The first time the media reported on a Trump peace plan that would create a Palestinian state or divide Jerusalem, most people dismissed it as just a rumor. The second time, cynics said the sources were unreliable. The third time, they said we should wait and see what’s in the plan.
But the latest report – from Israel’s Channel 13 – is approximately the tenth such report, and they have come from 10 different news media outlets. It’s time to stop making excuses and start facing the likelihood that where there’s smoke, there’s almost certainly fire.
According to the Channel 13 report, Trump’s “Deal of the Century” is going to involve massive Israeli concessions in exchange for a piece of paper with the Palestinian Authority’s worthless signature on it.
The plan involves establishing a Palestinian state in 85-90 percent of Judea and Samaria, which means that Israel will be nine miles wide at its vulnerable mid-section with borders so vulnerable that even the arch-dove Abba Elan called them “Auschwitz lines.”
The reported Trump Plan also would divide Jerusalem. Israel’s part would consist of the western suburbs. The actual, genuine heart of Jerusalem, the Old City – where the Temple Mount, Western Wall, ancient Jewish Quarter, and Mount of Olives are located – would no longer be under Israel’s exclusive sovereignty. Instead, the holiest places in Judaism would be “jointly ruled” by Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, and Israel.
Trump envoy Jason Greenblatt issued a response to the Channel 13 which strikes me as far short of an explicit denial. He said the report “is not accurate.” That sounds to me as if Channel 13 might have gotten a few small details wrong. What Greenblatt did not say –what no Trump official has said – is that the plan will not include a Palestinian state.
And so long as no Trump administration official will explicitly say that the plan will not involve creating a Palestinian state, there is good reason to fear that it will, in fact, involve exactly that.
It’s not just the non-denial denial that concerns me. It’s all the other statements that Greenblatt and his colleagues have been making. Remember, it was just last November when Greenblatt absurdly claimed there is a new “converging of interests” between Israel and Arab regimes which makes peace possible. He included the war-mongering Palestinian Authority as one of those supposedly “peace-seeking” regimes.
Before that, in July 2018, Greenblatt, together with Jared Kushner and Ambassador David Friedman, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post proposing that the U.S. and its allies pump huge sums of money into Gaza if Hamas terrorists there acknowledge Israel’s existence and “renounce violence.” In other words, billions of dollars in exchange for worthless paper promises.
And in August 2018, President Trump himself said that “in the negotiation, Israel will have to pay a higher price because they won a very big thing” (the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem).
It is also a fact that there have been multiple, undenied reports that the Trump administration has quietly pressured Israel to freeze most Jewish construction in Judea-Samaria. Trump himself said as much at his February 15, 2017 press conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Six weeks later, on March 31, 2017, Ha’aretz reported that in response to Trump’s request, Israel would “curb construction” in the territories.
Not only did the White House not deny the Ha’aretz report, but an unnamed U.S. official confirmed to Ha’aretz that President Trump is demanding that Israel take his “concerns into consideration.” The official said, “While the existence of settlements is not itself an impediment peace, further unrestrained settlement activity does not help advance peace.”
Jewish and Zionist organizations that have praised the Trump administration’s pro-Israel actions have a special obligation to speak out now against the mounting evidence of a forthcoming plan that will be a disaster for Israel.
In recent months, too many pro-Israel organizations have been devoting attention to issues that are far from urgent or relevant. Sure, we all care about anti-Semitism in Chile and Sweden, but there are already plenty of organizations to deal with such issues. We don’t need pro-Israel organizations competing with “defense” organizations to see which of them can issue the angriest press releases and then raise funds for “leading the fight against anti-Semitism.”
What we need now are American Zionist organizations to lead the fight to stop the Trump Plan before – not after – it becomes a fait accompli. We saw what happened when a previous generation failed to speak out in time. We cannot afford another generation of “Jews of Silence.”