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Jewish Labor Committee Responds to Trump Plan

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Donald Trump, Jared Kushner and Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo by Kobi Gideon / GPO NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

January 30, 2020 - New York, NY: The Trump Plan is not a peace plan, but a cynical ploy which is likely to advance Israel's far right's annexation agenda and to bolster the election prospects of President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

The Jewish Labor Committee has for decades supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  And we understand that only a negotiated, mutually agreed-upon accord  can be the basis for a meaningful, fair and just resolution of this decades-long conflict.

The plan released earlier this week by the Trump Administration is a heavy-handed attempt to bypass, rather than to resolve, this complicated conflict. We join the growing and diverse chorus of organizations, politicians and others who see in Trump’s plan nothing of real value, and the likelihood that it will make an equitable and mutually-acceptable solution less possible.  

This so-called “peace plan” appears to have been crafted in close consultation with the current Israeli government, that is, the Netanyahu administration, which has repeatedly put roadblocks in the way of substantial negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian representatives.  The plan codifies elements of the current reality which are core to the conflict, and envisions making permanent all Israeli settlements beyond the Green Line. After annexing the land that these West Bank settlements occupy, Israel would exercise sovereignty over nearly half of the West Bank , where more than 2.6 million Palestinians and over 400,000 Israeli Jews now live. Although U.S. Ambassador David Friedman asserted recently that Israel “did not have to wait at all” to move ahead with this annexation, the Israeli Democracy Institute said on Wednesday that such a move was unlikely to be approved by Israel’s Supreme Court. We earnestly hope that the IDI is correct.

The plan envisions what has been described as an eviscerated, Swiss-cheese-like Palestinian entity. From all reports, the plan was cobbled together without any consultations with  the Palestinians, whose leadership is rejecting it out of hand.  And although the plan envisions that Jordan will continue to ensure the status quo covering holy sites on the Temple Mount / al-Haram al-Sharif, the Jordanians have also condemned the plan, and which therefore jeopardizes Jordan’s highly valued strategic cooperation with Israel. Moreover, despite President Trump's assurances that the plan will be supported by others in the region, both Egypt and Saudi Arabia have stated that there can be no peace plan without the inclusion of Palestinians in its formulation.

Timing is everything: this is not a peace plan, but a cynical attempt to deflect attention from both the current impeachment trial against President Donald Trump, and the legal and political troubles of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The plan comes just weeks after a resolution passed by the U.S. House of Representatives opposing the unilateral Israeli annexation of territory in the West Bank, and reaffirming U.S. opposition to the expansion of Israeli settlements there – positions the Jewish Labor Committee supports.

The Jewish Labor Committee knows that negotiating difficult and apparently unresolvable conflicts is not easy.  However, the Trump Plan, not a serious proposal, runs counter to the real political and security needs of both Israel and the Palestinians, the two parties to the conflict. The JLC joins the many supporters of Israel who have studied the conflict and have worked for a peaceful resolution for decades in condemning the plan in the strongest terms.