Trump’s “greatest ever” deal to solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict

Map,of occupied territories

Published 22 February 2020

Netanyahu plans to build Israeli settlement on land allocated to Palestinians in Trump plan. Nir Hasson reports in Haaretz, here

More Israelis, Palestinians support the one-state solution. Ksenia Svetlova writes in Al Monitor, here.

Arab ambassadors call on Britain to reject “Deal of the century”, Middle east Monitor reports, here.

European Jews for a Just Peace writes to European Union High Representative Josep Borrell to thank him for his courageous statement condemning the Trump Plan. He made his personal statement when the EU Council of  Ministers could not issue a statement because two or three member states refused condemn the plan. (JFJFP was instrumental in writing this letter.) Text of letter:

Josep Borrell Fontelles                                                                                                            18 February 2020

High Representative and Vice President

European Union

Dear High Representative Borrell,

We are writing to support the strong statement you made on February 4th, criticising Donald Trump’s so-called Peace and Prosperity Plan. We know from press reports that a few countries, including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, and Italy, refused to agree to the Council of Ministers condemning the plan.

We thank you for showing courage and responsibility by issuing a statement yourself. We note this comment in particular, “We are especially concerned by statements on the prospect of annexation of the Jordan Valley and other parts of the West Bank,… steps towards annexation, if implemented, could not pass unchallenged.” We trust the European Union will be willing make good on that if the need arises.

More widely, we trust that all European Union member states will soon realise that the plan is grossly unjust, obviously designed to satisfy Israeli expansionism and without the slightest regard for Palestinian rights. Rather than leading to peace, it will guarantee continuing conflict and violence.

European member states should look at Israel and the Palestinians through the lens of international law and natural justice, and be willing to act accordingly. It has been patently obvious for many years that no right-wing Israeli government will even contemplate ending the occupation while Israel continues to enjoy the benefits of the EU-Israel Association Agreement and other agreements with the EU as if there were no occupation.

We urge the Council of Ministers to consider suspending the privileges Israel enjoys under these agreements until it ceases acting as if it is above the law.

 Yours sincerely,

 Dror Feiler, Chair of EJJP, Judar for Israelisk-Palestinsk Fred (Stockholm)

 Arthur Goodman, Diplomatic and Parliamentary Liaison officer, Jews for Justice for Palestinians (London)

US Envoy at UN-Trump Midseast Peace Plan is subject to changes, Jack Khoury and Noa Landau write in Haaretz, 11 February 2020, ”

“The Trump administration’s Mideast peace plan is a basis for negotiations and could be subject to changes, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft said Tuesday as the UN Security Council convened to discuss to the plan. A senior Trump administration official said after the Security Council session that Washington is “willing to have an honest and open discussion on [the plan] as a possible basis to restart negotiations for a realistic two-state solution. As we’ve said all along, our plan is the start of a process, not the end.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Trump’s plan seeks to “put an end to the question of Palestine,” as he addressed the session earlier.

Abbas said the fact that the plan does not establish East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine was enough to require its rejection, describing the Palestinian state envisioned by the plan as “swiss cheese” and asking who would accept a similar state and similar conditions. “It is an Israeli-American preempitve plan in order to put an end to the question of Palestine,” he said.

Following the session on Tuesday, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Abbas is Israel’s only partner for peace, in a joint press conference with the Palestinian leader in New York, in which Abbas called for a resumption of peace talks from where they left off during Olmert’s term.

In his statement, Olmert said that an Israeli-Palestinian peace requires direct negotiations between the two sides. He described Abbas as the only representative of the Palestinian people who is willing to negotiate with Israel, also praising him for fighting terrorism. The former prime minister however refrained from criticizing the American peace plan for the Middle East directly: “I don’t miss an opportunity to do that in Israel, but I’m not going to do that here,” he said.

Speaking after Abbas, Israel’s UN ambassador, Danny Danon, praised the Trump plan, saying that what it “does differently is refusing to accept the same out-of-date concepts of previous plans” and “refuses to accept that the only solution is the formula that has failed for over 70 years.”

Danon also accused Abbas of not being a serious partner for peace, saying that if he were serious about negotiations, he would be in Jerusalem or Washington.

“Progress toward peace will not be made so long as President Abbas remains in his position,” Danon said. “Only when he steps down, can Israel and the Palestinians move forward. A leader who choses rejectionism, incitement and glorification of terror can never be a real partner for peace.”

Abbas hit back at claims that the Palestinians have wasted opportunities for peace, saying that “these are silly slogans” and that the Palestinians remain committed to the Oslo Accords.

The Palestinian president further said: “I would like to reaffirm that we reject the fact that they are linking economic assistance to a political solution . . . First a political solution and then, if you wish to help us, we welcome that help.”

“The plan rewards the occupation instead of holding it accountable for all the crimes it has perpetrated against our people and our land,” Abbas said. “This plan will not bring peace or stability to the region and therefore we will not accept this plan, we will confront its application on the ground,” Abbas added.

Abbas noted that several countries and international bodies, as well as many Israelis and Americans, have rejected the plan, showing a document signed by a dozen U.S. lawmakers and one signed by 300 Israelis.

Steps toward annexation of parts of the West Bank would have a “devastating effect” on the prospect of the two-state solution to the conflict, the UN’s Mideast envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, said at the begining of the session.

Mladenov reaffirmed the UN’s official position that peace can only be achieved with a two-state solution along the pre-1967 lines, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states.

“Today it is not enough to reaffirm our positions,” Mladenov said, urging the parties to engage in negotiations. “Today is the time to hear proposals on how to move forward and to find our way back to a mutually agreed mediation framework,” he added.

Belgium’s foreign minister, Philippe Goffin, meanwhile issued a statement on behalf of the four EU members of the Security Council, saying that “we remain committed to a negotiated two-state solution, based on 1967 lines, with equivalent land swaps, as may be agreed between the parties, with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, sovereign and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition.”

The Trump administration has excluded funding for the Palestinian Security Services in its budget request for the 2021 fiscal year, after 27 years of bipartisan support and Israeli backing.

Trump’s plan, the product of three years effort by senior adviser Jared Kushner, would recognize Israel’s authority over the settlements and would require the Palestinians to meet a highly difficult series of conditions to be allowed to have a state, with its capital in a West Bank village east of Jerusalem.

There has been a slow but steady escalation in tensions between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank since the unveiling of the initiative. The Palestinian leadership, finding elusive unity, is planning to cut security ties with Israel, while an ongoing trade dispute puts increasing pressure on the Palestinian economy.

One Palestinian has been killed and dozens wounded in clashes with Israeli troops since the plan’s release. Seventeen-year-old Mohammad Salman Toameh Al-Hadad was shot in the chest with live fire in Hebron last week and later died of his wounds. The previous week, soldiers also shot and severely wounded a 15-year-old Palestinian in the head with a rubber bullet during clashes in the northern West Bank town of Kafr Qaddum.

Israel bolstered its security presence in the West Bank and Jerusalem after three separate alleged terrorist attacks injured 14 soldiers on Thursday. Twelve were wounded, one seriously, in a car-ramming attack in Jerusalem, with the suspect, identified as Sanad Al Tarman, 24, in custody. In a separate incident, a Haifa resident, 45-year-old Shadi Bana, shot and injured a Border Police officer near Lion’s Gate outside Jerusalem’s Old City. He was shot and killed after attempting to flee the scene. A conscript was also lightly wounded by gunfire near the Israeli West Bank settlement of Dolev after reportedly being shot by a passing car.” This article is printed in its entirety.

Published 31 January 2020

Please write to the Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP, and to your own MP to add your voices to our official lobbying. Write as a JFJFP signatory or supporter. You can write your own letter or use our lobbying letter (below) as a model. (Please let us know if you have written.)

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Our official lobbying letter

30 January 2020

Rt Hon Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary

Dear Mr Raab ,

We are writing about the initial response by the Prime Minister and yourself to the American plan for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, presented by President Trump on 28 January. We are hugely disappointed that you both welcomed it.

Surely, the correct response, at the least, would have been to restate the UK’s commitment to the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders and on international law.

The intent of the plan to reduce the Palestinian presence to four discrete areas, that could be called bantustans, in order to satisfy right-wing Israel’s expansionist ideology, is well understood. However, I would like to refer to just two of the plan’s terms.

The plan insists that the Palestinians recognise Israel as “the nation state of the Jewish people”, and it casts them as the sole cause of the long conflict, That is to demand the Palestinians make an abject public declaration that they do not now, and never did, have the right to self-determination in Palestine. That is patently untrue, and the Palestinians cannot be expected to accept it. It is also unnecessary. The Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s recognition of the state of Israel within the 1967 borders, made in 1988 and often repeated, is sufficient.

The plan will, of course, prove completely and rightly unacceptable to the Palestinians, as Prime Minister Netanyahu knows. He will therefore implement it unilaterally if he wins the forthcoming Israeli election, unless he is stopped by concerted action by the European Union and, we would hope, the United Kingdom.

In a wider sense, the plan is part of Donald Trump’s attack on international law and the rules-based international order. We cannot imagine that Prime Minister Johnson and you want to be remembered as Donald Trump’s willing helpers. Far better to build on Security Council Resolution 2334, which the UK did so much to create.

Arthur Goodman,
Parliamentary and Diplomatic Liaison Officer

Jews for Justice for Palestinians, London

020 8977 5161 (tel)
07985 912 426 (mobile)

c.c. Rt Hon Dr. Andrew Murrison, Minister of State

Published 29 January 2020

Donald Trump published his unjust plan yesterday, cynically timed to help Binyanin Netanyahu and himself in their mutual hours of need. The timing is intended to help Netanyahu avoid conviction for fraud and help him win the Israeli election, and simultaneously help Trump himself avoid conviction in his impeachment trial in the US Senate, and also position himself for the US election.

The plan would give right-wing Israel virtually everything it wants. There is no chance of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation agreeing to it, so it will have to be implemented unilaterally, as both men always knew. That it would consign Palestine to the status of Bantustans presents neither man with any moral qualms.

See the Times of Israel summary of the plan’s terms, here.

Further material on the implications of the plan will be added to this page from time ti tome.

Published 26 January 2020

After two years of repeated delays in publishing his “deal of the century”, Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner are finally  about to  launch their plan, timed to help Binyamin Netanyahu win another election and avoid jail for corruption.  Father and son-in-law have had to accept the reality that no Arab country, not even Saudi Arabia under Prince Salman, will endorse his plan to give right-wing Israel almost everything it wants and consign Palestine to the status of bantustans.

The Palestinians have refused even to discuss the plan. Therefore, if it is to become reality, it will have to be unilaterally imposed with American backing.

There is a ray of hope in mainstream Israeli politics that Netanyahu and Trumpthe may not get their way. Benny Gantz, leader of the “centrist” Kahol-Lavan party, only supports annexation of the Jordan Valley with the agreement of the international community, which he knows will never be forthcoming. The small amalgamated Labour-Gesher party remains committed to a negotiated two-state solution. The mostly Arab Joint List should again have a big bloc of  MKs.

A recent poll showed that only one-third of Israelis  support unilateral annexation of the Jordan Valley. here The key to thwarting the plan is whether Israeli voters will give Kahol Lavan, Labour-Gesher and the Joint List enough Knesset seats to prevent Netanyahu forming a majority government.

Mondoweiss revealed the latest leaked details of the plan, here. Times of Israel confirmed some of them here

The details are similar to what we revealed in May 2019, see here.

Our Lobby Group will recommence lobbing against this unjust and unworkable plan as soon as it is published.

© Copyright JFJFP 2017