The Zionist Organization of America is deeply concerned about the recent Arab media reports outlining contents of the not-yet-released Trump administration peace plan. If the reported provisions of the plan are true, the Trump Administration’s “deal of the century” would be the “disaster of the century.” President Trump’s reputation as Israel’s greatest friend would be destroyed.
The Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat (an important Middle East news source), quoting “knowledgeable Arab diplomatic sources,” reported today that the Trump Administration peace deal would include the following horrors:
Recognition of a Palestinian-Arab state with its capital in eastern Jerusalem and including expanded areas in Judea/Samaria beyond the areas currently under Palestinian Authority (PA) control: Such a state would be a Hamas/Iran/PA terrorist state, place Israel’s largest population centers in the line of rocket fire; and would throw 100,000 or more Jews out of their homes in Judea/Samaria likely causing great unrest in Israel. This would create a Gaza-like situation on Israel’s longest border: Namely, Israel gives up land and uproots Jews from their homes, synagogues and communities, and receives rocket fire in return.
The 10,000 Jews expelled from Gaza were a national trauma and disaster; some of the victims of the Gaza expulsion are still unemployed and unsettled and families were destroyed. Expelling Jews from their homes, because they are Judea/Samaria Jews, is inhumane and immoral. President Trump should not press an agreement that demands this.
Dividing up Jerusalem (as occurred from 1948-1967 when Jordan illegally seized and occupied the eastern portion of Jerusalem – the real Jerusalem of History and the Bible) would subject Jews in the western part of the city to constant fire and peril, as occurred during those 19 years.
Ending Jewish sovereignty over, and “internationalizing” the Old City of Jerusalem: The Old City is the actual, biblical Jerusalem and the heart of the Jewish people’s faith for thousands of years. It is never mentioned in Islam’s Koran. Judaism’s holiest places, however, including the Western Wall and the Temple Mount (the home of the biblical temples) are all located in the Old City.
Only under Jewish/Israeli sovereignty have all faiths had access to their holy places of worship in Jerusalem. It is a pipe dream to believe that an international entity would secure Jewish and Christian access to our holy sites. The last time “internationalizing” Jerusalem was proposed in 1947, as part of the UN partition plan, Arabs seized the Old City and the rest of eastern Jerusalem; murdered and expelled the Jews from their homes that Jerusalem’s majority Jewish population had been living in for centuries; dynamited and destroyed 58 Jewish synagogues ; denied Jews access to the Jewish people’s holiest sites; and commenced persecuting Jerusalem’s Christians. There is no credible reason for thinking that Israel ceding authority in this part of Jerusalem to any other power or authority would produce anything other than the endangerment and annulment of legitimate Jewish rights, properties and interests in the city. Trying such a disastrous plan again is likely to lead to the same result, or worse.
A plan that carves up Jerusalem and removes Israeli sovereignty from the Old City and the rest of Jerusalem is unimaginable and a monumental mistake.
Giving a Palestinian-Arab State 40 Billion Dollars: That $40 billion would likely be used exactly the same way that Iran is using its $150 billion from the catastrophic Iran deal – to foment terror, and exactly the same way that the Palestinian Authority uses the foreign aid it receives now – to give lifelong pensions, homes, and honors to terrorists who murder Jews.
Moreover, we already know that a vast amount of the international aid that is given to Mahmoud Abbas Palestinian Authority (PA) has consistently gone to illegal armaments, terrorist groups and hate education, including $355/million a year to terrorists and their families. There is no earthly reason to think this will magically stop upon the creation of a Palestinian Arab state run by the same corrupt, pro-terror, anti-peace Palestinian Arab leadership.
Also, to the best of our knowledge, the plan does nothing to end the PA’s non-stop incitement and payments to Palestinian Arabs to murder Jews, and does not require rescission of the PA law that authorizes such payments. This plan does not entail the renaming of schools, streets and sports teams named after Jew killers. No peace plan is workable with a Palestinian Arab government that incites and pays for murdering Jews, and is thoroughly committed to Israel’s destruction.
The PA must show for at least one year that they have abolished and rescinded such odious pro-terror anti-peace policies before Statehood is offered.
Further, the plan could become even worse. According to PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki, European Union countries are working to convince the Trump Administration to make this terrible plan even more favorable to the Palestinian-Arabs. (See “Trump Peace Plan Could Recognize Palestinian State – Report,” by Khaled Abu Toameh, Times of Israel, Feb. 28, 2018; “EU Countries Trying to Persuade US to Amend Peace Plan, Palestinian FM Says,” i24 News, Feb. 28, 2018.)
The only two supposed “benefits” that Israel would obtain under this “deal of the century,” if it is true – would, in reality, give Israel nothing. The first supposed “benefit” to Israel is that the Palestinian Arabs supposedly would “give up” or not implement a “right of return.” However, the Palestinian Arabs have no “right of return.” UN Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) simply called for “a just settlement of the refugee problem.” This was a two-way provision, that also applied to securing a “just settlement” for the close to one million Jews who were driven out of their homes in Arab lands. Moreover, descendants are not refugees. There are only approximately 30,000 real Palestinian Arab refugees alive today. A “just settlement” does not mean that grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Arabs who left Israel at the behest of the Arab League in 1947, when the Arabs went to war against Israel, refusing the initial two-state partition, can now move in and overrun Israel.
In a “just settlement of the refugee problem,” both Arabs and Jews would receive financial compensation. The close to one million Jews who were expelled from their homes and businesses throughout the Arab world are owed far more than may be due the 500,000 – 600,000 Arabs who left Israel. However, ZOA understands that the plan calls for the compensation of Palestinian Arabs – but mentions nothing about compensating the far greater claims of the greater numbers of Jewish refugees compelled from Arab lands. Further, the Palestinian Arabs have received benefits from UNRWA for the past 70 years that may very well far exceed their claims.
It’s important to remember that every promise the PA has made in its signed agreements has been broken. The minute the ink was dry on an agreement, the Palestinian-Arab state would once again demand a so-called “right of return.”
The second purported ‘benefit’ to Israel is an agreement that certain major Israeli communities in Judea/Samaria can remain where they are, and Israel would retain control of the Jordan Valley. However, Israel and the Jewish people already have the legal right to settle, live in and control all of Judea/Samaria, under binding international law, including under binding international law that the United States is a party to (e.g., the Anglo American Convention of 1924, and Article 80 of the UN Charter). To limit Jewish presence to the small areas covered by major settlement blocs would mean taking away Jewish rights. To “allow” some Jewish security presence, and “allow” Jews to remain living in the lawful Jewish homeland, while throwing out their nearby Jewish neighbors, is not a net benefit.
In sum, the reported plan amounts to Israel giving up tangible land and sovereignty in return for empty promises, and entails the establishment of a terror regime in Israel’s heartland. Worse, as we have previously demonstrated, there is no way such a state could be demilitarized. No sovereign state has previously either agreed to, or been successfully compelled to, demilitarize; nor could this be enforced, even if Palestinian demilitarization were an explicit term in any peace settlement.
We sincerely hope that the reports regarding the contours of the Trump Administration peace plan are false. If the current Trump administration plan really is as Asharq al-Awsat reported, we strongly urge the Trump administration to rethink this disaster and go “back to the drawing board.”
After the Iran deal, we don’t need to create another catastrophic, destabilizing Middle East deal. We strongly urge the Trump Administration to also insist that before any peace plan can be placed on the table, agreed to and implemented, the PA must end its anti-Israel incitement, terrorism and heinous $365 million per year of payments to terrorists to murder Jews, for at least a year, to demonstrate that the PA is willing to live in peace with the Jewish state.