CMEP’s Executive Director Responds to the Trump “Peace” Plan

Dear CMEP Community,

“They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.” Jeremiah 6:14

Earlier this afternoon, the Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) staff gathered around a laptop in our office–just a mile or so from the White House–to watch the President and Prime Minister Netanyahu announce the much anticipated “plan” for Israelis and Palestinians. As I listened to the speech, I was devastated. I was heartbroken as I thought of all the pain, suffering, and injustice that this plan will perpetuate.

The plan presented by President Trump and further fleshed out by Prime Minister Netanyahu is nothing less than a recipe for endless oppression and injustice. Palestinians for far too long have suffered under Israeli military control, a reality which today was denied and ignored.

The proposed plan would further entrench the Israeli security establishment, ensuring that generations of Israeli young men and women will serve in a military tasked with continuing control of the Palestinian people. The inevitable result will be more human rights abuses, trauma, and violence.

This cannot stand.

In addition, as Christians, we must not stand by and let our faith be perverted. It is clear that Christian values are being weaponized in an attempt to give a veneer of moral legitimacy to a plan that is, in fact, meant to facilitate further Israeli control over Palestinian lives, land, and resources.

The use of Judeo and Christian religious and spiritual imagery to justify political aims and agendas is idolatry. Referring to the modern geopolitical state of Israel as “a light unto the world,” and glorifying “places inscribed in the pages of the Bible,” without seriously addressing the injustices suffered by those who have lived under decades of occupation, flies in the face of what the Prince of Peace taught us. This appropriation of religious ideals diminishes the true spiritual significance of the land we call Holy and is a betrayal of the Christian faith.

At first glance, some of the language of the plan sounds promising. For example, we heard, “No Palestinians or Israelis will be uprooted from their homes.” Certainly a good thing! However, when the repercussions of the plan are understood more fully, it becomes clear that another reading is possible. Palestinian citizens of Israel might not be moved out of their homes, but it is very possible that they would be disenfranchised, and the territory their homes are on would be deemed a part of the triangle communities of the “future Palestinian state.” This would be a part of the proposed “land swap” meant to maximize the amount of land under Israeli control while minimizing the number of Palestinians living on the land.

Speaking of “opportunities for Palestinians” to have a prosperous future without recognizing the root causes of the suffering experienced by generations worldwide obfuscates the problem and presents a distorted “solution.” While Palestinians at times have not contributed constructively toward peace, we must be clear: the root of their despair is decades of dispossession, violence, and lived humiliation — a perpetuated dynamic that is not without consequences for Israeli society. For Israelis to have hope for a future without fear, where their legitimate security needs are met, there must be a peace plan where U.S. and Israeli governments recognize and commit to just resolutions in response to the legitimate grievances of the Palestinian people.

What we also did not hear was an articulation of the basic rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, freedom, equality, and dignity in a land to which they have centuries-old ties — something that money can’t buy.

So where do we go from here?

We must redouble our efforts to advocate for a durable and just peace that, unlike this and other plans of the past, centers justice, equality, human rights, and freedom for all in Israel and Palestine. Please join us in prayer. Let us know your thoughts and desire to stand in solidarity with all people in the Holy Land, especially those who were not present at the “peace table” today. Please stay tuned in the coming days and weeks for positive actions you can take to engage in advocacy as part of the CMEP community and in your networks. As we prepare for the work ahead, I offer this prayer:

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

In Christ,

Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon


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13 Comments On “CMEP’s Executive Director Responds to the Trump “Peace” Plan”

  1. In response to Drumpf-Israeli arrogant and racist presumption and claim of impunity from any and all claims of justice, elect our first Jewish President, Bernie Sanders.

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  2. This plan is outrageous and dangerous. I’ve followed the Palestinian situation for decades. It gets more horrible every year.

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  3. I was heartbroken when I heard the news this morning. I agree completely.

    Please let me know what, what we all can do.

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  4. Thank you Dr Cannon for a beautiful message, worthy of your faith and your organization.
    The world was commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau yesterday. By ignoring
    the lessons of Auschwitz, Netanyahu and Trump desecrate the memories of its victims.

    Reply

  5. Phyllis Taub Albritton

    The time is long past due for Palestine to have its own legal boundaries. Having been to Israel in 1954, I am
    truly upset about the way my Jewish brothers and sisters continue to treat our half-brothers and -sisters. Israel has EVERY right to exist, but not beyond the borders originally established many years ago. How long, O Lord, how long?

    Reply

  6. I stand with the Palestinian people and all those who support them in their quest for a just peace and homeland (sovereign state). I also support the BDS movement as it is non violent. The supporters of Israel are so frightened of it they are having laws passed to make it illegal to support this movement. What do we do when our government is the biggest supporter of Israel both financially and in the international community (United Nations). The Congress and Senate is owned by Israeli lobbyists. Since at least 1967 the United States has been a supporter of Israel while publicly stating we were even handed. The Trump Administration has taken the covers off and shown the world what we stand for in The Middle East- anything Israel wants it gets without any cost to them. How do we break the hold the Israeli lobby has on Congress and the Senate? Also right now the Trump administration.

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  7. Thanks for this opportune information with which to view the news tonight. Yes, so sad.
    I hope your office/staff will be able to later view the Calvin University lecture of today (you
    were at this event) by Najla Kassab on the web site ( Calvin.edu/January) “The Reformed
    Church in the Middle East: Hopes and Challenges.” Todays action by the US and Israeli leaders
    only make that challenge greater.
    I am a friend of Kairos W. MI. where we heard you speak at Third Reformed and bought and
    read your excellent book.
    Thanks for your work; our prayers – and occasional small gifts – are with you.

    Reply

  8. My heart bleeds with sorrow at the continuation of the injustices gripping the Middle East and especially the Palestinian people.

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  9. Thank you CMEP for your important work.

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  10. The world agrees, as do I.

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  11. I appreciate all you’ve articulated.
    My question is, if “Israel has the right to defend itself,” what do Palestinians have? It would appear the answer to that question is “Nothing.”
    And what about the ongoing home demolitions in East Jerusalem?
    Israel has all the “rights” and all the power, thanks to the neverending gift to Israel of billions of our taxpayer dollars and endless claims of insecurity by Israel’s Washington lobby. The Congress has to stop giving them money.

    Reply

  12. As Christians, Jews, and Muslims we have a tremendous division over our belief in God that has lasted for centuries.
    It is very hard today, as Muslims return to living a more true faith from the 6th or 7th century to really see that their religion is from God. Whereas with the Jews, we can see where we have a lot in common and their view of God which seems a lot more realistic.

    Why in the last couple of centuries hatred for the Jews has been strong and the Jewish people from the early 1900s to today are always on the verge of a new holocaust is very strange. My only thought is holocaust is jealousy as they are the chosen people of God. This may be a big step forward to peace in the middle east. The only other solution seems to be the complete destruction of the Jewish people which with nuclear weapons can occur at any time since they are now so concentrated in this one area of the world.

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  13. There is a possible bright side…. a realization a peace process hasn’t and will not work. Trump stated to the world at his first visit with Netanyahu as President that he was good with one state or two, so long as both agreed. That put the secular democratic state, which was the first position by the newly formed PLO in 1965, on the biggest table. Today Saeb Erekat said annexation could move Palestinians to go for one person, one vote. Supporters of Palestinians will be forever stymied by Israel’s game….rocks, rockets, and random violence. BDS is so divisive, it loses nearly as much as it gains. Yesterday’s denial of dignity and respect for Palestinians may lead them to reach out to liberals, including Jews in Israel and America, as allies with a campaign for equality under the law. I believe the world and many in the US Congress will embrace such a campaign. To make that work any violence will have to be considered unacceptable.

    Because this is clearly unacceptable for both sides to agree, it opens the door to a sustained human rights campaign that can change America’s politics.

    Reply

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