ByHaaretz.com | Jan 28, 2020
Trump’s Mideast Plan Is a Recipe for War, Not Peace
Trump’s ‘peace plan’ endorses the Netanyahu doctrine that, for Israel, might is always right. Palestinians must refuse to engage with these fictional negotiations, with this U.S. administration – and with a bullying Israel
As U.S. President Donald Trump stepped up to speak at the White House Tuesday, it was flagged as the announcement of much-delayed plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace. Far from offering a path to peace, Trump’s “vision for peace and prosperity and a brighter future” will instead cement the long-term subjugation of Palestinians at Israel’s hands.
Israel will not be required to dismantle its illegal settlements. Palestinians will be required to renounce their internationally-recognized right to return to their homeland. Palestinians will have little access to Jerusalem. Israel will be allowed, in violation of international law, to annex parts of the West Bank.
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To the unengaged outside observer this may not mean much, but for Palestinians, and indeed for the international community, this plan speaks volumes. It does away with the international legal system as we know it and replaces it with a system in which “might is right” – where power, and not law, is supreme.
Let’s be clear: this is not a peace plan but rather ticking off Israeli PM Netanyahu’s wish list: in violation of international law Trump he has handed Netanyahu Jerusalem, Trump has recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and now Trump has given a green light to Israel’s partial annexation of the West Bank – while simultaneously turning a blind eye to Israeli bombing campaigns, Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes and Israel’s continued blockade on Gaza. The closure of the PLO office in Washington DC and cutting off aid to Palestinians is fully in line with Netanyahu’s wishes. It is unsurprising that Netanyahu welcomes this plan with open arms.
MOHAMMED SALEM/ REUTERS
Twenty years ago this week marked one of the last rounds of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in Taba, Egypt. I was a legal advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team at the time.
When those negotiations ended without an agreement, Palestinians were asked by the Israeli and the international community to behave as though we had come “close” to achieving an agreement, when reality could not have been more different: rather than seek to end its military rule, Israel sought to repackage it by continuing to maintain control over Palestinian lives and freedom through its control over land, resources and our ability to develop as a country. We would have had no control over our airspace, over our natural resources or over our borders.
Twenty years later, these same ideas remain on the table, with Israel and the United States not only refusing to recognize Palestinians as equals, but also expecting our gratitude that Trump is even looking our way. In that time Israel has expanded settlements at breakneck speed, with barely a word of condemnation coming from the international community.