How Trump’s Phony Peace Plan Worsens Tensions In The Middle East
Trump, with a plan which is lopsided in favour of the Israelis, has threatened the incredibly fragile equilibrium in the Middle East.
In the past, peace proposals between Israel and Palestine have focused on the two-state solution, and this plan is no different. The only problem is that, instead of innovating to try to reach a policy which the Palestinians can sign up to, this plan gives more to Israel than its predecessors, by granting it full control of Jerusalem, which is currently split between the two states.
The plan also suggests that Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which exist as part of their wider occupation of the territory, could be recognised officially as part of Israel. While the plan still guarantees a Palestinian state, it is worse for them than previous deals — and thus makes little sense.
Whatever your individual views on Israel, the fact is that the situation demands that both states exist, and that both states receive a fair deal. Granting full sovereignty over Jerusalem to Israel doesn’t constitute fairness, especially in the eyes of the Palestinians and their leader Abbas.
Any deal which fails to take both sides with it cannot be a fair deal, and it certainly isn’t a deal which actually achieves anything.
There are some suggestions that Palestine may be forced to accept something akin to this proposal, partly because of the new tendency of many Arab states to begin normalising and strengthening relations with Israel.
However, unless a new equilibrium, both stable and sustainable, is established by any proposed deal, the “solution” that it may or may not achieve is not really a solution at all — more an occupation or a temporary ceasefire. Indeed, a rushed, short-term, biased solution will mean that the tensions worsen, potentially risking an all-out war between the two states.
The Arab League is set to convene at an emergency meeting on Sunday, and the signs aren’t promising. Potentially, their conclusion could be that this deal goes too far in favour of Israel, destroying the steady improvement in relations that we have seen recently.
There are, of course, no easy solutions. Many variations of a three-state solution have been proposed, including an Egypt-Jordan-Israel solution by which the territory is divided among these nations, and a plan to split the territory into Israeli, Palestinian, and UN neutral authority sections — with the UN area covering Jerusalem, and potentially some of the most disputed areas of the West Bank.
And naturally, Donald Trump is perhaps the worst person to even try to broker peace between the two states. In November, his administration recategorised the Israeli settlements in the West Bank as consistent with international law, putting him in direct opposition to most of the international community. Palestine may be asking for too much, and rejecting too readily, but you can hardly blame them when the referee is no longer neutral.
Any peace deal needs to be delivered by a broker working in good faith, agreed by two states working in good faith and with realistic expectations, and establish a truly sustainable equilibrium of power.
This plan fails on all three counts — admittedly, the second point isn’t really Trump’s fault — and thus is not a reasonable solution to the conflict.