Donald Trump’s draft of a deal between the Israelis and Palestinians sets the peace process back 20 years by talking about a “provisional entity,” not a Palestinian state. It also assures the parties that Trump will be “personally involved in the process,” and that’s the “scariest part of the plan,” an Arab leader reports.
Khalil Jahshan, executive director of the Arab Center in Washington, reported on what he described as rumors of a “draft paper” for a peace plan, circulating in Washington, during remarks at the Israel lobby conference at the National Press Club last Friday. He said the paper repeats U.S. mistakes of the past by making the U.S. Israel’s lawyer in the peace process; and a provision to allow settlement building in Jerusalem shows “who wags whom.”
Here is some of Jahshan’s report:
It looks like this administration is about to repeat the same mistakes but maybe in a more intensive way than what we have done over the past 58 years.
1, Trump basically in his paper tells his counterparts in the Arab world and Palestine and Israel, he wants to assure them that he is seriously committed to Arab Israeli peace and will personally– personally– get involved in the process. If that doesn’t convince you to stay home, I don’t know what will. That’s the scariest part of the plan.
2. The paper talks about pursuing sustained security for Israel and a provisional entity. There we are, after all these processes, we’re back talking, like 15, 20 years ago, about a provisional entity for Palestinians without even a definite article. Not a two state solution… Hence only, in the paper “working within that framework.” I mean even Oslo did not get that low in double speak.
3, The Palestinians would be promised continued financial and technical support in return for full cooperation with Israel if they end incitement and resume their counterterrorism cooperation… Palestinians are being asked in the paper to cease all, this comes in pressure from Congress actually, cease all legal campaigns against Israel in international courts and fora. No complaining bout Israeli occupation anymore.
4, The plan seeks a phased and transitional approach. Not an end of conflict arrangement. Another major retreat from previous processes that failed.
5, The plan expresses general concern about continued Israeli settlements, but falls short of calling for a freeze. Indeed the Israel delegation negotiating here in town… with the Trump administration, talked about quote “a construction slowdown” but insisted without distinguishing inside the settlements or outside the settlements…. Just a construction slowdown, but insisted that settlement freeze particularly in Jerusalem, I’m quoting Mr. Netanyahu and his team here, is off the table. Ok, So tell me who wags whom?
6. The Arab Peace Initiative… that came a few years back from Arab sources… will be given this time a central prominence in this plan in order not again, to balance things, but in order to refocus the process away from being focused solely on Palestine. Which is the problem at stake! I mean we’re not going to have a peace process about Palestine and discuss Puerto Rico. It’s not relevant….
Ladies and gentlemen, lots of mistakes been made, the reasons are very cleal to any objective student of the Middle East. Lessons have not been learned. So don’t blame me for not being optimistic about this next plan over the next few weeks.
Asked why the U.S. was the leader of the peace process and not Europe, Jahshan answered: “Arrogance… Basically the US in order to assert itself as the protector of Israel has declared itself many years ago when these peace processes, peace plan after peace plan was emerging, and as Israel kept turning down these offers, the U.S. decided to arrogate to itself the role of the sole legitimate peacemaker in the Middle East and has refused to even allow our closest ally, Europe– whenever the French pop their head up, ‘Shut up and carry the dustpan and the broom and clean up after us.'”