Clinton’s “Parameters” and George W. Bush’s “Road Map”, Donald Trump with his “Deal
of the Century” of January 28, 2020 is the third US President presenting a proposal
for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And this is definitely the
most detailed solution, including even a map for the first time.
are worried about the two-state solution or fear that Trump’s “Deal of the Century”
will make the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations impossible, may be assured.
Neither Trump nor Netanyahu seem to see an alternative to the two-state
solution. And Trump’s ideas welcomed so enthusiastically by Netanyahu will not
be feasible without direct negotiations with the Palestinians.
unknowns in this new equation, however, are what is to be meant by the term “state”
and whether the Palestinians will be ready to sit down at the negotiation table
with the Israelis.
2017, “the most pro-Israel American president in history” recognized Jerusalem
as the capital of the State of Israel. In May 2018, the US embassy was moved
there. In March 2019, Trump recognized the annexation of the Golan Heights by
the Jewish state. And now, in January 2020, he confirmed the legitimacy of
Israel’s claim to Judea and Samaria.
Through peace to prosperity
document entitled “Peace to Prosperity” is 181 pages long. The basic idea is
that there should be two states. Israel’s security is a top priority. In
principle, Trump’s “Deal of the Century” merely accepts the existing situation
as a reality, recognizes and legalizes it.
is for the United States to recognize Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and
its sovereignty over much of Jerusalem. Israel may annex all settlements and
the Jordan Valley. A number of smaller Israeli communities will be “enclaves”
within Palestinian territory, however, under Israeli sovereignty.
Israel will freeze all new settlement activity for four years. During this time
a Palestinian state is to be negotiated. According to Trump’s idea, Israel
would cede about seventy percent of Judea and Samaria. The map that accompanies
Trump’s “Deal of the Century” shows large Palestinian enclaves in the western
Negev, which have so far been territory of the State of Israel and are larger than
the Gaza Strip itself.
Roads, bridges, tunnels
system of roads, borders, bridges and tunnels is intended to grant extensive
freedom of movement to Israelis as well as to Palestinians. Anyone who is out
and about in the West Bank today already largely experiences this as a reality.
Really new compared
to the current situation is a 34 kilometer long tunnel connecting the southern
Hebron Mountains with the Gaza Strip. In terms of its length, this tunnel would
rank sixth worldwide. Only Switzerland, China, South Korea, Japan, Great
Britain and France have longer tunnels.
complain that all Palestinian highways, as well as the borders of this
Palestinian state, are fully controlled by Israel.
Undivided Jerusalem as capitals of two states
is intended to be Israel’s capital. Those parts of East Jerusalem that already
lie beyond Israel’s “security barrier” are supposed to serve as the capital of
the “State of Palestine”.
Palestinians shall gain access to Israel’s ports in Ashdod and Haifa and will
be able to use the Jordanian port of Aqaba on the Red Sea. Israel and Jordan
are to enable the Palestinians to build a leisure and wellness resort on the shores
of the Dead Sea. A committee will draw up a detailed map as basis for future negotiations.
years Trump’s planners promise to more than double Palestinian gross domestic product,
create over one million Palestinian jobs, reduce the Palestinian unemployment
to nearly single-digits, and reduce the Palestinian poverty rate by fifty
to all of these “incentives”, however, there is a caveat. Trump is openly
warning the Palestinians that his plan will be their last chance to gain a state
of their own.
interim prime minister Netanyahu’s enthusiasm compared the day of the
publication of Trump’s “Deal of the Century” with the day of the declaration of
independence by the State of Israel on May 14, 1948. At that time, US President
Truman was the first head of state to recognize the state of Israel. Likewise,
on January 28, 2020, Trump recognized the sovereignty of the State of Israel
over areas in Judea and Samaria, “which are crucial for our security and
central to our heritage”.
Defense Minister Bennett announced that he had appointed a special team to promote
the annexation of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, the Jordan Valley,
and the area around the northern part of the Dead Sea.
… of the Israelis
Council of Settlements voiced objections. Steven Pruzansky wrote: “Optimism in
the Middle East is misplaced until the coming of Moshiach.” According to the
national religious rabbi, no generation has the right to compromise the borders
of the country of Israel that the Creator himself defined. And: “Who would have
believed that Benjamin Netanyahu, of all people, would stand alongside an
American president at the White House and announce his willingness to negotiate
over establishing a Palestinian state in 70 percent of the West Bank, with its
capital in neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, and incessantly call it a ‘historic
observers complained that Netanyahu’s indictments were not mentioned. In
addition, the timing of the press conference is suspiciously positioned in view
of the Israeli and US elections.
left-liberal Israeli daily HaAretz observed that “Trump’s plan is undoubtedly
the most pro-Israel peace proposal ever made”, but also at the same time “the
worst offer ever made to the Palestinians.”
of all stripes seem to agree that optimism is out of place and Trump’s “Deal of
the Century” is a “stillbirth”.
…of the Palestinians
Strip saw counter-demonstrations already on the day before Trump’s
announcement. There Trump’s “Deal of the Century” is referred to as “liquidating
the Palestinian cause”. Immediately after the US President and Israeli Prime
Minister appeared together, reports were released showing Palestinians burning
pictures of Trump and Netanyahu on the streets of Ramallah.
Hamas and the
PLO are actually hostile to each other. Now their representatives in the Gaza Strip
and the West Bank stood side-by-side in a rare display of unity. Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas had refused any contact with Trump’s team for two years.
After Trump’s statement, he picked up the phone to coordinate with Hamas leader
Jerusalem is not for sale! Our rights are not negotiable! Your conspiracy deal
won’t go through,” the President of the Palestinian Authority announced, and: “Trump
and Netanyahu have announced the ‘Slap of the Century’. We will answer with
slaps.” The 84-year-old heir to Yasser Arafat, known among his people as “Abu
Mazen”, stated: “No Palestinian child, Muslim or Christian, can ever accept
something like this… We say a thousand times more: No, no, no!”
end of Abbas’ speech, clashes occurred at the border crossings to the
Palestinian Territories in Bethlehem, Ramallah and Jerusalem. Dozens of young
Palestinians fought street battles with Israeli security forces. The
Palestinian Red Crescent counted twelve injured.
… from the Arabs, Europeans and Iran
ambassadors of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman had attended Trump’s
announcement of the “Deal of the Century” in silence, but visibly on all sides.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said it supports direct negotiations between
Palestinians and Israelis under the auspices of the United States. All
disagreements should be resolved through negotiations.
The United Kingdom welcomed Trump’s plan. France promised “to study it carefully” and at the same time emphasized the need for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict. EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell threatened unashamedly: Israeli “Steps towards annexation [of parts of the West Bank], if implemented, could not pass unchallenged.”
Trump’s proposal as “treason of the century”. And Tehran’s long arm in the
Levant, Hezbollah in Lebanon, interpreted it as an attempt to “wipe out the
rights of the Palestinian people”.
administration’s proposal to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is
definitely among all the peace initiatives from abroad the one that comes
closest to the reality of what is possible. In the past, it has always been “unrealistic
expectations and unattainable demands” that left diplomatic negotiations stuck
in a bloody mess.
headline of recent developments is not, “The United States allows Israel to
annex the West Bank,” but rather, the overwhelming majority of the Israeli
right is ready to cede seventy percent of the disputed areas to the
Palestinians. The majority of the Israeli right seems to have given up the
dream of retaining the entire Land of Israel.
Donald Trump, with the entire American evangelical world behind him, has now
promised the Palestinians a state. The fact that it is a problem for
Bible-believing Jews and Christians to cede any part of the Promised Land to Gentile
sovereignty and thus to divide the land owned by the living God himself is referred
to in internal theological discussions. On the political stage of 2020, the
question is no longer whether there will be a Palestinian state at the side of Israel,
but just what its price will be.
Trump and Netanyahu offer the Palestinians the opportunity to face reality and
to accept it by labeling the Palestinian Authority “state”. The Palestinians
and their ideological supporters may not like that. However, anyone who demands
more for the Palestinian side must be asked where his sense of reality is.
“Land for Peace” does not work
for Peace” recipe has proven to be impractical for Israel. Today, the Jewish
state is threatened by rockets and missiles or even regularly fired at from
almost every area Israel has ever ceded to Gentiles.
worldwide increasing “Judaeophobia”, in all its shades, from anti-Judaic
theology, to classic, racist anti-Semitism, to anti-Zionism, which turns
against the political expressions of the Jewish people, allows no hope that
something will fundamentally change for the Jewish people. The best “friends of
Israel” in the West accept as de facto unchangeable or deliberately ignore that
large parts of Israel’s Muslim neighbors, including many Palestinians, are not
only calling for an end to the Jewish state, but even pursue the extermination of
the Jewish people worldwide as ultimate goal. And they do not shy away from
publishing this in writing.
Ignorance, contradictoriness, naivety
to Prosperity” proposal is the closest to reality what Western Middle East diplomacy
has had to offer for more than one hundred years. This is true, even though this
latest peace plan also shows the typical characteristics of Western
instructions to those directly involved in the Middle East conflict: Ignorance,
example, when declaring “the status quo of the holy places” should “be
maintained”: “In particular the status quo at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif
should continue uninterrupted.” But in the next paragraph it says: “People of
every faith should be permitted to pray on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif…”
statements one has to ask the question: Do Trump’s Middle East experts not know
that one of the most important unwritten status quo agreements on the Temple
Mount is that neither Jews nor other non-Muslims are allowed to pray there?
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself confirmed this in 2015.
If now suddenly
“people of all faiths” were “allowed to pray on the Temple Mount”, this would certainly
correspond to Western values and most definitely to the ethical standards that
the State of Israel has imposed on itself. However, it would also mean a
massive change in the status quo, to which the Palestinians, perhaps even the
Islamic world, would be outraged.
Return to Western standards
of the Century” also marks a reversal of Western values in the West’s Middle
East policy at one another point: It is the first and only proposal to resolve
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that does not require ethnic cleansing.
who calls considerations, such as to transfer the Triangle and the area of Wadi
Ara from Israel to a future Palestinian state, “racist” might want to take a
closer look. These territories have immediate continuity with the Palestinian
areas. The people who live there call themselves “Palestinians”, are publicly
committed to fighting the “Zionist State of Israel”, feel historically,
culturally and above all religiously more connected to the Palestinians than to
Avigdor Lieberman, who put this idea up for discussion for the first time, had
in no way an “ethnic cleansing” in mind, which would have driven someone away
from his home or even robbed him of his property. Rather, he had proposed a
move of borders that would transfer these people from the sovereign territory
of the Jewish state they hated so much to the sovereignty of a longed-for
Palestinian state. In return, settlements inhabited by loyal citizens of the
State of Israel should be joined to the territory of the State of Israel.
Trump’s grandly announced “Deal of the Century” will change anything will
ultimately depend on the original question of whether Israelis and Palestinians
are ready to talk to each other, will be ready to build their lives together, and
to positively accept the existence and above all the right to exist of the respective
A sign of
hope is that the “Day of Wrath” prescribed by the united Palestinian leadership
could not really be enforced effectively. An impetus could be that the
Palestinians, under the leadership of rivals PLO and Hamas, are enjoying less
and less support and have long ceased to be liked