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Democrats divide over Israel on display in reactions to Trump ‘peace plan’

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Standing in The White House with the recently indicted Prime Minister of Israel by his side, Donald Trump unveiled his “peace plan” today. As suspected, it’s a boon to Netanyahu, Christian Zionists, and right-wing supporters of Israel. As suspected, it also sells the Palestinians out and demands that they make impossible concessions in order to achieve statehood.

Reactions from Washington are now beginning to trickle in. Here’s Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) on Twitter:

The so-called Trump “peace plan” will only lead to more division and conflict. Claiming to advance peace without the involvement of one party to the conflict is a diplomatic hoax that undermines the chance of a genuine two-state solution. It’s an “anti-peace” plan. Timing is everything here. The Trump plan is not about advancing peace. It’s a deliberately timed ploy to interfere in the Israeli elections by distracting attention from Netanyahu’s formal indictment for bribery today and to divert from Trump’s impeachment proceedings. This one-sided proposal is a cynical maneuver calculated to be rejected by the Palestinians and then green-light illegal annexation. It undermines decades of bipartisan U.S. policy and international law. Far from the “deal of the century” this is the “disaster of the decade.”


“Don’t be fooled,” tweeted Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI), “What Donald Trump is proposing is a ‘two-state solution’ in name only, not lasting peace that will protect Israel’s future as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people or fulfill Palestinians’ aspirations for self-determination.”

Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) said he had expressed his concerns about the plan to Trump Senior Advisor Jared Kushner and Ambassador to Israel David Friedman before the plan was publicly announced:

I met this morning at the White House with Jared Kushner and Ambassador Friedman. I appreciate the meeting. I gave them my unvarnished opinion on their so-called “peace plan”, which in reality is a total abandonment of decades of U.S. Middle East policy. Here’s what I told them:

1/ This plan was negotiated with no one but the Israelis, and thus it’s not a peace plan at all. Peace can only be achieved through agreement between Israel and the Palestinian people. By setting these new terms, it makes it harder for Israel to compromise later.

2/ Any claim that this plan envisions a Palestinian state is just false. The plan allows Israel to control all security matters inside the Palestinian “state”, and thus it’s not a state at all.

3/ The unilateral annexation of the Jordan River valley and existing settlements, deemed illegal under U.S. and international law, will set back the peace process decades. And it risks real violence and massive destabilization inside places like Jordan.

4/ I remain a devoted supporter of Israel and our commitment to their security and defense. But this proposal compromises the long term security of both Israel and the United States. That’s why I oppose it.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) shared a tweet from J Street that dismissed the plan as annexation. “This is not a peace plan,” wrote Omar, “It is theft. It is erasure.”

That J Street post was also retweeted by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) retweeted a post from human rights attorney Noura Erakat on the topic:

Massachusetts Senator, and Democratic presidential hopeful, Elizabeth Warren also criticized the proposal on Twitter and said it amounted to annexation. “Trump’s ‘peace plan’ is a rubber stamp for annexation and offers no chance for a real Palestinian state,” she tweeted, “Releasing a plan without negotiating with Palestinians isn’t diplomacy, it’s a sham. I will oppose unilateral annexation in any form—and reverse any policy that supports it.”

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders also chimed in:

The United States can bring unequaled leadership to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but we must use that leadership to promote a just and durable agreement. Any acceptable peace deal must be consistent with international law and multiple UN resolutions. It must end the Israeli occupation and enable Palestinian self-determination in an independent state of their own alongside a secure Israel. Trump’s so-called ‘peace deal’ doesn’t come close, and will only perpetuate the conflict. It is unacceptable.

In contrast to these criticisms, some pro-Israel Democrats offered more positive assessments of the plan. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that there are “some areas of common ground.” “If there’s a possibility for peace we want to give it a chance,” she said. “One of the expressions I always like to use is the devil is in the detail: We’ve seen the proposal, I haven’t looked at it extensively. There’s some good room for hope there,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) after reading a two-page summary of the plan.

“Certainly, it seems to preserve that possibility of a two-state solution,” said Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), “The president spoke openly about a Palestinian state, he also spoke at length about meeting Israel’s security needs, I believe and hope conversation can continue and lead to negotiations between the parties.”

Trump has called on Palestinians to back the plan, but it’s been completely rejected by the country’s leadership. “After the nonsense that we heard today we say a thousand no’s to the Deal of The Century,” declared Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Michael Arria

Michael Arria is the U.S. correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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10 Responses

  1. lonely rico on January 28, 2020, 5:44 pm

    Chris Van Hollen

    It undermines decades of bipartisan U.S. policy and international law.

    Gee Chris, I hadn’t noticed the US insistence that Israel respect international law.

    What I did notice was decades of US bipartisan support for Israeli criminality – murder, theft, destruction; you name it, Israel has been doing it under the watchful and approving eye of the US governments, which sends along billions to help Zionists in their wickedness.

    Chris Murphy repeated the same lie on decades of US Middle East policy, in fact unwavering support for Israeli criminality and theft.

    … their so-called “peace plan” … a total abandonment of decades of U.S. Middle East policy.

    Murphy goes on to claim –

    … annexation of the Jordan River valley and existing settlements, deemed illegal under U.S. and international law, will set back the peace process decades.
    This would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. The decades-long “peace process” is an empty set, conjured up to allow Israel to maximize control of Palestine and theft of land.

    Thank God for Ilhan Omar, who with the support of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib told the unvarnished truth –

    This is not a peace plan. It is theft. It is erasure.

  2. JWalters on January 28, 2020, 6:35 pm

    Trump’s plan is so obviously absurd to any voter with a brain that even some Democrats who claim to be staunch supporters of Israel are forced to call out its cruel injustice.

    Remember, when Trump started his presidential campaign he said he would be objective and fair to both Israelis and Palestinians. He was immediately overwhelmed with an onslaught of ferocious criticism by Hillary and the whole Israeli brigade of politicians and pundits for not taking Israel’s side. (This onslaught was necessary for Israel, because as soon as the discussion turns fair, and ALL the facts are put on the table, Israel’s murderous, rapacious history gets revealed.)

    So Trump did the most instantaneous, completely craven capitulation in political history, suddenly swearing he was Israel’s best friend in the cosmos. (Nobody in the MSM press commented one whit on his abject toadyism. Because, as everyone knows, they are also abject Israeli toadies.)

    Since then Trump began taking millions in Israeli money, and became Israel’s perfect little puppet. (Nobody in the MSM press commented on this glaring influence buying and selling either, for the same reason.)

    Now Nancy is gamely trying to put a good face on this blatant evil. Since Nancy once told AIPAC that even if America’s capital city crumbled to the ground Israel would gets its payment on time, it’s a reasonable estimate that she is being kept afloat by Israeli money.

    Trump’s series of blatantly subservient moves for Israel starkly reveals him to be a puppet of Adelson and Netanyahu. The influence of Israel and its massive amounts of money on American politics can no longer be ignored. Americans cannot afford another war for Israel. AIPAC needs to be forced to register as an agent of a foreign government. All Israeli money needs to be banned from American politics.

  3. Boomer on January 29, 2020, 7:03 am

    I recall years ago seeing a clip of Pelosi addressing a cheering audience while she enthusiastically rejected an “even handed” policy toward Israel/Palestine. “We don’t want an even handed policy, we want a pro-Israel policy” she said. [Or words to that effect, I’m quoting from memory.] Surely she and her audience have what they wanted.

  4. Misterioso on January 29, 2020, 10:31 am

    “Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that there are ‘some areas of common ground.’ ‘If there’s a possibility for peace we want to give it a chance,’ she said. ‘One of the expressions I always like to use is the devil is in the detail: We’ve seen the proposal, I haven’t looked at it extensively. There’s some good room for hope there,’ said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) after reading a two-page summary of the plan.”

    Nancy Pelosi and Eliot Engel’s comments are no surprise given the fact that like the Republicans who are joined at the hip with their billionaire vehemently pro-Israel contributor, Sheldon Adelson, the Democrats are in the pocket of their billionaire contributor and Zionist zealot, Haim Saban.

  5. Jasonius Maximus on January 29, 2020, 12:02 pm

    If Pelosi and Engel think this so called plan even vaguely has any kind of “common ground” then they are even more bought and paid for than I feared. And that’s saying something!

    The plan effectively says that Israel can have all of Jerusalem, every single illegal settlement, all of the Jordan River Valley and northern Dead Sea, and can keep control over the security, water, airspace and electromagnetic communication spectrum of the entire West Bank right now and basically forever. Heck! They already plan to vote on annexation on Sunday!!!

    In return, the Palestinians “might” get a quasi-state Bantustan with no control over its borders, no sovereignty, no diplomatic recognition, no international recognition, no right of return, no freedom of movement, and even then maybe in 5-10 years if they “behave”, completely disarm and demilitarise, and address terrorism and corruption. The last of which I find a sick joke coming from an Israeli PM currently under indictment for bribery and corruption and a US President who has been impeached for bribery, remains an un-indicted coconspirator for campaign finance violations, and whose organisation is under investigation by the SDNY for potential tax fraud!

    • Misterioso on January 29, 2020, 12:31 pm

      @Jasonius Maximus

      Well said!!

      In short, Trump and Kushner’s pro -“Israel” peace plan, which is heartily supported by the murderous, lying thug Netanyahu and his gang, is headed straight for history’s dumpster where it belongs.

    • MHughes976 on January 29, 2020, 5:16 pm

      I think that many Democrat leaders will be minded ti accede to the Plan after some huffing and puffing. But the mass of Democrats may be of different mind and ready to listen to Palestinian voices if these can be raised effectively.

      • echinococcus on January 29, 2020, 6:24 pm


        Quote one single instance, please, when “the mass of Democrats” has ever prevailed over the Owners, i.e. the imperialist ruling class, in anything. At all.

        That’s a structural impossibility. Comparable to the laws of geometry or physics. “the mass of Democrats” is exactly as powerful as a sleeping dormouse.

  6. genesto on January 29, 2020, 1:15 pm

    This is not only a sham, it’s a call for an unconditional surrender by the Palestinians. In return for completely, and finally, renouncing their national rights, including the right of return, they get $50 billion over time (BFD, and they likely would never see any of it anyway), the ‘promise’ of a Palestinian ‘state’ (which they will NEVER see in any form), and slightly better prison conditions for a while. If they refuse the deal, then Trump will make their already unsustainable living conditions even worse!

    Deal of the Century? This is the final insult to one of the most oppressed people in the world!

  7. James Canning on January 29, 2020, 4:54 pm

    The BBC quoted Dennis Ross yesterday as saying an Israeli “annexation” of portions of the West Bank can be reversed in future.

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