A smokescreen for Israel’s territorial annexation ambitions
The Plan unveiled by President Trump on the 28 January 2020 is anything but what it purports to be. It gives Israel just about everything that Netanyahu and his most extreme supporters want, whilst giving the Palestinians virtually nothing.
In effect the Plan assents to unilateral Israeli annexation of all West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley, ignoring the illegal settlement process by Israel that has occurred in these territories. The relocation of Israeli settlers into occupied territory has been carried out in defiance of international law and the provisions of many Security Council resolutions that are legally binding on Israel under Article 25 of the UN Charter.
The Plan’s reference to two states is rendered hollow by its actual stipulations or omissions.
- The Palestinian state it envisages would be reduced to a patchwork of islands of territory with unclear levels of sovereignty, giving Israel effective control of its borders and security with the ability to control the movement of its citizens.
- Palestinian land, both public and private that has been illegally confiscated by Israel would formally become part of Israel. Israel would largely retain control of common water resources.
- No genuine recognition is given to Palestinians’ legitimate historical claims to land and nationhood. No provision is made for resettlement of or compensation for Palestinian refugees.
- Areas of East Jerusalem overwhelmingly populated by non-citizen Palestinians remain Israeli territory and are excluded from the proposed Palestinian capital on Jerusalem’s outskirts.
- It countenances the transfer of Israeli cities inhabited by Palestinian Israelis to the Palestinian state, which utterly disrespects the status and rights of those people as non-Jewish citizens of Israel, breaches express assurances given in Israel’s Declaration of Establishment and is discriminatory and racist.
The plan announced in Washington delivers a fatal blow to the last vestiges of hope that many still held of a Peace Deal based on the pre-1967 ‘Green Line’, with agreed land swaps – which remains the official goal of the Palestinian Authority and of most of the Israeli Peace Camp. The Trump plan would perpetuate and formalise the current state of privation, dependency and incapacity that Palestinians are subject to both personally and institutionally. Elsewhere, such a situation has been termed Apartheid.
The plan has been rejected by the Palestinians and by all members of the Arab League, including those who were present at its announcement.
Anyone still believing in a genuine, freely negotiated two-state solution where a viable independent Palestinian State alongside Israel is created, would have to conclude that such a resolution can no longer be attained.
This is not a peace plan. It is a plan whose release has been cynically timed to bolster the re-election hopes, both of Netanyahu and of Trump by appealing to the Jewish ultra-nationalist sentiment of key constituencies that each of them seeks to woo in their own country. It is designed to distract voters from the legal battles in which each of them is embroiled. Whilst Netanyahu faces charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery, the cloud of Trump’s impeachment still hangs over him.
We support, encourage and promote any pathway freely negotiated by Israelis and Palestinians that can lead to the just, equitable and practical fulfilment of the rights of both peoples.