Ameinu is deeply concerned by today’s announcement of President Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century.” The proposal, which includes provisions for a non-contiguous and non-viable Palestinian state and recognition of Israeli sovereignty over all of the settlements in the West Bank was unveiled today at the White House by President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu, two cynical leaders who are using the Israel-Palestine conflict to distract their respective constituents from impeachment and indictment. That Netanyahu would accept this “deal” is no surprise; he sees this as his best chance to get re-elected despite his indictment today for criminal corruption.
Unfortunately, Benny Gantz, the leader of Israel’s Blue and White Party, and Netanyahu’s main rival for the premiership, called the plan “a significant and historic milestone,” and added that, “immediately after the elections, I will work toward implementing it from within a stable functioning Israeli government, in tandem with the other countries in our region.” Ameinu is disappointed by Gantz’s response and calls on him to reject this proposal outright and commit to restarting negotiations with the Palestinians should he become Israel’s next prime minister.
This ill-timed and misguided proposal does not aim to solve the conflict, for if it did, it would have been done in coordination and engagement with the second party to the conflict, the Palestinians. Today’s announcement was a bi-lateral agreement between Israel and the United States; it leaves no room for Palestinian concerns or input. A durable, lasting peace is one that is negotiated with the cooperation and trust of both parties. This attempt by the US and Israel to impose “peace” on the Palestinians is just the latest sign that the Trump administration has relinquished America’s historical role as an honest broker between the Israelis and the Palestinians. This gambit will fail and the region will only become less, not more stable.
Ameinu looks forward to the day when Israelis and Palestinians will sit down together to negotiate a solution to this conflict that has gone on for far too long at the cost of too many lives.
Israelis and Palestinians deserve better than this faux peace deal.
T’ruah rejects in the strongest possible terms the so-called “peace plan” put forth today by Trump, Kushner, and Netanyahu. A true agreement requires input from all parties involved. By excluding Palestinian leadership from the table, Trump has demonstrated that this plan has never been about achieving peace and stability, but rather has always been an attempt to advance the agenda of Prime Minister Netanyahu and the annexationist, far-right settlement movement.
The prophet Amos, speaking God’s word to the people of Israel, asks rhetorically, “Can two walk together without having met?” (3:3) The two peoples to whom the land of Israel is a sacred homeland, Jews and Palestinians, have no path forward unless we meet and commit to walking together — not with one side dictating terms.
T’ruah remains committed to a negotiated agreement that upholds the human rights and security of both Israelis and Palestinians. We know we are not alone. Israelis who dream of a Jewish and democratic state are right to oppose this plan, as are the vast majority of American Jews, as well as Palestinians who dream of the same right to self determination that Jews enjoy in the State of Israel . We still believe in the possibility of an Israel that is not compromised by the moral and political implications of ongoing occupation, and we call on major Jewish institutions to join us in rejecting today’s plan.
This plan, which annexes Jewish settlements and creates disconnected, isolated areas under Palestinian rule, violates international law, and enshrines the ways in which Palestinians under occupation are deprived of their basic civil and political rights. We are also disturbed by the possibility that some Palestinian citizens of Israel might be stripped of their Israeli citizenship as their communities are transferred into Palestine.
What was released today works to create one state in which Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza lack equal rights. As a result, Palestinians have rightly rejected the so-called sovereignty offered by this plan. While some Palestinians might have a path to citizenship, others would be stuck in isolated island-cities, denied rights such as freedom of movement or the right to vote.
New Israel Fund
Responding to the news that the Trump Plan enables, encourages, and facilitates annexation in the West Bank that hands Israel’s future to the radical settler right, NIF CEO Daniel Sokatch released the following statement:
Most Israelis and the vast majority of American Jews want to see a democratic, equal, and just Israel. Today, the Trump Administration is offering Israeli officials and the radical settler right a free pass to march in the opposite direction: toward a future of unending injustice and inequality.
This plan threatens to make the occupation permanent. If it becomes reality, there will be no two-state solution. This will cripple Israeli democracy by putting Israel in permanent control over the lives of millions of Palestinians who will have no right to vote for their own future. This is not the vision of Israel’s founders. It is not the vision of those of us who love and care about the state of Israel.
The choice that has been available to Israel since 1967 remains clear: Israelis must choose between Israel’s Jewish character, its democracy, and its control over the Palestinian territories. Israel can choose two, but not all three. No unbalanced presidential edict disguised as a ‘peace plan’ will obscure this choice and no Israeli government will escape it.
It is absolutely clear that the “plan” released today by the Trump administration stands zero chance of serving as the basis for renewed diplomacy to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead, it is the logical culmination of repeated bad-faith steps this administration has taken to validate the agenda of the Israeli right, prevent the achievement of a viable, negotiated two-state solution and ensure that Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territory in the West Bank becomes permanent.
All parties — and especially Israeli leaders — must understand that the president’s ‘peace sham’ does not and will not represent the true interests and future policy of the United States. It contravenes the expressed will of the US House of Representatives, which just weeks ago passed a resolution that opposed unilateral Israeli annexation in the West Bank, asserted longstanding US opposition to settlement expansion and reaffirmed that any viable US peace plan must include support for a negotiated two-state solution.
By endorsing Israeli sovereignty over vast portions of the occupied West Bank, the president and his team appear to be empowering Israeli leaders to carry out unilateral annexations that would flagrantly violate international law, trample on the rights of Palestinians and grossly endanger Israel’s future as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people. They are discarding decades of bipartisan US policy in favor of a destructive effort that is certain to exacerbate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, empower the most dangerous extremists on both sides and destabilize Israel’s already tenuous relationship with Jordan.
The timing of this announcement, coinciding with the formal indictment of Prime Minister Netanyahu and the impeachment trial of President Trump, only underscores that it is a cynical political maneuver entirely lacking in diplomatic credibility. Coming in the midst of an Israeli election campaign, this is an attempt to hand the prime minister a political gift and a distraction from the very serious charges he is facing.
This is a time when those who care about the future of Israel, the rights of Palestinians and the principles of US foreign policy cannot remain silent. This dangerous new provocation and the prospect of unilateral annexations in the West Bank require an urgent, unequivocal response from responsible American lawmakers and presidential candidates.
President Trump, Ambassador Friedman and their far-right supporters are working to undermine Israeli democracy, sabotage genuine diplomacy and codify a status quo of permanent conflict and occupation. We must do everything we can to stop them.
Americans for Peace Now
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 government announced that it will submit to the Knesset an 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.
Partners for Progressive Israel
Standing beside U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington yesterday, caretaker Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu arguably became the world’s most dangerous anti-Zionist.
We’ll explain. The aim of the Zionist movement, from its humble beginnings in 1897, has been the creation of a homeland for the Jewish people within the area known as Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel. After the Holocaust, in 1947, Zionism secured its greatest diplomatic victory to date, gaining the support of the United Nations for such a homeland, with the General Assembly approving the partition of British-Mandatory Palestine between Jewish and Arab states.
But Zionism’s achievements were incomplete, as the Palestinian people, who, like the Jewish people, had legitimate, though competing, claims to the Land and comparable aspirations to statehood, initially rejected the partition idea. Four decades later, though, in November 1988, Zionism seemed on the verge of consolidating its historic achievement when the Palestinian National Council accepted (if somewhat equivocally) Israel’s existence and affirmed its support for a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine based on UN Security Council Resolution 242. Less than five years later, the Oslo Process, designed to lead to an end-of-conflict, final-status agreement by 1999, was launched.
A peace treaty based on the pre-Six Day War “Green Line” – which remains the official Palestinian goal – would mean not only Palestinian recognition of the principle of partition, but of the territorial gains made by Israel during the War of Independence in 1948-49.
The plan announced in Washington threatens to deliver a fatal blow to this approach, and to the ultimate realization of the Zionist idea. In endorsing unilateral annexation by Israel of large portions of the West Bank and the creation of a series of disjointed Palestinian cantons, dominated inside and out by Israel, the Trump plan – if implemented – would make a just and viable two-state solution completely impossible.
Once Israel declares sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and every single one of the scattered 121 West Bank settlements, the Palestinian people, already chafing over having to accept only 22 percent of historic Palestine as part of a two-state deal, are more than likely to conclude that their two-state strategy is dead. And their most reasonable next step will not be to accede to Trump and Netanyahu’s dictates, but to scrap their call for a two-state future altogether and return to their pre-1988 support for a single democratic state – a state in which the Jewish people will soon be the minority.
Israel, at such point, will be forced to choose between acceding to the Palestinian demand, offering full enfranchisement, and pulling the plug on the Zionist idea of a state in which Jews constitute the majority; or rejecting the Palestinian demand, and maintaining Jewish supremacy at the expense of democracy.
Either way, the current plan will bring Israel/Palestine into uncharted waters, with the nature and legitimacy of the State of Israel called into doubt, and with its remarkable accomplishments threatened. The U.S. may not be willing at that point to run political interference, and the entire matter could be thrown back to the Security Council. The Zionist idea will return to being an open question.
It is with this existential situation in mind that we call on Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz to realize the danger to Israel and to announce his opposition to any plan not based on Israeli-Palestinian agreement. And, along with our friends in the World Union of Meretz, we call on the Jewish people, in the U.S. and around the world, to stand up to this anti-Zionist plan that could “destroy the principle of a Jewish-democratic state underlying the Zionist idea, and even drag us into a nightmare: the creation of an apartheid state.”
For decades Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association have advocated for a negotiated, two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on security, dignity, human rights, and freedom for Israelis and Palestinians alike. The peace we have advocated envisions an end to Israel’s role as an occupying power, and the acceptance by all nations of Israel’s permanent place in the region as a Jewish and democratic state.
The Trump Administration’s new proposal to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been lauded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Head of the Opposition Benny Gantz, though the two leaders have signaled different approaches to what they would like to do with it. Netanyahu sees in the plan a green light to begin annexing West Bank lands that the plan envisions will be part of Israel in the future. He has already announced plans to hold a cabinet vote in days on a proposal to annex the Jordan Valley in the West Bank. Gantz, in contrast, has told the Trump Administration that he thinks nothing in the plan should be implemented before the March 2, 2020 Israeli election, and that he wants to include Palestinian, Jordanian, and other Arab leaders in renewed talks based on the plan as a starting point.
While we would welcome any meaningful progress towards achieving the kind of just and lasting peace that Israelis and Palestinians both deserve, we are concerned that the process leading up to the unveiling of the plan has not included Palestinians at all. In stark contrast with past Israeli-Palestinian agreements brokered by US administrations of both parties, the Trump-Kushner plan was presented to the public without any Palestinian leaders standing alongside their Israeli and American counterparts. The plan offers Israel sovereignty over close to a third of the West Bank, as well as over all of the current settlements, including those deep in the West Bank. It envisions a possible future Palestinian state in Gaza and in a Swiss cheese-like territory encompassing about two-thirds of the West Bank, dotted by Israeli settlements and exclusive-use settlement access roads. The Palestinian Authority has, as expected, already rejected the plan.
We continue to hope that we will see Israeli and Palestinian leaders find a way to reach a mutually acceptable, two-state, permanent agreement that allows both peoples to live in dignity, security, and peace. We worry that the Trump-Kushner proposal makes that possibility ever more remote, especially if it serves to usher in a period of rapid Israeli annexation of West Bank lands – a move on Israel’s part that would likely result in increased international isolation of Israel. The need for sustained US leadership towards achieving a just and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine is real, and we welcome any administration’s sincere efforts to do the hard work needed to bring Israeli and Palestinian leaders back to the table to finish the work that each of the previous four US administrations has tried to bring to fruition. Unfortunately, this plan appears to create new opportunities for the Israeli government to pursue annexationist goals with American backing, while using the language of peace-making in ways that mask the one-sided nature of the proposal.