February 12, 2020
On January 28, President Donald Trump, accompanied by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, announced a new U.S. plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace. The plan, officially titled, Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People, is the product of three years of work by Administration officials.
The Israeli government officially endorsed the plan at the White House event. Benny Gantz, the head of the Blue and White Party, and leading opposition challenger to Netanyahu and the Likud Party in the upcoming Israeli election, was briefed separately on the initiative by President Trump.
The Palestinian Authority, which has not engaged with the Trump team in over two years and was not involved in the drafting of the plan, rejected it. They also threatened to bring a resolution to the U.N. Security Council condemning the plan. Reaction across the Middle East has been relatively muted, with the Arab League rejecting it, although the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar had individually taken a more affirming stance. Many others in the international community, such as the U.N. Secretary General, the E.U., and European foreign ministers did not condone the plan, but issued statements presenting it as a potential launching pad for bilateral Israeli-Palestinian relations.
Within the plan itself, there are opportunities for resolving issues ADL has advocated for and supported, including:
- A stated commitment to the principle of a two-state solution .
- Palestinian statehood, with territorial contiguity and a capital in East Jerusalem in the context of a peace agreement with Israel (although the conditions for statehood, as well as the reality of the so-called contiguity and the integrity of the capital is under question).
- Iron-clad guarantees for Israel’s security.
- Ending incitement to hatred and terror, as well as ending the Palestinian Authority’s ongoing financial support to terrorists and their families.
- Justice for Jewish refugees from Arab lands.
- Significant investment in creating infrastructure, efficiency, accountability and economic opportunity for Palestinian society and governance.
There are also significant elements of the plan that raise deep questions and concerns including:
- The lack of participation by the Palestinian Authority and what this means for the plan’s viability.
- No clear understanding on how the prescribed land swaps would impact Israel’s Arab citizens, including concerns that this plan could change the citizenship status of Israel’s Arab population without their consent, contradicting Israel’s democratic principles and character.
- Israel’s potential intent to enact its sovereignty/seek annexation over areas in the West Bank designated to it in the “conceptional map” prior to the conclusion of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement (although the timing of such moves by Israel appears to be less immediate than originally thought).
- The detrimental impact on relations with Israel’s peace partners such as Jordan.
ADL is monitoring regional and global reaction to the plan, particularly critiques of the plan that might use anti-Semitic expressions. To date, most of the criticism reviewed by ADL has not been anti-Semitic, although two editorial cartoons (below) featured in the London-based publication Al-Quds Al Arabi depict the U.S. as a puppet of Israel, and Israel as an exaggerated, stereotypical Jew. Also of concern, a prominent Jordanian legislator responded to the American proposal by reciting a judgment day prophecy in parliament that envisions Muslim people seeking out Jewish people to murder them. In addition, a state-linked media outlet in Turkey outrageously proclaimed that “there is no relationship between the Jews and Jerusalem.”
ADL will also be monitoring the situation on the ground, particularly alert to possible unilateral action by the actors that could make a final peace agreement more difficult. We are also monitoring reactions of other Jewish communities around the world, including how their security could be impacted.
For more wide-ranging analysis* of the peace plan and its implications see:
- Amir Tibon: How Trump’s Mideast Plan Is Angering Both Annexationists and Peaceniks
- Bret Stephens: Every Time Palestinians Say ‘No,’ They Lose
- Diana Buttu: Trump’s “peace” plan risks setting fire to Israel, Palestine – and international legal order as we know it
- Hussein Ibish: Palestinians Have Few Nonviolent Options Left
- Michael Koplow: Donald Trump, the destroyer
- Tamara Cofman Wittes: Netanyahu traded Israel’s independence for the ‘deal of the century’
- Thomas Friedman: Is Trump Bibi’s Chump? The president needs to demand a commitment
*Inclusion does not constitute ADL endorsement of views