New boundaries of the Palestinian state proposed by Donald Trump, reshaping the borders of both Israel and Palestinian territories. Source: White House
By: Alisa Fridman
Date: February 10, 2020
WASHINGTON – On January 28, 2020, US President Donald Trump and his administration presented a peace plan for Israel and Palestine, in hopes of resolving the decades-long conflict. Many Israeli right groups celebrated the announcement of a two-state solution, however, Israeli left groups and the Palestinian Liberation Organization reprimanded the so-called “Deal of the Century”. With no surprise, Palestinian officials furiously rejected Trump’s plan, further cutting ties with Israel and the US.
Yet, Trump’s presentation of the “deal of the century” is designed for his personal gain, the timing being suspiciously during his impeachment trial, thus redirecting the publics’ attention. In reality, the plan is designed to be economically beneficial to him, and not to bring any peace between Israel and Palestine, but rather more chaos and disagreement over disputed land. For Palestine, this plan fails to provide basic human rights, as Palestinian refugees will not be able to return to their homes. Some Israeli political groups even claim the proposal has forecasted a possible form of apartheid.
In the proposed plan, what was required of Israel is for the government to recognize Palestine as a state, further outlining the new borders of both Israel and Palestine. However, the requirements for the Palestinians includes an extensive list; the recognition of Israel as a Jewish State in its new borders, and to relinquish the demand for a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem’s Old City. Moreover, Palestine will have to demilitarize Gaza and disarm Hamas. This leaves to say that the Palestinians are at an immense disadvantage, as this plan is truly pro-Israel.
Not only are the Palestinians prescribed smaller territory than in the United Nations’ declared borders of 1967, but the now stateless community will be deprived of basic human rights, breaking numerous UN Human Rights Articles. The rights of property, free travel, and adequate living are breached, as movement back to their settlements and around their state will be restricted, further dispossessing Palestinians of their land. Furthermore, the right to freedom of opinion and expression is also being violated, as Palestinian speech is being criminalized due to potential “harm [of] public order” and Palestinians will be jailed indefinitely for “administrative detention without trial or charge”. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas vigorously expressed his opinion, stating that Palestinians have never been terrorist people but rather fight against it. He wants the world to understand that “these people deserve to live”.
The question does arise: Why is Donald Trump trying to fix a substantial political issue on his own? Why should it be his decision of what happens to Israel and Palestine? As Abbas claimed, “I know that I cannot ignore Americans, but America is not the entire world”. The Washington Post commented that peace between Israel and Palestine was already a long way off, but cynical leaders like Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu have reinforced it.
The reality of the action Trump took was not for the benefit or satisfaction of Israelis or Palestinians, nor was it in hopes of ending a prolonged political crisis, but rather a personal gain and more praise for him from Israeli officials.
Israel should first initiate a coalition government with Palestine before beginning to implement new laws and drastic changes to their lands and borders. The US should not be the sole mediator of organizing the peace plan, but rather the UN should finally take the matter into their own hands and discuss actual possibilities to satisfy both sides. Most importantly, both Israeli and Palestinian officials should be in attendance at the discussion, unlike this time where the opinion of Palestinian officials was completely disregarded.
The ultimate peace is still far off in the future. Poorly designed and only for personal gain, this proposition will cause more disruption and unnecessary conflict. In the words of Abbas, “Our people will send [the deal] to the garbage bins of history, where all the conspiratorial plans to eliminate our cause have gone”.