Reaction to Trump Deal of the Century is swift and critical
In many cases, Palestinian leaders and activists denounced the plan unveiled Tuesday by President Donald Trump for Israeli-Palestinian peace even though it offers the basis for a Two-State Solution, a flawed Palestinian State divided by Israel’s illegal and racist settlements, but left the door open for Palestinian negotiations and pushback. Instead, the Palestinian leadership said no, and Arab groups are lining up behind that rejection. Here is an overview:
By Ray Hanania
Hagai El-Ad, Executive Director of B’Tselem, Israeli Human Rights Organization, said, “What the Palestinians are being offered right now is not rights or a state, but a permanent state of Apartheid. No amount of marketing can erase this disgrace or blur the facts.”
Omar Baddar of the Arab American Institute in Washington D.C. called Trump’s plan “a sham and a disgrace,” adding, “When Trump & Netanyahu say Israel must have sovereignty in the Jordan Valley, this means that Palestinians will be surrounded by Israel from every direction. This is not a Palestinian ‘state,’ this is an open-air prison. This is Apartheid.”
The American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in Washington D.C. responded, saying, “With this new plan, there is uncertainty in what the future holds for Palestinians. What is certain is that Palestinians will continue to live in an apartheid state, subjected to dehumanization on their own land. Palestinians in Gaza will continue to live under grave humanitarian conditions, and millions more will still be prevented from returning home. It is time that this country, and the rest of the world, takes action to end the apartheid system of governance in Israel and to ensure full rights and freedoms for all Palestinians.”
Peace Now said, “Trump and Netanyahu today presented a supposed peace plan that is as detached from reality as it is eye-catching. The plan’s green light for Israel to annex the settlements in exchange for a perforated Palestinian state is unviable and would not bring stability. This is not how peace is built, and the people in the region on both sides are the ones who will suffer for this political stunt.”
Imad Hamad of the American Human Rights campaign, writes:
APN Urges Peace Supporters: Reject Trump’s Israeli Annexation Vision
Washington, DC – The vision submitted today by Donald Trump’s White House for an alleged final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict deals a severe blow to efforts to achieve real peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
This vision is not a “peace plan” but rather a scheme, co-authored by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump, to allow for an immediate annexation of all Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the entire Jordan Valley. Hours ago, shortly after the Trump “vision” was unveiled, Benjamin Netanyahu’s announced that he will bring submit to the government a draft annexation bill this coming Sunday.
This plan is a recipe for disaster, for annexation, for the perpetuation of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, for the perpetuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for misery and bloodshed.
Trump’s vision – contrary to Trump’s statement in the White House today – does not stipulate a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem. It offers Palestinian limited transportational contiguity in a Swiss cheese-like territory encompassing no more than 70% of the West Bank, dotted by Israeli settlements and access roads, which are envisioned to remain in perpetuity. Trump’s vision does not offer a viable solution for the Palestinian refugee problem, and does not establish a clear, recognized border between Israel and the Palestinians. This plan is therefore doomed to be rejected by the Palestinians and doomed to fail.
Its failure, however, does not mean that it is not consequential.
Reversing the damaging impact of Trump’s “plan” is not impossible, but it will require tremendous effort by true supporters of a viable Israeli-Palestinian two-state peace agreement. That effort must start now.
Americans for Peace Now (APN) calls on supporters of Israeli-Palestinian peace – including our friends at major American Jewish organizations – to distance themselves from Trump’s vision, and take action to rekindle prospects for a viable two-state solution.
The Trump plan changes the terms of reference for future Israeli-Palestinian relations. It shifts from a record that was carefully built by Israelis, Palestinians, Americans and other third-party stakeholders over the course of decades – a paradigm based on bilateral negotiations for a compromise formula that will end in two independent, sovereign, contiguous states, living side-by side in peace and security, with an internationally recognized border between Israel and the future state of Palestine. Trump’s vision shifts from this internationally-endorsed paradigm – the details of which, for the most part, have been negotiated and agreed upon by Israeli and Palestinian leaders – to a vision held by hardline zealots: Israeli national-religious settlers and their messianic supporters in the United States.
Disastrously, Trump’s vision threatens to:
* Push the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank to terminate its agreements and cooperation with Israel, including its security cooperation, a process that might lead to the Palestinian Authority’s collapse and fully shift the burden of running Palestinian daily life in the West Bank to Israel;
* Severely destabilize Jordan, a key ally of both Israel and the United States, and jeopardize Israel’s peace treaty with the Hashemite Kingdom.
* Further destabilize the broader Middle East;
* Further undermine relations between Jewish and Arab citizens of the state of Israel;
* Further escalate the process of international measures against Israel, bringing it dangerously closer to international isolation;
* Further escalate Palestinian frustration and despair, which could unite Palestinians around anti-Israeli and anti-American violence.
Much has been said and written in recent days about the cynical, manipulative timing that the Trump administration has chosen for releasing its “plan.” The rhetoric in Israel relating to the “plan” is certainly influenced by the proximity to the March 2nd elections and the criminal indictments filed today in court against Prime Minister Netanyahu. This timing makes it all but impossible for the Israeli public and its leaders to carefully and responsibly examine the Trump “vision” and what its annexation endorsement means for the future of Israel, its character, and its prospects for living in peace with its Palestinian neighbors.
APN and its Israeli sister-organization, Shalom Achshav (Peace Now) will continue working to educate the American and Israeli publics, respectively, about the requirements of a practical, sustainable peace, continue to advocate for a viable two-state solution, and continue to oppose annexation.
At this somber moment – as we always do – we urge policy makers and policy shapers in the United States and Israel to reject Trump’s bogus “deal of the century” and instead approach Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking with the responsible, thoughtful attitude that this endeavor deserves, and to act sincerely to advance real peace, peace that both Israelis and Palestinians want and deserve.
Churches for Middle East Peace:
“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.
Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon
Saudi Government, King Salman statement:
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Telephones Palestinian President
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud had a phone call today with President Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques stressed to the President the Kingdom’s commitment to the Palestinian cause, and to ensure the rights of the Palestinian people.
His Majesty affirmed that since the era of King Abdulaziz until today, the Kingdom has stood by the brotherly Palestinian people and has supported their options, and what helps achieve their hopes and aspirations.
For his part, the Palestinian President expressed his appreciation to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for his commitment to the Palestinian cause, and for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its consistent and steadfast support for Palestine and its people.
Statement From The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has viewed the U.S. Administration’s announcement of its peace plan titled: “Vision for Peace, Prosperity, and a Brighter Future”.
In light of the announcement, the Kingdom reiterates its support for all efforts aimed at reaching a just and comprehensive resolution to the Palestinian cause.
Since the time of the Founder King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Saud, and through the reign of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been at the forefront of the efforts in support of the brotherly Palestinian people, and in standing by their side in all international forums to attain their legitimate rights.
Among these efforts was the presentation of the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002, which stressed, in clear terms, that a military solution to the conflict has not brought peace or security to any party, and the comprehensive and just peace is a strategic option.
The kingdom appreciates the efforts of President Trump’s Administration to develop a comprehensive peace plan between the Palestinian and the Israeli sides, and encourages the start of direct peace negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, under the auspices of the United States, and to resolve any disagreements with aspects of the plan through negotiations, in order to move forward the peace process to reach an agreement that achieves legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.
Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell:
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) made the following statement after the Trump Administration announced its Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal:
“This is not a peace plan, it actually aggravates issues in the region. The negotiations did not include Palestinians, or buy-in from regional partners such as Jordan and Egypt. For peace to prevail, both states need to be treated fairly. To be clear, this package grants a conditional state in name only to the Palestinians. A state that could never be sovereign because it is not contiguous and is entirely surrounded by Israel. Further, providing no right of return for Palestinian refugees, annexing the Jordan Valley to Israel, and recognizing West Bank settlements as Israeli territory does not treat Palestinians as equals. This proposal holds the potential to further the conflict and occupation and is not an earnest attempt at peace in the region.
“The United States must remain committed toward a just, two-state solution to the conflict that allows both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace, side-by-side. In December, the House of Representatives reiterated that commitment.
“Peace is never easy, and we must be clear-eyed about the obstacles that remain in resolving this conflict. This plan does not meet this standard, and is not a plan I can support.”
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders:
“Any acceptable peace deal must be consistent with international law and multiple UN Security Council resolutions. It must end the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and enable Palestinian self-determination in an independent, democratic, economically viable state of their own alongside a secure and democratic state of Israel. Trump’s so-called ‘peace deal’ doesn’t come close, and will only perpetuate the conflict, and undermine the security interests of Americans, Israelis, and Palestinians. It is unacceptable.”
“The United States can bring unequaled leadership to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but we must use that leadership to promote a just and durable agreement. Any acceptable peace deal must be consistent with international law and multiple UN Security Council resolutions. It must end the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and enable Palestinian self-determination in an independent, democratic, economically viable state of their own alongside a secure and democratic state of Israel.
Trump’s so-called ‘peace deal’ doesn’t come close, and will only perpetuate the conflict, and undermine the security interests of Americans, Israelis, and Palestinians. It is unacceptable.”
J Street issues statement:
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