When Donald Trump announced his “peace plan” this afternoon, rightwing lobbyists for Israel crowded the room, including Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, John Hagee, Joe Lieberman, Malcolm Hoenlein, Alan Dershowitz, and Ron Lauder.
But if rightwing supporters love Trump’s plan to give Israel sovereignty over much of the West Bank, including Jerusalem, liberal and centrist American Zionists are horrified. They regard the plan as an existential threat to “the Jewish democracy.” These Israel supporters say the plan will move Israel toward annexing much of the West Bank, thereby ending any possibility of a two-state solution and leading to a binational state in which Palestinians will demand equal rights.
These Zionists are responding with alarm and rage to the plan and, joined by many leading Democrats, announcing plans to fight its implementation.
Michael Koplow of the centrist Israel Policy Forum explains the plan:
So, here is what it seems like to me: Israel today gets to annex the Jordan Valley and effectively annex most of Area C by “applying sovereignty” to settlements. In four years, if the Palestinians don’t accept this, Israel gets to annex the entirely of the West Bank.
It is the clearest roadmap one could construct to a one-state outcome. Congratulations to the extreme right – you are about to get what you wished for.
Like others, Koplow sees a political motivation in the announcement, to help Netanyahu win reelection in March:
Bibi is confirming that this is an annexation gambit, plain and simple
He sees the plan as a victory for the movement to sanction Israel in mainstream circles:
Protip: study up on conditioning U.S. assistance to Israel, because that is now going to move to the front burner as an issue for debate.
The liberal Zionist group J Street has issued a condemnation of the plan because it endangers Israel’s claim to be the “democratic homeland for the Jewish people” and also exacerbates the conflict.
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…
J Street issues a call to action against “permanent conflict and occupation”:
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.
Many mainstream Israel supporters are concerned. Tamara Cofman Wittes, a leading Israel advocate at the Israel Institute and the Brookings Foundation, says of Jerusalem being undivided forever under the plan:
This is the giveaway that the Trump plan is an imposed outcome, not a basis for negotiations. This says to Palestinians: accept this Israeli annexation, because we will embrace it regardless.
Hussein Ibish, a big two-stater at the Arab Gulf States Initiative, is nauseated:
By far the most disgusting spectacle in the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict – a very high bar. Massacres and terrorism don’t piously pretend to be generous and responsible. But everyone knows this is US and Israeli domestic politics. Now we have to clean up this mess.
Even Ron Kampeas of the JTA notes the imbalanced nature of the plan:
US-Israel committee to determine the deal. No Palestinians
Anschel Pfeffer of Haaretz, echoes the cynicism:
A US President facing impeachment and an Israeli Prime Minister indicted for corruption, leading an interim minority government, are about to announce a plan to solve the conflict with the Palestinians, without any Palestinian present. Unbelievable farce.
Former Ambassador Dan Shapiro said ahead of the release that he is “quite concerned” by the plan. Again because it puts Israel’s “Jewish and democratic character at risk.”
It will be the kind of arrangement that no Palestinian leader will ever agree to that will result in its either being unimplementable or the Turmp administration giving a green light to Israel to take unilateral ations such ..annexation… more likely it will produce a perpetuation of the conflict and Israel actually being drawn further into contact with Paletinians in the West Bank and eventually some kind of binational state that really puts its Jewish and Democratic character at risk.Former Amb. to Israel
Rob Malley of the ICG : “It’s about imposing new parameters on the Palestinians”.
Dylan Williams of J Street calls the deal a scam: and talks about the insult to Palestinians:
Netanyahu cut through the White House’s obfuscation about Trump’s Middle East proposal – it’s all about endorsing unilateral Israeli annexation of the settlements and much of the West Bank, destroying any chance for a viable Palestinian state. It’s worse than a sham, it’s a scam.
Evan Gottesman of Israel Policy Forum says Trump is coopting the language of two states to kill two states:
Trump using the language of a “two-state solution” represents a hijacking of the term in order to co-opt opposition to his plan. There is no way that Netanyahu, especially in his current position, would endorse anything that could be reasonably read as a two state framework.
Gottesman fears the consequences when the deal is rejected:
Every expansionist policy Trump and Bibi elaborated on in the last hour was framed in terms of the PLO signing onto a deal. We should be thinking about what the United States will permit Israel to do when the Palestinians reject it — and this plan is designed to invite rejection.
Before the plan’s release, Gottesman expressed the fear that it “could set a new group of parameters for Republicans to use against Democrats… against [the 2001] Clinton parameters.”
Eli Kowaz of Israel Policy Forum said that the plan “is being thrown up in the air” as “a lifeline that the Trump administration is throwing to Netanyahu.” He added, “I hope the damage from it will be contained.”
Martin Indyk called it a “farce” ahead of time.
Americans for Peace Now had called on Trump administration to live up “to the honest broker role that America must fulfill.” It laid out the (imbalanced) Clinton parameters, including “land swaps.”