's "deal of the century". The annexations are front-loaded with no possibility of reversing them. Any imitation state for Palestinians is just a promise, with Israel likely to erect perpetual hurdles.

Rather than it be the work of a neutral architect or commission of experts on the region, the plan was developed by two Jews, Trump' son-in-law Jared Kushner and David Friedman, the American ambassador to Israel, an outspoken advocate of settlement expansion. Kushner calls it "a big opportunity for the Palestinians" who should "stop posturing". His attitude is that by non-cooperation they will only harm themselves "like they've screwed up every other opportunity that they've ever had in their existence".

The cynically named "peace plan" upends the long-held hopes of western nations for a two-state solution with pre-1967 War boundaries as the foundation for any equitable agreement. This keeps with the principle that states do not keep lands won in war, a precept that dates from the 1648 Peace of Westphalia. Despite many of its people's largely of European roots, Israel's Zionist roots do not recognize that principle.

As Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut says, the proclamation is a "total abandonment of decades of U.S. Middle East policy". Policy which never worked, Trump allies could point out, but this plan adopts only Israel's desires and obliterates Palestinian rights. And it adds to the world's view of a United States steeped in hypocrisy, issuing lofty principles of a people's right of self-determination while in practice endorsing the opposite.

5 Comments for “Deeply Cynical “Peace Plan” Is a Gift for Israel”

  1. Dr David Barnett

    “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten”.

    65 years of pressuring Israel to make concrete concessions in return for promises, never kept, has been a failing strategy. It began with Dulles’ behaviour in 1956. Had he not forced Israel to withdraw before Egypt had signed a proper peace treaty, there would have been no 1967 war. The prospect of international pressure on Israel to make unrealistic concessions has been a hindrance to peace all along. Why should an Arab leader bother to reciprocate?

    In any case, if you are going to apply the Westphalia principle, then Israel, as the only extant successor state to the Western Palestine Mandate, is entitled to dispose of Judah, Samaria and Gaza in any way she sees fit.

    Furthermore, territory captured in a defensive war may be kept as long as is necessary to secure a peace; and territorial adjustments are a recognised way of ensuring that the aggressor does not repeat the aggression – that covers the Golan (although arguably, Britain’s ceding the Golan from Palestine to Syria in 1923 was itself ultra vires the mandate anyway).

    If there is genuine peace, then a state comprising a network of all the Arab towns and villages that want to be in it is perfectly viable. And if there is no peace, then a hostile state in Judah and Samaria is not tolerable.

    Far from foreclosing a 2-state solution, the Trump initiative is the first realistic prospect of one.

    • Arthur Klein

      Your suggestion that Israel is the only successor state says that a people have no right to live on their land because they did not have a recognized state according to territorial concepts establised elsewhere from their world, Whereas the newcomer can claim the land because, I suppose, they once lived there thousands of years ago. Where else on Earth can we find that principle?

      As for holding territory to ensure that “the aggressor does not repeat the aggression”, the Palestinians had their land taken from them by the original aggressor (1948). Your spelling of “behaviour” suggests British? What if England had lost the Battle of Britain (one of the last aces of the RAF just died) and Hitler successfully invaded. Would you have proposed that the British simply accept their new fate and accommodate the German occupiers Vichy-style with no resistance? No? Then why not recognize the Palestinians’ grievance and resort to counter-attack, a status that is now made worse by a “peace plan” that is nothing of the sort, just a takeover fiat.

      • Dr David Barnett

        The fact that 20% of Israel’s citizens are Arabs shows what a non-sequitur is Mr Klein’s first paragraph.

        The history in the second paragraph is simply wrong. The 5 Arab states that invaded the U.N. recognised newly declared State of Israel in 1948 were the aggressors.

        A more appropriate hypothetical than loss of the Battle of Britain is the following. Suppose a man purchased land in Great Neck, NY, and built a house on it, then the neighbours, dressed in white sheets, came by and told him he couldn’t live there because he was black. Would that be morally acceptable behaviour from the neighbours?

        The issue has never been “self-determination” for Arabs, but whether the Arab elites have the right to exclude Jews from living on land they have bought and worked.

        And why do the Arab elites want to exclude Jews? Because the Jews (unintentionally) broke exploitative hold the elites had over the masses.The antipathy to Jews in the land was a top-down, cynical racist ploy, dating from late Ottoman times. It was then stoked in the 20th century by murderous fanatics like Amin Al-Husseini (whom the British insanely allowed to become Mufti of Jerusalem).

        Well-intentioned people like Mr Klein have bought a Goebbels-like big lie whose purpose is to allow Arab elites to continue their oppression of the Arab masses.

        • Arthur Klein

          Non sequitur? I take “only successor state” to mean Palestinians have no rights to the land they live on in the West Bank for being stateless which far-right Israelis claim is theirs “to dispose of…in any way [Israel] sees fit” because the Jewish people once lived there millennia ago, whereas you refer to Arabs living within Israel. That to me is the non sequitur.

          I am mystified by Great Neck and white sheets. My point about Britain was that a people naturally rise up against an occupier.

          An Israeli-Arab civil war preceded the Arab states supporting the Palestinians, who of course felt that the U.N. had taken their land from them which made the Israelis aggressors in the Arab view. Incidentally, al Husseini was a natural leader heading bands of insurgents; he didn’t need annointing by the British and everyone was murderous. In that precursory civil war several hundred thousand Arabs were expelled or fled before the war, their villages destroyed by the IDF, and fearing repetition of the Deir Yassin massacre.

          The issue has never been “self-determination” for Arabs? In 2014 the Palestinains applied to join dozens of international treaties so as to be treated as a de facto independent state. As for excluding excluding Jews from living on land they have bought and worked, the issue is now far more — the annexation of those tracts as part of Israel.

          Anyway, enough time on this. The last word is yours, and thanks for the Goebbels insult.

      • Dr David Barnett

        For the record, the Goebbels comment was not directed at Mr Klein, but at the cynical originators of the narrative to which he subscribes. I would add that the Arab elites have been using anti-Jewish racism to maintain their oppressive hold on the Arab masses, for a century and a quarter. It is not uncommon that acting on baseless fears brings about the thing feared.

        The Wilsonian notion of “self-determination” offers no way to to define the unit so entitled. Any unit larger than the individual suffers from the problem of minority rights. This is particularly true of the middle-east, where the nation-state model of governance does not work at all.

        A state is basically a collective security arrangement. Given the plethora of interleaved communities, the middle-east needs something more akin to leagues of city states, than nation-states with simply-connected topology.

        I used the black man buying property in Great Neck NY to highlight that the right of individual to live unmolested is the only right of “self-determination” that has enduring meaning.

        Strange as it may seem, almost all the land of the Jewish settlements in Judah and Samaria has been bought privately from local Arab landowners. The idea that metaphorical men in white sheets should have the right to veto individual Jews from living on their own land is moral obtuseness.

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