There’s nothing pro-Israel about Trump’s peace plan

This annexationist, messianic plan may serve Netanyahu’s political interests, but it does not serve any of Israel’s

Maya Ilany
Wednesday 29 January 2020 17:36 GMT
Trump says Jerusalem will be Israel's 'undivided capital' under Middle East peace plan

Yesterday US President Donald Trump, alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, unveiled his “deal of the century” for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Indeed, conservative commentators were in agreement that this is the best deal Israel could have ever hoped for.

The deal – which wasn’t negotiated with Palestinian leaders, and was announced without a single Palestinian present – greenlights Israeli annexation of around a third of the West Bank, leaving the Palestinians with a set of isolated islands in a sea of Israeli territory.

Trump’s plan does not offer a roadmap to peace. Instead, it is a convenient distraction for an American president facing impeachment, and an Israeli prime minister facing serious corruption charges. But that is not in itself reason oppose it; the deal should be assessed on its own merits.

A two-state solution in name only, this deal is in fact the annexation plan Israel – or at least Israel settler movement – has been dreaming of. Trump has given his blessing to an explosive policy that is not even popular with the Israeli public: polls show that most Israelis are not interested in annexation. This seeming Israeli win offers Israel control over areas of the West Bank that most Israelis have never heard of, let alone lived in (according to the Israeli NGO Peace Now, less than 5% of Israelis live beyond the Green Line).

Trump’s plan will precipitate an endless military rule enforced by Israeli teenage soldiers who will carry the scars for the rest of their lives. That’s why – despite Netanyahu’s decade-long, well-funded attack on the Israeli peace camp – a majority of Israelis oppose the settler movement’s vision of a Greater Israel, and support a two-state solution.

Ultimately, a deal that was negotiated between Israel and America will never solve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. The idea that ignoring the concerns and priorities of the Palestinians is pro-Israel is disastrously short-sighted. In fact, hundreds of Israeli security experts agree that Israel’s future will indeed be in danger if a Palestinian state is not established alongside Israel. That’s why supporting this deal, which will only prolong the violence and bloodshed in the region, is an anti-Israel position.

This annexationist, messianic plan may serve Netanyahu’s political interests, but it does not serve any of Israel’s. Among other things, it will jeopardise the country’s hard-won peace with Jordan, widely acknowledged as one of Israel’s most important strategic assets.

True friends of Israel must not support a dangerous plan proposed by the radical right-wing factions that currently hold office in Israel and the US. It is not pro-Israel to overlook the needs and rights of Palestinians when doing so will only put Israelis and Palestinians at risk. Trump’s deal will only condemn Israelis and Palestinians to more conflict. The UK must reject this deal, and renew its efforts in the fight for real peace between two independent states living side by side.

Maya Ilany is the deputy director of Yachad, the British Jewish movement for a two-state solution in Israel-Palestine, and an end to the Israeli occupation.

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