Table Of Contents:
The Israeli–Palestinian Peace Plan Is a Much-Needed Dose of Reality: David Harsanyi, National Review, Jan. 28, 2020
A Middle Eastern Fairy Tale Unfolds at the White House: Liel Leibovitz, Tablet, Jan. 30, 2020
Why the Palestinians Will Reject the ‘Deal of the Century’: Lt. Col. (Res) Maurice Hirsch, JNS, Jan. 29, 2020
Trump’s Invitation Has Changed the Stakes of the Elections: Caroline B. Glick, Israel Hayom, Jan. 24, 2020
It’s worth noting that some of the harshest critics of Donald Trump’s new Israeli–Palestinian peace plan — many of them Middle East “experts” who’ve worked in the Clinton and Obama administrations — are the same people behind catastrophic efforts that resulted in more hopelessness, intifadas, and extremism. These professional peace-processors have managed to harden the Israeli public against even the most abstract negotiations because, inevitably, all of them end in violence.
As with the plans that came before it, it’s unlikely that Trump’s plan will succeed. But it is the best of any recent offerings because it doesn’t make any false promises. “Trump Outlines Mideast Peace Plan That Strongly Favors Israel,” read the New York Times headline, reflecting the general tone of media coverage. That’s wrong. The plan favors reality, laying out the only plausible path to a new Palestinian state.
It’s been a dangerous waste of time basing negotiations on delusions. And the reality is that there will never be a Palestinian “right of return” to Israel, since such a policy would destroy the Jewish character of the state. The refugee situation is a 70-plus-year scandal of the Arab world’s making in which thousands of Palestinians are condemned to poverty so they can be used as a cudgel in the propaganda fight against Israel.
Palestinians are not getting their great-granddad’s house in Jaffa back any more than the hundreds of thousands of Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Muslim lands after Israel’s 1948 war of independence are reclaiming their property. The difference is that one of these groups accepted reality long ago.
Nor will Palestinians ever take control of Jerusalem proper. Any Israeli politician who broaches the notion of handing over the fulcrum of Jewish cultural, religious, and political identity to Fatah is engaging in an act of political suicide. Palestinians have never administered Jerusalem, and they have no legitimate claim over Jerusalem. The current state of affairs is the status quo, whether Palestinians decide they want a state or not.
Likewise, Israelis will never pull back to pre-1967 lines, giving up its claims to the West Bank, because no sane nation would reinstitute unsecure borders next to an unreliable potential terror state. The vast majority of Israelis (“settlers”) who now reside in towns (“settlements”) built in historically Jewish areas (“the occupied West Bank”) aren’t going to be displaced because the United Nations, John Kerry, or Ben Rhodes has declares Judea and Samaria a no-Jew zone. Those towns are part of a de facto border whether Palestinians agree to a deal or not.
And finally, there is no way that Israel, a liberal democracy responsible for the security of its citizens, can hand over the Jordan Valley — an area with immense strategic importance irrespective of the Palestinian situation — to a newly created state that allies itself with unsavory nations and entertains the idea of entering into a unity government with Hamas, the theocratic terror group. Perhaps after peaceful coexistence for a few decades this could change. But right now, that’s the status quo, whether Israel officially assumes sovereignty over the Jordan Valley or not. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
There’ll be time enough, in the days and weeks to come, to parse the fineries of President Trump’s so-called Deal of the Century. For now, though, one thing must be said: The plan introduces an element that’s been sorely missing from Washington’s approach to the Middle East for at least two decades—reality.
Talk to any of our best and brightest diplomats, analysts, and pundits, and you may be forgiven for thinking the region was reached not by plane but by wardrobe. Like a sandy Narnia, the land imagined in Foggy Bottom was one governed not by people and interests but by concepts and frameworks, best understood not by hitting the ground but by visiting the Council on Foreign Relations.
That is why the Clinton Parameters, which would’ve given the Palestinians the vast majority of the West Bank and the entirety of the Gaza Strip, lived on long after they were rejected, in December of 2000, by Yasser Arafat. Condoleeza Rice, who soon took over Foggy Bottom, worked assiduously to resurrect the agreement, and Barack Obama conjured it any time he needed a specter with which to haunt Israel into submission. It mattered not a lick that the Palestinians continued to reject this last, best shot at keeping the Oslo Accords alive. It moved no one that the Palestinian Authority continued to accept vast sums in foreign aid, much of which was funneled to reward terrorists for murdering Jews. And no one cared that each Palestinian no—delivered to Barak at Camp David and to Olmert in Jerusalem—was met by an American shrug and a promise to work harder to appease the region’s ever obdurate child. This is the kind of logic bred by fantasists: the belief that no matter how people behave here on earth, some big and mystical breakthrough is forever just around the corner.
As those paying attention to reality know by now, no breakthrough was forthcoming. Israel plodded on imperfectly, Mahmoud Abbas continued his predecessor’s stubborn headshake, and Washington continued to talk haughtily about the cycle of violence and about the settlements being the real obstacle to peace and about the need for both sides to make painful sacrifices.
Enter Donald Trump.
You may resent the president and dwell on his many shortcomings. You may admire him for a number of his finer qualities. But one thing is now evident: Like the small child in the tale of “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” Trump has an impressive ability, at least when it comes to the Middle East, to point out and ridicule the preposterous pieties his predecessors considered sacrosanct.
When confronted with the myth of Palestinian refugees, for example—Palestinians being the only people in history for whom the condition of statelessness is hereditary and observed rigidly even as new generations strike roots elsewhere—Trump slashed support for UNRWA, the United Nations’ agency devoted to perpetuate this outrage. He moved the American Embassy to Jerusalem, doing indeed what a long line of American politicians promised and failed to deliver. He recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. And now, perhaps most meaningfully, he put to rest the lifeless notion that the 1967 borders—the so-called Green Line—were the sine qua non of any and all future negotiations.
What these decisions have in common isn’t just the ability, not always in ample supply in Washington, to see Israel’s point of view. They also share a refreshing ability to observe reality coolly and without too many preconceived notions. Any intelligent and impartial observer of this conflict—as opposed to the politruks on the Potomac—would’ve long ago realized that insisting on a framework that has been rejected for 20 years straight was folly, and that it was far more constructive to acknowledge that actions have consequences; that decades of declining offers came at a price; and that, given the circumstances, a new deal should begin by affirming conditions on the ground and proceeding from there. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
While the exact details of the new U.S. peace plan—also known as the “deal of the century”—are unknown, it is already clear that the PLO and the Palestinian Authority will reject it. Their rejection will not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with their approach, reflecting the consistently expressed demands of the PLO/P.A. regarding any future peace deal. Cumulatively, these demands require the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state. Any suggested peace deal that does not meet these demands will be rejected by the Palestinians.
The original Israeli-Palestinian peace accord was signed by Israel and the PLO. The P.A. was created as a function of the 1993 agreement, a later agreement in 1994, and finally, the 1995 interim agreement. These agreements are together known as the “Oslo Accords.” In those agreements, a number of issues were left to “permanent status negotiations,” including “Jerusalem, settlements, specified military locations, Palestinian refugees, borders, foreign relations and Israelis.”
Despite having agreed to negotiate on these subjects, over the last 25 years, on repeated occasions, the PLO/P.A. have made clear that while they were happy to assume the control and jurisdiction afforded to them by the accords, they had no intention whatsoever to negotiate any settlement regarding the other issues.
The PLO/P.A. stance on Jerusalem is unequivocal. According to them, Jerusalem, especially but not limited to the Temple Mount, is holy Islamic territory that no terrestrial body has the right to forfeit to non-Islamic rule. In an interview with the official P.A.-controlled radio station The Voice of Palestine in September, P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas said: “Our great people … we will not accept the statement that Jerusalem is a capital of two states. Jerusalem that was occupied in 1967—in [every] meter and centimeter it is our capital, and I say this out loud: Jerusalem and Palestine are not for sale or negotiation.”
Any peace deal that suggests leaving any part of Jerusalem, including but not limited to the Western Wall Plaza, under non-P.A./Islamic jurisdiction will be rejected.
Settlements and Israelis
While the initial willingness of the PLO to negotiate on the settlements might have suggested some flexibility and perhaps even recognition of the fact that before 1948, there were a number of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, and that following an agreement Israelis would still be permitted to live in the area, the PLO/P.A. stance has since been made clear. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Leaks about the details of President Donald Trump’s peace plan are contradictory. Until the President releases his plan officially, we won’t know for certain what it involves. But from what we have experienced so far with the Trump administration generally and President Trump, in particular, it is clear that Trump does not accept the premise that formed the foundation of the Oslo peace process with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The 1993 Oslo framework for peace, and every peace plan that derived from it since, was based on the assumption that the PLO gets a veto over Israel’s right to secure its interests and assert its sovereign rights in Judea and Samaria.
Comments this week from Blue and White Party officials, from party head Benny Gantz on down the line demonstrated that Israel’s largest center-left faction, the party competing with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud for national leadership, adheres to this assumption unequivocally. Without the PLO’s permission, or what Gantz referred to on Tuesday as “coordination with the international community,” (which amounts to the same thing), Gantz and his colleagues assert that Israel mustn’t apply its laws to the Jordan Valley or to any other part of Judea and Samaria.
Trump’s sudden decision to summon Netanyahu to the White House for a meeting next Tuesday and his acceptance of Netanyahu’s request that Gantz also be invited, puts Gantz in a bind.
Clearly Trump’s move is dictated by U.S. electoral considerations. With the Democratic presidential primaries set to begin in just over a week, Trump cannot wait for the March 2 elections to make his move. By the time a government is finally formed in Israel – assuming the election results are conclusive this time around – Trump will be too busy with his reelection campaign to focus on Israel and the Palestinians.
Which brings us to Gantz and his invitation to the White House.
On the one hand, by agreeing to let Gantz join Netanyahu, Trump is granting the opposition leader the stature of a national leader, almost on par with Netanyahu.
But on the other hand, Trump is driving a wedge into the heart of Gantz’s party. Blue and White is not an organic party. It is a combined list of three different parties. Two of those parties lean left to various degrees. One leans right. To win over swing voters, Gantz has placed the right-wing candidates front and center and tried to keep the more leftist ideological majority of his party members on the sidelines. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
For Further Reference:
The Key Points of the Trump Middle East Peace Plan, Explained: Gabe Friedman, JTA, Jan. 28, 2020 — President Donald Trump unveiled his long-awaited Middle East peace plan on Tuesday, and the release event was a doozy.
WATCH: Jared Kushner: Palestinians Have Perfect Track Record Of Blowing Every Opportunity They’ve Had In Their Past: CNN, YouTube, Jan. 28 , 2020 –– CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: OK, so Jared, this is a huge day for you, for the president, and let’s face it, for Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies and supporters. We know that they believe this to be a great deal because they’ve said it — he has said it from the podium
Netanyahu’s Likud Overtakes Gantz’s Party Following Trump Deal Reveal: WIN, Jan. 29, 2020 –– Israel’s religious and right-wing bloc led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gained significant ground among voters in the wake of Tuesday evening’s White House announcement of its Mideast peace plan, a recent poll found.
Turkey and Iran Lead Regional Condemnation of Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian Peace Plan: Staff, Algemeiner, Jan. 29, 2020 — Iran and Turkey led the way in condemning US President Donald Trump’s newly-announced Middle East peace initiative, denouncing the American proposal as a betrayal of the rights of the Palestinians.
Reservations About the Trump Mideast Peace Plan: Daniel Pipes, The Washington Times, Jan. 29, 2020 — long with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, all my friends are delighted with Donald Trump’s plan to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.