Below find an analysis of the “Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People” plan and action steps if you are feeling called to move against the plan.
One of the many problems with President Trump’s plan is that it seems to say A, when it means B, yet will be used for C. In almost all cases, A sounds good for Palestinians or conforms with past Peace Process ideas. What the wording actually means, B, is instead a radical departure that will hurt Palestinians (and Israelis in the long run). And C, what is really happening, is in most cases a different unilateral Partial Annexation that the plan is designed to facilitate.
All of this means a continuation of Occupation, of violence and oppression for both Israelis and Palestinians. Some key aspects of the plan, or what Trump or Prime Minister Netanyahu said was in it:
- The plan does not “provide for a two-state solution.”
- The “state” proposed by the plan is not a State in any normal sense. It would only be on islands of territory “allocated” by the plan, and only if the Palestinians meet all of the Vision requirements (see below), to Israel’s satisfaction. And Israel would control all air, land and sea borders, security, resources and trade of the state, as under the Occupation.
- None of the Israeli governing parties has accepted allowing any Palestinian state, and there is no mention of such a state in the Partial Annexation bill now before the Knesset.
- The plan asks Palestinians to “meet the challenges of peaceful coexistence”, including inter alia establishing Palestinian national laws on human rights, recognizing Israel as the Jewish State, dismantling Hamas, demilitarizing Gaza, and halting financial compensation to terrorists.
- All deeply subjective, and all subject to Israel and the US deciding whether what Palestinians did was sufficient to meet the “challenges.”
- Palestinians cannot avoid annexation by any of these anyway, as even under the plan annexation is separate and would have already happened.
- The plan is not “to be negotiated between Palestinians and Israelis.”
- Palestinians had nothing to do with formulating the plan, and the plan only allows them to negotiate after Israel annexes at least 30% of the West Bank. And negotiations for a state only if the Palestinians have already met the Israeli demands above within four years.
- Minutes after proclaiming the plan, however, Netanyahu said Israel would unilaterally do the first 30% annexation five days later, and a second unilateral annexation (roughly doubling the first) soon thereafter. Ambassador Friedman then publicly said the US government would accept those unilateral annexations. No negotiations. Even among Israelis.
- Trump said under the plan Jerusalem “will remain Israel’s undivided capital.” Any Palestinian capital will be in “Eastern Jerusalem,” and the US will put an embassy there.
- The plan gives Israel authority over all of Jerusalem, including its Arab neighborhoods inside and outside East Jerusalem. What it gives as a potential Palestinian capital is either of two distant suburbs outside the Security Wall, which would remain standing.
- Either would be cut off by the Wall from Jerusalem, and cut off by the plan’s annexations from the rest of Palestinian areas. The Wall even runs through one of them, Abu Dis.
- There is no settlement freeze in the plan, even though Trump alluded to one in his remarks.
- The plan gives Israel sovereignty over all existing settlement areas, and it can still build in them regardless of what Palestinians do or request. What the plan does do is give Palestinians a four-year reprieve on Israel building new settlement areas where there are already Palestinian towns and cities, although the plan also explicitly allows Israel to annex those Palestinian built-up areas too after the four years if Israeli demands are not met.
- Interestingly, Israel’s current leaders do not want to annex Palestinian cities and towns. Their stated intention is to stop at full Area C annexation, 60+% of the West Bank, so as to keep any significant numbers of Palestinians from having claim to Israeli citizenship, residency, or any other rights. Some Israeli leaders even envision disenfranchising more than 100,000 present Israeli citizens of Palestinian descent, and that IS in Trump’s plan.
- The plan says “No Palestinians or Israelis will be uprooted from their homes.”
- This has been a Netanyahu line since his July 2019 speech at the Revava settlement, and now is in the plan. The key is what “their homes” means. When civilian Israeli law (like the various Absentee Property acts) is applied to annexed areas, Israel can sue to throw Palestinians out by claiming they do not have title to his/her land. If the Palestinian loses, he/she did not own the house or land, hence was not “uprooted” when forced to leave.
- Israel dispossesses Palestinians often in the West Bank, and also in already annexed East Jerusalem. Annexation will give Israelis more tools for dispossession, although to be fair, the current Israeli leaders’ intent is to annex as few Palestinian built-up areas as possible.
- According to Netanyahu, the plan entails US “recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over all the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, large and small,” but the plan does not say that.
- There would be several small outposts not annexed, and the Vision lays out in detail what happens to them (application of domestic Israeli law and security, as at present).
- “Recognizing” or “Extending” Israeli sovereignty are how Israelis say Annexation.
- The plan says the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved “outside Israel.”
- The plan specifically eliminates any Palestinian “Right of Return,” replacing it with financial compensation (if Jewish “refugees” who moved to Israel from Arab countries after 1948 are also compensated) and perhaps some return to a Palestinian State if any.
- If Israel has annexed the Jordan Valley and the rest of Area C, there will be no place for large numbers of returning refugees. The bigger problem is that the plan would mean the hundreds of thousands of refugees stay where they are in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and other countries. Many increasingly want them to leave, and they do not grant citizenship.
- The plan’s “$50bn investment in a Palestinian state” is as qualified, and unlikely, as the state.
- Like other things, in the plan the money is entirely contingent on the Palestinians meeting Israeli and US requirements in advance. Unlike the other things, it is also contingent on Palestinians meeting the other donors’ requirements and supervision, as specified in June.
- Pray: Pray that even in the midst of the current situation, peace may prevail for our brothers and sisters in Israel/Palestine
- Consider sharing CMEP Executive Director Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon’s letter in response to Trump’s plan with your network or comment on the letter on our blog to start a conversation and share your thoughts.
- Take action: Please keep your eyes out in the coming days for ways to express your views on the plan with your elected officials. Click here to sign up for our action alert list.
- Donate: Please consider donating here to support our work.