The Trump administration put forward a new Middle East Peace Plan as the latest installment of a series of frameworks over the years to try to find an enduring peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. Like every proposal before it, it was declared dead on arrival.
The Israelis had made numerous direct overtures for peace through the years, from its founding in 1948, post the 1967 war and in 2008, when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert presented a plan that met nearly every desire of the Palestinian Authority. But in the end, the Arabs rejected every Israeli effort to find peace.
So third parties took a stab at putting forward their versions of a workable peace. The last serious attempt was advanced by the Arab League in 2002, known as the Arab Peace Initiative (API) which was advanced by Saudi Arabia. The API, not surprisingly, was heavily biased towards the Palestinian Arabs. The Obama Administration worked off of the API in trying to strike a peace agreement, and secured small adjustments from the Arab League to make it more palatable for Israel to accept, such as the notion of including “comparable and mutual agreed minor swap of the land” in 2013.
But the plan did not meet Israel’s basic security needs, and no peace agreement was advanced, particularly after Hamas’ 2014 war against Israel and the Palestinian Authority fomenting the “stabbing intifada” in 2015.
President Trump, in concert with his pro-Israel advisers including Jason Greenblatt, realized that a new paradigm needed to be advanced.
Trump’s team spent years developing a new framework based on a long-term vision for the region, rather than simply trying to get Israel to accept the API which would have left it very vulnerable in a tumultuous region. This new initiative recognized several inherent flaws of the Obama-approved API, including lies which had become mainstreamed, or as US founding father Thomas Paine once said “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”
- “East Jerusalem.” There is no place called East Jerusalem any more than there is a place called East Berlin. That name existed for only 18 years of the city’s 4,000 year history and was an artifice of war that ended in 1967.
- “Occupied East Jerusalem.” Jerusalem was NEVER slated to be under Arab control in international agreements including the San Remo Agreement, the Mandate of Palestine or the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan. To call it “occupied Palestinian territory” is a complete lie.
- Refugees. Refugees are people who left a COUNTRY, not a mandate territory or a specific town. To extend the farce of calling for a return of “refugees” when the mandate was later advocated to be split for two peoples is against the very nature of the goal. To continue the charade for several generations entrenches resentment and has long been an obstacle to peaceful coexistence.
- “Inalienable rights.” The United Nations has pushed forward the notion that Palestinian Arabs have “inalienable rights” of sovereignty. That would make them the only people with such rights – do Hispanic people who lived in New York City in the 1970’s have inalienable rights to their own country? People only have inalienable rights to self-determination.
Beyond the outright lies which have permeated discourse in the Arab-Israel conflict, there has been a denial of facts:
- Return of “territories.” Israel has already complied with UN resolutions to return territories won in the 1967 War: it returned the Sinai to Egypt and handed Gaza to the Palestinians, the first time Palestinians ever had self-rule of a territory.
- War from Palestinian territories. Since the Palestinians have ruled Gaza, they launched thousands of rockets into Israeli civilian neighborhoods.
- Inability to Compromise. The two Palestinians factions have not even been able to negotiate between themselves, so how realistic can it be that they will ever agree to peace with Israel.
- Rights. Only under Israel has there been freedom of access and freedom to worship for all religions, as opposed to the Arabs from 1949 to 1967 which barred Jews from the Old City of Jerusalem and Hebron.
- Growth. The Arab population in the West Bank has grown significantly more than the Arab populations in all of the neighboring countries from 1967 until now, demonstrating the positive and stable environment of Israel for all of its inhabitants.
The Trump peace plan takes reality into account as it seriously addresses the security risks of the region. It is a constructive document to counter-balance the flawed Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, and will hopefully enable the parties to chart a course towards an enduring peace.
Like Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” play which included a series of skits meant to address violence against women, the Middle East Peace Monologues now has a new installment to address the violence against and isolation of Israel. The question is whether this latest addition will break the impasse to become a dialogue.
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