So much ink has already been used by commentators on the recent Deal of the Century proposed by Donald Trump that I hesitate to write about it. Yet, I am doing so because I think I have some things to say that I have not been reading in the press.
I include Dore Gold and Jason Greenblatt (Trump’s Middle East Coordinator) as playing a major role in the creation of this deal because it is now reported in the press that they were major players, and by their own profession. Dore Gold is an esteemed Israeli diplomat with years of experience and with roots in the conservative Likud Party. In Israel the great majority of Israeli leaders and the Israeli public are in favor. The important thing is that it explodes the 20 year plus consensus on the parameters of what would bring peace in the two-state solution. This solution assumes Israel withdraws to the ‘67 armistice lines and that these lines become the border. It assumes that Israel will keep the major settlement blocks and give land swaps for them. These Jewish towns will be totally within ‘Palestine’, and East Jerusalem would be given to the Palestinians for their capital. Finally, there will be a limited right of return to Israel proper for descendants of the 48 war refugees. In past years and administrations, Ehud Barak gave almost this much, and Ehud Olmert gave all of this. In the end the Palestinians rejected both offers.
Trump’s plan breaks the received paradigm and offers a new one. It is a limited demilitarized Palestinian state on 70% of the West Bank plus Gaza. Israel would keep control of all the settlements and the Jordan valley for its needed security and can eventually annex the 30% and keep security control overall. It is a more limited two-state solution plan. The key now is that the onus is on the Palestinians since Israel will accept the Trump plan. The Palestinians can only claim they are occupied if they do not choose independence with disarmament. It totally changes the narrative on the situation. This is a Trumpian out of the box proposal!
I want to speak to one thing that is not usually noted. This is the issue of Israel being in violation of international law in its occupation. This ‘law’ is a pure fabrication based on the premise that Israel controls the West Bank of a Palestinian State. But international law as written gives no basis for claiming an occupation against land that is not part of a recognized state. International law is also wrong in one regard. It requires all land to be returned to the aggressor after there is peace. This is contrary to all historic laws of war. The loss of territory and expansion for defense was always considered legitimate if the defender could somehow win. The departure from this principle would bring the loss of a deterrent. A nation can be aggressive again and again and lose nothing. This is exactly the situation here in the Middle East. In each situation of the refusal of peace, the Arabs lost more. The U. N. partition plan was rejected, and the Arabs went to war. Therefore 700,000 refugees fled. The armistice lines with slight changes are what we call the ‘67 lines. The aggression in ‘67 and ‘73 however, led to Israel taking and keeping the Golan Heights (now annexed), and has also led to ‘settlements.’ Only one time did the Palestinians get a better offer after rejecting a peace proposal, and that was when P. M. Olmert offered more than P. M. Barack. They rejected that offer and today are offered less again but with much money for business development.
The Oslo Accord is finished. If they reject this offer, and they will, they will be offered less the next time. My own view is that the Palestinians should have residency in Israel and Jordanian citizenship. The Jordanian government does not want this because it could be the end of their monarchy since they are not Palestinians and the majority in Jordan are Palestinian. The elephant in the room that no political leaders will assert is that Jordan is the Palestinian State. They want to preserve a more moderate King Abdullah regime and prevent a violent state in Jordan.
In conclusion, I believe that God is involved in all this at a very significant level!
Author: Dr. Dan Juster with final word from Paul Wilbur