When the president of the United States, Donald Trump, festively presented his “Deal of the Century,” he repeated the following words several times: “peace plan” and “Palestinian state.” Despite the seemingly appropriate words and the celebratory atmosphere, an examination of the details of the plan clearly reveal the degree to which it lacks both peace and a Palestinian state. A deeper assessment indicates that the plan not only neglects to advance peace, but also has the potential to severely harm prospects for a genuine peace plan for both parties.
Summary: Why Is the Plan So Bad?
- Unilateralism and lack of reciprocity – According to the US plan, Israel may already (unilaterally) annex settlements in its initial stage of implementation, prior to negotiations. A Palestinian state will be established, conditionally, per terms that will be determined unilaterally.
- The proposed Palestinian “state” isn’t really a state: 1) It lacks territorial contiguity or potential for economic development – The proposed Palestinian state is akin to Swiss cheese, whose land is interconected via roads and tunnels that prevent any sustainable development. 2) It lacks independent boundaries – The proposed Palestinian state will be surrounded by the state of Israel on all sides. Even the crossing between Gaza and Egypt will have an Israeli presence. 3) It lacks self-sufficient security – According to the US plan, Israel will retain sweeping security control over the Palestinian state.
- Indefensible borders – Annexation of settlements that will become enclaves of sorts in a Palestinian state, will constitute an overwhelming security burden for the Israeli military.
- The plan lacks a solution for Jerusalem – Trump’s plan does not resolve one of the focal points of the conflict, leaving all of East Jerusalem and hundreds of thousands of Palestinian residents under Israeli sovereignty.
- Land swaps and population transfers – The US plan includes the possibility for Israel to strip hundreds of thousands of Arab citizens of their Israeli citizenship, “transferring” them in a virtual manner by redrawing the Green Line so that they will live under Palestinian rule. This racist proposal will not really add much to Israel’s Jewish supermajority, and will severely harm the delicate fabric of life between Jewish and Arab citizens.